Battlestar Galactica (2004)

I've just watched the 3-hour pilot episode. Based on a 70's TV series, this new adaptation is said to be more dramatic. Over the years, I've had a hard time taking many science fiction films seriously because the character development comes third after special effects (or focus on fictional technology) and story. I prefer films who go the reverse: character, then story, then effects.

In Battlestar Galactica, there is an attempt to cultivate the characters, but I still think the story has come first. Granted, this is expositional in type as it is to launch a TV series and so many archtypes - strong woman leader, errant father, rebellious son, rebellious soldier, British bad guy, evil temptress... In television you don't really have a choice as viewers need to have the option to tune in and out of the series without losing too much of who the characters are.

What does drive this show is the story - or rather the background to the story. Human civilization has come to an end (or very nearly) because of something humans created. There are only 50,000 folks around (500 of whom are imprisoned criminals). Now what? What do we try to hang on to? How important is each human life? How important is survival? What are we willing to sacrifice for the greater good? Battlestar Galactica does a fine job of presenting the questions in a compelling and dramatic way. I didn't get swept away emotionally by some of the sad scenes (leaving refugees behind, girl on a spaceship about to be zapped), but rather asked myself if I could have made those hard decisions.

A few things that disappointed me. I found the younger actors to be too good looking and very American. It's too bad a ongoing network series can't achieve success without it's George Clooneys, Katie Holmeses, and Jennifer Anistons. I can see the appeal, but it throws up a big red flag of "this is fake" for me. I was hoping also that the sets would look a bit more like the ones on Event Horizon - more earthy, lived in.

I did enjoy most of the acting, though as I mentioned earler, the typecasting sort of limits that.

Overall, I think it was a great set up for a TV series. I would follow it and I think the character development would grow to a point that I'd be disappointed that someone got snuffed out (lost their contract with the SciFi Network).

A thanks to Pat for introducing me to the series.

Official Site | IMDB


Anonymous said...

Matt and I got hooked on Battlestar last summer, got caught up through Netflix and have followed through with this season, which just ended. We really enjoy the show.

Unknown said...

A lot of people have told me how good it is. I look forward to following the series in the future. I particularly enjoy references to it in The Office, where Dwight is mocked for being so into it, but so are so many normal Americans! Awesome!