Rewatching: Battlestar Galactica reboot

Brian G Turner

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Currently rewatching the Battlestar Galactica reboot with the family. While my wife and I are very much enjoying it - love the realism! - the kids are finding it a struggle to get into. Partly because there are a lot of characters, but also because there's no humour in it. The story also moves much slower than I remembered - I keep expecting it to go up a gear, but it hasn't so far.

Even still, we've watched the first half of the mini-series and we'll be putting on the second tonight - I'd like the kids to enjoy it, but if not we'll have to leave the rest of the series for the time being.
 
How old are the kiddiwinks?
 
It's darker than the original, and more adult. I enjoyed it, but it's not light humour.
 
Liked seasons 1-2, 3 was OK (good finale), 4 - ho hum (and don't mention the ending)
 
I told my brother this (he still hasn’t seen it): you need to get up to Kobol before it really starts to ramp up
 
... a struggle to get into. Partly because there are a lot of characters, but also because there's no humour in it.

And this is exactly why I gave up on it. Far too many characters, many of them very similar looking to the point that I didn't know who was who or what was going on.

I keep planning on trying to get back into it, because @Phyrebrat says it's awesome, but I've not felt any real desire to try again yet.
 
How old are the kiddiwinks?

I think this is important with this version.
It's not until you've done fairly clear goodies vs baddies conflicts for a while that you can cope with asking were the Cylons perhaps the aggrieved party after all.

Later on it becomes what makes the series interesting, but too early and it's just confusing.

(Then again, maybe kids grow up faster these days.)
 
I am rewatching it as well. You can really tell there was a huge amount of effort put into making it a series long arc. I never felt as if they'd jumped the shark or lost their way like so many other shows.
 
One of the best sci-fi series ever made apart from the ending. There were some stellar performances in the series with Edward James Olmos brilliant as Adama and I loved the rebooted Colonel Ty and Starbuck.

The mutiny episodes were some of the best TV I have watched.
 
Superb series. It has something for everybody. I love the fact that what it was in the beginning was not what it was in the end. Things really did get turned on their head and none of it was done for sensationalism.
 
Superb series. It has something for everybody. I love the fact that what it was in the beginning was not what it was in the end. Things really did get turned on their head and none of it was done for sensationalism.

On of the best tv shows of all time. (y)
 
There is some humour in the show, most notably in Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down, which is the only outright comedy episode they ever did. Baltar also has some fantastic lines. But yeah, it's not a light comedy show.

Neo-BSG was outright fantastic from the mini-series right through to the end of the New Caprica arc (Season 3, Episode 4), although even that was a bit questionable since they were doing an Iraq War metaphor but couldn't settle on a message (suicide bombings in defence of someone's value of liberty are justified?). But still, the story and action was impressive. But then after that they didn't know what the hell to do, pulled some really weird things out of their behinds, and if they didn't jump the shark, there were suspended above it for most of the rest of the series. There were still excellent episodes - the mutiny two-parter in Season 4 (despite destroying Tom Zarek's character, to the actor's palpable fury) and the discovery of "Earth" in Revelations and the horrific reaction to it in Sometimes a Great Notion - but there were a lot of really terrible episodes in late Season 3 and through most of Season 4.

The ending is utterly shambolic, mixing impressive action with a really weird Luddite message, an ending that doesn't make sense (because Ron Moore couldn't be bothered to look up what "mitochondrial" actually meant) and made a mockery of a lot of the show's themes. And we won't even mention The Plan.

What Battlestar Galactica did was confirm that when making this kind of long-form epic, you need an outline and plan like Babylon 5 did. You don't have to stick to the plan if a better idea comes along, but you do need some kind of structure in mind. With BSG they had a year-long gap between filming the mini-series and Season 1, during which time they came up with the structure and plan for Season 1. Then as they were filming Season 1, Moore hit on the idea of doing the Pegasus arc. Then that took them through to the election, Baltar winning and New Caprica, which all emerged during the early part of the series. But when they got to New Caprica they ran out of ideas. They weren't helped by the studio mandating less serialisation, but even so they could have overcome that. Instead they spent fully half of Season 3 running around in circles with an appalling love quadrangle of doom, Baltar just hanging around on a disco basestar and other questionable, generic SF storylines rather than focusing on the political intrigue and questions of survival that they'd started out with. Then Moore decided to put "All Along the Watchtower" in the show because he liked the song and he'd been thwarted from doing it on his previous project, Roswell, which is not a reason to do anything.

BSG was a good show but it really lost its way later on, which is a shame. If it had sustained that quality level from the first 37-odd episodes right through, it'd be the best SF TV show of all time.
 
Pretty much agree with @Werthead. I enjoyed it at the time until the last couple of seasons when they started introducing the final five and all along the watchtower when it descended into a pretentious mess. I also missed the grand imperious leader and just the Cylons being robots, rather than weird replicants whose spines glowed red during sex.

The cast were great, although I missed some of the comraderie and fun of the original series.
 
Great show. It's hard for a series to remian consistently great over 76 episodes. It burned so very brightly early on in the show that it was impossible to keep it up for that long. But at least it didn't do a 'Lost' or 'GoT' and start to lose the plot. It could quite happily have ended the run after 'Revelations'.

But I don't think I would have really understood the show as a child. The original series , along with Buck Rogers and Lost in Space was for designed for easy viewing, but this show was purposely designed to be difficult to watch with the adult themes it portrayed.
 
Currently rewatching the Battlestar Galactica reboot with the family. While my wife and I are very much enjoying it - love the realism! - the kids are finding it a struggle to get into. Partly because there are a lot of characters, but also because there's no humour in it. The story also moves much slower than I remembered - I keep expecting it to go up a gear, but it hasn't so far.

Even still, we've watched the first half of the mini-series and we'll be putting on the second tonight - I'd like the kids to enjoy it, but if not we'll have to leave the rest of the series for the time being.

Okay, I will throw my hat into the ring on this topic and while it may not be a popular opinion, I will nonetheless express how I feel about Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. Initially, back in 2001 Bryan Singer and Tom DeSantos were collaborating with FOX TV on a Battlestar Galactica revival. Their version was originally conceived as a direct continuation of the original series that takes place over 25 years after the events of the final episode entitled “The Hand of God” It was going to be a mini-series that would have introduced a new generation of heroes as the protagonists while bringing back the surviving cast members of the original series, serving as mentors. Sets were actually being built and if the mini-series became a hit, a tv series would have followed suit. Unfortunately, it never became a reality due to the tragedy of 9/11.


You can watch the following video I recently made in which I talk about that in detail right here:

Battlestar Galactica: The Other Revival Attempts


Anyway, the Sci-Fi Channel decided to go with Ron Moore and David Eick’s version of Battlestar Galactica in the form of a reboot. When I first heard news about it being a reboot, I was very disappointed because I, along with fans of the original series, were waiting for a continuation. Then when it was announced that they were going to change Starbuck from a man into a woman, I had my doubts, but I was intrigued nonetheless, considering that I was pleased with Ron Moore’s work on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

So, in retrospect, here are my thoughts on the Galactica reboot: In the beginning, I enjoyed the show for a variety of reasons: It featured complex three-dimensional characters, state-of-the-art special effects, good writing that contained religious and political topics, excellent acting, and it placed a heavy emphasis on “hard” science fiction, something that I greatly appreciated. This show did basically everything right, but there was one problem and it was a big one: While I liked it, I couldn’t bring myself to love it. Why? Despite the original series shortcomings such as inconsistent acting, poor-quality scripts (although the two-parter episodes and the final episode were the best of the lot), and there was way too much cheese factor, it did have some positive qualities that the reboot lacked: a sense of camaraderie, good values / morals / ethics and having hope and faith.

Although the revamped Battlestar Galactica kept the names of the characters, the basic plot of the original, and improved the special effects, they ruined the story by changing the narrative and characters' very being. Instead of including heroic, inspiring characters, the writers made them all unlikeable, manic depressive, self-loathing jerks. Ron Moore changed the very essence of all the characters for the worse; Apollo went from a brave, stalwart hero to a bitter leftist with daddy issues, Starbuck went from being a charming, hedonistic but dependable fellow to a slacker-stoner psycho-chick, Tigh went from being a level-headed colonel to incompetent and alcoholic executive officer, and Adama went from being a man of faith to a cynical, deceitful, and incompetent leader. Instead of including a strong element of hope that was present in the original series, all four dreadful seasons were a grinding, depressing, nihilistic narrative. Instead of the Cylons being souless mechanoids, they were now monotheistic horny fundamentalists intent on committing genocide, and then they went against it. Instead of inspiring stories of hope and perseverance all four seasons were a catalog of highly dysfunctional people who were more suited for appearance on the Jerry Springer Show!

No longer was Battlestar Galactica an epic tale of good vs. evil, order vs. chaos, and the blossoming of the best of humanity's virtues under the most difficult of circumstances, the series became a tedious exercise in self-loathing nihilism with the occasional special effects thrown in. What the original series lacked in special effects, it made up for in the lightness and grace in which it dealt with difficult circumstances of the human condition. With the new re-imagined series, everything was in the open; de-humanizing, crude, and cynical depictions of relationships, drug abuse, sexism, etc. The relationship between Baltar and Six comes to mind, theirs was complicated and perverted; there was sex but no love, but most unsettling of all is how each one treated the other like sex toys and not as real people with substance. Both characters were narcissistic and lacked mutual respect for each other.

However, what struck me was the complete lack of grace Ron Moore was able to evoke in comparison to writers of earlier science fiction dramas like Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone: The Original Series” or “Star Trek: The Original Series”. Even Joe Michael Straczynski’s “Babylon 5” was able to convey issues of morality and faith more deftly than Ron Moore. In fact, Babylon 5 also had its fair share of darkness but it also had a lot of hope, faith, and light, it had a very nice balance of the negative and positive aspects of humanity, something that the BSG reboot failed to do.


And for those who are not convinced by this, here is a direct quote from the second season episode entitled “Fragged” with a scene involving Head Six and Baltar:

Virtual Six: It is what makes you human.

Gaius Baltar: Is it? Not conscious thought? Not poetry, or art, or music, literature? Murder. Murder is my heritage.


With that, Head Six pats him on the shoulder as if he was a dumb little puppy. As pathetic as Baltar is as a character, I have to admit that the man makes an excellent point! What about poetry, art, music, and literature? Don’t these things count as positive representations of humanity? For a show that has featured multiple and different viewpoints in regards to politics, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, war, sleeper cells, civil liberties crackdowns, and even prisoner-torture scandal, when it came to showcasing the negative aspects of humanity but not displaying the positive virtues of humanity, it was completely one-sided. Where was the hope? Where was the faith? Where was the light? Where was the goodness? And where was the sense of camaraderie? I will leave the extraordinarily clumsy if not illogical conclusion of the BSG 2.0 series for another topic.

By the time the show was getting closer to the series finale, it reached a point for me that I didn’t care for any of the characters, specifically, the Colonials. They were no better than the Cylons, both sides had blood on their hands, I was no longer emotionally invested in the characters, with the exception of Lee Adama, Sam Anders, and Galen Tyrol, they were the only likable characters left by the series end. What’s worse, the show had de-evolved from a great promising start to a soap opera that should have been retitled as “Battlestar 90210”.

And while I adore Katee Sackhoff as an actress when I saw her in other projects prior and after BSG 2.0, I didn’t like her as Starbuck, she was so unlikable and intolerable. She defied authority, gave Tigh the middle finger and insulted him every chance she got. Granted, Tigh was a hard-ass too (played brilliantly by Michael Hogan) but even he didn’t deserve the harsh treatment by Starbuck. If she had behaved that way in real life, she would have long ago been booted out of the military service because they have zero tolerance for that.

And while we are on the subject of Starbuck, what was that about her having a destiny? I would argue that we all have a destiny! LOL! But in her case, her destiny is “special”. Haters of the reboot have labeled her a Mary-Sue but I completely disagree because a Mary-Sue character is someone who does not make mistakes and does everything perfectly. I think that the reason they thought that was because she had revealed to Adama, Tigh (and to us) that in addition to being the best pilot in the fleet, she was also the best sniper, and best boxer.

However, that is completely untrue because in season two in the episode entitled, “Sacrifice” Starbuck attempts to take out a terrorist but she misses and the bullet hits Lee, almost killing him in the process! So much for her being the best crackshot in the fleet! LOL! Clearly, Starbuck is anything but perfect so she gets some points for that, but when the writers revealed that she is an “angel”, that was completely pretentious! In a show that prided itself on gritty realism, only to include fantasy elements such as angels was too much to take! It took me out of the viewing experience. Give me a break! LOL!

In hindsight, the show was devoid of faith, charm, honor, and hope. I am quite surprised as to why many people love it. As I said previously, I liked it to some extent for creating a show that is adult-oriented, but I couldn’t bring myself to love it for the aforementioned reasons. Ultimately, I don't know what is more disturbing; Ron Moore's pessimism and nihilistic cynicism as revealed by the BSG 2.0 series or the fact that once the show came to an end, David Eick was quoted as gleefully saying, “We got away with murder!”. I find both prospects disturbing for the soul of western nations.

The sad truth is that tv shows and movies from 40-80 years ago have all the charm, grace, and drama that is so lacking in entertainment today. The writers back then were better and they had more in common with the typical westerner than Ron Moore and his self-loathing, leftist Hollywood collaborators. On that note, there are two projects in the works within the BSG Universe, a tv series spinoff that will presumably take place within the Ron Moore version but will be set in our time or in the far future and a motion picture that will be a reboot of the original series, but these are just rumors for now. Whatever direction these spin offs will take, I sincerely hope that it will incorporate the best of both worlds: the original series and the reboot series and produce something really extraordinary (if these projects ever get the green light).

In closing, it has been many years since I’ve seen the BSG 2.0 series and I am seriously considering watching it again. And who knows? Maybe after seeing it again from beginning to end, it’s possible that my opinion of BSG 2.0 will change, although I seriously doubt it will by this point. That’s my two cents.

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