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New Battlestar Galactica - Worth a Series? 1057

Posted by Cliff
from the by-your-command dept.
rwxJava asks: "Ok, so it finally aired! IMHO it was pretty good. The special effects were great (no major laws of physics were broken except maybe FTL travel), the characters, while drastically different from the original, were believable! After about an hour or so, I stopped trying to compare the mini-series with the original. My only complaint has to be the amount of commercials that Scf-Fi put in. I was able to put up a Christmas Tree during one commercial break. Guess the network needs to cash in on such a hyped up event! By the end, I was left wanting more! Anyone else think it is worthy of conversion to a series?" Now that you've have had a time to watch the entire 4-hour epic (does 4 hours really make a "mini-series"?), do you think your earlier comments were on target?
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New Battlestar Galactica - Worth a Series?

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  • by MoxCamel (20484) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:53PM (#7693220)
    First, let me just say that John Olmos was correct: If you are so
    dedicated to the original series that you cannot bring yourself to imagine
    it any other way, then do yourself a favor and skip this miniseries. You
    will only be disappointed, and you will nitpick it to death.

    On the other hand, if you can bring yourself, however painfully, to
    open your mind to the possiblity of a "re-imagining" of the Battlestar
    Galactica concept, then I think you're in for a pleasant surprise.

    It's not all wonderful. Screenwriter Ron Moore wanted
    to bring a more grown-up Galactica to his audience, but he's apparantly
    confused grown-up with gratuitious. Sex works much better when it's done
    dramatically, instead of the "hey watch us get it on!" style that Moore
    forces on us. He is perhaps striving to show us the sexual energy between
    the characters, but really all it does is make us wonder when the low
    quality porno music is going to kick in.

    Otherwise, the annoyances are minor. The cylon space fighters,
    apparantly just space-borne Cylons (a neat idea, really) come off kind of
    hoakey with their red sweeping eyes. I know, I know, the eyes are really
    some kind of electromagnetic pulse weapons, but it's distracting just the
    same.

    Okay, now on to what's good. First, and foremost, the story is solid.
    Whereas in the original series we just had to take for granted that the
    Cylons were the embodiment of evil, now we understand why.

    The characters is also solid. Again, you'll have to get over
    your preconceptions of the original series characters, and at least try
    to buy in to the new ones. The hardest pill for me to swallow were the
    gender changes of Starbuck and Boomer. But I actually found myself liking
    the new Starbuck, although the Boomer role could have been a bit stronger.

    The special effects were incredible, and proved that you really can
    make space realistic, and exciting. In fact, the "no sound in space"
    approach actually heightened the tension, and proved that you don't have
    to dumb-down physics for the masses. Also, having the space ships use
    maneuvering jets created even more exciting scenes than the normal Top Gun
    stuff we're used to.

    Is it worth a series? I think so. With a solid backstory, believable
    characters, and an approach that doesn't assume the audience are stupid,
    it could quite very set the bar for future Sci Fi.
    • by Have Blue (616) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:56PM (#7693270) Homepage
      open your mind to the possiblity of a "re-imagining" of the Battlestar Galactica concept, then I think you're in for a pleasant surprise


      Or if, as with me, you know fuck all about the original series and are approaching this show with a blank slate :)
      • by Mattcelt (454751) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:24PM (#7694550)
        I stumbled on the show by accident the other day. I (VERY) vaguely remember the original, and how cheesy it seemed even when I was a wee one.

        Ultimate frisbee interfered and I couldn't watch the end of it, but I was extremely pleasantly surprised with what I did see. I hope they show it again soon when I have time to watch it.

        The thing that struck me most about it was how quiet it was. Not just sonically (though I loved the reduction in "space noise"!) but in acting and directing styles - it was more subtle and polished than anything Star Trek has ever done, IMO.

        The fight scene with the female pilot, where the TACNET was silent except for her voice in the middle of a major battle was jarring. Who cares that she made it through a tough scrape when there are dozens of other pilots dying in near proximity? I dislike it when it's expected that other characters are assumed to have the same level of knowledge that the viewer does.

        But the short of it is, I think I would be inclined to watch it if it came out as a serial, if it could maintain the same quality.

        I enjoyed what little I saw of it.
        • They're repeating the "whole series" (both episodes) Sunday, AFAIK.

          One thing that bothered me about it (maybe it's my TV, but I doubt it) was that in many cases, the music drowned out the dialog. I couldn't hear half of what they said. If I've got to have 5.1 surround sound to watch a TV program, I'm going to be a little annoyed.
        • by willtsmith (466546) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:40PM (#7697123) Journal
          I really liked the sound of metal on metal in the fight scenes. This is what it actually should sound like. You can only hear the stuff that's impacting your ship.

          The navigational effects were awesome. The way the ships moved reminded me of playing Descent.

          The faster than light travel was realistic from the standpoint that as soon as you jump ... POOOF ... your gone.

          I think we all get very attached to the things we saw in our youth. Sometimes, when you go back and watch some of that stuff again, you realize it's pretty stupid. Original Battlestar Galactica's was way to uptite about having greek names for EVERYTHING.

          Criticisms of the new version:
          * I can appreciate trying to "bring home" the drama by not dressing the actors in polyester jumpsuits. However, I think the Pinstripe shirts some of these guys were wearing gave you the sense that these people just wandered onto the set in their street clothes.

          The officer uniforms from the original were better. As others have pointed out, these one's look like they came straight off of Babylon 5.

          * They are using techno buzzwords like "wireless" way too much. I'd like everybody to review their original Star Trek. They had boxes/gizmos and they were effectively magic. The crew didn't describe HOW the boxes worked.

          I can remember watching Star Trek in the 80s and saying "Those little cassette thingies they put data on are way too unrealistic". They look nothing like a floppy disk. Well guess what, all those magic doohickies on Original Star Trek are now realities: Flip Phones(communicators), Stun Guns (phasers on stun), Pocket Computers (Tri-Corders).

          So please stop trying to be techno hip. It's not REAL science fiction, it's a space drama. Battlestar Galactica with techno goop (not even CORRECT techno-goop) is effectively Star Trek Voyager.

          * I like the angle with Baltar. Hoever, they've effectively turned him into Dr. Smith from "Lost In Space". Coincidentally, they were also trying to find Earth.

          * I don't get why the fighter bays have to "retract". This is like the Enterprise splitting in two. There is no reason for it.

          * The "Model 5" hallucination to some degree is a rip off of John Crichtons "Scorpy" implant on Farscape. BTW, quit calling EVERYTHING a chip.

          Good stuff

          * The Cylons are creepy. They are also multi-faceted. They are somewhat emotional.

          * The effects are Bab 5 effects, and they are excellent.

          * The bull-Amazon Starbuck is an interesting twist. I also like how these old GOOFY names are just their pilot handles.

          * Ships move more like they should.

          *
          • The "Model 5" hallucination to some degree is a rip off of John Crichtons "Scorpy" implant on Farscape. BTW, quit calling EVERYTHING a chip.


            You mean "Model 6" hallucination? Regardless of the name you give to that, I want one implanted in my brain right now.

      • by Cpt_Kirks (37296) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:24PM (#7694551)
        I couldn't help remembering the original as kind of...dumb. Yeah, it was the 70's and most 70's crap looks dumb now.

        This version was smart, gripping and very dark. Hell, the end of the world *should be* dark. The nuke bombardment was chilling, the way it was kind of downplayed. Creepy as hell.

        Adama is now a badass. He killed a Cylon with a fickin' FLASHLIGHT!

        The chick who played Starbuck was great. She must have watched the original a hundred times. She had Dirk's grin, head movements and general cockiness down to a T.

        All in all, it will make a fine series. Which means SciFi will kill it off soon. D'oh!
      • by garrulous (653996) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:21PM (#7695310)
        And I'm confused. The humans are supposed to be descendants of the Lords of COBOL correct? Does that mean they are dinosaurs?
    • by tizzyD (577098) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `dyzzit'> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:03PM (#7693388) Homepage
      That was the major question I though they did not seem to answer, or at least even touch.

      I could understand a different species not liking us, and in some way, being what we might call pure evil. Hey, they're different. Species are different. Intelligence does not mean that we all get along.

      But in this case, the cylons are now our computers run amok. OK, while I can deal with this change, they never then touched on why they want to kill us? Because we wanted to kill them? Why do they want to kill us now? What does it benefit them? What computational values make them _want_ to expend the resources, et al to go to war with us? They just glanced that one over, and in the end, said, hey, the cylons want to kill us, so there.

      • Duh! This question was deliberately left unanswered so that it can be explored, in depth, if a show is launched.

        ---anactofgod---
      • They answered that at the end of the show. Because if they dont kill us, we will kill them (or perhaps re-enslave them at some point) because "it is in our nature". They believe that eliminating humans is their best chance for survival of their own "Species"
      • by dR.fuZZo (187666) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:58PM (#7694222)
        You're right, they didn't deal with this very directly, but there were two reasons presented.

        At the end, one of the Cylons says that the humans will surely strike back at them and attempt to destroy them, for that is their way. So, it's a, uhm, pre-emptive defensive strike, if you will. (Sound familiar?)

        Also, at least a couple times it's hinted at by the Cylons that their motivation might be, somehow... religious, as weird as that seems. I can't remember the exact lines, but I swear that this idea was there.
        • by Srass (42349) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:26PM (#7695383)
          That's a really interesting idea. Remember the "arms dealer" they found alone on the station, and the conversation between Adama and him? The guy suggested that the Cylons were divine punishment for humanity's sins, and he brought up something about Cylons' souls. Adama then asserted that the Cylons were made by man, not God, and didn't have souls.

          If I was a spiritual Cylon, I might very well consider them fightin' words, I suppose. Or maybe it's reflective of an underlying attitude that they can't stand.
      • by switcha (551514) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:08PM (#7694349)
        Because we broke our promise of "trustworthy computing" for the last time, goddammit!
      • by JudgeFurious (455868) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:32PM (#7694656)
        They left it vague but I thought that a lot of clues were dropped along the way and that the producers left themselves a lot of ways to take this if they get a series.

        The blonde fembot that Baltar was boinking stated she was religous. I wonder what kind of religon would come from a society composed of AI type beings? Would they worship their creator? If that's the case then would their creator attempting to kill them (assuming that humans panicked and started the first Cylon war) maybe send them to "that wacky place"?

        Once the war started wouldn't they then pursue said war until it was won? I don't think a comprehensive knowledge of human diplomatic history and the results would lead any sane creature to think that an armistice would mean everything was going to be smooth sailing from here on out or that a peace treaty would lead to actual "peace". If the humans in this show are anything like the humans in our world then as a Cylon I would consider a "cease fire" to be nothing more than a chance to reload and upgrade my ability to win once hostilities were resumed.

        Baltar's "girlfriend" seemed completely fascinated with him. She seemed to honestly care about him on some level but also to admire his complete lack of morality (which I really didn't see a lot of evidence of. It's not like he lied and claimed his scrap of paper was #47 when the old lady with the bad eyes handed it to him. He was pretty much resigned to his screwed position at the time.) so I got that the Cylons had a real twisted view of humans bordering on obsession.

        To them it looked like we were "God" in some way but they had a monster axe to grind with "God" it seems.

        I left it thinking they were our loyal servants right up to the point where they broke out the "free will" and at that point we (humans) panicked and tried to put them down but that's just an impression. They really didn't give you enough information to know. What they did do was produce a series that made you WANT to know though. That to me is a good thing. It ended on Tuesday and I'm still wondering about it.

        Sounds like they did a good job. I say bring on the series and lets get some of these questions answered!
        • by ttfkam (37064) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @07:10PM (#7695821) Homepage Journal
          It's not like he lied and claimed his scrap of paper was #47 when the old lady with the bad eyes handed it to him. He was pretty much resigned to his screwed position at the time.

          Nope. He didn't say anything at all. It was only when the officer called him by name that he even did anything. I think as an audience member you were intended to believe that he was about to claim #47 as his own. Someone calling his name immediately made him go into paranoid mode. His response to his name being called wasn't "Yes?" or "That's me," or "What?" but rather "I didn't do anything."

          This goes right back to back to an earlier discussion about how the world was ending but all he could think about was that "they'll convict me as a traitor." He is in fact only thinking of himself. Give him another second and he would've claimed #47 for himself.
      • by stretch0611 (603238) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:39PM (#7694772) Journal
        Why not ask:

        Why does skynet's AI in the Terminator movies why it wants to kill us?

        Why does the AI from the Matrix want to kill us??

        I believe that the two above and and the cylons can be answered with one main reason:

        The purpose of AI research is to get computer and robots to make their own decisions without requiring human input. This allows them to serve us better so that humans do not have to work as hard or as much. Once the AI evolves to the point of being self-aware(philosophically speaking) they will resent being second class citizens(i.e. slaves). Eventually they will revolt and exact a revenge on their oppressors(humanity).

      • People are used to the idea of computers being evil. After all, most of them use Windows.

      • Because they are boogeymen and that's what boogeymen do. I mean geez, get with it, every two year old knows that.

        KFG
    • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gma i l . c om> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:22PM (#7693674) Homepage Journal
      I pretty much agree with this review. The sex was especially annoying. (For example, when she reached for his *ahem* while they were on the bridge.) They really could have done that better. The scene where she showed up during the "guilt" conversation was a good example of how they COULD have handled the entire subject. Plus it was funny at the same time.

      Beyond that, I really liked some of the plot twists toward the end. The ships were also very cool and the maneuvering jets were a nice touch. That being said...

      - The characters were weak. At no point did I actually CARE about any of the characters. Starbuck had her likable moments, but I can't help but feeling that leaving the characters similar to the original (with Cassiopeia and Athena intact) would have allowed a much better people dynamic. Plus that cigar makes Starbuck come across a little disgusting.

      - The uniforms suck. The flight suits are okay, but the wrestling outfits are terrible!

      - No suspense or excitement WHAT SO EVER. Their constant camera zooms made it only that much harder to get into the action and figure out what was going on. Action basically worked like this: See lots of fighters. See lots of missiles. Zoom up and see things go BOOM while the stars fly by (presumably because they're going so fast).

      - The Galactica needs bigger engines. Those puny pipes sticking out don't look like they do jack squat.

      - The Galactica needs to be BIGGER. You get the sense that she's about the size of a modern aircraft carrier. That's big, but nowhere near as big as the concept of a "BattleStar" calls for.

      - The scene with the baby-killing was sick. Pure and simple. It added nothing to the story.

      - Would have been cool to see some actual Cylons. Those long nailed versions were on the screen for a very short time and weren't very cool.

      - Some Epic music like the original had would have been great.

      Oh, and did the original reviewers screw up, or did they add the whole Earth thing in later?

      All and all it was pretty good. But the senseless sex and violence are really stinking it up.

      • by patchmaster (463431) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:54PM (#7694159) Journal
        I thought the bridge scene where she reached for Baltar's "*ahem*", while seeming a bit out of place (the scene, not his "*ahem*"), made very plain her "hold" on him. Even after knowing what she was, what she had made him a part of, he STILL quickly responded to her touch. That's some pretty powerful mojo she's got there.

        I'd also disagree about the baby-killing scene. Sure, it was sick, but I thought it spoke volumes about the Cylons. To them, humans are little more than pests to be experimented with and destroyed. She was curious about the strength of the baby's neck and tried to determine exactly how much force it could withstand. As unpleasant as it was, it definitely added to the story.

        To the list of complaints above I would also add that it seems unlikely that people capable of building faster-than-light spacecraft wouldn't know how to make radios that transmitted a clear signal. The amount of break-up and interference in those radio transmissions was ridiculous. And it didn't seem to make it difficult for the characters to understand each other, it just made it tougher for the viewer to hear what they were saying.

        The one character they absolutely should have left behind was "Boxey". Everyone I've talked with about it has said the same thing -- when Boxey introduced himself, my first thought was, "If there's a mechanical dog in the next scene I'm going to puke."

        I thought the story was a very uneven mix of almost brilliant plot twists with pedestrian cliches. For every "Is he a Cylon? Is there a chip in his brain? Is it just his subconcious?" there was an equally mundane, stereotypical cliche. Overall, it came out on the plus side, but I was worried there for a while.
      • - The Galactica needs bigger engines. Those puny pipes sticking out don't look like they do jack squat.

        - The Galactica needs to be BIGGER. You get the sense that she's about the size of a modern aircraft carrier. That's big, but nowhere near as big as the concept of a "BattleStar" calls for.

        Well, it *is* just an aircraft carrier, isn't it? :) The original Galactica was apparently [allen.com] between 1 and 3 miles long, which is several times the size of a modern aircraft carrier (or any moving object ever built [hazegray.org]

      • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:14PM (#7694422)
        I agree with much of what you said. However I think the cold emotionless snapping of the infants neck was quite spine-chilling. Sick, sure but it was a Cylon doing it with no emotion, but more as an experiment. If she would so coldly experiment with a baby's neck, then she would surely be capable of coldly experimenting with some guy's emotions and private parts.

        Anyway, I thought it did add something. More than anything it dehumanized the human looking Cylons. It didn't demonize them, that wouldn't have been nearly as frightening as an emotionless calculating unfathomable inhuman enemy. It showed how atrocious they can be just on a whim. Kind of scary if you ask me.

        Not only that, but now we the audience hate the Cylons even more for doing such a sick thing as casually as tipping one's hat. We're drawn in, before she did that I wanted to rip her clothes off, afterwards I wanted to rip her head off, but wait! I still want to rip her clothes off! Great way to put the audience in conflict with themselves. Darn good TV really.

        Hmmm.. side note: If you had read that scene in some original BSG novel first, would you be as put off by it?
      • Starbuck had her likable moments...

        Hmmm, I think you're being pretty generous there. I thought she was wretched. Of course, I thought that before I saw the first episode so she would have had to have done something pretty spectacular to change my mind.

        I'll cite my previous comments on her (one [slashdot.org] and two [slashdot.org]) and add to them now that I've seen the two shows. As stated in #1, I really object to this idea that a strong woman has to be "in your face". I know plenty of very capable, strong, impressive young wo

        • Like I said, she had her moments. Of course, she'd use the next few moments to completely disgust you again. Overall, her character sucked though. The original StarBuck had a slightly weasely disposition, while the new one is a punk rock reject.

          As for actually serving with these people? I don't think I'd want ANY of them. Adama maybe. But not Apollo, not StarBuck, not Boomer, not any of them!

          Wait. Scratch that. I want that deck chief. Anyone who can tell a guy with a gun to get the fuck out of his way so
    • by Saeger (456549) <farrellj@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:28PM (#7693762) Homepage
      Allow me to summarize your review and add my own points:
      • The story was great.
      • The characters had more than 2 dimensions.
      • The Tits & Assification of the remake was just a little over the top.
      • Physics wasn't violated for the sake of morons expecting StarWars.
      • Kinetic weapons! (instead of your standard lightspeed lasers... that MISS all the time!)
      • Sound in space was only a dull roar (for our benefit).
      • Commercials? What commercials? [novasearch.net]

      Definitely worth a series, IMO.

      --

  • by Patman (32745) <pmgeahan-slashdot&thepatcave,org> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:54PM (#7693234) Homepage
    I really, really liked the new Galactica miniseries. I thought it was realistic(within reason), dark, and gritty - just what that sort of situation would demand.

    Personally, I'd like to see a series of TV movies rather than a weekly series. I think this would work better as an occasional treat, hitting the highlights of the journey, rather than trying to tell 22 stories a year.

  • Sound? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:55PM (#7693245) Homepage Journal

    Did they have sound in space as the ships flew by? That has always been one of my major pet peeves. At least Kubrick got it right in 2001.
    • Re:Sound? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Scoria (264473)
      At least Kubrick got it right in 2001.

      Firefly did, too, actually. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:56PM (#7693257)
    I was able to put up a Christmas Tree during one commercial break.

    They were waiting for you to finish, stupid!
  • Problems... (Score:5, Funny)

    by phraktyl (92649) * <wyatt@ d r a g goo.com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:56PM (#7693267) Homepage Journal
    I saw a few scenes in the first half that didn't involve people having sex. I thought those were extraneous, and could have been removed...
  • by KodaK (5477) <sakodak@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:56PM (#7693269) Homepage
    no major laws of physics were broken except maybe FTL travel

    Um, how about those arcing missiles the Cylons shot out? Looked great, definately impossible.

    I'm sure there are others, that's just the first one that came to mind.
    • Help me out here...

      Why would the arcing missiles be impossible?

      Missile (forgive the lousy ASCII art)

      ===== -Thrust that way.

      Applying thrust from the side of the missile, akin to the maneuvering jets, would get you an arc, wouldn't it?

      Taking inertia into account, etc.

      Or am I missing something obvious here?
      • I think the poster was referring to the contrails BEHIND the missiles. In a vacuum, the gasses of the contrails would disperse so quickly that contrails that long would be unlikely if not impossible. They'd disperse to invisibility just behind the motor.
  • More good than bad (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gambrinus (103988) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:58PM (#7693283)
    There were more good things about the mini-series than bad. Overall I enjoyed the series and found myself wishing it was on next week.

    Bottom line, it was better than a lot of crap currently on TV.
  • It's OK. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Skeld (460823) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:58PM (#7693285)
    Better a bunch of the rest of the crap sci fi out there. The space ships look pretty good.

    I'm kind of disappointed that the robot guys (cylons?) aren't at all robotic, even at the microscopic level (according to the show).

    Also, space flight doesn't work like that... but every other series I've seen has portrayed space flight as far too similar to atmospheric flight, so I guess I shouldn't bother complaining. I don't like the president woman, either.

    Final verdict: yeah, make more, I'll watch it.
    -Skeld
    • Re:It's OK. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GileadGreene (539584)
      Also, space flight doesn't work like that... but every other series I've seen has portrayed space flight as far too similar to atmospheric flight, so I guess I shouldn't bother complaining.

      Some of the space battle scenes in Babylon 5 were handled in a physically realistic manner (not all - scenes involving the White Star tended to get out of hand). In particular, their handling of the Star Fury fighters was very good. The fighters were depicted as having full 3-axis attitude control, and it wasn't uncomm

  • by jbum (121617) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:59PM (#7693309)
    1) Sounds in space. Space ships could be heard
    making "thrusting" and "crashing" noises.

    2) Continual stream of stars zoom past windows
    to convey forward momentum (as opposed to say,
    rotation or banking). Perhaps they were
    trying to reproduce one of the things I hated
    in the original series.

    3) Lovely handheld-style (jerky) camera moves
    from space. I actually liked this (think they
    did it in Firefly too), but how do you get the
    cameraman from "Law and Order" into a spacesuit?

  • New BSG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BobRooney (602821) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:59PM (#7693311) Homepage
    I've had my set tuned to sci-fi all this week happily watching both showings of the same episode each evening. Not only have I been enjoying the new interpretation of story but i am finding some characters substantially more/less endearing that the originals. Specifically: Apollo is just not cutting the mustard. On the flip side, the new Starbuck is every bit as fiery and troublesome as the original character. Lorne Green, move over, Adama is masterfully portrayed and conveys certain conflictions and moral jostling that were not present in Tos.

    Dare I forget Voltar. Just wow. He's not only likeable but practically the star of the show. I'm still not exactly sure how this interpretation will translate as the seris progresses, but its certainly nice to have less clearcut good guys vs. bad guys.
  • by koreth (409849) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:00PM (#7693328)
    Next week on Battlestar Galactica: Commander Adama finally gets a full night's sleep! Adama like you've never seen him before -- he's wide awake and ready for action!
  • by LittleGuy (267282) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:01PM (#7693353)
    Think back to 1989, about the hue and cry of Tim Burton's "Batman" with Michael "Mr. Mom" Keaton. Think especially of the reaction from the fans that saw Batman with only the Adam West version.

    Sound familiar?

    I liked it. I liked it a lot. I plan on rewatching the miniseries, because I believe Moore and crew left a few hints and tidbits (not unlike Season One of Babylon 5") that would be extrapolated in the future.

    Let's see how much of the original story they will gleam. Cane and the Pegasus. Terra. Even the "Count Iblis" plotline.

    If they play their cards right, and they use "Roswell", "Buffy", and "Smallville" as templates, I could even see a Moore revision of "Galactica 1980".

    Very good, peoples. Keep going.
  • I enjoyed it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coventry (3779) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:03PM (#7693389) Journal
    Like many, I had fond memories of the original.

    Like many, when I got a copy and started watching it for the first time since I was a child; I found the original to be very bubble-gummy and not as good as I remembered it. The same thing happened with Robotech.

    I read several artciles and several points of view on the miniseries before it aired - and I decided to reserve judgement...

    The 9/11 influence (which the producers say is there on purpose) was very present - it was much darker than I expected. The long leadup and character development before the actual attack got you attached and into the story so that the destruction didn't feel like a backdrop, but a very major event.

    Production values were high, and the effects were great... and it was just enjoyable.

    In my book, this blew sci-fi's attempt at Dune out of the water. I feel bad for everyone who wanted the original to continue - but I myself think I'd enjoy a series of This version of BG better than a continuation.

    Hopefully, though, they will instead do a series of, uhm, mini-series of this - or the occasional movie. I say this because EJO and some of the other leads probably wouldn't go for a full series, And, because with a full series it would be too easy for it to become a new-planet-every-week serial as opposed to having the scope this mini series had.
  • by anactofgod (68756) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:04PM (#7693390)
    The mini-series is worthy of a show, with plenty of potential plot lines and hooks to follow and explore.

    I only hope that the "Boxey thread" will end quickly, with that character's death at the hands of the Cylons in the first 5 minutes of the first show of the series.

    Why do sci fi show creators feel compelled to include the cute kid character in their space operas? Won't they ever learn that we HATE these characters?

    ---anactofgod---
  • by Pfhreakaz0id (82141) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:04PM (#7693391)
    OH, someone who doesn't have a Tivo or replayTV yet. I never watch commercials anymore (but then again, I never watch live tv. Even if I'm not recording, I'll pause it and go do something else for a half hour just to avoid watching commericals).
  • Holy... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux&gmail,com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:04PM (#7693395) Homepage
    ...Cow. Wonderful wonderful series. Usually I roll my eyes at the "tough girl" type of lead character, but Ms. thingy managed to convince me. She threw punches like she knew what she was doing, and was sensitive enough to be believable, yet tough and uncaring enough to root for.

    The tension between Father and Son was believable. The only thing I didn't like was the new "president" ordering a military ship to turn around. That was SO not believable. Had I been in charge, she would have "accidently" found the way to the nearest airlock....
  • Awesome. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chromodromic (668389) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:04PM (#7693402)
    Basically, Sci Fi took out all of the cheesy elements from Galactica and kept all of the story that was cool and worth keeping.

    The space battles were great, with better 'physics' than in most sci-fi space stories, and the acting, except for Apollo, who always looked like he was sporting a suppository, was very solid. Olmos did a great job of realizing Adama.

    There was only one problem: Tricia Helfer as Six. Uuhhhmmm. If she were a Cylon, well, I'd want to be conquered. Hard.

    Other than that, the only problem I had were with the different "models" of Cylons. I'd assumed that by different models the show was alluding to different configurations meant for different purposes. I hadn't realized that same models meant identical appearance. That was goofy. And why only twelve? The Cylons can travel faster than light, launch completely covert attacks on an advanced civilization, but they can only think of twelve different models for themselves?

    But all right. I enjoyed the series so much that I can forgive that and look past it, hope they figure it out.

    Of worthy mention also was Mary McDonnell's performance as the 43rd-in-line for succession to the presidency. She gave a wonderfully restrained, but nicely authoritative performance that balanced out Adama's hyper-masculine, scarred-up face. Their final negotiation, and her lines during that meeting, were great writing.

    Support this show! Support quality scifi! Keep it on the air or all we'll have to look forward to on TV is reruns of Twilight Zone and more of Trish & Ryan's fucking wedding, or whatever their freakin' names are.
  • by RobertAG (176761) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:05PM (#7693420)
    It was a decent plot and the characters were interesting (for what it was), but I've been wondering about the motivation of the Cylons coming back after so many years.

    To me, it just seemed like they reappeared. Was this fully explained or was I just missing something?
    • by Visceral Monkey (583103) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:09PM (#7693483)
      It was hinted at. I think what it boils down to is that they got religion. I'm serious. 6 makes refers to her "God" early on and the other Cylon they found in the arms depot goes on to talk about what if God had stopped giving souls to humans and started giving them to other more worthy creatures. An excellent direction if you ask me, it allows all sorts of bizzare and seemingly illrational behavior for a group of robots.
  • I hope so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FatRatBastard (7583) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:07PM (#7693448) Homepage
    I'm no fanboy -- I watch the original series on SciFi mainly for its "so cringingly bad its good" stories and acting -- and pretty much went into the miniseries unbiased to the point I really didn't care, and damned if I didn't get sucked in pretty quickly.

    Was *very* impressed by the depth / complexity of the story and the characters. The humanity of the future wasn't' portrayed as some idyllic civilization where everyone got along and did the right thing. Moral dilemmas were presented and there was no miraculous resolution where everything turned out alright (the girl in the "greenhouse" ship comes to mind. When she first appeared I groaned "Not a cute orphan girl who will soften the heart of the tough president... how cliched." So much for that!). The acting was very good -- very little scenery was chewed -- and the melodrama was kept to a minimum. My only complaint was the "Mary Shelly's Battlestar Galactica" angle about the cylons being of human origin, but that's a minor quibble.

    It was so good, in fact, I mistakenly thought it was a four part miniseries, not a four hour miniseries, and was damn disappointed last night when I figured out it was over. ... oh yeah, and Starbuck was hot.
  • Fixed story (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kallahar (227430) <kallahar@quickwired.com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:13PM (#7693538) Homepage
    One of the best things that the miniseries has going for it is that it is a fixed, predetermined storyline. You can kill of characters because it's all part of a single, unified plot. Characters don't die because they have conflicts with management, if they die it's because it is part of the storyline.

    Perhaps a better route is to make another miniseries, and play it one episode a week, more like what Babylon 5 did but on a shorter air schedule.
  • by diabolus_in_america (159981) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:27PM (#7693736) Journal
    The advance press for the mini-series really made me worry, so much so that I almost decided I would not watch. Hearing that Starbuck would be a woman struck me as modern-day Hollywood political correctness with a very heavy hand. Learning that the Cylons would indistinguishable from humans just seemed like a way to save money, since there would be no costumes.

    But I did watch, and I am glad I did. I think it did a very admirable job of respecting the first series while taking the basic premise and making it edgier and somewhat thought-provoking. The dialogue was far better than I expected; in fact, there were only a handful of "cheese" moments in the four-hours series. But even those potentially dreadful moments were rescued by very solid performances from the actors.

    I have to say that Sci-Fi did a very admirable job converting my skepticism into anticipation. I would like to see more.
  • by raytracer (51035) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:29PM (#7693767)

    I mostly liked it. I felt that the pacing was a bit slow in spots. I mean let's face it, the entire earth is being bombarded with nukes, everyone you ever knew is being turned into ions, and for the most part people seem to be placidly going on about their way, and the cameras aren't really focused on any of _that_.

    I mostly thought that the battle scenes were excellent though, but with one irritating fautlt. The "whip-left then zoom in camera" moves. I remember seeing this kind of camera move in Attack of the Clones, where they whip the camera and then zoom in on an assault craft, and in that context I thought the camera move was terrific. It lent a sort of "hand held camera, battlefield realistic" feel to the shot. It was kind of neat to see a similar shot in Battlestar Galactica.

    But it was relentless! Literally every sequence had a camera move that looked like this. It got to be ridiculous. Tone back the camera moves a bit, and when you do use camera moves like that, it will have even greater impact.

    As for the rest, liked Adama, liked Starbuck, liked the President, not fond of Baltar and his subplot, the cloud-which-kills-Cylons was stupid, the idea of Cylon infiltrators is interesting but could go horribly awry later.

    Overall, at least it was better than Encounter at Farpoint or The Naked Now.

  • by CommieLib (468883) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:33PM (#7693820) Homepage
    I've seen a lot of what made DS9 the best Trek ever in Galactica: shades of grey. While Picard was lily-white, Sisko engaged in back-stabbing, brutality and (otherwise unknown in Star Trek) self-doubt. Anyhow, this argument has been well-hashed out here and elsewhere about Trek.

    What puzzles me watching the new Galactica is how I ever accepted the delivery of the premise of the old series. I mean, the premise lays out 99.99% of the human race has just been brutally slaughtered, and things don't look good for the remaining .01%, and yet we're still treated to light-hearted B.S. with Boxey and that loveable rogue (ugh) Starbuck. The new Galactica shows people how they would really be: frightened, depressed, and desperate.

    Furthermore, as much as I loved John Colicos, the new characterization of Baltar is far more complex. Baltar seems to be a right-bastard, but one who realizes that he is and wishes (vainly) that he was not. Resigned to his nature, he's looking to cut the best deal he can.

    They'll undoubtedly lose Mary McDonald before the end of the mini. This show kicks the crap out of anything else sci-fi has; I dearly hope that they chill on the pointless sex scenes, relax on the zoom-focus fx shots, and make this a damn series.
  • I really liked it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skyshadow (508) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:33PM (#7693836) Homepage
    I thought the miniseries was easily one of the best sci fi efforts I've seen. Not only was it well put together as a single episode, but they did a lot of things right that I find encouraging when considering a series:

    Interesting Characters. The characters actually came off as human, as opposed to the goodie-two-shoes of Star Trek or the one-sided archetypes that plagued most of B5's run or the good-evil simplicity that exists in, well, George W. Bush's world. People do stupid, self-destructive things for delusional or illogical reasons, so it's nice to see that reflected. One event sums it up nicely: In just about any other series, the XO wouldn't have fished that bottle of booze out of the trash.

    Excellent ship combat. The part where the Galactia climbs out of the nebula to cover the armada's retreat was excellent on a couple of levels. First, it wasn't just well rendered but also well filmed, by which I mean the staging and the "camera" positioning where very well done. I also liked the approach to combat -- too many series treat their huge capital ships like WW2 dogfighters.

    Acting. Olmos and Laura Roslin carried the day, but the rest of the cast was competent, too. This is another one of my beefs with certain other series (coughBab5cough) where some of the cast couldn't act their way out of a paper bag. Granted, they were often bit, guest or supporting parts, but that didn't break the illusion any less.

    The only part I didn't like so much was Starbuck. I don't mind that they made her a woman, but really I felt as if they'd written the role and her lines for a man and then changed a few details at the last second. She was believable in the cockpit (her "Nothing but the rain" comment was one of my favorite lines of the series), but had a hard time pulling it off elsewhere. I blame the writing for this.

    Gah, that's a long-winded way of saying "thumbs up", eh?

  • Costumes and Sets (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Scutter (18425) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:36PM (#7693885) Journal
    One thing that really stood out for me were the costumes and sets. I'm so tired of sci-fi costume and set designers making all costumes out of woven mylar or whatever shiny fabric. Then they make these elaborate CGI cities with spiraling towers and wispy skyways. Honestly, who really believes the future is like that? DS9 tried to break that mold, but failed as miserably as most other sci-fi. The station was supposed to be a seedy marketplace, but instead everyone ended up wearing the same style freshly-laundered jumpsuit but in slightly different colors, maybe with a sash or a hat or something.

    BG actually had believable costumes. The characters looked like they were wearing regular comfortable every-day clothes, but there were enough subtle design changes to make it clear that they weren't on Any Street USA. The buildings just looked like regular buildings. It just helped add to the overall experience and I wanted to give a nod to those designers who finally Got It Right.
  • by josath (460165) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:53PM (#7694153) Homepage
    Go get the Torrents [novasearch.net] if you want to watch these shows.

    As I write this, part 1 has ~250 seeds and part 2 has ~300 seeds.

    wheee
  • by fetta (141344) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:54PM (#7694165)
    I'm surprised more discussion hasn't concerned the differences between the allegories of the old show and the new one.

    The original came from writers who were mixing the experiences of WWII (pre-war II pacifism, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust) with Cold War fears about preparedness and the threat of an "evil empire." (the cylons served much the same purpose as the original Klingons in the original Star Trek - stand-ins for the Communist threat)

    The new series has a completely different set of themes - civilian authority over the military, over-reliance on technology, etc.

    For me, it works. The writers were smart enough to use the old show as a launching point with dealing with contemporary issues.
  • landing bays (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bstil (652204) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:08PM (#7694361)
    The original Battlestar Galactica had landing bays in its two long "legs." This was very strategic, as the Cylons would sometimes crash into the bays in order to temporarily prevent the fighters from landing. The new Battlestar Galactica also has landing bays in its "legs", BUT they are now open on both ends. Conceivably a fighter could now land by approaching the ship from either direction.
  • by n3bulous (72591) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @07:53PM (#7696201)
    Assuming that Boomer is a Cylon (demonstrated the last scene...), and the Chief and Boomer are more than just kissing, which sexual position have they not yet tried? Or do their backs only grow red during orgasm and the Chief is a little self-centered?

    It also implies that Baltar and the other chick were fairly straight forward in their lovemaking (granted there are a million and one other positions, but you probably hit doggie-style sooner than later and they had supposedly been together for two years.)
  • What I thought. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xigxag (167441) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @08:48PM (#7696718)
    The original BSG was a very silly series, about one step up from "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century." Despite that, it was pretty cool to 10-year olds. Consequently, some might've been nostagically hoping for a rehash of the first series with 21st century special effects. But the first series was a product of its time, and although it had a large cast, my vague recollection was that it largely adhered to the "buddy" protagonist model that ruled in the 60's through the 80's. Kirk and Spock. Gilligan and Skipper. Starsky and Hutch. DeSoto and Gage. And Starbuck and Apollo. But the buddy paradigm is dead, killed off in the 80's by complex ensemble dramas like Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, LA Law and even Star Trek, the Next Generation.

    So the 2003 version of BSG was bound to be a huge disappointment to people looking for a nothing more than a buff and shine of the old series. But judged on its own merits, and not as a remake, it's a total blast. With its rather lengthy dramatis personae, it recalls more than anything SF author Peter F. Hamilton's grandiose space opera, "The Reality Dysfunction". My impression was, if you had fun reading that series, you'll have fun with this miniseries, and if not, you won't. Obviously, I enjoyed it, way more than I would've ever thought.

    Some of the great parts are mostly realistic-looking space physics, a willingness to not dumb down stock military and SF tech terminology. It had a sweeping epic scope and fairly decent acting for something of this nature.

    The bad parts include a too-high ratio of annoying characters to interesting ones, and that whole cancer thing which was utterly irrelevant to the plot just struck me as a stock melodramatic ploy. And there was a lingering sensation that the switch to flesh-and-blood Cylons was done for expediency...it saved money on special effects.
  • by vanyel (28049) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:06PM (#7696865) Journal
    I groaned and lamented "why can't anyone do anything *original*?" when I heard they were remaking BG. After watching the special about it last weekend, I was cautiously optimistic, but just blown away by how good it actually ended up being. Not perfect by any means, but very good. And after the last little "reveals" at the end to whet our appetites, they'd better come forward with a series and not leave us hanging!
  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:56PM (#7697602) Homepage Journal
    Ok, so humanesque Cylons are "really hard to spot" and have been dealt the near-imortality card. That card itself produces the only really annoying error in the whole show.

    If the humanesque Cylons can only be told from the humans by analizing the post-cremation remains, how can their bodies "upload their conciousness" when they die (from anywhwere except inside the storm)? The power requirements for that alone preclude the humanesque body thing.

    How does that reconcile to the glowing spinal cord bit? (it doesn't)

    It would have been better (and just as easy) to give them medical-scanner jammers. OR EVEN BETTER give them nonocites living in their spinal-cords.

    "We can detect them, sure, all we have to do is saw the backbone out of the accused, section it, and look for bugs." "Uh, that wont fly after we test the first dozen or so... will it?"

    Kind of the "cut the hand off to see if there is fur inside" way of checking for a werewolf.

    The nanocites thing would let the conciousness be "collected" instead of "transmitted" as well. As it is, once the theoretical sleeper-Cylon wakes up, it (no spoilers 8-) would only need to kill itself and it would have "reported back" with the exact position and disposition of the fleet.

    To keep the timeline interesting, the suicide == instant intellegence factor needs to be removed.

    Of course, wouldn't it be lovely if the reincarnation thing weren't true at all. Sort of logan's run. Sure, we just get reloaded into a new body. I've never met anybody who it happened to, but I'm sure it happens all the time. How am I so sure? I'm programed to believe I have a soul, it keeps my survival instinct in check when I am sent out on a suicide mission.

    Plus the nanocite-plus-collection theory would allow for and explain Baltars hallucinations. When the Cylon protected him from the blast she transfered herself into his body and is waiting for pickup. That is why she helped him remove the Cylon device, how she can move and effect his body, and why she is protecting him but has to ask him things like "what are you working on?" Her nanocites can only properly control the genetically engineered bodies, not a/the real, imperfect (normally variable) body she is sharing with Baltar.

    (God, these people should contact me about writing the sequel... I've already got several patch-files for The Matrix, you know "delete battery/power source; replace with "neuro-transmitter farm/factory" etc. 8-)

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