Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Galactica Recapitulates Wrath of Khan

If Joss Whedon gave us the greatest Boba Fett story ever told, then the makers of Galactica have at least climbed up to the level of rehashing tried and true sci-fi moments in the later half of their second season.  They have it all: a crafty foe, a confusing nebula, a heroic sacrifice….  Let’s take a look at the action.

Here the Pegasus takes a beating in a surprise attack.  With the hyper drives disabled, she’ll have to stick around to duke it out:

She pulls herself together and now she’s come about.  “Fire!”

And the Base Star takes a lickin’ in return:

 

Not bad….  As you can see they do a lot of darkly lit shots really close up– you need explosions to see any details most of the time.  It’s hard to get a feel for the tactical arrangement of the ships.  From the details of this show, the big ships apparently just move into point blank range and unload on each other while fighters buzz around.  It looks like Star Fleet Battles being played by people with absolutly no tactical abilities.  (It remains to be seen whether Galactica will ever deal us an epic space battle to come close to matching the classic duels of the original Star Trek episodes.)

I’d much rather be able to drink in a nice slow long shot of a gracefully arcing vessel.  And so many people have died in this series at this point, the sacrificial death of another flawed leader just doesn’t have much dramatic punch.  (Not like when Spock or that Guy-I’m-Not-Going-To-Mention-In-Case-You-Haven’t-Seen-The-Movie-Yet died.)

The series is doing okay.  Once again I get to a point where I’m not much concerned with what happens next.  The cheap tricks that they use over and over to resolve tough plot impasses get increasingly tiresome: I just don’t get the kind of pay off I’m looking for.  On top of that they’ve sallied forth into the area of suicide bombers, torture, rape, “treasonous” news reporters, stem cell research, abortion, and vote counting.  Traditionally sci-fi has dealt with these types of social issues more metaphorically… and I cringe whenever they trot them out.

The main thing that hurts the series is the overall lack of humor and tact.  Joss Whedon was able to effortlessly give us satisfying stories that forwarded an overall dramatic arc on his Firefly series.  When things took a surprising turn, it always felt inevitable– it did not feel like a cheap serial writer’s hack job.  Also, he could deal with difficult topics while still making you laugh.  Amazing.  The more I see of Battlestar Galactica, the more I appreciate the genius of Joss Whedon.

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One response to “Galactica Recapitulates Wrath of Khan

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