Saturday, January 29, 2005

Finally saw the new Battlestar Galactica last night

Something I can't understand: if these are supposed to be humans from WAY out there in another part of the galaxy, who are descended from humans who colonized twelve worlds after long ago coming from Kobol, the original home planet of humanity, and who now faced with extinction their only hope is to find a mythical thirteenth colony: the planet that their legends call "Earth"...

HOW the heck are these humans, however much they ARE identical to us, using and speaking English, have the same style of clothes as North Americans, have the same religious customs etc., when there shoule be HUGE differences between us and them after thousands of years of "cultural drift" from the separation?

I don't get that. The only theory I can come up with is that humanity started off on Earth, then migrated to Kobol and then to the twelve colonies, and after awhile the real story got muddled-up in their history. So when Galactica does reach Earth, it's going to be the Earth of our distant future.

That's the only thing I can conceive of that makes sense.

But there's only one thing that can be said about this new Battlestar Galactica: this is an AWESOME show!!

I can forgive the previously mentioned incongruity, and will make it a huge thing to commit to watching this regularly, if they keep it this strong and fresh and bold. I've a lot of catch-up to do, but last night's episode started with a freak accident that killed dozens of people onboard the ship, especially their fighter pilots. Which is a HUGE loss given that there's not many people in the convoy anyway and fighter pilots are too desperately needed. But here's the thing: how many times do freak accidents like this happen in a TV show, much less a sci-fi show? Goes on all the time in real life, for no reason that makes sense at all. But to lose a bunch of people in a way that DOES NOT make sense and has no purpose at all... that's both an unattractive thing to base a show's episode on, much less make it captivating for the viewer.

Last night's Battlestar Galactica did that though. It made me realize that this is one of the very, very few TV shows - of any genre - that really does focus on the characters. It didn't seem like a sci-fi show at all, felt more like a reality show or a documentary film (my wife asked from the other room if this was a reality show even, not knowing what I was watching but she could hear it).

Oh yeah, they did some space fightin' in last night's episode. And whenever they showed outside the ships, in the blackness of space, there were no sounds at all. No guns firing, no loud explosions. Just silence with a very subdued ambient thing in the background. There shouldn't be sound at all, and the last time anyone was that accurate on this was Stanley Kubrick and 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 1968. There was no sound in space during the fights... but that made it no less exciting to watch or accept. In fact, it made me buy into it even more that these were real people and a real ship, and they really were out there somewhere. I'm a science-minded type guy and was looking for anything like the "particle of the week" technobabble that Star Trek: The Next Generation became notorious for. If there was any, I couldn't find it here: the only thing that violates known physics is having a ship that big moving faster than light (and have read that there's even a strong basis for that in theoretical physics).

Man, this was so far off from what I was expecting. It's NOTHING like the original Battlestar Galactica, other than the names of most of the characters - Starbuck is a girl(?!) in this new take - and even the opening theme music has nothing to do with the original's beautiful score. Just going by last night's episode, I'm sorry that I've missed watching it all this time because the new Battlestar Galactica is television the way the medium should be.

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