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Battlestar Galactica


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#1 opus

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Posted 13 December 2003 - 02:26 PM

So has anyone caught the "Battlestar Galactica" remake/revision that recently aired on the Sci-Fi Channel? I'm not a devoted fan of the original - having watched it as a kid, it's more nostalgic than anything else - but I found new version rather disappointing.

Was it just me or did it seem like every 15 minutes, a scene was engineered so one attractive person could throw themselves at another attractive person? The dialog was painfully clunky throughout it - especially Adama's lines (and it didn't help that Olmos often seemed either drunk, half-asleep, or doing his best David Carradine impression). And there were far too many contrivances in the plot (such as the whole deal surrounding the Cylon infiltrator). And let's not forget the obvious changes (making Starbuck and Boomer into women, etc.).

On the plus side, I found some of the acting surprisingly good - I was impressed with Mary McDonnell (Laura Roslin). And I'll admit that some of the scenes were surprisingly effective, such as the scene involving the pilot who sacrifices his seat so Baltar can escape Caprica, and the scene when the refugee fleet ships with FTL capabilities have to leave behind those ships that can't jump when the Cylons attack.

But overall, it's rather underwhelming.

#2 Cunningham

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Posted 13 December 2003 - 02:44 PM

Interestingly, even as a kid I hated that show smile.gif This one just raises the bar of suckitude.

#3 opus

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Posted 13 December 2003 - 03:48 PM

My roommate was just watching some of it (my co-worker taped it and I'm borrowing it, since we don't have cable TV), and I was struck again by just how underwhelming Olmos is as Commander Adama. He's taking this world-weary, "I've got the fate of the human race on my shoulders" thing way too seriously, and as a result, his character is pretty dull - which makes his fiery, "rouse the troops" speeches all the more hilarious. Not to mention the painfully-stilted exchanges with his estranged son (who is actually an interesting character in this new version, though a far sight from the original Apollo - I just wish he was in it more).

#4 CrimsonLine

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 09:20 PM

I just watched the two episodes of this series that aired on NBC yesterday. I have only heard bad things about it, but it blew me away. The two eps they showed were powerfully-written, gripping military action shows with very straightforward discussion of the existence of god and his plan (though, to be fair - a different god).

These are the only two episodes I have seen, and the comments in this thread only seem to apply to the miniseries that introduced things. Has anyone else seen the series enough to comment on it?

I thought the SFX were great, and the ships that maneuver in real space-like ways was awesome. Too much sex. Good acting. Gripping military portrayals. Anyone?

#5 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:05 PM

crimsonline wrote:
: I have only heard bad things about it . . .

Really? I don't watch TV, but friends of mine who do have had nothing but good to say about this show.

#6 CrimsonLine

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 06:28 PM

I've been trying to think through the theological angle of this show, and I can't get to the core issues. Here are my thoughts so far, and questions:

DATA:
1. This show has, as one of its central bundles of issues, questions surrounding the existence, sovereignty, goodness, and worship of god (I have tossed around whether or not to use a capital "G" on this one, which gets to my problem. More on this in a moment). Specifically, the human race is wiped out by a Cylon (robots who were created by humanity but have turned against their creators) assault, totally destroying the twelve colonies of humanity. The straggling survivors are escaping the Cylons and looking for a legendary "lost" thirteenth colony, Earth. Earth was prophesied about in the human scriptures, along with the prophecy about a dying human leader who would guide them to salvation. The new President of the human race is dying, and has started seeing visions, all in fulfillment of prophecy. There is also the idea that the military leader of this ragtag fleet is using Earth as a means of instilling hope in people, saying he knows where it is, but he doesn't.
2. The humans believe in a pantheon of twelve gods, "the Lords of Kobol", who have names like Apollo, Athena, and other Greek gods. The scriptures that the humans follow is in some way about these gods (I don't know all the details). Some humans believe in the Lords, some have a civic religion, and some do not believe at all. There is a lot of discussion about this.
3. The Cylons apparently believe in one god. I really know nothing about this, except that the main Cylon character (Six) talks about this god all the time. Apparently this god is sovereign and is god over Cylons and humanity.

THOUGHTS:
1. BSG talks a lot about faith issues, and takes the idea of prophecy and god seriously.
2. BSG shows believers in all sorts of lights - some positive, some negative, some ambivalent.
3. So far, "god" or the "gods" are fairly ill-defined, so it's hard to make good assessments of where things are going.

QUESTIONS:
1. Can this kind of show be a serious exploration of faith issues, set up as it is? The gods they are exploring are fictional gods, made up in story conference. Can reasonable dialogue happen around these gods and faith in these gods that has any bearing on our world?
2. Can this kind of show be a serious exploration of belief in prophecy, when all of the prophecies in the show are engineered by the writers to be fulfilled or not? It's like the issues in the movie Signs (hi, kenmorefield!) - of course there are no coincidences -- it's a movie! There are no coincidences in movies. Everything is carefully planned and put on screen.
3. Can a Christian support a show that explicitly revolves around patently fictional gods?

I am wrestling with these ideas. Do you folks have any thoughts?

#7 BethR

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 09:15 AM

I admit to finding the new BG pretty compelling. A while ago, I came across this beliefnet column on The Theology of Battlestar Galactica, which says the original series (if I'm reading it correctly) was pitched as "'bible stories in space' called 'Adam's Ark'" and that there's some influence from Mormonism. Also, according to the article, some see the "polytheistic" humans as representing pluralistic western culture, while the "monotheistic" Cylons represent Islam. Too simple? Too soon to tell?

#8 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 09:35 PM

Link to the other Battlestar Galactica thread.

As I note at my blog, a monk recently lent me his copy of Season 1, and I found myself growing to like it -- the season itself is definitely an improvement over the mini-series, I think. So I look forward to seeing Season 2 on DVD eventually (and it seems they are releasing the season in two halves -- why!?). In the meantime, I am intrigued by the comments Seth Perry makes here, regarding recent developments in this show's treatment of religious themes.

#9 DanBuck

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:31 AM

My wife and I started this one this week and we're hooked. Halfway through season one and Crimson, your observations are especially good ones.

The theological implications of the show are fascinating. Here's a list of thoughts

1. Note how the Cylons (most commonly - Gaius's Jessica Simpson clone) refer to a single God, with a will and with judgment, etc. And she even follows him. But the humans have many gods.

2. A recurring theme of facing one's secrets and owning up to the errors you've made. Very redemptive in nature. Gaius, Starbuck, Commander Adama all dealing with errors of their past. Not to mention the whole human race facing the creation of the cylons as an arrogant error of judgement.

3. Love the episode with flashes of Starbuck in a tailspin, going down in flames, as it were, as she's holding on to the secret about passing Zak. Then, just as she comes clean, we see a shot of her ejecting to safety. Good metaphor.

4. The actress potraying Boomer is truly awful. A stand out in an other wise above average cast.

5. Love Edward James Almos here and Mary McDonnel as well

6. In love with Dualla

7. Waiting for the next disc from Netflix.

8. Wondering if we'll get answers later to questions about "Why the cylons appeared every 33 minutes" and "If Gaius's chick is a figment of his imagination, or some sort of Cylon technological hallucinigenic communication system."



#10 Ann D.

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:47 AM

Boomer gets a lot better, IMO.

I need to get the first part of season two. I keep holding out that they'll combine the whole second season, but apparently they aren't going to. At least, not from what I've read on the internet.

Re: point 8--I haven't seen anything more about the 33 minute cycle, but that doesn't mean they won't come back to it; this series has been fantastic about continuity. As for the other part of point 8; that is one of the MOST intriguing things, and keeps me hooked. I won't spoil any of it for you. And I highly, highly encourage you to avoid spoilers. Many times, I'll watch a series, be spoiled, and not care. But this series builds on itself so much that spoilers can really ruin a good viewing.

#11 DanBuck

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:52 AM

Thanks Ann,

I wasn't looking for spoilers, I just wanted some assurance that we weren't ONLY going to hear the "maybe I'm in your head, maybe not".

Glad to hear there's more to come there. smile.gif

#12 Ann D.

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:54 AM

And the show hinges around Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos. They couldn't have cast better actors for their respective roles. The dynamics between the two will keep me watching long after the show jumps the shark--which, hopefully, will not happen for a while (if ever).

#13 DanBuck

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:57 AM

I totally agree. They were wise to spend their actor money on the "White hairs" of the show, and not some hot shot WB rejects. The jury on the colonel is still out for me.

I'm still holding onto the idea that the colonel is Starbuck's father, but that may just be the result of watching too many J.J. Abrahms shows where EVERYBODY'S related.

#14 CrimsonLine

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 02:15 PM

Mrs. CrimsonLine and I just finished re-re-watching Season 1, and watched Episode 1 of Season 2 last night. It's really one of the best shows on TV these days.

#15 D. Adam

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:01 PM

Caught this show in the middle of season 2 (and part two of a two-part episode) and it hooked me instantly. I should go back and watch the previous season-and-a-half, but what impressed me here was how each episode could stand by itself. Unlike other shows of the "continuing storyline" variety, such as (in my experience) Lost, Galactica relies on the strengths of its writing and performances rather than on in-jokes and week-to-week revelations. Not that I mind in-jokes and revelations...

Speaking of which, that season 2 finale...wow.

#16 Ann D.

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:27 PM

I agree; a person can jump into the middle of the story and not feel like they HAVE to start from the beginning for it to make sense. But the brilliance lies in the fact that, if you do start from the beginning, the middle makes wonderful sense. The continuity in this series is outstanding. Very similar to Deep Space Nine, which is not a coincidence, since Ron Moore used to write for DS9.

#17 NClarke

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 12:25 PM

I got hooked at the beginning of season 2 (I had watched some of the min-series and then forgot about it until I heard them talking about it on Best Week Ever.)
For a while my wife was working on Friday nights and BG made those evenings a little more bearable. I loved the religous themes but also the politcal ones - the episode where the prez has to make a decision about abortion is great.

spoilers1.gif

I think an interesting part about being a fan (evangelist?) of the show is trying to get people beyond their assumptions and to actually check it out. I don't know how many people have rolled their eyes when I lavish praises on it - in fairness, Sci-Fi is not known for the quality of their original programming (Pteredactly??). I tried to get my wife into it and she asked a question about what happened with the president's cancer (up to that point she had assumed that it was another geek show.)
Spoiler
I don't think I helped my case.


#18 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 11:53 PM

It's not just self-censorship, though. The original Battlestar Galactica was full of substitutions, like "yarn" for "years". The "frak" stuff could be seen as part of that tradition.

#19 BethR

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 06:56 AM

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Jul 25 2006, 12:53 AM) View Post

It's not just self-censorship, though. The original Battlestar Galactica was full of substitutions, like "yarn" for "years". The "frak" stuff could be seen as part of that tradition.

Similarly, Farscape's "translator microbes" seemed able to handle most terms except time and space units ("microts," "arns," "metras") and vulgarisms ("frell," "hezmana," "dren," etc.) All part of the alienation experience.

Ken's point is valid, nevertheless. Still, for audiences less jaded than we (and they do exist), I think there's still some value in such euphemisms. When I was much, much younger and encountered a crude character in a book saying something like "Stop mucking about..." or "get your mucking head out of the way" I got the point, but had no idea what "mucking" was substituting for.




#20 BethR

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 08:32 AM

It's back! I had to record the 2 hr. episode and haven't quite finished watching it, but it looks right up to last season's challenging complexities, so far. Or, is it trying too hard to reflect current events? Discuss! eek.gif