beware: over-enthusiastic geek
As well as the title of this entry being sound general advice (always be wary of the over-enthusiastic geek, they may inadvertently bore you to tears whilst being nothing more than sincere honest people) the title is also an appropriately specific warning: this entry contains high geek factor.
Those who are geek intolerant; step away from the cookie jar (or just the blog).
OK, so what’s got my geeky side so enthused?
Do you remember a late 70’s Sci-fi show, starring Dirk Benedict? Did you know what the shiny guy who walked past Face in the A-Team credits actually was? If I said ‘cylon’ would you be thinking ‘toaster’?
Battlestar Galactica was a show I watched as a kid, and it was great. It was simple for my little mind to grasp, the effects were great, the stories were fun and there were lasers, and every kid knew lasers rocked. Looking back it’s dated super-badly. It was way too simple (bad guys dress in black and all went to the same Evil Choreography School, good guys were always in white and always moral heroes that got the girl). The effects were good at the time, but they only ever made three effects shots and just replayed the same film every episode. In short, it turns out I loved it as a kid because it was a kids TV show with a kick ass theme tune and contained random firing of lasers.
Fast forward to the present day and it’s Battlestar Galactica that’s got me boiling over in a seething frothy state of gibbering idiotic delight. In what is quite possibly a once in a lifetime event, they have remade a series/film labelled as a ‘classic’ and made it better. In this case, orders of magnitude better. Battlestar Galactica grew up. This new 2004-onward ‘remake’ isn’t really a remake. They took the few nuggets of genuinely good ideas from the original and just binned everything else. No simplistic hole-ridden plots. No paper thin characters. No 70′d disco-funk styling. No lasers. No frikin’ annoying child star (they nearly slipped up, but they cut out all of Boxy’s scenes! Weyhey!)
So what have they kept? Well, they kept the genocide of the human race, and boy - that’s a hell of an opening to a series. They kept the name of the space-ship, they kept the ‘12 colonies of human’ thing. They kept the cylons. They kept the fighters. They kept the ‘rag tag fleet of the last remaining humans’ thing. That’s about it.
The new series and ‘pilot’ mini-series are a joy to watch. The science fiction is virtually null (well, apart from the setting) - there’s no StarTrek style get-out-of-jail cards where they just fire up an inverted-tachyon-pulse made by Wesley with a box of tape and some sticky-backed plastic to create a sub-space rift in dimension-X and thus save the day. There are no lasers. There are no shields. There are no cliches.
The whole thing smells of a documentary. It’s like some weird cross between Black Hawk Down, a fly-on-the-wall documentary and some hazy Sci-Fi dream. The characters are the real plus point. They’re so believable. They make mistakes, they do the right thing, they do the wrong thing, and they are always in character and believable. This new Battlestar is grown up, it’s got realism by the bucket load and it’s got sex too. (It gets a bit racy for a sci-fi. You can keep your 70’s hot-pants, this series knows the real deal).
- Awe inspiring or spin tingly moments: SPOILERS!!
- When Number 6 kills the baby in the pram in the middle of a crowded street - I was not expecting that, and it was a bit like a slap in the face to say ‘we ain’t pulling punches now pal, this is hardcore, not some kids show’
- Number 6’s reaction to killing the baby (this is not the simple bad-guy character we were expecting. *surprise*)
- Caprica City getting nuked.
- The rest of Caprica, and all the other planets getting systematically nuked.
- The main characters hearing about it, the reactions.
- The news of the Colonies fight for survival getting worse and worse and worse.
- The scramble to ‘get into the fight’ with an ageing battlestar, due to be decommissioned, containing no ammunition and when they know it is absolutely hopeless.
- When the Galactica holds off a Base Star to try and allow civilian ships to escape. You just see hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition pouring from the Galactica turrets, to intercept thousands of incoming guided missiles and cylon fighter ships. You know they’re out-matched already, and then a second Base Star creeps into camera shot.
For those fans of the original: you need to stop pre-empting right now if you’re going to enjoy this remake. Don’t scoff that Starbuck is a girl now, don’t scoff that Boomer is also a girl now. Don’t bitch about a re-jigged theme-tune, because it’s not been re-jigged, it’s entirely new. Don’t think you know what’s going on, because you don’t. Don’t expect a 45 minute story arc, the whole series is one big story - there aren’t any ‘one episode’ stories.
I’m glued to this new story. I’m glued to the new character interpretations. I’m glued to the personalities. I’m glued to the special effects (which are far superior to any other sci-fi program I’ve seen, this is film quality stuff here). I’m awaiting season 2 in the strong hope they don’t screw this up trying to milk it’s success.