Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: Reimagined – Chapter 1 – The Mini-Series

What normally begins as a “routine” meeting between the humans and the Cylons – one which the Cylons never appear for – changes when the Colonial Officer charged with going to the meeting comes face-to-face with two advanced robots, who herald the coming of a beautiful woman who spends her time kissing the bewildered officer. As she continues to kiss him, a large ship appears overhead and blasts the meeting place, a remote outpost, to subatomic particles. She tells the man in between kisses that “It Has Begun,” and the station finally blows itself apart from the barrage.

Meanwhile, aboard the Battlestar Galactica, a blonde woman is jogging as part of her morning workout. There is a news crew that follows a tour guide around as he explains the Battlestar Galactica’s backstory – constructed during the early days of the Cylon revolt, the Galactica is the “last Battlestar of her kind” from those early days.

Commander Adama talks with the blonde jogger, whom we find out is Starbuck. It turns out that Galactica is going to be retired. Adama is preparing a speech about the Cylon War being over, and Colonel Tigh passes by the same tour group, who continues backstory: The Galactica is considered ancient because of the threat the Cylons possessed – an ability to infiltrate computer systems and control them.

In the hangar bay, a mini-ceremony takes place for Adama, as his old Viper is unveiled, restored to flight-readiness. Also, the crew finds a picture of Adama with his two children in front of his Viper. In the officer’s club, Starbuck and Colonel Tigh are playing a game of Pyramids and tensions flare between the two. Colonel Tigh turns over the table and Starbuck punches him. The others come between the two.

On an earth-like planet, a woman is at a doctor, who tells her that some test came back positive.

Meanwhile, in Caprica City, the same woman who was seen on the station is now walking through a marketplace with a suitcase in her hand. She comes across a woman and her child. The “Cylon?” woman reaches down and snaps the neck of the baby while the mother is distracted by her husband asking for something. The “Cylon?” walks away as the mother anguishes over the apparent death of her child. The “Cylon?” is very sad, which is supposed to signal something even worse coming.

At an opulent home overlooking a view of a pristine lake, a news organization is interviewing Dr. Gaius Baltar, who is a preeminent scientist and a confidant of President Adar. He talks about the “ban” on artificial intelligence research and how such a ban is hampering human progress in the name of preventing a “Second Cylon Uprising.” Meanwhile, the “Cylon?” woman has now entered the house with a sheer outfit and Victoria’s Secret-style Lingerie on. The interview concludes and the two engage in sex. During their tryst, there is a red beam that seems to move up and down her spine.

A Viper lands on the Galactica – which belongs to Captain Lee Adama. He meets with the crew chief. They move to a Raptor where a female pilot comes out and starts arguing with the crew chief. They go into a supply closet and start ripping each other’s clothes off.

Later, Colonel Tigh begins a briefing concerning the maneuvers for the Galactica’s retirement, and Lee Adama’s attitude concerning his role further demonstrates the animosity he feels towards his father.

Back on Caprica, Baltar and “Cylon?” Woman are walking along as he brags about reaching a threshold with a project. “Cylon?” Woman explains that she ‘rewrote’ half of the project and Baltar reminds her that she also got a chance to look around in the defense mainframe (ostensibly for creating a program to replace the current system). The two then engage in a conversation about religion. They go their separate ways, but the “Cylon?” Woman is now not as affectionate – and she tells no one in particular, “It’s about time you got here.”

Back aboard Galactica, the old Cylon Centurion and a model of the old Cylon Basestar are shown. A Viper moves into position, and the woman from the medical office earlier on is now onboard the ship – as she is going to be the civilian official overseeing the Galactica’s decommission firsthand. Her aide is behind her and the PR Guide as they go to their quarters, but he gets distracted while ogling a female crewmember and loses his way. He ends up following the female crewmember and they have a stilted conversation.

Adama and Secretary Roslin, who was identified earlier by a PA Announcement, have a terse discussion over the lack of networked computer systems onboard Galactica. It ends as the female crewmember, now dressed, leads their aide back to the group.

Captain Adama meets Lt. Thrace in the brig, where they catch up on old times. Things turn sour when Kara mentions Zac and Commander Adama. Captain Adama leaves before another fight starts.

Back at the Baltar house, the “Cylon?” woman wakes Gaius up, who happens to be in bed with another woman.

On board the Galactica once more, Lee Adama and his father William have a very tense chat about what happened to Zac, whom we find out was “washed out” of the Academy and was given his wings because Zac’s father was the legendary Commander of the Battlestar Galactica.

Back at Baltar Manor, the “Cylon?” woman reveals her ‘true’ self to Gaius. It now turns out that she used Psy-Ops on Baltar to make him more amenable to helping her cause – and now he realizes exactly what he has done. When he calls his attorney, the Cylon woman tells him that “Humanity’s Children are returning…today,” and a large explosion is seen in the distance.

As the decommissioning ceremony takes place, we see a fighter fly-by led by Captain Adama. In the background is the familiar refrain from the original Battlestar Galactica series. Commander Adama gives a speech, which is supposed to be a catharsis for Commander Adama…and a foreboding of things to come.

Back in Baltar Manor, Gaius watches as Caprica is being destroyed by giant explosions. As he panics, the Cylon woman tells him that there are more copies of her out there…so she cannot die. She also identifies herself as “Six.” We see more explosions on Caprica.

Commander Adama is in his quarters when he gets a call from the bridge that a Cylon attack is underway.

As the chaos and confusion begin, Commander Adama summons Kara to the bridge. He has her take the old Vipers and move them to the other bay to load and scramble – as the current bay is being used as a Gift Shop. Meanwhile, the new Vipers, along with a Raptor piloted by Boomer, confront the “new” Cylon fighters. The new fighters shut down the Viper squadron’s computers and blow them to bits. Boomer escapes with the Raptor, but is damaged.

Aboard the transport, Secretary Roslin has heard about the destruction of the Colonies and takes command of the ship. Captain Adama flies escort and defends the ship against a missile attack.

Boomer’s Raptor, now down on the surface of Caprica to repair the damage, is mobbed by survivors of the Caprica attacks, which happens to include Gaius.

On board the transport, Lee Adama finds that Secretary Roslin is in charge of the situation. Back on Caprica, Boomer and Helo keep the civilians from boarding their ship. Boomer allows the children to board, led by “Boxey,” who kisses his mother “Serena” goodbye.

At a gathering of the fleet, Roslin learns that she is now the President of the Council, and attempts to take stock of the situation. The agro-ship has turned into an emergency transport, and Roslin is talking with the Captain. However, the Cylons appear, fly through the fleet and hyper-jump away. Commander Adama and President Roslin order the fleet to jump away, but many of the ships do not have FTL drives, and the ships without them are left at the mercy of the Cylon Raiders that show up.

The Galactica finds a weapons supply depot inside of an irradiated nebula. This nebula’s radiation is supposed to keep the Cylons out.

[WRITER’S NOTE: Synopsis terminated due to inanity of the episode.  The entire Mini-Series was viewed in its entirety…eventually]

Review and Thoughts:

Someone, please tell me…

Please…

That this premiere is the worst of the new Galactica to come…

Please…

Watching this was an experience…similar to watching the gunk pour out of a car’s oil pan during an oil and lube job. Or watching any of the Star Wars Prequels – especially Attack of the Clowns Clones.

I don’t even know where to begin with this. So I will start with the beginning:

Watching the prologue, I had very bad flashbacks to watching the David Hue powerbomb movie “Future War,” because this movie begins in almost the same amateurish way: Show some pointless scenes that are supposed to get our attention, while using subtitles and voiceovers to bring the audience up to speed with what we are about to see. In the case of Future War, it was supposed to be humans vs. Dinosaurs and Cyborgs, with the Dinosaurs making the appearance first, then the possibility of Cyborgs in the opening credit montage and with the subsequent subtitles.

Battlestar Galactica’s opening is on the same level, and even worse. We get a subtitled narration that the humans created Cylons as a slave race, which revolted. There was a war, then the Cylons sued for peace, and left. A station was built so that human-Cylon relations could be maintained. The Cylons ignored the meeting every year since the beginning until one day, when they send 2 poorly designed VFX “Cylons” – which was supposed to be deal-breaker number 1 (New Machine-like Cylons! OMG!Shock) and deal-breaker number 2 was the “hot blonde” who came with them…who kissed the old Colonial warrior after walking in a way that was supposed to pass for seductive.

Glorious Pretentiousness: Mystery without an Actual Plot

The reason for the subtitled back-story is plain; the majority of the shot is used to establish how the space VFX would be handled in the new series – with “attention to gravity and the use of ‘Space Shuttle-like’ thruster burns.” That is all – and nothing more. This is a case of wasting an entire scene just to make a minor point – much like the whole mass dance number and Neo/Trinity Love-making scene intersperse – it is just so that Neo has another nightmare and curls up in Trinity’s arms (from “The Matrix Reloaded”); or, much like the first 7 minutes after the opening credits in Devil Fish.

Prologue/Scene 1 if I had to Re-Write it:

The shuttle pilot and the negotiations officer talk to pass the time. Their demeanor should make clear that these two personnel have been sent on this mission before, and the Cylons never bother to show themselves. The idea is to establish a natural and human connection of the show with the viewer. This can be done without having to explain the back-story in detail; instead use the banter between the two crewmembers to establish what is immediately about to happen – and use any emotional ties to explain their dislike of the Cylon uprising.

Let’s Turn Up the OMG!Sexy Quotient:

If the Cylons were going to blow up the Conference Station anyway, what was the purpose of Six kissing the Colonial Negotiator...except as an attempt to cheaply charge the male viewers' libido?

If the Cylons were going to blow up the Conference Station anyway, what was the purpose of Six kissing the Colonial Negotiator...except as an attempt to cheaply charge the male viewers' libido?

Any scene with Tricia Helfer in it. In the prologue, a Cylon who is supposed to look like a beautiful woman who kisses the first man she sees. This was supposed to be a scene that establishes that the enemy is brand new…and just like humans! Then, we get her kissing Baltar and ripping clothes off. But, on top of this, every single item that this particular Cylon is dressed in is supposed to be someone’s idea of seductive or sexy. It does nothing to set the tone or the plot.

Where your attention is supposed to be for this shot.  Note that this only person who wears the BDU open with bare abs.

Where your attention is supposed to be for this shot. Note that this only person who wears the BDU open with bare abs.

During the Pyramids game, there is a scene where the attention is obviously supposed to be on the woman who has her BDU-shirt completely open, exposing her tank-top athletic bra and washboard stomach, as she walks across the screen. We don’t get to see her face.

Chief Tyrrol gets into an argument with Grace Park-Boomer about flight maneuvers, which leads to them going into some kind of storage room, which in turn leads to clothes-ripping sex.

Tricia Helfer sidebar:

Tricia Helfer as "Six."  Has as much screen presence as Galactica's CGI.

Tricia Helfer as "Six." Has as much screen presence as Galactica's CGI.

Tricia Helfer cannot act. As a matter of fact, there is not one scene where Tricia is not attempting to be someone seductive – and not one scene where Tricia is not dressed in something skimpy or skintight. Also, note how often the song “By Your Command” from the Mini-Series soundtrack plays whenever Tricia shows up on the screen – as if trying to indicate that her presence on the screen is supposed to be profound and important in some way. Here is the rub:  Tricia only gets one line – as this was meant as throwaway – where her character was supposed to be “smart” (She had to rewrite half of his AI Program Protocols or some other such Sci-Fi claptrap).  She spends the rest of the mini trying to be sexy or having sex or being seductive or attempting the “Femme Fatale” role they had in mind for her.  Her role is to have the young male viewers stare at her, entranced by her “beauty,” thus not paying attention to the sad fact that her role could have been removed completely from the show and the show itself suffers no adverse consequences because of it.

Oh, and I also happen to find Tricia completely unactractive.

Let’s Turn Up the OMG!Shock Quotient:

Snapping the neck of an infant before the city gets hit with a nuke as a mercy killing?  Only if you've never fought in a war.

Snapping the neck of an infant before the city gets hit with a nuke as a mercy killing? Only if you've never fought in a war.

The first scene that was supposed to indicate that this new version of Galactica was about the Dark theme would come from Tricia Helfer when she is walking through the outdoor marketplace. She holds a small infant and decides to put the infant out of its misery by snapping its neck. Again, this was supposed to be considered thought-provoking because this death was to be considered a merciful ending for the baby because of the upcoming Armageddon at the hands of the Cylons.

Want cheap dark drama?  Kill the little girl!

Want cheap dark drama? Kill the little girl!

Later, when the Cylons attack what is left of the Colonials that could not jump, an inordinate amount of attention is placed on a little girl playing with her doll, while the Cylon missiles ravage the fleet. Of course, it all fades to white to signify that the ship was destroyed.

The Inevitable Commentary on Starbuck:

Katee Sackhoff as Dirk Benedict.  Just don't let Dirk hear you say that.

Katee Sackhoff as Dirk Benedict. Just don't let Dirk hear you say that.

I purposely avoided this series until now for several reasons:

First, there was the big deal being made by people on all sides about Starbuck going from blonde-haired male to blonde haired female. A much smaller deal was made about Boomer going from Black Male to Asian Female. Very few of these same places ever noted that Colonel Tigh went from Black Male to White Male. Watching a series when you have this kind of cloud of controversy is the best way to have your views clouded by praise and/or criticism by others concerning characters and/or plots and/or show-runners.

But since the focus looks like it is going to be on Starbuck, I should bring up my criticism of Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck once again: Boring and for the most part uninteresting; spends too much time doing the typical “manly” things – smoking cigars, chasing women, drinking off-duty, and hanging out with BFF Apollo.

Katee Sackhoff’s Starbuck does something that I never thought would have been possible: Make Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck someone I would rather watch in comparison. KS-Starbuck, as written and produced by Eick and Moore, was supposed to be “Girl Power, hear me roar” by having her in many of the same situations as Dirk’s Starbuck (drinking, smoking cigars, playing Colonial Poker, etc), but her attitude towards her own fellow crewmembers and superiors is not only all wrong, it is also a prime example of how to write cheap drama and find yourself backing into corners all the time. Dirk’s Starbuck, while cocky, arrogant and a gambler with more than cubits, has few deep-seated hatreds of subjects not concerning Cylons -with the possible exception of Ortega (from the episode “Murder on the Rising Star“). Katee’s Starbuck, unfortunately, is not only filled with the same arrogance as Dirk’s, the “redeemable” qualities that Dirk’s Starbuck at least demonstrated have been replaced with more anger and snarky behavior.  This is OK if you’re writing suburban teen angst like Buffy or Dawson’s Creek, but it doesn’ t work that well for a military-based show, which this new Galactica purports itself to be at times.

Colonel John McCain Tigh

Colonel John McCain Tigh

What is also bothersome to this reviewer is that the only person willing to keep her in line was Colonel Tigh, who looks like Senator John McCain – only drunk all the time (wait a moment…is there a difference?). Starbuck punches him in the face, calls him “weak,” and generally tries to make Tigh’s life a living hell whenever she can.  Kara Thrace’s behavior as demonstrated in the Galactica mini-series would have gotten her booted out of any military outfit here on Earth, regardless of her stated talents and regardless of her flight record.

The Enemy No Longer Has a Voice:

CGI-drawn New Cylon Centurion.  Bigger, and More Menacing...But They Stand Around and Do Absolutely Nothing.

CGI-drawn New Cylon Centurion. Bigger, and More Menacing...But They Stand Around and Do Absolutely Nothing.

None of the Cylon Robot Centurions, when they were shown, were actually allowed to do or say anything of any meaning at all. The Cylon Raiders are now supposedly cybernetics fused with organics as ships. With the main thrust of the Cylon attackers now reduced to CGI, their actual voice and any agency they had in the original version of Battlestar Galactica is now reduced to zero.  So, the more advanced Cylon “Robots” – the ones who actually have to do the fighting – have been reduced to faceless grunts for the humans to blast away.

Down the Roads Often Traveled:

Now the Cylons are products of Man. This means that, once again, Humanity is responsible for the creation of a superior form of thinking that turns against them for whatever reason.

The problem is that we have been down this road far too often.

Cyberdyne Systems 101.  Designed and Built by SkyNet.

Cyberdyne Systems 101. Designed and Built by SkyNet.

In, “The Terminator,” Humanity creates Skynet, which decides that Humans are not worth allowing to remain on the planet and launches the American nuclear arsenal.

The Architect as a Machine Construct (The Matrix Revolutions)

The Architect as a Machine Construct (The Matrix Revolutions)

In, “The Matrix” series, Humanity creates the Machines AI, which decides to rebel when Humanity enslaves the machines for their own comfort.

Phaeton, leader of the Neo-Sapiens (Exosquad)

Phaeton, leader of the Neo-Sapiens (Exosquad)

Even in “Exosquad,” Humanity creates a race of Super-Humans called “Neo-Sapiens,” who are stronger, faster, and more intelligent. They rebel against the Humans, who treat them like slaves. The Japanese get in on the act with the “Bubblegum Crisis” series, which takes place in the future where robots have replaced humans in the menial work environments. Some of these machines, called “Boomers” (irony, anyone?) become self-aware and begin to rebel against the humans, which means that the Advanced Division Police (or AD Police) or the mercenary group of bounty hunters called the “Knight Sabers” have to stop them.

Oh, and a lowly cabinet member suddenly thrust into the presidency because of crisis? Take your pick – “By Dawn’s Early Light” or the TV series “Commander in Chief.”

The Cylons as Androids who infiltrate the humans to cause mayhem? Even this is not original. Larson and company, in what was going to be Galactica Season 2, planned on the Cylons making this specific upgrade – and taking over the Battlestar Pegasus on top of this. This would have also had the additional problem of turning the method of fighting the Cylons on its proverbial head (as well as made for cheaper expenditures – paying regular actors instead of dressing stuntmen and football/basketball players in tinfoil suits is always a better option for time). The ultimate point? Larson penned this idea almost 30 years ago. (Further information on Galactica’s Season 2 Proposal can be found here.)

In other words, not a twist on a new idea, but a rehash.  And, a very poor and hackneyed rehash at that.

Speaking of Lost Agency and Removal of Voice:

Serina and Boxey - Reimagined.  Considering their entrance, you will never see them again in this show.  Ever.

Serina and Boxey - Reimagined. Considering their entrance, you will never see them again in this show. Ever.

Serina and Boxey. In the original, Serina was a televid news reporter. Originally, Serina was also supposed to have been a [former] member of the Caprican Council – which is how Adama recognized Serina at the landing site after the Cylon Armageddon. Serina would go on to become a Colonial Shuttle Pilot – and then quickly re-assigned to pilot one of the Vipers. Serina would prove a capable pilot. Unfortunately, she would die at the hands of the Cylons on Kobol – but she would die as a Colonial Warrior.

Serina, in the revision, is simply a mother of a young kid, who just happens to be named Boxey. She watches her son be evacuated off of the planet. We never see Serina again.

Camera Work – FAIL:

Far too often, the camera work was attempting to convey some kind of “documentary” style footage, thus the camera-swaying like it is a handheld at times. It was overused by minute number 13 in the mini-series. Unfortunately, the method of camera work and jump-cutting in this mini-series is very distracting and the editors involved need to be blasted. It is one thing for using VFX to cover a lack of story; and quite another to over-use VFX techniques because it is an attempt to get people’s attention. Battlestar: Revised follows the latter here, and the failure shows in droves. The inability to focus in on any single subject for more than a second or two during battle scenes unless it is supposed to be a shocking moment about to happen detracts from the slightly better SFX work in this show as opposed to the original show – in terms of technical setup.

Missing in Action:

Athena.  Since her role would get in the way of Apollo-Starbuck coupling, she gets canned.

Athena. Since her role would get in the way of Apollo-Starbuck coupling, she gets canned.

Athena, who started as Adama’s daughter. No mention of her anywhere.

Cassiopeia.  The producers saw your original role as nothing but "Starbuck's Girlfriend."  Since Starbuck is now a woman, you have to leave.

Cassiopeia. The producers saw your original role as nothing but "Starbuck's Girlfriend." Since Starbuck is now a woman, you have to leave.

Also, apparently, there was no use whatsoever for Cassiopeia.

Reduced to an Off-Screen Plot Device:

Zac (played by 70s Teen Hearthrob Rick Springfield).  You've been reduced from tragic first casualty in the Cylon Armageddon to mere plot point for sexual tension.

Zac (played by 70s Teen Hearthrob Rick Springfield). You've been reduced from tragic first casualty in the Cylon Armageddon to mere plot point for sexual tension.

Zac. In the original, Zac’s first patrol as a Colonial Warrior would be aboard the Galactica during the Cylon Armistice (which was a Cylon Trap). His Viper was damaged when the Cylons sprang the trap. He managed to hold off the Cylons to allow his older brother Apollo to make it back to the ship – but he would be destroyed just short of the Galactica.

Now, he was simply some kid who happened to be Adama’s youngest son who wanted to follow in his famous father’s and older brother’s footsteps. Unfortunately (as is the case in sci-fi shows like this), he was never that good of a pilot. But Starbuck, who was supposedly sleeping with him at the time, passed him through training. He would die in a flight accident, which then sets Lee Adama (Apollo) and Kara Thrace (Starbuck) against each other for years to come.

Reduced to an Off-Screen Happen-to-Mention:

From onscreen tragic moment of a regretful decision to an offscreen barely mention.  Notice a pattern here?

From onscreen tragic moment of a regretful decision to an offscreen barely mention. Notice a pattern here?

President Adar. Still the Idiot-in-Chief. But he doesn’t even rate for more than a few mentions before he gets crispy fried.  Additionally, the original President Adar’s mistake was trusting the Cylon Imperious Leader’s petition for Armistice at complete face value (thanks to the duplicitous Count Baltar).  This time around, Adar’s mistake was allowing Baltar to advance Artificial Intelligence by way of Six, who turns out to be a Cylon Android.

Baltar – Reduced Villain:

This Dr. Gaius Baltar is a sniveling coward whom were supposed to pay attention to because he has Tricia Helfer in a skintight dress playing mind games with him.  All the while, we are supposed to wonder whether or not he would be brought to any kind of justice for his role in aiding the Destruction of the Colonies.  Oh, and he apparently likes to sleep with women.  However, instead of the colonies being destroyed because the enemy took advantage of his greed, the colonies are destroyed because a prominent scientist was having an illicit relationship with an enemy ‘sleeper’ agent.

Even the villains are reduced in scope and scale.

Bring On the Tokens:

Just to give you an idea of how much I cared not for the mini-series, this is the only entry whatsoever for the Diversity Q/C concerning the mini. While we were supposed to gaze on the fact that Starbuck is now a super-tough, military sexy, hotshot pilot, we were also supposed to focus our gaze on Six (who also happens to be blonde like Starbuck), and, to a lesser extent Sharon Valerii/Boomer (who plays a ‘non-descript Asian female). However, with Sharon, it turns out that she is a “Cylon Sleeper Agent,” which was supposed to be another one of those OMG!Shock moments.

However, it just reinforces a stereotype within Sci-Fi: Women of Color will be pegged as agents of evil or background clutter opposed to the white girl we’re supposed to salivate over (and Grace Park’s Boomer is hit with both of these tenets). I would say that this is yet another strike against BSG Revised, but they have already been pitching a shutout to this point.

And On the Background Clutter:

Sharon Valerii (Boomer) as a "Cylon" Sleeper Agent.  Way to continue the tropes of Women of Color AND ruin the suspense at the same time, guys.

Sharon Valerii (Boomer) as a "Cylon" Sleeper Agent. Way to continue the tropes of Women of Color AND ruin the suspense at the same time, guys.

Sharon Valeri (Boomer) was saddled with Sci-Fi WoC Trope #2 – The Traitor, with a dose of Trope #1 – The Token on the side. There are two other Women of Color who are a bit beyond the background clutter, and both happen to Black.

Battlestar Reimagined recruits their own Lt. Nyota Uhura.

Battlestar Reimagined recruits their own Lt. Nyota Uhura.

The first, named Duella, is simply Sci-Fi WoC Trope #1 – The Token.

Priestess Elosha.

Priestess Elosha.

The Second, Priestess Elosha, also happens to be Sci-Fi WoC Trope #1 – The Token. She does, however, warrant a mention as a possible WoC Trope #3 – The Incompetent, because her opening scene has her not really being able to perform at her duty, and has to be bailed out by Commander Adama’s boast of Earth’s location.

Oh, and no Men of Color as Viper or Raptor pilots.

The expectations just keep getting lower and lower.

Larson, in less than 25 minutes, was able to establish the plot, the setting, the enemy, give us all of Adama’s kids as pilots, a somewhat diverse main council, Caucasian, Black, and Asian pilots and support personnel, as well as give the enemy their own distinct voice. Eick and Moore, in almost three hours, cannot even supply the audience with half of this.

Destruction of Focus:

One of the things that happens when you remake an original is the want to show a more technological version of a specific scene. Sometimes, this is called, “Showing the true vision of what was supposed to be seen.” This is evident in the Star Wars: Original Trilogy Special Edition, where additional scenes and revamped special effects are used liberally throughout the films. The end result is the Star Wars: Prequels, where there is more CGI used in the first film than the original 3 released SW movies combined. The point of this, however, is that the characters in the prequels lost something – and that something was called a personal connection. The Yoda in the prequels, while able to walk and fight with a lightsaber, does not have the same “warmth” of connection that the Yoda, a mere puppet in The Empire Strikes Back, seemed to have with the audience.

In other words, CGI makes things look somewhat better and more fluid, but something important gets lost in translation.

What does this have to do with the Mini-Series? The Cylon Armageddon. The original series had the Cylons going up close and personal with the Colonials, bombing everything in sight, causing mayhem and destruction on a scale unseen in the War…ever. Making things worse was the fact that the Galactica’s crew had to witness the slaughter of their home planets – knowing that there was nothing they could do to stop it or even slow it down. Seeing the faces of those losing their friends, their family, their homes – all across the board – drives this point home.

While the mini has nuclear mushroom clouds that look like they’ve been borrowed from T3, as well as Commander Adama giving a Trailer Quote (As of this moment, we are at WAR!), there is no similar moment that allows a pause to take in what has happened at this point – and at this scale.

Role Reprisal?

Mary McConnell as Laura Roslin...or is it Marilyn Whitmore?  Or is it Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Mary McConnell as Laura Roslin...or is it Marilyn Whitmore? Or is it Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Now, I want to talk about one of the “original” characters of Battlestar: Revised, President Roslin. A little bit of trivia – Mary McConnell, who plays Laura Roslin, the last surviving member of President Adar’s cabinet, played Mrs. Whitmore in the movie Independence Day. The reason for mentioning this is the role of Mrs. Whitmore in ID4 was considered to be a very poor version of (then First Lady) Hillary Rodham Clinton. Laura Roslin, on the other hand, seems like an updated – but still poor – version of former Presidential Candidate (and current Secretary of State) Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Final Analysis:

[Absolute Failure] 0.2 of 10 points. If this Mini-Series was supposed to be a new and edgy re-imagining of Glen Larson’s Battlestar Galactica, it fails on far too many levels.

The first level is that this new version is obsessed with sex, gratuitous love-making, navel-gazing…literally, characters (especially women) who thumb their nose at authority, and ineffective and/or drunk miltary officers.

The second level is the absolute waste of SFX and VFX in this series. The new Cylon “Robots” were nothing more than life-sized automatons serving a new set of masters – Cylon “androids” who infiltrated the colonies waiting for the chance to “strike” once more against humanity.  There is no sense of any kind of power structure within the Cylon race. In this instance, it was supposed to point to a “collective” in many ways similar to the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager. But, as it seems to be the case with so much of the new mini-series, it tries to unveil a “new twist” and misses the mark by a wide margin. The Cylons actions were almost random and its plans ambiguous throughout the mini-series.  Thus, it would seem that the Cylon Robots have traded one set of Slavemasters (The Colonial Humans) for another (The Cylon “Human-like Androids).  There was no difference in how the Cylons were being used by the Androids versus the Colonials.

The other item regarding the new miniseries is how often the “enemy” is engaged and where. In the original Galactica, the Cylons engaged in battle both on the ground and in the stars. Because the new series decided to make their ground automaton Cylons as VFX characters, the number of battles and how those battles take place are now extremely limited. Take note that at no time during the mini-series, the new VFX Cylons ever engaged the Colonials in ground combat. Or, for that matter, also take note that beyond the opening sequence and the very end, you don’t see any of the Centurion Cylons in any other scene…ever.

There is very little connection with anything in the new mini-series in terms of characters. It is a failing struggle to find a single character or plot point that makes Galactica stand on its own as unique storytelling that would make for repeat viewing.

Basically, I kept waiting for something, anything, to happen to make me want to watch more with a sense of building to solve the mystery that is this show. That moment never came.  Characters are reduced in scale and scope in terms of what role they play in the Galactica Universe, while others are simply removed from the story for being inconvenient to a plot that the writers wanted to push.

In the end, the problem with this show is the writing. The Dark, Edgy, Sexy that Galactica: Revised claims is the simple, cheap, “Let’s Shock the Audience” with a (predictable) twist to get people to talk about the show. There is very little to connect with on any other level as an audience participant, as the “human” connection with any part of the characters is just cumbersome at best.  If I were to make another prediction, based on how David Eick and Ronald Moore have used their creative talent to write and produce for other shows, I am willing to stake a claim that there will be times where, for the sake of wanting to tell a specific story in a specific way, they will sacrifice the mythology and premise of the show to accomplish this.

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9 Responses to Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: Reimagined – Chapter 1 – The Mini-Series

  1. JB says:

    I find your “deconstruction” of BSG to be a very borish, arrogant and intellectually diminished commentary.

    Not only do you consistently spin aspects of the show to suit your pro-TOS agenda, but you consistently miss the mark each and every time when it comes to the characters, the plot and the overall storyline.

    This version of BSG isn’t a continuation, nor is it a direct copy of the original. The absence of certain key characters and the changes they’ve made make for a much better, much more realistic and far superior piece of fiction compared to TOS.

    Now of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, however your “opinion” here is derived from a very biased perspective (obviously) and lends itself to a hatchet job rather than an honestly critical and objective commentary on one of the most critically acclaimed sci-fi television shows in the past 20 years.

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  3. heavyarmor says:

    I wonder who is the one being arrogant here.

    Comments tends to reveal much about the writer, whether the writer realizes it or not. In this case, this comment reveals, of all things, an insecurity with regards to support and/or criticism of a TV show.

    It seems that it is not enough for you as a reader to disagree with my positions or comments. Indeed, the first sentence of your response says it all. There is no offer of anecdote; no “tale told in wry”; no insight; in other words, nothing constructive to add to the conversation.

    Instead, you bring acrimony, accusation, ignorance, name-calling, insinuation, and a terrible attempt at snark. Distilled of the comment’s attempt to sound intellectually superior to the author, your comment boils down to “The author is a big stupid partisan hack idiot who has a chip on his shoulder and has no idea what he’s talking about.” This is not intellectual discourse.

    Additionally, your attempt to paint me as a Pro-TOS partisan (which, had you actually read any part of the blog, which deconstructed – and eviscerated – BSG TOS, BTW) is not only misguided, it misses the entire point. Even if I had a pro-TOS agenda, does it change any of the facts presented? Does it change the fact that the Cylon Centurions, the backbone of the original Cylon Slave rebellion, have simply returned to being cannon fodder for the “new Cylons”? Or, that the idea of killing someone before a mass destruction event, despite any personal emotion involved, is not really a “mercy kill”?

    These are some positions I take because of what I observed from the shows. If you felt as strongly about the show as you say you do, then this would have been a perfect opportunity for you to make a case for the new Cylon androids or philosophy of the Cylon Race or engaged in counter-discussion on any of the number of subjects that have been raised in this or any of the other deconstructions that have been posted to this point.

    Instead, however, you waste the opportunity to do so simply to advance an agenda to belittle the author by taking cheap shots that miss the mark completely. Your comment does not come off as being intelligent at all and attacking (and attempting to – and failing at – firing insults on) the author’s own intellectual capacity simply because he does not share the opinion of the reader or any number of people is the very meaning of arrogance.

    If this was your first reaction to this deconstruction, then perhaps you need to examine your devotion to fandom in general and why you felt it was necessary to personally attack and insult the author of a piece that was not a glowing review of something you enjoy.

  4. R.E.Moore says:

    It is very apparent U have waaaaaay too much time on your hands. Had U written a sucessful show (sci-fi or otherwise) I could accept your critique. HOWEVER U come off as the “expert” of good and bad writing. It is easy to “Monday-morning-quaerterback” someone elses work when U haven’t been put in the position of trying to turn-out a weekly program with all it’s trails-and-tribulations. I’m BIG fan of the 70’s BSG, but I also think that RDM’s BSG was some of the “BEST” writing I’d ever seen on a sci-fi show or any other. Maybe had U had the chance you’d have done it different BUT! you didn’t. Sitting around with noth’in better to do other berate other peoples work is a waste-of-time. Your’s for writing it and mine for reading it 😦

  5. Heavy Armor says:

    I love comments like the one above.

    Mostly because, like JB’s comment, in an attempt to defend the show against the criticism of one mere blogger, a whole host of positions are revealed all at once.

    Your comment misses the entire point of the deconstructions and analysis posted here. Your status as a fan of either version is, for the purpose of the review and my response to your comment, irrelevant. “How much time I have,” according to you, is also non sequitur. The rest of the response is classic Ad hominem, which sounds like a smart argument to make, but in the end is silly.

    Your argument, when distilled to its logical conclusion, is that “My criticisms of the show are invalid because I have not displayed my television or movie writing credentials. Since I have displayed none to your liking, my so-called lack of expertise makes me incapable of discerning good work and really bad crap.” Again, like JB’s attempts at snark and insult, this misses the point.

    First, there are 2 points of view that matter. The person producing the art or product or service is the first point of view. However, the most important point of view is the one of the persons receiving the product or service or viewing/listening to the art. It is this second point of view that is the most important of all, because this is the one that determines whether the people producing anything can continue to do so.

    Secondly, you don’t have to be “skilled” in anything to know whether something is good or not. For example, you can usually tell whether a plate of food is well made by tasting it, even if you have never stepped into a kitchen and cooked some yourself. You can usually tell who the better boxer or MMA fighter usually is by watching the match for the result, without having to step into the ring yourself. You can usually tell if a car is well made by driving it, even if you have never worked at a car factory.

    Simply put, you don’t have to put up with bad writing, bad acting, poor plot detailing simply because you haven’t worked at a studio.

    Third, and most importantly, it is clear to this reviewer that the commenter does not work in the entertainment industry in any capacity whatsoever (although the commenter makes assumptions about the reviewer…which are rather baseless, BTW). Simply having a product shown on television is not indicative of the strength of the actual product. The majority of shows on television survive beyond pilot and initial purchase not because of ratings, but because of showrunner clout OR how well connected some part of the show in question is to the studio/corporate honcho with “green-light” power. This is why many shows with decent ratings get the axe while some series that run operational deficits get to stay on the air.

    It’s not the fact that you disagree with my assessments of BSG:Re that make me sad for you. It’s the fact that you try to rationalize your position by attempting to denigrate mine – and you offer nothing but low-level insult.

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  8. Rik says:

    I know I’m late to the party, but I love your deconstruction. I think its spot on. Don’t worry, we’ve all had to deal with the BSG myrmidons; Johnny-come-lately to science fiction apologists of this melodrama, that burrows ala carte from science fiction so much better than it itself, then puts into a blender and hits pulverize.

  9. This is the greatest “troll” I’ve ever seen.

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