Friday, December 29, 2006
Battlestar Galactica-Frakking Awesome
During my junior year of high school the original Battlestar Galactica debuted on ABC in 1978. I quickly fell in love with the show and was dismayed when it was cancelled after only a year. Over the years I hoped that the original show would be revived and kept up with news of the various attempts of Richard 'Apollo' Hatch to do just that.
In 2003 a 'reimagined' version written by veteran Star Trek writer Ron Moore debuted as a miniseries. It had some radical changes to the basic story. The Thousand Year War between the Cylons and humans was shortened to 40 years. The robot Cylons were now creations of humanity that rebelled and nearly destroyed their masters, not an alien race. To throw another curve ball into the mix the Cylons not only have 12 humanoid models, they don't die. Their consciousnesses are downloaded and they wake up in somewhere else in a resurrection chamber.
The Galactica was about to be decommissioned and serve as a museum. Even some familiar characters like Colonel Tigh, Commander Adama, Starbuck and Boomer changed race and in some cases gender. In Boomer's case, she was revealed to be a Cylon sleeper agent. They also gave all those characters first names.
When the Pegasus appeared in this version of Battlestar it was commanded by Admiral Helena Cain. Even Baltar's character underwent changes. Instead of crassly selling out the human race for his own personal gain and getting double crossed by the Cylons, Gaius Baltar is a scientific genius who couldn't keep his pants on. He lets his girlfriend poke around the Colonial Fleet mainframe and submits a command navigation program she wrote to the fleet. Unfortunately for humanity Baltar's girlfriend (Number 6)is a Cylon. The algorithm program she wrote contains a backdoor that the Cylons use to cripple Colonial defenses for the surprise Cylon nuclear attack on the Colonies and the Fleet.
New characters are introduced such as Laura Roslin, the Secretary of Education 43rd in the Colonial line of succession. She becomes president of the Colonies in the aftermath of the attack. She discovered just before leaving Caprica City for Galactica's decommissioning ceremony that she has terminal breast cancer. We're introduced to Chief Galen Tyrol, Lt. Felix Gaeta, Laura Roslin's aide Billy Keikeya, Tom Zarek, the Cylon Number Six and Chief Petty Officer Anastasia 'Dee' Dualla.
When the new 'reimagined' show debuted I was still pissed about the fact that the highest ranking character that looked like me was Chief Petty Officer Anastasia Dualla and boycotted it. On the original BSG Booomer and Colonel Tigh were African-Americans and were respectively the third in command of Galactica's best fighter squadron and the XO of the ship. I also had to wrap my mind around a female Starbuck named Kara Thrace.
When they repeated it the next year in preparation for the first season I decided that my love of Edward James Olmos as an actor outweighed my anger over some of my fave characters from the old show being played by new actors. Curiosity also got me to tune in. I wanted to see Edward James Olmos play Commander William Adama. I'm glad I did.
One of the things I constantly complain about besides my outright hatred and refusal to watch 'reality shows' is the lack of good writing in the non-reality TV shows that are currently being broadcast.
This version of Battlestar delivers the goods. I fell in love with it. The writing is first rate and they always keep you guessing in terms of the plot. The various episodes cover issues that seem as though they were ripped fresh from the headlines. It's fascinating to see a world similar to ours in which they have this space travel technology far in excess of our own, but yet haven't found a cure for cancer. It's interesting that they use projectile weapons and guns instead of lasers to fight battles.
This Battlestar is one of the highest rated show on Sci-Fi and has garnered several awards over the past two seasons. There have been rumors over the years since Richard Hatch joined the cast to play Tom Zarek that other original BSG actors would either be doing the same or come onboard to do guest appearances.
One interesting guest actor on this show is Lucy Lawless of Xena fame. She's currently playing Cylon Deanna Biers. They even addressed one of my issues with it when Dualla was promoted to lieutenant and second in command of the Pegasus under Lee 'Apollo' Adama at the end of Season 2. Unfortunately the Pegasus got destroyed in the escape from New Caprica.
Season 3 picks up where it left off January 21. I'll be tuned in. Until then I'll be watching my collection of Battlestar DVD's trying to figure out what the Cylon Plan is.