Battle Star Galactica

As a kid I watched the original Battle Star Gakactica series (BSG), so when they brought out the new ‘reimagining” I was interested. As I don’t watch TV let alone satellite, it took a couple of comments from the Byakhees to persuade me to invest in the first few DVDs, and its something I didn’t regret. Last week, thanks to the taxman, I got a load of money and treated myself to the original 1970’s version.

So after nearly 30 years I watched it again, I knew that one of the main criticisms of the original series was that it recycled footage a lot.

My veridict

I can see virtually all of the main charcters from the “reimagined” series easily enough. There was a lot of good acting and characterisation that came out despite the rather stilted dialogue, and ’70’s hair styles. There was way too much recycled footage of spacecraft and radar images, way way way too much !

I felt that the plots were rather rushed compared to the modern version which is rather odd as most people complain that TV shows today are too fast. No, in this case the original series tried to pack too much into their episodes and missed out loads of stuff – well unless they were simply missing a lot of back story. Talking of which, whilst the original series used various colloquial terms, like ‘frack’ (but not as often), it was littered with inconsistencies about whether they were leaving star systems, galaxies and so forth which the new series didn’t. This jarred a lot.

Starbuck’s role was understated even though he was often the central character in the plot. Apollo’s role was underplayed, especially his relationship with his father, and as for his sister…it seems strange any military would send an entire family into combat on the same ship.

For the colonial fleet to encounter so many ‘marooned’ human civilisations was also annoying. You don’t just suffer amnesia across an entire culture to that extent. One or two marooned or isolated settlement yes, but for every other planet to have them, well…

The computers again were quite quaint, and just goes to show how far we have come.

the news series starts out well, and many of the first series’ plots echo those from the original 1970’s series, and are much better conducted than the original series. The characters are much stronger. Sometimes the story lines can feel slow, but with hindsight they are paced about right. The re-use of stock footage is also lower though it does go on unsurprisingly.

I noticed that the ships in the colonial fleet were modelled on the originals which was a nice touch including the Rising Star’s concept.

The main disappointment is that most of the Cylons are the human masquerades, not the robotic type. There should have been more of the robots. Ironically there are many hat tips to the original series including the original “men in tin can suits”. They were at least a step up from the effette brain head cylons from the original series.

The new series is also much more consistent in its terms – there is no mention of new galaxies as it is plain they are travelling through a single galaxy. Scientifically it is also better for this, and has the issues of food and water supplies added to the plot. That said, some of the story arcs are too long and could have been shortened.

To summarise, the 1970’s series is full of good ideas, marred by some poor scripts that hurry the plot along, some hammy acting and so on. the new series is much more gritty and dark which you’ll either like or loathe.