Commander Adama -
Edward James Olmos
President Roslin -
Captain Adama (Apollo) -
Lt Thrace (Starbuck) -
Dr Baltar -
Number 6 -
Lt Valerii (Boomer) -
Colonel Tigh -
Chief Tyrol -
Billy Keikeya -
OTHER TREKS THROUGH SPACE
The Next Generation
Deep Space Nine
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - the mini-series
Man made the cylons to serve him, but like all good robots must in science fiction they rebelled and tried to kill their human creators. A war ensued that was finally resolved by an armistice and the cylons heading off into the unknown to find a new home. Nobody has heard from them in forty years.
The Battlestar Galactica, the last ship to have served in the great war, is about to go into retirement as a museum. The ceremony is barely over when the news comes in of a massive cylon attack that has wiped out the colonial defences and devastated the 12 colonies. All that remains is the Galactica and a group of civilian ships. The war is over, the battle for survival has begun.
The original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was part of the whole post STAR WARS sci-fi boom and was surpassed for campness and kitsch only by BUCK ROGERS IN THE 21st CENTURY. Not exactly a prime candidate for resurrection, then, but this is no mere updating of th show, but a top to toes recreation that takes the basic premise and then builds an entirely new show with entirely new aims and ideas around that. All that remains is the idea of one warship and a tiny fleet of civilians on the run through uncharted space with an implacable enemy on their tail.
What was camp and kitschy is now gritty and realistic. Every facet of the production design has been based on that. The ship looks more like a ship of war, the crew quarters more like a bunkhouse, the characters have harder edges and very real personal problems. The Commander and his remaining son don't get on, the newly elected President was the secretary of education and so far down the line of succession she had nearly fallen off, the executive officer is a drunk and the best pilot in the fleet doesn't seem to get on with anyone at all.
None of these, however, compare to Dr Gaius Baltar, a man who dated a cylon and gave away the secrets of the entire fleet. He now has a cylon locked inside his head as an image that only he can see, hear and feel. There are a couple of comedy moments with that relationship that don't really work, but they are just about the only mis-step that this two part pilot story makes.
The cast are extremely well cast, led by Edward James Olmos as Commander Adama and Mary McDonnell as President Roslin. Two redoubtable characters brought to life by two fine actors. Tricia Helfer is both stunning and interesting as the cylon known as Number Six, whilst Katee Sackhoff's Starbuck is a real rebel without a cause. Less successful is Jamie Bamber as Apollo whose character is more a whiny spoiled brat than conflicted son and hero.
Good science fiction always deals with the concerns of its day and that's certainly the case here. The cylon attack is the worst terrorist attack imaginable. The cylons are now indistinguishable from humans, just as the suicide bomber is from the victim he bombs. A once militarily superior army is brought low to fight guerilla warfare for which it is not well-trained or equipped. The parallels are there to be seen, though never hammered home.
The special effects are flawless, but it is more than simple technical quality. Nothing looks out of place, right down to the smallest prop. The vipers remain unchanged in design, but just about everything else is different and everything looks like it was built for its purpose.
The two-part mini-series is a good format for this pilot story, giving time to be expansive about setting up the plot and allowing the characters to breath before setting about killing them off. The show even has the balls to introduce characters just to make the subsequent destruction more personal.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - the mini-series is a fine introduction to a new series. It now remains to be seen whether the quality can be maintained in serial format.Top
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