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If Peter F. Hamilton had remade Battlestar Galactica…kinda

The Battlestar Galactica mini-series has come and gone, and I give it a guarded thumbs-up. I think its better than the original in many ways, chief among them being the lack of campiness, and worse in one big way. I’ll go into that in a bit so I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. In fact, you’ll have to clicky on the link below to see the rest. Consider yourself warned. And what does Hamilton have to do with it? Read on!

First, the goodness. I like the look of the show. The sets, the ships, the clothes, everything shows that a lot of thought was put into creating a visual treat for the viewers. I actually do like the new Galactica, and the fact that the landing bays retract into the ship is cool. Not necessary perhaps, but cool. I really like the Vipers a lot. They look great and they actually maneuver as a ship would in space, with attitude thrusters placed to allow actual 3D movement, a la the fighters in Babylon 5. The only thing that nagged at me was the fact that the pilots would be pulling some serious Gs during some of those moves while the Cylon ships, being AI controlled with no crew, don’t have to worry about G forces. Well, I’m assuming that a spaceship can handle significantly higher Gs than a human. Advantage Cylons. I also like the CGI. It looks really good. Ronald Moore seems to have taken the opposite tack of Babylon 5 and went with muted tones, dominated by grays and blacks, with splashes of color. B5, of course, went with a ‘brighter’ look with color everywhere. BG looks like they had a large budget to use and it shows.

The ‘Meh’ factor comes from the actors themselves. I liked Olmos as Adama, but after that, everyone else made me think ‘Meh’. Nothing spectacular. The characters themselves didn’t do a whole lot for me, aside from Adama. The new President – meh. Apollo – Meh. Starbuck – a beeotch, but still meh. Baltar – kinda meh. I find it difficult to believe this guy is a computer genius. He doesn’t act the part or look it. 6 of whatever – m….uh, wow, that outfit is red. And how does it stay on? Oh, it barely does. What was I saying? Oh yeah – Hubba. The key to this show being successful is in the characters. Much more needs to be done to make them interesting. 6 of 12 seems to have her own agenda apart from the other Cylons, so that could be interesting. And what’s up with all the sex? I felt like I was watching a re-imagining of “The Night’s Dawn” trilogy (see! Hamilton!) without all the space stuff and just the sex parts left in. I felt it detracted from the show overall ( just as I felt the sex in the first part of TND detracted from the story). Get a room. Jeez.

The badness. Well, first of all, changing Starbuck and Boomer into women, well, it didn’t work for me. I’m not a BG fanboy, but I felt these changes were made only to make a change. I guess they wanted more relationships in the show. More on this in a bit. The whole Cylon attack of the colonies felt sanitized. I didn’t get the impression that the colonies were actually destroyed. Oh sure, everyone kept saying they were, but the images shown sure didn’t make it feel that way. That’s one area where the BG movie p0wned. I remember seeing it in the theater, with Sensurround sound, and stuff blowing up everywhere, people dying, the seats rumbling, it was great. The TV series version – meh. Lets talk about the 3 main relationships here. Apollo and Starbuck first. I get the feeling this will be a David and Matty thing with sexual tension driving the relationship, but without the messy acting upon it. Unless of course the show jumps the shark and needs it to happen. I don’t think this would have happened in the original show. Baltar and 6. Well, being involved with a ‘machine’ could have its advantages. But 6 isn’t really a machine, is she? Its made clear that the humanoid Cylons are indistinguishable from humans, except when parts are cremated and the resulting gasses analyzed. Of course, Baltar has a chip in his head allowing 6 to screw with his mind. Literally. Did I mention that 6 was hot? Man, her spine glowed. Anyway, I think Baltar will eventually distance himself from 6 so I don’t know where this one is going. Too bad. The original Baltar was the guy you loved to hate. Now Boomer and the Chief. Wha? Ok. No back story as to why. Just them jumping all over each other when they get together. Bah. Now, big spoiler, but did anyone notice that the two relationships that seem to have ‘culminated’ shall we say, are between a human male and a female Cylon? That’s right Boomer is also a Cylon although she may not know it. I felt the whole Cylon saboteur thing was poorly done. Baltar getting lucky by pinning suspicion on the PR guy (but really, aren’t all PR guys robots anyway?) and then there just happens to be another Cylon mole on the Galactica? Meh. And the real big thing, the one that the original got right and the new one got wrong: The Quest for Earth. The original series had the Galactica leading the fleet on the quest for earth, as described by the Lords of Kobold. So does the new one. With one big difference. The original Adama had faith that Earth existed and that they could find it. He used his faith to inspire those around him to undertake the journey. He gave them hope based on his faith. Uplifting and all that. The new Adama doesn’t believe in Earth. He lies to fleet to inspire them. You can see some of the people are confused by his saying that the high-ranking military commanders know where Earth is, but the just hadn’t got around to telling people because of security reasons. Right. I’m not sure a true leader would do this. In fact, I think the original way is the best way. This should come back to bite Adama in the ass. We’ll see. I didn’t like this whole aspect.

Whew, ok almost done. Its nitpick time! Woo hoo!

1. A nebula that is so dense, you need a tunnel to get inside? Right. Please.

2. A nebula that has lightning? Right. Oh I’m sorry, its a storm. Or something. Right again.

3. I’m assuming that the Colonials can create artificial gravity since the Galactica seems to have gravity inside of it. Given that, what the hell is the point of having a rotating space station? For what? Did the defense contractor sneek one past the budget committee? Or maybe they were too cheap to install the gravity device. But it must be relatively inexpensive since all ships have gravity! Aaargh.

4. Let’s talk nukes. The Cylons seems to have quite a bit of them They even pegged the Galactica with one. But the Galactica seems to have survived a direct hit by a nuke. I guess in space, no one has to worry about radiation sticking around for more than 5 minutes. And why exactly, given the Cylons’ propensity to get straight to the point with nukes, did the Cylons NOT use nukes when the Galactica was leading the fleet out of the nebula, space storm, whatever it was? Suddenly the Cylons wanted to capture the ships? I’m not buying it. The writers couldn’t think of a way around the nukes so they ‘forgot’ about them. Bah. Stupid.

5. And why exactly are there 2 Cylon humanoids on the Galactica, a ship which was being decommissioned?

6. And Ragnar Station just happens to have oodles of weaponry, but no one guarding it? Uh huh.

If this goes to a series, it will live and die by the characters and stories. Based on what I’ve seen, I think they have a chance. But I think the only reason they called it Battlestar Galactica was to get them a built-in fan base and to relieve them of having to come up with a universe and back story on their own…

About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

7 Comments on If Peter F. Hamilton had remade Battlestar Galactica…kinda

  1. Personally, I have not really seen any show where the first time I saw it I have felt really drawn to the characters. It takes time to really build a character and even B5 was very dry during its first season.

    As to the Adama’s behavior, if you somehow think a military leader would not tell his people whatever is required to get them to do thier jobs – you are sorely mistaken. The whole goody goody path that was the old show was too cheesy in my opinion.

  2. I’m just saying Adama’s lie should come back to bite him and the President. The civilians aren’t going to like being lied too when they find out. Sounds like a good story line too.

    I agree with the character assesment, although I did like Ivanova and Garibaldi right off…

  3. Did Adama lie?

    The President (former Education Secretary) claimed that the former (now dead) President and her talked about the legend of Earth and whether it existed or not. Adama’s statement was that only the top brass knew and it was a heavily guarded secret–so maybe the old president did not know.

    Or–since the Education Secretary was #34 on the “hit parade” (line of succession), maybe the old president never felt she had the “need to know” about Earth and he did not share this with her when they had that discussion.

    Me: I’ll agree with the Hamilton analysis. I also thought it was the best filmed version of a David Weber space opera to date. In general, I enjoyed the movie and would watch a series based on it.

    6 of 9 has to display some of her other attributes, though. She did re-write algorithms…

  4. If I remeber correctly, Adama says, when questioned by the Pres, that he doesn’t know where Earth is. I don’t remember whether he says he believes in it or not. I guess I could stay up, again, and watch it again to see, or I could go to sleep and let Peter watch it on Tivo and let me know.

    But I still think I heard Adama admit to lying about Earth.

  5. Get ready for 6 more episodes

  6. I saw the new Battlestar Galactica. I don’t think that it’s as good as the old original Battlestar Galactica. At the rate the show is going now, they might meet the Borg and get assimilated. Now if they fought both the Borg and the Cylons at the same time, they’re really in trouble. Always remember this about these two bad guys: “The Borg assimilate, the Cylons exterminate.” And is the new Battlestar Galactica in the Alpha Quadrant or the Delta Quadrant? And the new Baltar (at least to me) has a slight resemblance to Deep Space Nine’s Dr. Bashir. As for the “humanoid” Cylons, they first appeared on the second season of Battlestar Galactia, when they reached Earth and renamed it Battlestar Galactia 1980.

    Maybe the new Battlestar Galactica will get better one day, but they’re really going to have to work really hard at it. I hope they really do find Earth, if the show last that long. And if they do, I hope that they find Earth in a far more advanced state. If the new Battlestar Galactica is to survive, they’re going to have to.

    I hope that the new series also has a Commander Cain and a Battlestar Pegasus. It would be interesting to see what happens if the new female Starbuck meets Sheba from the Pegasus.

    I’ll try and give the new show a chance, but I’ll always love the old Battlestar Galactica the best.

    • Nice, nice comments, on how the new BG was going to be inferior to the original… curiously, it’s 2011 and BG-Re is considered among the best five sci-fi shows ever. Rather, among the top three.

      The original BG was never that good to begin with, the new beyond season 2 was consistently one of the best shows ever.

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