Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica (2004): Season 1 – Possibly the Best Show on Television

I was a huge fan of the original Battlestar Galactica from back in the late 1970s. I loved the show and was devoted to it for years, despite the fact that it only lasted for one season. You can even see a fanfic I wrote at: http://galacticafanfic.com/stories/legbetra.txt

When it was announced that the show was being re-done for the Sci-Fi Channel. I was skeptical but optimistic. I’d heard so many rumors of the show being resurrected through the years and nothing had come to fruition. This time, Ronald D. Moore of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame would be at the helm so it looked like it was a go.

However, my skeptical optimism soon waned when I heard about some of the changes being made. I knew some things would be advanced just due to the better quality of effects through the years, and hopefully being out of the constraints of the 7PM Sunday time-slot ABC had pigeon-holed the original Battlestar Galactica would enable the writers to branch out a bit with the scripts.

I was not prepared for a few things. I was not prepared for the characters to have last names. That just seemed… wrong. I was not prepared for the Cylons to look human. They were supposed to be shiny chrome-domes. I didn’t like the nuclear factor in the new weaponry. It was supposed to be all lasers and science-fiction weaponry, not stuff that we could envision on our own planet. Most of all, I was not prepared for the characters of Boomer and Starbuck to be women. Mostly, it was Starbuck.

After a couple of years, I was prepared to revisit the new series with an open mind. This collection for the first season begins with the miniseries that was start of the new series. This told the story of the betrayal of the truce the Cylons and humans had for decades and the nuclear attack. It set the stage for the humans to escape their nuclear-ridden planets that made up the twelve colonies and follow Commander Adama (portrayed by Edward James Olmos) on what he said was a quest for the mythical planet of Earth.

After viewing that, I was interested in the series and watched the DVDs from the first season. The story was very good and I was sucked in almost immediately. Things I had problems with during the first run seemed to be themes that came up again here. The President of the Colonies was killed in the attack. The highest surviving cabinet member is his Secretary of Education, Laura Roslin (portrayed by Mary McDonnell). She becomes the new President and rather than the fleet of surviving ships being led in a manner that seems to be more of a fascist military regime, there are conflicts between the military vision and the vision President Roslin has for the people in the fleet.

The character of Gaius Baltar (portrayed by James Callis) still is the traitor of humanity, although this time it was done largely unintentionally. He suffers through the guilt of what he’s done and how he inadvertently helped them destroy humanity. Either through a connection he doesn’t know about or his own conscience he is haunted, tormented even, by the Cylon woman he was sleeping with, known as Number Six (portrayed by Tricia Helfer). I think it’s better to have him with the fleet, rather than with the Cylons where his role was quite limited.

The crew of the Galactica is interesting. Adama’s son Lee (portrayed by Jamie Bamber) is not the devoted son Apollo was in the original series. Their relationship is strained and Lee often disagrees with his father’s views. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (portrayed by Katee Sackoff) is as brash and hard-living as the original character. I really am not warming up to her character, but perhaps that is the point. Sharon “Boomer” Valerii (portrayed by Grace Park) is actually one of the Cylons. She has a duplicate back on the planet Caprica who has a second storyline as well.

The stories of the season are quite good. There were a few instances where I could see the new stories were inspired by stories from the original series. I liked that a lot. It paid homage to it without being blatant. The remake of “Gun on Ice Planet Zero” (“Bastille Day”) is pretty good, creating the need for water in the fleet and using the same premise of having to use criminals. Richard Hatch comes on as a terrorist imprisoned for his crimes who now must be asked to help. At the end of the episode, the president tells Lee “You’re Captain Apollo” – I guess that is supposed to be the hand-off.

There’s the same theme here of Starbuck’s guilt over the death of Adama’s other son, Zac (this time prior to the series), and how it affects her training new pilots. This story also combines in a way with “The Return of Starbuck” from the second attempt at BSG in 1980.

There are scenes taking place back in the colonies, where the Cylon robots are hunting down the survivors. This was never done originally and it’s a very good storyline. Other storylines include terrorist bombings when a Cylon who looks like a human blows himself up and nearly takes out Commander Adama and Colonel Tigh (portrayed by Michael Hogan) as well. Paranoia descends over the fleet and especially those in charge when they realize that the Cylons can look human.

The effects are terrific. The vipers and Cylon raiders move through space in a way that I have never seen before. The explosions, whether on Caprica or in space are also done quite well. The CGI ships and the new Cylons that don’t look human are also terrific. I was impressed with the effects as they haven’t gone overboard.

I am enjoying the series quite a bit. It has built on some of the old themes and done it quite well. The stories are more mature than the original series and have good scripts. The acting is high caliber and the cast comes together well in their roles. The cliffhanger at the end of this first season is excellent and draws me into watching the next season quite well.


Disc 1

Battlestar Galactica miniseries

Disc 2

• 33
• Water
• Bastille Day
• Act of Contrition

Disc 3

• You Can’t Go Home Again
• Litmus
• Six Degrees of Separation
• Flesh and Bone

Bonus Material: Commentary on 33, Bastille Day, and Act of Contrition

Disc 4

• Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
• The Hand of God
• Colonial Day
• Kobol’s Last Gleaming (Part 1)

Bonus Material: Commentary on Kobol’s Last Gleaming Part 1

Disc 5

• Kobol’s Last Gleaming (Part 2)

Bonus Material: Commentary on Kobol’s Last Gleaming Part 2

BONUS MATERIAL:

• Behind the Scenes
• Battlestar Galactica Series Lowdown
• Deleted Scenes
• Sketches and Art


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