February 04, 2005

Battlestar Galactica (2004)

Okay, before I even get started, I realize that some people are die hard purists who will never watch the new Battlestar Galactica - I understand.

I'm not trying to convince anybody that they should watch it or that it's better than the original movie/series. Let's face it, the old one (despite the occasional camp and a certain robotic pet) had a nice feel of family to it. It resembled a "wagon train to the stars" more than Trek ever did. Looking back, it's hard to believe that it only lasted for one season (13 or so episodes).

Anyway, I just rented the new SciFi channel movie, after hearing from several friends that it was not just good, but excellent. And after watching it, I couldn't agree more.

You've all heard about what's different: the story, the Cylons, Zak (Apollo's brother) is already dead, Boomer is an asian chick, and (most shocking of all) Starbuck is a cigar smoking woman! In the end, it was Starbuck that I had the hardest time getting over. Every time she got wild, grinned, yahooed, or smoked a cigar, I couldn't help but think of the original Starbuck. Let's face it, Starbuck made the original show.

The trick is to take what you know or remember from the original series, stuff all that in a mental closet, then check out the new one. You don't edit while you write, so you shouldn't critique while you watch.

By viewing it in this manner, not only was I able to overlook the differences very quickly (except for that chick smoking the cigar), but I could appreciate the effort that went into this. This is no Glactica 1980, the story (although very different from the original series) is well thought out and fairly tight. The characters are on one hand slightly familiar, but immediately interesting in their new form - flaws, cigars and all.

I haven't seen any of the new series episodes, but hear they're easilly as good or better than the pilot movie. This weekend or next I should get the chance to see one, so if you ask nicely I'll tell you what I think.

For someone who was a rabid fan of the original - hell, I used to tape the audio from each show (back in the days before my parent's first VCR) - this "revisioning" is ten times better and a lot easier to swallow than either Star Wars Episodes 1 or 2.


Blogger Rothar said...

I got to see one of the new episodes on Friday...or what John and Randy call "Sci-Fi Fridays" (Enterprise then Battlestar Galactica).

Starbuck was shot down on a dusty, windy planet, so the other Vipers were having a hard time finding him. He found a Cylon ship, which he had to figure out and rig up before he ran out of O2.

Now this one wasn't action packed, matter of fact the only Cylon you see is the downed fighter. But the tension and the interpersonal drama was all there. Besides the ever present threat of the Cylons warping in at any moment, the President was pushing to leave Starbuck behind because it was too costly in resources and the fleet was more and more at risk from Cylon attack.

Best moment of the show, when Apollo (who hadn't spoken to his father for 2 years prior to the pilot movie, because he blamed him for Zak's death) asked him, "What if it had been me?" Adama tried to brush it off with "You don't have to ask that", but when Apollo pressed the old warrior's eyes moistened just a bit as he said "We would never leave."

IMHO, this is the best television programming since Babylon 5!

11:08 AM  

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