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Battlestar Galactica (miniseries)

Battlestar Galactica (miniseries)

What he said:

He

If you wereto ask me for a rundown of the original television show, I couldn’t give you much. From what I can remember of it, it was a very thinly written, intentionally hokey, epic space opera written in the same vein of an old serial film. Try thinking of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, or even Star Wars if that helps.

Now if you were to tell me that someone is taking the basic premise of a show such as that and turning it into a legitimate drama, I would look at you like you walked into a Star Wars convention wearing a Starfleet uniform. But I promise you it not only works, but works extremely well. It will make you ponder all types of political, moral, and ethical questions.  

If shows like Lost, Breaking Bad, or The Walking Dead appeal to you, this one is bound to as well. I personally guarantee you that it’s the best show (most of) you never heard of/watched.

Long story short: In the BSG universe, it is believed that God created man and man in-turn created the Cylons (machines created to do manual labor for them). After a time, these machines become self aware and decided they don’t want to be used in that way anymore. So they revolt against man. A long, bloody battle ensues. Eventually a truce is negotiated and the Cylons flee the 12 colonies (the show takes place on 12 human-inhabited planets, not in our galaxy). After 40 years they return to carry out their revenge.

At this point in their history, most of the people involved have never even seen a Cylon. They only know of what their history books and legends tell them. A large part of the miniseries is focused on the shock of these people. Sure they’re in the military and all, but they’ve never really been at war with anyone. The portrayal of the shock these characters go through is done with such a genuine authenticity, that you don’t realize you’ve never heard of many of these actors before. The performances are that good.

There are many, many young actors to choose from, but leading the way are bad-ass, if not psychotic pilot Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (played by Katee Sackhoff). She curses like a sailor, drinks, smokes (cigars no less), and just also happens to be the best pilot in the fleet.

Complimenting her intensity is good guy pilot and son of the man in charge Lee “Apollo” Adama (played by Jamie Bamber). He starts out a little headstrong, but is always well-intentioned and willing to do his job. You may not always agree with him, but you’ll respect him.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have veteran actors such as Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama) and Mary McDonnell (President Laura Rosalin). They are the “mother and father” of the fleet. They are fantastic, but I would be remiss if I left out Michael Hogan (who plays Colonel Saul Tighe). WOW is all I can say about his performance. Olmos and McDonnell are more well-known to wider audiences and are wonderful, but Hogan will floor you. His portrayal of the hard-assed second in command of Galactica is top-notch. He’s the bad cop to Olmos’ good cop. Oh and he just also happens to be a major alcoholic.

Anyways, the movie focuses primarily on the Cylon’s revenge and how humanity plans to react to it. It is a wonderful set up for the next four seasons (which without giving too much away is basically a cat and mouse game between man and machine).

If you avoided this because it’s science fiction you’re making a mistake. This is a drama set in a science fiction universe. At its core, it’s about people and the struggles they face.

Rating: Thumbs enthusiastically up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on March 8, 2011.

What she said:

She

I’ve never seen the original Battlestar Galactica but it’s apparently a hokey space soap opera.  The new one (actually it’s 8 years old now) is very, very serious.  There’s nothing hokey about it, and that’s what makes it beautiful.  Battlestar tells a sci-fi story, but does so with realistic and flawed characters that are relatable.  The movie/show also challenges political and societal norms, asking some difficult questions. 

The He and I recently sat down to review the mini-series movie that started it all, and I have to say, the magic was still there.  I’m amazed that the same channel that brought us Mega Python vs. Gatoroid also created Battlestar.  Of course, the movie is not perfect, but it has a legitimate cinematic feel, a strong storyline, and intense music.  I think the production value is better than half of the stuff you see on network TV. 

So here’s the synopses, God created man, and man created machine, but now machine has turned on man.  There was a truce in place, but the Cylons (those are the machines) have gotten insider information and are using it now to demolish mankind.  The colonies (there are many human inhabited planets) are being destroyed, and the only survivors left are aboard spaceships.  The namesake of the show is an old military craft that was about to be retired to museum status.  The ship, and its fleet, are forced to fight for their lives and the future of the race.  There’s lots of tears, plenty of space fights, and a little romance. 

As I mentioned before, the quality is there.  The young actors are quite good, as veterans Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell lead the way.  You don’t have to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy this, although it helps.  The overarching stories and themes have mainstream appeal.  It always amazed me that this movie/show was not more popular.  At least we all got several good years.  Check out the mini-series that started it all.  It should impress you.

Diagnosis: Thumbs up.