Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

My Take on the new Battlestar Galactica Series

The mini-series really impressed me, so I started downloading them from iTunes.  I was all set for some serious Hard Sci-fi.  In the mini-series you had the ship’s personnel getting flushed out into space when they decompressed a section of the Galactica to put out a fire.  Then in the first couple of episodes you had them dealing with issues such as the need for water and so forth.  Yep… it looked like more Hard Sci-Fi was on the way!

Then… for several episodes the various plot threads got sucked into at least three iterations of the “My Cylon Lover” theme.  On the one hand, I began to feel that the show was going overboard in slamming any sort of religious person via its weird Cylon God-talk… while on the other hand I got the feeling that the show was getting overly aggressive in metaphorically protesting The Patriot Act and The War On Terror.  All of that drivel was exeedingly irritating when all I wanted was to see spaceships fight it out with somewhat realistic physics defining the tactics.

I was pretty disgusted with the show and gave up on it until I’d heard some pretty high praise from an uber-geek.  Now I see that the first season was set up like a typical album side: the good shows were at the beginning and end… and the middle shows were all mediocre.  With the wrap up of the first season, and the beginning of the second, most of the themes that irritated me have been refocused or balanced out somehow… and the drama has intensified along much more interesting lines.  The first five episodes of Season Two are a tour de force in plotting– I haven’t seen anything this well architected since Joss Whedon’s Firefly or John Byrne’s Next Men.

Here’s my take on the cast:

Starbuck:  I just don’t see how a female impersonating “The Faceman” can ever really work.  Sorry.

Boomer:  Always involved in the most irritating “My Cylon Lover” plot threads.  Barf.  She even has the most irritating cliche line of all time that’s straight from Star Wars Episode III!

Apollo:  The dude looks gay… and he’s always insubordinate and rebelling.  (I don’t care how much they need pilots, these prima donna types have to either obey the chain of command or stay in the brig.)  This rampant feminization of the “Alpha-Male” type characters has just gone too far here.

Tom Zarek: Played by the same actor that played Apollo in the original series.  He adds so much to this show; I’m glad he’s on it.

Tigh:  Finally, an ‘X-O’ that actually does something!  This guy could beat Will Reicher with one hand tied behind his back.  He’s by far my favorite character– probably the only realistic male character with real faults and real sense in any sci-fi series.  He’s made more real decisions than any other “Number 1” type ever.  Awesome!  This makes up somewhat for the girly-ification of the rest of the cast.

The Toasters: The new robot Cylons are patterned more after the Terminator than those goofy Star Wars Stormtroopers.  Good call.

Perhaps the niftiest thing about the series is that the continuity of the original series only sorta happened.  The old Cylon ships and robots actually existed, but the history of the “old war” is twisted in subtle ways.  At the same time, Cylon religiosity in the new series emphasizes the fact that everyone is a part of a history that is repeating itself and that will repeat again!  Very cute.  This way they can utilize the coolest parts of the old continuity without being bound to it unnecessarily the way it has occurred in other sci-fi  series resurrections .


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