Battlestar Galactica: What Re-Visioning really means
13th November 2006 at 9:04 am #40997
I’ve been threatening to write this entry for quite a while now. I survived a section of my teenage years by clinging to the show, [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlestar_Galactica_%281978_TV_series%29]Battlestar Galactica[/url]. I virtually lived for the weekly distraction of…
[quote]“There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. They may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens…”[/quote]Hearing the fanfare that begins after those words still gives me a chill, even after all these years. I can’t explain it. Something in the show struck a cord; and I watched, spell bound, every week, even though we only had a 12 inch black and white TV set. The knights didn’t wear shining armor, the barbarians did; but there were damsels in distress, and gentlemen who rode in (literally, a few times) to save the day. There were gunfights and space battles, nearly every week. I loved every minute of it.
[url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077215/]The movie[/url] that was made and used as the pilot was one of the few films that I paid to see more than once. (Sweetwater, Texas at least had a theatre. I had to go to the next town to watch a film when I lived in Kansas) I had several T-shirts for the show. I watched Galactica 1980! My favorite scene in every A-Team episode is Dirk Benedict (Starbuck) recognizing the Cylon during the introduction, and I promptly left the room after that bit. I hated the A-Team (it was too juvenile. My little brother watched it) I just loved that bit, though.
I’m offering this up as proof that I am a true fan of the original show; and I feel the need to do this because I’m about to admit to something disturbing.
I love the new [url=http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/]Battlestar Galactica[/url]. Yes, I know, it has nothing at all to do with the original show. Yes, I know, they’ve taken character names and situations and twisted them around in ways that the original authors would not have conceived of, perhaps even approved of. It’s dark and complex, and it’s content can be both disturbing and titillating at varying times in the same episode. You have to think about the show if you want it to make sense.
And, once again, I hang on every minute just to see what happens next.
So many of the concepts that were used in the original show were fumbled and poorly executed. Baltar was simply a card board cutout villain. There was no realistic attempt to explain why the the Cylons would ever place him (a human) in command of a [url=http://www.shipschematics.net/bsg/images/cylon/basestar_cylon_mk1.jpg]Basestar[/url]. (Never mind that they killed him in the movie, only to resurrect him in the series) In the New BSG, Baltar is a brilliant, twisted, cynical, amoralist; someone that can be easily seen dancing his way in whatever direction that survival dictates. And, indeed, the price of his survival has nearly been the extermination of the remainder of the human race several times now.
All of the characters have flaws, and strengths. There are no knights, and very few gentlemen. Admiral Adama (played by the extremely talented [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001579/]Edward James Olmos[/url]) being one of the few. If there is a weakness in the show, it’s a lack of any truly great male leads other than Olmos. Apollo, while admirably independent of his father Adama, is too brittle to be truly likable. [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0389581/]Colonel Tigh[/url] is a drunk. [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0671886/]Lieutenant Agathon[/url] is, well… pussy whipped. (how would you describe a man who whines incessently about not being with his girl? One who not only does everything that she asks, but adopts it as his personal cause? Like I said…) By a Cylon. It’s a little embarrassing. I get a kick out of watching [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0722413/]Doc Cottle[/url] smoking his way through his scenes. It’s priceless. Of course, I remember him as Dutch from [url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075584/]Soap[/url], so there’s a level of unintended (?) humor there for me. There’s also [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0432228/]Lt. Felix Gaeta[/url] who, while he’s still suffering from blindly following Baltar onto New Caprica, is definitely a gentleman in every sense of the word.
There are most definitely no damsels in distress. Recasting Starbuck as a woman was perhaps a stroke of genius, even though most fans of the original show point to that as the greatest failing of the new show. Starbuck is still Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck, but this time played by a woman. Hard drinking, gambling, fighter jock with an attitude and ability. A strong female character in a lead position, on the front line of battle. [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0755267/]Katee Sackhoff[/url] will never have the charm that [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0070767/]Dirk Benedict[/url] could project, but then she doesn’t need it either. What she lacks in charm she makes up for by diving into trouble headfirst, only to come back out smelling like a rose.
Then there is the President (Beautifully played by [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001521/]Mary Mcdonnell[/url]) the Grande Dame of the fleet. She is the figurative mother of the remainder of the human race. Protective of the lives under her care, even to a fault. And Boomer/Athena/Sharon (Grace Park) The other male character from the original show recast as a female; and not just a female, but a female skinjob (a tribute to Phillip K. Dick there. He refers to the replicants in [url=http://www.philipkdick.com/works_novels_androids.html]Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep[/url] as skinjobs. Something that was picked up in [url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/]Bladerunner[/url], the film based on the book) a Cylon agent that doesn’t know it’s a Cylon.
In fact, the show is replete with strong female characters, something that was sorely lacking until the very end of the Original BSG, with the introduction of the daughter of Admiral Cain.
Which brings me to another reason I’ve been obsessed with the show for three seasons; I never can tell which character or storyline from the original show that they are going to play (or prey) on next. The Battlestar Pegasus and Admiral Cain sail into the New BSG in much the same way they did in the original series. But from that point onward, the stories radically diverge.
Baltar gets the chance to earn the hatred that is simple his by default in the original series. Every week is a surprise.
This week’s episode is a virtual case in point of all of the above. Torture. Genocide. Honor, truth and devotion to duty. Deception and betrayal. Very real questions that we should be seriously discussing in the here and now. Fully developed characters that make decisions based on the traits that we know they have. No holds barred, all the flaws exposed.
Just like life on the edge should be.
The New BSG is everything that the word re-visioning connotes. It is a reworking of familiar characters and stories in a way that you would never have seen them before. As such I have nothing but praise for the series; and I hope that my liking it doesn’t spell disaster for the show,
as it has for virtually every other show I’ve watched over the years.
I’ll just keep watching, wondering what’s next.13th November 2006 at 12:54 pm #76969
Excellently confessed ranthony!
I can’t disagree with any of it and yep, I’m totally hooked on the show too although this latest rendition is much better than anythiong previously produced IMHO. Even the poor acting from the previous two seasons seems to be a distant memory.
I’m not sure about the original concept and how well the new version sticks to it, but your comments don’t surprise me. A lot of thought seems to have gone into the production and it’s moving along very nicely.
On an altogether frivolous note, the small amounts of naked flesh tends to keep certain SadGeezers (not me of course) and lady SadGeezers (now that Adama Jr. has lost the weight) interested. It seems they have thought of everything!
I personally found the reference to Bladerunner (‘skin jobs’) a bit off putting. It felt like a bit of a cheap shot to me rather than a homage. And I was a bit disturbed to see one of the main characters go – she was great and I think we’ll all miss her! (But we were warned in recent press releases).
[quote]I’ll just keep watching, wondering what’s next.[/quote]
Yep, that’s pretty much how I’m feeling about it at the moment too! Thanks for the post – a very good read!13th November 2006 at 2:46 pm #76970
I did feel like this, about it being re-imagined, the operative word is did.
And i, just like other fans of the the re-imagined BSG, are leaving, or at least not watching with the breathless anticipation like we once did.
You can see this in it’s declining ratings every week, like the life being drawn out of it.
I”m not saying this to be a thorn but to get you and others to face some facts.
The very positive points this show gave us are now burying it.
I’m saying if it is tied to the military exclusively, that gets old, the politics, old hat…. We’ve seen all of this torture and interogation before. Why must i see it again? Oh, they used a machine this time and not a bucket… so? It’s still the same thing.
Every character is so gun-ho on letting us see their flaws, that we forget the other half of them you know the strengths that make us better humans?
Hell I even dislike both Roslin and Adama now. i never did that before. I root more for the Cylons than the fleet because the fleet is becoming like the show “seinfeld” …..mean-spirited.
yeah, a world full of people caught up in meaness and the minutae of their lives… yipee! i just can’t wait to bring more children into this world! (sarcasm)
I think it’s lazy storytelling to rely on other movies or other shows to write the current show. They are using ST TNG filler and next their stars? Cripes in a handbasket.
Anything remotely new, original, or interesting is glossed over or pushed aside to get back to your JAG on space. So they could have Adama ride in with his boys and save them.
I know I’m not talking a guy language, because you can watch some pretty silly stuff that bores me to tears: fishing shows, and wrestling, and some sports, and that an occasional flesh-bot showing some flesh makes your skivies a little tight; and that’s even okay with me. We ladies like Bamber in his towel or Baltar with is hairy legs (Although I’m not a fan of either, really I have a particular type i am attracted to and it’s not any male on this show but i cannot begrudge what popular opinion says is beautiful) but if this rehashing of the New reimagined ideas with the constant need to throw in sex to buoy it up, this show is on its last legs creatively.
May be it will continue in name and eps made but it will have lost it’s heart and soul, or more accurately sold out to its critics for the praise.
It is quite sad; it had potential…. now it’s like any other show on the networks today. It could have been a gem, now it’s a common stone.
RIP my beloved Galactica of mini and Season 1. 😥13th November 2006 at 5:03 pm #76971
It’s arguably the best show on tv in my view – three seasons in and its still interesting. Perhaps what prevents it from being the best show is that it seems a little too neat or tv-vy in places (like Adama’s recent ‘pass’ to a traitor).
But who is leaving the cast?
Edit: oh.13th November 2006 at 6:54 pm #76973
The Pegasus Episodes were some of my favorite ones (speaking of ‘Star Trek Stars’ ) Picking Michelle Forbes (I liked Ensign Rho) as Admiral Cain this time around was an interesting choice. Having her end come about like it did made for an interesting change in the show.
I think they fumbled the end of season two, trying to compress too much story into one episode. I almost expected a “Bobby steps out of the shower” moment at the beginning of this season. Luckily we avoided that. They could have spent this entire season just going through Baltar’s presidency and the occupation of New Caprica; apparently they didn’t want to change the dynamic of the show that radically.
As for the “they’ve done that before” comment; no, in fact, they haven’t. Yes, they’ve tortured someone/thing in the past, and dealt with the moral angle there. No, they’ve not addressed exactly why torture doesn’t work, which is part of what happened last week.
Like I’ve said with other shows, I’m not the one they pay to make these decisions, so I’m not going to pretend I have some control over the decisions being made. I watch when I’m interested, and I don’t watch when I’m not. (Enterprise being a classic example of this) So far BSG has delivered, so I keep watching.
-RAnthony13th November 2006 at 7:06 pm #76974
[quote=”SadGeezer”]I personally found the reference to Bladerunner (‘skin jobs’) a bit off putting. It felt like a bit of a cheap shot to me rather than a homage. [/quote]
I find it off-putting myself, but more because the term sounds racist (as it is supposed to be. That’s why Dick coined it) It shows in the willingness of the humans to exterminate the Cylon. The inverse is also true, the Cylons are willing to exterminate the humans, they apparently don’t have any moral qualms about it. Why do we?
[quote=”SadGeezer”]And I was a bit disturbed to see one of the main characters go – she was great and I think we’ll all miss her! (But we were warned in recent press releases).[/quote]
I hate to say it, but I couldn’t stand her. I wouldn’t be too sad to see [i]both of them[/i] go. I don’t think we are done with the crew changes yet.
-RAnthony14th November 2006 at 7:21 am #76979
To each his/her own. i can’t get hyped up about a group of writers sitting in a room that actually had to have a discussion about whether genocide is acceptable or not. And they want to write about humanity? That’s screwy.
And um what did torturing Baltar teach us about torture being ineffective? That abdominal thrusts from a hot blonde drives them a way? Ooookay……. 🙄
Are you going to use the old line about “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it?” Yeah, i think that is going around a little too much. that is what’s happening and the numbers of new fans are not replacing the fans leaving.
That revolving fan door policy doesn’t work well here when no one is coming in the door.
I stick with it ’cause i have hope that possibly one day it will get better, the good storytelling will return, the ideas will be actually be fleshed out.
And i may not agree all the time, but I’m loyal. The mini-series and Season 1 and scatterd eps like Peggie earned my loyalty but my excitement waxes and wanes unfortunately with the quality of the show.
Now, if you will excuse me i have a Neil Gaiman book to consume and sleep, glorious sleep! I love my bed…. 😆19th November 2006 at 10:57 pm #77030
And um what did torturing Baltar teach us about torture being ineffective?[/quote]
He lied. He misdirected the Cylons. Which is what happens when you subject people to torture. They’ll tell you anything to make the pain stop.
Are you going to use the old line about “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it?” Yeah, i think that is going around a little too much. that is what’s happening and the numbers of new fans are not replacing the fans leaving.[/quote]
[quote][i]The 2-hour season premiere, “Occupation” / “Precipice,” earned a 1.8 average household rating and drew an estimated 2.2 million viewers.
This is a two percent increase from the second half of Season Two, which aired on the cable network from January to March.[/i][/quote]
It’s seems your observations are incorrect. The audience remains reasonably solid, even though it faces competition from other cable channel shows that it didn’t in previous seasons.
-RAnthony20th November 2006 at 1:41 am #77032
I’m not going to argue about numbers sweetie, that was the premiere; of course it will do well after 10 months of nothing. it’s the subsequent ratings that are dropping off and the fact that this premiere has done less than other season premieres like Season 1 or Season 2. I can see why it’d be higher than season 2.5; they had some serious clankers in that 1/2 of a season.
You can listen to sci-fi spin all you want but on the whole there was a 29% drop since the beginning of all of this. That’s nearly a third of the audience. What happened? They didn’t really change the date and time much and it is an ongoing show so it would have a built in audience that follows it; but as you can see their core audience are also being sucked away slowly.
I, like you, would like this to remain a couple of more seasons but not at the price of overused plot devices, and sloppy storytelling.
The problem is I KNOW they can tell a good story, I’ve seen it.
Did you watch the mini; season 1, season 2, i mean all the way through?
I mean plot lines were dropped here and there but now it’s all the time now. It’s not tightly scripted as it once was.
Compare let’s say Act of Contrition to The Farm. The raider was used in subsequent eps; the egg harvesting was used slightly in Exodus but it was a mind frack? Where the hell are these eggs and why take them? And why do that ep at all except to have Anders and Kara hook up and now it’s unhooked in a few looks and lines?
Hmmmm; what about Scar? They mined all this tyllium; where’s the extra Vipers or new raptors or the beginnings of structures or industry? Why tents? And why did Tyrol have a speech about striking when we saw no one working?
In fact they had two mining eps one in season 1 (Hand of God) and one in season 2 Scar; where is all this metal? Or ore?
In this ep Adama felt guilty about his belief that his secret ops mission started the war. he gets a medal for it; that’s convenient.
It’s a pretty important development in the character of Adama, yet now we find out? Too pat. Baltar’s been living with that crazieness for seasons and Bill Adama sheds a tear over it just now? This is not a repressed memory, they didn’t hypnotise him; he knows how the Colonists treated Cylons, in fact the “Caprica” storyline is gonna tell ya he’s known this since babyhood. he knew when he had the speech in the mini about “running away from the things you’ve done” Hasn’t he? No, they used it to explain his softening for Cylons this season; his re-instating Athena, etc…. and to introduce Bulldog who did a good job but really, no one questioned his escape from the Cylons after 3 years until Starbuck looked at the tape?
And speaking of Cylons what about the Cylon testing; Baltar was working on it, but Doc Cottle can somehow magically whip in an 8 track and proclaim Bulldog has the same blood before he got caught. And he escaped with nothing…. um do they have a record of all blood types of every person ever enlisted and why would it be on the Galactica, a tired rust bucket going to be decommissioned.
These are a few of the many.
I don’t know what is worse at this time; and are you asking me to choose? To admit i loved the original BSG also even though it was cheesy and unreasonable like the Casino planet ep right after the destruction of the Colonies; or to admit that even though this re-imagining started so well, it now is getting very unbelievable as well.
I believe the latter cuts deeper for me because i’ve seen better writing in this series; with the former you knew it was cheesy and entertaining; the latter is not all that entertaining for this season and has grievious errors in inconsistency that give TOS cheesiness a run for its money.
Will i watch it, yes, will it matter whatever i say, probably not. One voice in billions on this planet. But if you go to skiffy you will see i’m not the only one who cries foul, and like a few I’ve watched the re-imagining from the beginning.
I keep hoping for that ZOWEEE ep of the season; many have already exclaimed this is the best over previous eps of this season. Unfortunately I’m not like many others, running through the revolving door of entertainment. Are we a nation of attention deficient citizens:living only in the minute and world of the now? i swear that is what these writers are banking on now. I have a memory; I can remember past the last ep, or season.
Some claim this best so far in the re-imagined universe. I cannot concur.20th November 2006 at 4:03 am #77033
To heck with all this fussin’ and feudin’ anyway 😆
We’ll all be dead in 50 or so years anyway; and the youth will be fighting about something else entirely as life begins anew.
Whether this show lasts two more months or 2 more years really does not matter; all things have and follow a natural progression of birth or beginning, growth, maturity, decline and death to begin the cycle anew again.
Why should shows be any different?
So we disagree on the stage of it; you say growth or maturity; i say maturity was reached and now decline is imminent.
You say potatoe I say potato…..
You and i will both watch and hopefully with others as well.
“shrug” Life goes on.20th November 2006 at 5:44 am #77034
[quote=”mandara k”]Did you watch the mini; season 1, season 2, i mean all the way through?[/quote]
I watched every episode, and I have every episode on mpg so that I can rewatch them as broadcast.
The show has been a roller coaster ride from the beginning. believability has been a bit of a strain since day one, IMHO, and yet it is miles above the previous incarnation, and better than most other dramas on TV.
I watch it because I like it. There are plenty of other things on that I could watch, including [url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433309/][i]Numbers[/i][/url] (for example) which is on at the same time. I watch BSG and record [i]Numbers[/i] for later.
[quote=”mandara k”]But if you go to skiffy you will see i’m not the only one who cries foul, and like a few I’ve watched the re-imagining from the beginning.[/quote]
There’s the negativity problem, if you ask me. I don’t hang out on boards much (look how long I’ve been a member here, and how many posts I have logged) because all the so-called fans do is pick the shows apart. It’s like being subjected to a daily rectal exam. It’s not fun, and it makes the experience of watching the show not fun. So I don’t do it regularly. Just when I want to throw out some ideas and get some feedback.
[quote=”mandara k”]I keep hoping for that ZOWEEE ep of the season[/quote]
And you won’t find it coming in with a jaded attitude. I could run a list of objections longer than the one that you presented myself. (court martial offenses, such as mutiny, being dismissed without trial for example. That was first season) but if I’m going to suspend disbelief and watch the show, I might as well try and enjoy it with the flaws.
On the other end of the spectrum are shows that I can’t watch, even though I’ve watched the previous incarnations without too many objections.
As an example, [i]Enterprise[/i] was so flawed in conceptualization that I couldn’t even watch the show. (read the full rant [url=http://ranthonysteele.blogspot.com/2006/11/how-about-example-of-bad-show.html] here[/url]) There were two episodes of the last season (I tuned in to watch Brent Spiner open season four, stayed for the end of the season) that I actually could sit back and enjoy. They were the two part [url=http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/series/ENT/episode/9440.html][i]”In a Mirror, Darkly”[/i][/url] which could be viewed as canon because the existence of Vulcans on the ship was explained, and they were watchable because Bacula made a very convincing bad guy.
That’s a pretty piss poor record (two enjoyable episodes) for a show that was on for four seasons.
BSG had that beat by the time I had watched three episodes of the series. So I’m not complaining. Not yet anyway.
-RAnthony20th November 2006 at 6:18 am #77035
[quote=”ranthony”] It’s like being subjected to a daily rectal exam. It’s not fun, and it makes the experience of watching the show not fun.
Please don’t knock rectal exams . My day is not complete without one….or two.21st November 2006 at 12:12 am #77036
[quote]Please don’t knock rectal exams . My day is not complete without one….or two.[/quote]
OMG Bonnee 😆 😆 😆 😆
Oh man, that was a good laugh… how ’bout that new Agey rectal cleansing; does that count?23rd November 2006 at 1:33 am #77040
I can’t say the whole BSG is a waste … my faves have to be now the closing animations; at least you can laugh at them.
The whole fight is getting so silly; the Skiffy BB’s have the age old fight of trolls, misnomered trolls, fanboys, noobs and yes a producer ‘s wife wondering why everyone is soooo negative.
Ummmm… because the material this season is dark… darkness attracts darkness and negativity.
You create it, then you whine about it.
Now I won’t put on my happy face for a season I’m not thrilled at but there are a few but far between bright spots.
The development of Tigh as a character…
Jake the dog….
An oracle, a hybrid, beings of light and kewl chaise lounges.
Bulldog is pretty hot….
The lion’s head nebula was nifty and the bucket drop Adama maneuver….
Helo’s speech for tolerance….
I miss some of those moments in Season 1 like Adama will not give up the search for Starbuck; Oh hell i don’t know I guess i miss just when everyone isn’t so screwed up and wrapped up with their personal demons; or they put them aside to help another fellow Colonial.
I miss the mystical kind of hand that dealt the Cylons a good card and then the Fleet a good card.
SO I’m not a complete neg Nancy… hmmph 😀
When’s the Rocky 2 moment? I guess next week with boxing; but I mean when we do finish delving into the characters oh so many flaws and turn upside; like they may do something right, and bright and hopeful as screwed up as they are?
You start doing this, then negativity may also be lessened.
Life is imperfect for us imperfect beings but once in a while we do something right.
Have a good gobble day everyone! 😀
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.