Battlestar Galactica - Season 1

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Is it better than the original?

Jun 19, 2006 (Updated Jun 19, 2006)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

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Pros:special effects, some of the characters, some twists.

Cons:Too depressing for some (like me), many of the characters just not very good.

The Bottom Line: It is a dark and almost paranoid series that focuses a lot of it's energy inwards (the mistrust humans seem to have for each other) rather than the Human/Cyclon conflict.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

I can see why people would say such a thing. The original is stuck in a time warp, a Nick at Night special, outdated and out of style, but I wouldn't write the original off so quickly.

For those who don't have a clue about both, far away from Earth, there are 12 colonies of man, each living on a separate planet that forms the colonies. Cylons, AI robots, were made by man for their convenience, but they turn on their masters (where have we seen that before?) and after a long war, an armistice was declared and the robots disappeared for 40 years. Now, they came back, after infiltrating the colonies defense network and destroyed the colonies. Now, the remainder of the humans, a fleet of 50,000 people now search for Earth, the 13th colony. The only problem is that the Cylons want to finish the job and they have no clue where Earth is (it's a legend).

The Battlestar Galactica is a warship, which was supposed to be decommissioned. It is a study in paranoia, old fashioned and built without a computer network because the Cyclons could infiltrate them electronically. In the end that saves the day, as the whole Battlestar fleet is decimated.

Up till now, the premise of both series is the same. Now comes the differences.

In the original, one of the key characters in the new series, Number 6, does not exist. She is the infiltration unit that uses Gaius Baltar (who sort of is a buffoon who is used, unlike the original who actually betrays the human race) to eliminate the human's computer systems. The character of Laura Roslin (the president) also did not exist, and that role was played by William Adama (Lorne Green/Edward James Olmos).

I feel that the addition of these characters is better than not having them. Number 6 seems to come from a mix of concepts, from Star Trek Voyager (seven of 9) and Farscape, where the main character has the representation of his nemesis imprinted in his mind. The farscape version was played out much better. The BSG version makes Baltar seem like an idiot (she's in his mind more than not). However, the impossibly beautiful Tricia Helfer does a magnificent job as Baltar's Succubus/Sunday School Teacher.

While Baltar can be funny, he is also a one trick pony in the first season.

Other characters have been completely changed from the original.

Lieutenant Starbuck is changed from a slick, cigar smoking playboy to a loudmouth, raunchy smart-ss (sort of the times from the 70's to now). The character that now plays Starbuck is a bust, she has not charm and is content to play just another "hotshot", arrogant badmouth. Nothing original about her character and I felt no sympathy for her.

Boomer has gone from a black man to an Asian Woman (with an Italian last name!) and Colonel Tigh has gone from a black man to a white man. While these changes seem superficial, I could see this because of the changing role of the US military that has more women in the role of fighting soldier.

However, the biggest change actually comes from William Adama. In the original (within a time where TV and movies had more injection of Liberalistic thought) was a fatherly figure who was concerned with his staff as if each was his family member. He was very warm and fatherly.

In the new series, Adama is not the fatherly figure and is the consummate military man. He is a flawed character who is not as humane, hence the requirement of a Laura Roslin character to balance out the original character's dual sided nature (warm leader/military leader). The choice of the character's nature is definitely a sign of the times (aka post 9/11 world where we see things are "harder" than we once did).

There were two things that began to bother me about me about BSG and it goes more apparent as the series got on.

The first is that the show is not really "alien". The 12 colonies of Kobol are like going to Australia (for a North American) than going to a place where Earth does not exist.

I'm glad to know if I went to the 12 colonies I can get Chicken, Coffee, Cigarettes, Cigars, A hummer, ties, diners, suits, reporters and an American based military structure. These are things that were said in the new show.

Who knew that Chicken, coffee and cigarettes would be found all over the galaxy? This unfortunately provides an experience that made me think of these people as more Earther than Xeno-human. The creators of the show didn't either care or were unaware of how to do this. They should take shows like Farscape into consideration to show an alien atmosphere.

The other thing was the fact that the show is too depressing. It reminded me of the old show "Space: Above and Beyond". If the mood of the show gets too stark, edgy and dark, the show becomes too tiresome to watch for me.

As I watched the first three episodes, it began that way. It also developed the "cabin fever" syndrome as I saw in Star Trek: DS9 and Babylon 5. There isn't really anything going outside the ships and the nearby space.

Except for the escape of Boomer and Helo on Caprica (one of the 12 colonies). However, that is boring because all they do is run and hide and the characters have no chemistry. The actress playing Boomer has no tone of being a romantic lead and other than the physical need of sex and escaping boredom for the males, I don't see her appeal.

One thing that I really liked was the fact that the humans are heretics and the robots are modern religionists. The robots believe in the grace of god, while the humans believe in the lords of Kobol, which are Roman/Greek Gods (they mention Apollo, Aphrodite, Zeus amongst others).

Overall for me, the show starts off very well with an amazing mini-series (for a TV show) but slowly is dying in it's depth of edgy darkness to be considered must see TV. While there are some twists and turns, I find BSG to have an underwhelming lack the humanity that the original had.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12

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