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Battlestar Galactica

Jason Menard
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Anyone watching the new Battlestar Galactica? I know it started already in the UK, but it just started this week in the US. Based on the first two episodes ("33" and "Water"), and the pilot, I am totally digging this show. So far one of the best Sci-Fi shows to come out in years (along with Firefly). I like that it's dark... maybe the darkest show of its type to air (not too many other shows have scenes where a baby gets its neck snapped and a little girl playing with a doll is blown to bits). I'm tired of seeing bubbly and over-optimistic sci-fi and it's refreshing to see something a bit more sobering for a change. Just like the original show, it looks like religion is a major theme here, although they're taking a bit of a different twist on it, particularly as regards to the Cylons.

Anyway, if you're into this type of thing and you haven't caught it yet, make sure you do! You can probably catch the first two episodes sometime this week, and new episodes air on Fridays.
[ January 18, 2005: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Jason Menard
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And did I mention the women? Boomer, Six, or Starbuck... tough choice.
Mark Fletcher
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Earlier today I watched episode 12, that was broadcast in the UK on Sky One last night.

All I can say is.... "Whoa!". I watched Stargate Atlantis immediately after BG, and it paled in comparison. Apparently next weeks episode is the last in the series, although Sci Fi have optioned another six episodes according to Aint It Cool News.

What concerns me about BG is that, if successful, it will probably follow the formula of every other Sci Fi tv series, ie at least 5 - 7 seasons. In that case, I dont know how theyre going to manage to keep up the drama throughout the series. I think it would be ideal if BG was kept to about three seasons to complete the story arc, which is a reasonable length for the story, and still manage to keep up the drama.

Mark
[ January 18, 2005: Message edited by: Mark Fletcher ]

Mark Fletcher - http://www.markfletcher.org/blog
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San Su
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
And did I mention the women? Boomer, Six, or Starbuck... tough choice.


The newer one seems to be a bit different from the old one. For Ex. Starbuck was a playboy (guy) in the old version. Boomer was shown as an African-American guy. But here, Starbuck is pretty looking female. Boomer is also a female. Anyway, I really liked the old series. The new seems to be much better than the old one. Waiting for this friday to see the next episode.
Jim Yingst
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I enjoyed the first two regular series episodes a lot - even more than the previous miniseries, I think.

I'm tired of seeing bubbly and over-optimistic sci-fi and it's refreshing to see something a bit more sobering for a change.

I assume you're referring to Trek here? B5, Farscape, and Firefly were hardly "bubbly and overly optimistic". (Except Kaylee I suppose, but she's allowed to be, right?) Drifting a bit from "pure" SF... X-Files? Milennium? Buffy? Angel? All had moments that were seriously funny, but I wouldn't describe the general tone of any of these as upbeat. The most upbeat-feeling TV SF I can think of outside Trek is probably Stargate. Still, they've got those massive ongoing Goa'uld and now Wraith threats. Can't be that overly optimistic. Seems to me that, while the Trek series have (generally) been full of shiny, happy people - most of the other series on the air have not struck the same note.

Having said that, I will concede that the new BG does seem darker in tone than most anything we've seen to date. Yet still very enjoyable to watch.

Next week: I'm looking forward to the return of Richard Hatch. That is, the original Richard Hatch. (Not that there's anything wrong with that other guy...)

[Jason]: And did I mention the women? Boomer, Six, or Starbuck... tough choice.

Nah. Boomer. Easy.

She still ranks behind half the women of Firefly, IMO. But as a wise man once said: "I think the lesson we can take out of all this is that, in the future, all women are hot."

[Mark]: Earlier today I watched episode 12, that was broadcast in the UK on Sky One last night.

Cheater! Coming over to our country to get access to the Sci Fi channel, then running back to the internet when the UK gets something first. The nerve! Of course, you will be watching the Sci Fi releases as well, right? See this message for more effective guilt-tripping.

What concerns me about BG is that, if successful, it will probably follow the formula of every other Sci Fi tv series, ie at least 5 - 7 seasons. In that case, I dont know how theyre going to manage to keep up the drama throughout the series.

Eh, I'm not too concerned. They've demonstrated they've got excellent writers on staff; they'll think of something.

The newer one seems to be a bit different from the old one. For Ex. Starbuck was a playboy (guy) in the old version. Boomer was shown as an African-American guy. But here, Starbuck is pretty looking female. Boomer is also a female.

A key difference - the new Boomer is not remotely similar to the old one, other than the name. The two Starbucks, on the other hand, are very similar in many ways. Am I the only one who finds it a bit disturbing to be reminded of Dirk Benedict when I look at Katie Sackhoff's face?

Anyway, I really liked the old series. The new seems to be much better than the old one.

Agreed. The original was fun for me as a kid - but as an adult, I found most of the old episodes to be painfully bad. The new version is much more intelligent.

Going back to Firefly (since fans of quality SF will of course be interested in this as well): I was disappointed to see that the premiere of Serenity has been pushed back to next September. Apparently the execs at Universal wanted to make sure it didn't get drowned out in the noise of bigger-name summer releases. Well, that makes sense I guess. But don't expect me to like it.

In the mean time, I'm glad there's at least one new series that should keep me entertained. (Actually Enterprise has been pretty good too, since Manny Coto took over.)


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Sankar Subbiah:


The newer one seems to be a bit different from the old one. For Ex. Starbuck was a playboy (guy) in the old version. Boomer was shown as an African-American guy. But here, Starbuck is pretty looking female. Boomer is also a female. Anyway, I really liked the old series. The new seems to be much better than the old one. Waiting for this friday to see the next episode.


I've yet to see a remake that beats the original, except in special effects...
And given that the original was made on a shoestring budget with all episodes filmed over the course of just a few weeks I must say they did an admirable job.

The new series doesn't air here, and given the attitude of channels here vs SciFi it probably won't for several years at least.


42
Jason Menard
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I assume you're referring to Trek here? B5, Farscape, and Firefly were hardly "bubbly and overly optimistic".

To be fair, I have been working my way through the season DVD box sets of Voyager lately, so Trek's probably mostly what I had in mind. Still, while I see what you are saying, I still think that for the most part the people responsible for those shows tried to keep things from getting too dark. I mean when you have characters like Marcus, Vir, and Zathras from B5, or Jayne from Firefly, or the Muppets from Farscape, it's a bit hard to take things too seriously.

Drifting a bit from "pure" SF... X-Files? Milennium?

Two of my favorites. Not space opera though, and not really the type of show I had in mind.

Buffy? Angel?

Horror, not sci-fi.

Having said that, I will concede that the new BG does seem darker in tone than most anything we've seen to date.

Yep. Trying to think of other sci-fi shows which were pretty dark (although still not as dark), Space, Above and Beyond and Space: 1999 might be up there... maybe Earth 2 to some extent.

Next week: I'm looking forward to the return of Richard Hatch.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing Apollo come back. I hear he was at first pretty actively against the re-imagining. He's come around though obviously.

Nah. Boomer. Easy.

I think I have to agree with you on that one.

But as a wise man once said: "I think the lesson we can take out of all this is that, in the future, all women are hot."



A key difference - the new Boomer is not remotely similar to the old one, other than the name.

Yeah, Herb Jefferson just didn't do it for me like the new Boomer.

The two Starbucks, on the other hand, are very similar in many ways. Am I the only one who finds it a bit disturbing to be reminded of Dirk Benedict when I look at Katie Sackhoff's face?

Talk about excellent casting. I hope we don't see her in the re-imagining of the A-Team though.

Speaking of the changes in characters... I wonder if the conspiracy theorists out there have taken notice that they replaced the two main African-American characters from the original show.

Going back to Firefly (since fans of quality SF will of course be interested in this as well): I was disappointed to see that the premiere of Serenity has been pushed back to next September.

I am anxiously awaiting this one. I still hold out hopes that the movie will do well and some network will pick it back up as a series. I've probably just been spending too much time in the "legalizing drugs" thread though if I think this could happen.
[ January 19, 2005: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Bear Bibeault
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  67

After watchi8ng the mini-series in 2003, I was anxiously awaiting the series. I am not disappointed!


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Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
And did I mention the women? Boomer, Six, or Starbuck... tough choice.


You have no imagination. How about all three? Hey Ho! (Raises beer glass)
Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[Mark]: Earlier today I watched episode 12, that was broadcast in the UK on Sky One last night.

Cheater! Coming over to our country to get access to the Sci Fi channel, then running back to the internet when the UK gets something first. The nerve! Of course, you will be watching the Sci Fi releases as well, right? See this message for more effective guilt-tripping.


I probably will watch the episodes on Sci Fi when they air. Usually what happens is that a network like Sky One will get broadcasting rights to a season first. But because the season might not have been completely filmed yet, they show the first thirteen episodes and then have to wait for the rest. By the time Sci Fi will have caught up, the other episodes will have been completed and will be shown on Sci Fi first.

Its also complicated by the fact that in my marriage (sometimes referred to as the "regime"), my dear wife detests all things sci-fi. So in our household, I often have to get my Sci-fi fix through more covert means (like the internet) Heck, the only time we both watched the Sci-fi channel is when "Ghost Hunters" is on.

Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[Mark]: What concerns me about BG is that, if successful, it will probably follow the formula of every other Sci Fi tv series, ie at least 5 - 7 seasons. In that case, I dont know how theyre going to manage to keep up the drama throughout the series.

Eh, I'm not too concerned. They've demonstrated they've got excellent writers on staff; they'll think of something.


The problem that has the potential of affecting BG is that, sci-fi or fantasy writers often rely on two plot devices to pad out their seasons with "filler" episodes.

1) Some kinds of time travel plot, which doesnt sit well in BG at all.
2) The "flashback" episode in which a wafer thin plot is used to cover what is essentially clips from some earlier episodes (Stargate SG-1 ep 8.15) is a classic example.

If you take B5 as example, ok we've discussed before how the television execs screwed up the original 5 season story arc, but if you took all the key episodes of B5 and removed the filler eps ("Grey 17 is Missing" is one such example), you could condense the whole story down to three explosive seasons.

I think this is what they should do with BG. Hopefully they will, it remains to be seen how the rest of the Season pans out and whether it will be renewed.
Jim Yingst
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[Mark]: You have no imagination. How about all three?

It's you who lack imagination. Recall that the humanform cylons have multiple copies. No need to limit yourself to three.
Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[Mark]: You have no imagination. How about all three?

It's you who lack imagination. Recall that the humanform cylons have multiple copies. No need to limit yourself to three.


Ha,

Three is enough for me to disappoint
Richard Hawkes
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It's a fantastic show, sci-fi or otherwise. I was gutted there's only one episode left (watched number 12 last night). Future sci-fi series have a huge amount to live up to now and I'm so happy about that.

I think two or three seasons max. Anymore and they WILL ruin it. This show deserves a decent conclusion. Spin-offs maybe? Ha.

Best characters are definitely the "oldies"; Adama, Tigh and the President (actually I seem to have a thing for Madame President so you lot can fight over yer Boomers and what-not). Thrace IS very cool though and Baltar has some superb comedy moments later in the series.
[ January 20, 2005: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]
Mark Fletcher
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If Richard Hatch is back in BG I wonder if Dirk Benedict will make an appearance as well...
Jim Yingst
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Yeah, that would be cool. And don't forget Rudy and the tasty Coleen. Oh, wait, wrong actor again.

Seriously, I think it'd be cool if they eventually had guest spots by Benedict, and Terry Carter. What the heck, let's throw in Jane Seymour too.

[MF]: The problem that has the potential of affecting BG is that, sci-fi or fantasy writers often rely on two plot devices to pad out their seasons with "filler" episodes.

1) Some kinds of time travel plot, which doesnt sit well in BG at all.
2) The "flashback" episode in which a wafer thin plot is used to cover what is essentially clips from some earlier episodes (Stargate SG-1 ep 8.15) is a classic example.


Mmm, I don't buy this. Yes, there is such a thing as filler episodes, but your examples seem weak. Quite a few of Trek's best episodes were based on time travel. B5 had, what, 3 episodes total based on time travel, all about the same single story really, and hardly filler. In other series - I can't think of a good example of time travel used as filler, really. There probably are some, somewhere, but they hardly seem like the norm to me.

As for clip episodes, they're hardly unique to SF/fantasy. And they're still pretty rare overall. While yes, they often seem to indicate lazy writing for that one episide - so what? They're a tiny fraction of episodes, hardly worth mentioning IMO.

Or course, quality series like B5 and Farscape never had any. (Or Firefly, of course, but that's easy when you only have 14 episodes...)

If you take B5 as example, ok we've discussed before how the television execs screwed up the original 5 season story arc, but if you took all the key episodes of B5 and removed the filler eps ("Grey 17 is Missing" is one such example), you could condense the whole story down to three explosive seasons.

Yes, you could. Maybe even two if you really wanted to. (You'd lose some good stuff, but you could probably get the main story mostly intact. If rushed.) But that doesn't mean that having 5 solid seasons was an untenable goal. The last season wasn't weak because a fifth season was too much - it was weak because uncertainty about whether there would be a fifth season had distorted JMS' original plan. As for the preceding seasons - most of the fillers were in the first year, and to a lesser extent, the second. (Grey 17 notwithstanding - I believe JMS alluded to being quite ill with fever when he wrote that one.) My impression of the earlier seasons, especially the first parts of each, was that Joe was holding back on most of his "grand schemes", waiting to gain a larger base audience before indulging in the elaborate plotlines that would tend to dissuade new viewers. (The "resets" at the beginnings of seasons 2 and 3 were quite annoying, IMO.) The third and fourth years were stronger than the first and second, IMO. Do you really think the show should have been confined to three years?

Anyhoo - I don't see this as an example that shows storylines had been exhausted. (Maybe the creator was though.) In contrast, TNG (for example) had some really great episodes in its last couple of years. Much better than the first two years, on average.

[JY]: Next week: I'm looking forward to the return of Richard Hatch.

[JM]: Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing Apollo come back. I hear he was at first pretty actively against the re-imagining. He's come around though obviously.


Yeah. To be fair, he'd been actively campaigning for some time for a BG revival, coauthoring several books and even filming a trailer for a prospective new series. I imagine it would be hard to accept a rival version at first, especially with such drastic changes from the original. But I'm glad he was eventually won over.

[RH]: I think two or three seasons max. Anymore and they WILL ruin it. This show deserves a decent conclusion. Spin-offs maybe? Ha.

Galactica 2008? [shudder...]
[ January 20, 2005: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Mark Spritzler
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Dag nammit!. I wish I could get the SCI-FI channel. They had removed it form our Cable channels a year or two ago. I didn't even get to tsee the mini-series they made.

I loved the original Battlestar and want to see the new series badly.

Mark


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Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mark Spritzler:
Dag nammit!. I wish I could get the SCI-FI channel. They had removed it form our Cable channels a year or two ago. I didn't even get to tsee the mini-series they made.

I loved the original Battlestar and want to see the new series badly.

Mark


Have you considered getting DirecTV?
Jason Menard
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Here's a brief and somewhat amusing comparison of the two versions of BG:

http://www.dvdtalk.com/cineschlock/battlestar/index.html
Mark Fletcher
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Just saw Episode 13.

WOW! We need more!!!

That is all.
Jim Yingst
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More from Moore. Ron Moore, that is. I haven't even seen the cliffhanger Mark alludes to (cheater!) but I'm already eagerly anticipating. Moreso since there's been no mention yet of the Brits getting these episodes before we do.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
More from Moore. Ron Moore, that is. I haven't even seen the cliffhanger Mark alludes to (cheater!) but I'm already eagerly anticipating. Moreso since there's been no mention yet of the Brits getting these episodes before we do.


And we won't even have to wait that long between seasons! I wouldn't be too surprised to see season 1 coming out on dvd around the same time season 2 starts.
Jason Menard
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So I'm watching the latest episode (stateside) and something hits me... They've broken, or at least severely bent, a major sci-fi convention. In just about every sci-fi movie and television show, the ships cruising through space make quite a bit of noise. This of course is ridiculous since space is pretty much a vaccum. When watching BSG though, the ships whizzing through space are practically silent. It seems to me the overall silence lends an atmosphere of its own. Has anyone else noticed this?
Jim Yingst
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Yes, though it's not absolute by any means. In some scenes there's no sound; in others it's muted. Generally they seem to be providing us with the sounds that might be heard within a given ship - we hear impacts against the ship's hull, but not against other ships. And often we're listening to what is said over the radio, so we get the cumulative sounds heard by all the viper pilots, for example, but no sound from any cylon ships. Though I think there are still some sounds in BSG that really don't make any sense for us to hear. I agree that the general lack of sound in many situations does lend an interesting aura to the scenes. BSG isn't first in this regard - Firefly had zero sound in space, as I recall. And there have been a few movies that adhered to this as well: 2001, Soylent Green. But they've been few and far between.
[ March 14, 2005: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
2001


I was ready to hit "reply" and say something about 2001 as soon as I started to read Jason's comment. You beat me to it. In any event, yeah, Kubrick did this very deliberately. The silence has an enormous role in creating the alternately claustrophobic and open-wide atmosphere of that movie.


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Mark Fletcher
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We're close to hitting a drought of quality Sci Fi programs, Enterprise is close to done, Stargate SG1 and Atlantis have both finished their respective seasons, and BSG will finish soon as well.

Any good sci-fi programs to tide us over until the next season(s) are released? Or do I just have re-runs to look forward to?

Mark
Jason Menard
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Galactica: Best Sci-Fi TV Ever

It certainly comes close.
Jim Yingst
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Posts: 18671
Well! (Just saw the season finale.)

I guess now we know why she's called Boomer. Damn!

(A moment of silence, please, for the bodalicious bevy of buck-nekkid Boomers on the base star. I'd go on, but "buxom" doesn't really apply, and words like "cylon" and "menage-a-trois" don't begin with 'b'. Too bad...)

Significant news gleaned from advertisments: season 2 will start in July. Woo hoo!

Mark: Well let's see, we've still got the swan song of Enterprise to watch. Six episodes to go. The last of these is written by Berman and Braga , and has been called a "travesty" by Jolene Blaylock, who has shown in the past that she doesn't care whoher paycheck is coming from; she's not afraid to publicly denounce bad writing. Blaylock is however happy with the other 5 episodes, produced by season 4 executive producer Manny Coto. Who frankly has turned this last season of Enterprise into some pretty good stuff, in contrast to most of what has passed for "Star Trek" in recent years.

So Mark, you should be covered at least up until mid-May. How to tide you over until July? If you haven't already seen them, I highly recommend Firefly and Farscape. (I'd add B5 but as I recall you've already seen it.) Both available in totality on DVD - sign up for Netflix or Blockbuster online, and watch them all. That should keep you off the streets, at least, until season 2 starts.

Jason: good article, thanks. I'm not really comfortable with naming any one series the "best", but I agree the new BSG is damn close. Part of it's the whole "standing on the shoulders of giants" problem - later series can build on what's gone before, and avoid some of the problems that showed up in earlier series. If BSG had come before various other series (Trek, B5, Farscape...), I'd have no problem naming it best. Unless of course it had been followed by a plague of sequels and/or imitators that virtually drowned out any serious a;ternatives for years (e.g. Trek). As it is, well - SF on TV has a checkered history of ups and downs, but BSG is at least one of the best series ever, and it's certainly my favorite of anything currently (errr... very recently) on the air. Can't wait for July...
[ April 01, 2005: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Mark Fletcher
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Its sad to say,

But in the dearth of good sci fi entertainment, Ive been forced to turn to the Sci Fi channel at random moments... and when "Andromeda" comes on, I actually watch it... for *minutes* on end.

Id watch Dr Who, but to be honest Im still scarred from watching that in my youth, Im still prone to hiding behind the sofa when the Daleks or Cybermen appear. Aieeee.

Mark
Jason Menard
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Menage-a-trois? I was thinking more menage-a-trente. I had to pause the Tivo to take it all in. Poor Boomers. What a waste.

Really looking forward to season two!
 
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subject: Battlestar Galactica