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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
BSG is a wonderful sci-fi series! In the midst of the battles between
the human kind and the robots, the dark sides of the people are exposed
whereas the robots display in themselves what humanity should be. The
desire to survive, the yearning for the Earth, and the hope for the
future drive both the humans and the robots as the distinctions between
them gradually disappear.
The casting was exceptional and the performances were more than convincing. The actors did excellent jobs in expressing the emotional struggles within and without. The dynamic and unpredictable story lines demanded feats of acting skills and they all performed to high standards. There were a lot of breath-halting cliffhangers, palm-sweating suspense, and eye-widening surprises.
At times, some of the narrations seemed to be a bit preachy. There were times when the decisions of the people on the ship were too predictable and childish. I had an impression that the ending was rather rushed.
BSG kept asking us the same question "What makes us human?" In this regards, this TV series reminded me of a book called 'Somewhere carnal over 40 winks'.
I hope for more of realistic sci-fi series like BSG in the future.
Before I proceed, I'll just add a quick comment for those slating the
series without seeing it: please, stop it. Instead, wait and see what
the new show is about and give it a chance. Unless of course, you want
to miss one of the best dramas currently airing...
BSG is a very human story. Yet unlike Star Trek, they're not resolved by the end of the episode. Here the characters are real people who make mistakes, grow and learn from their errors. Or maybe they don't...
The point is that in the new BSG, the impact of the loss of the Colonies is something everybody must deal with, be it on a resource-management level to dealing with the loss of their families. The impact of the Cylon attack - never explored in the original series - is a major emphasis in the show and the viewer genuinely does get the feeling of the "rag tag fleet."
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the original series as much as anybody, but it was a product of its time and audience-slot. The new BSG is a much more adult production, both in terms of the writing and performances and the intended audience.
Additionally, the show is very non-sci-fi, but in a good way. Whenever any "science" turns up, it's integrated in such a way as to have minimal impact on the plot and, unlike Star Trek, it isn't used as a Deus Ex Machina to simply resolve the "crisis of the week." In fact, I'd go as far as to say the show is closer to 24 or The West Wing than it is Star Trek or Babylon 5, with the focus being much more on the people and their individual actions, rather than a wide-scale "space opera."
Performances are all strong, with James Callis being the real star. His tortured performance as the guilt-stricken Baltar are a joy to watch as he flips from near-hysterical lunatic to scheming toad to smooth womaniser. Olmos has the presence to give Adama the air of authority required. Sackhoff's performance as Starbuck is "subtly obvious" - she plays the brash, cocky pilot a little too well, something that's explained in later episodes. And Bamber's Apollo is a mix of heroic action and self-doubt which balances well. Mention must also go to McDonnell's President Roslin who, over the course of the series, has grown in stature and presence in a very subtle manner.
Quite simply, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most consistently strong shows I've ever seen. Considering this is only the first of (hopefully) many seasons, it's amazing to see how the show has "hit the ground running," with each episode being an improvement on the last. And considering the high standard of the first one, that's quite the achievement.
Watch it. You won't be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have read many other reviews and find points of many that I agree
with and others I disagree with, to wit... I saw other mention of the
bullets issue, and I agree, a civilization, and technology, with Faster
Than Light drives, and seamless artificial gravity would NOT use guns
that not only fired bullets, but were obvious current day handguns. The
Cylon Fighters (Raiders), I can even accept the redesign of the Cylon
Fighters, as if they got rid of the crew area, and put the Cylon face
on them to signify the fact that the ship IS the Cylon, kinda makes
sense, even, and they are not too different than the originals in motor
and weapon placement and overall shape (minus the crew area). The Cylon
Base Stars, what, was a order given that they cannot look ANYTHING like
the originals?, the 5 sided round double angular saucer of the
originals is not that boring, terrible, or unimaginative of a ship
design! They could have enhanced that design, like they did all the
other ships (kinda), the new double three sided star looking Base Stars
have not even a hint of the originals, but the interiors, with their
"Alien" organic look is nice. Speaking of the Galactica, and the recent
Pegasus, I can accept them in a similar manner as a refitted WW II
aircraft carrier or battleship. But, does the non networking philosophy
of the new Galactica (which again actually makes some sense, and tries
to explain the corded handsets) extend to the doors?, is it somehow
illegal to have any that slide? I guess again a FTL technology can't
make compact slider motors hid in walls, or is Ron just making sure you
don't mistake this for Trek, or even Babylon 5?
The Cylons , or most of them, the human looking ones, I see as rather a cop out, ST:TNG had "The Borg" and now this, one might begin to think that Ron is just scared of, or incapable of, making truly alien looking aliens, or robots? The re-imagined CG Cylons are cool looking, but what of them have we seen, maybe a total of 10 mins. of screen time? Will they ever talk?, even if the original Cylon Centurions sounded rather like a cheap "Darth Vader", or a 1980s vintage Chrysler Lebaron that featured a canned on a chip synth voice, they at least could talk! More importantly, will these new CG Cylons ever be portrayed as anything other than short screen shots with no real personality, or purpose, other than to shoot their bullet firing guns?
Now for the acting, I think Edward James Olmos is great, I loved the few Miami Vice episodes he was showcased in and his Blade Runner performance, his trademark hard line seriousness is a better Adama than Lorne Greene ever was, sorry. I could never stop thinking of Greene as Ben Cartright, I kept waiting for him to get on a horse! I also like Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin, and I don't remember seeing her as anything other than the small part of the president's wife in Independence Day, and was unimpressed with that, so I don't have a bias for her. James Callis is good as Baltar, and although I think the original Baltar (John Colicos) was a much better villain and more interesting character, I have grown to like the re-imagined Baltar, and his subplot. I thought, BTW, that Callis was just silly in ST:DSN. The new Col. Tigh is interesting as well, but I again liked the original Tigh better (and I must say I think the only reason Tigh is not black is because they are too politically correct to have a drunk black) the rest, well, the others I consider interchangeable with 100s of other so-so actors in B-grade TV shows, and the Cylon/Human Number Six (Tricia Helfer) is a obvious name rip off of Seven of Nine in ST:V, and the character is just a bimbo whore, but one who happens to support the (Cylons looking for God? Cylons wanna have a baby?) subplot connected to Baltar. I also think the feminization of Boomer and Starbuck is pointless, except as maybe another politically correct move. I liked all the original pilots better. Speaking of old pilots, I am glad they gave SOMETHING to Richard Hatch (Apollo in the original, Tom Zarek in the re-imagining), after his hard work and even mortgaging his house to make the pilot for his idea of a continuation of BSG, he certainly deserves something, more even, like do his vision, maybe? One other character I must comment on, Admiral Cain, (Michelle Forbes) is very different than the original's Commander Cain (Lloyd Bridges) of the Pegasus, but I like her performance, at least on Jan. 5th, before I see part 2 tomorrow, I also liked her as Lt. Ro on ST:TNG and she plays a similar role, a believable strong female, so her "persona" has continuity, and I like that.(Yea, sure, call me the type cast loving kook!)
I could go on, but I will end with this, I LOVE some elements of the re-imagined Galactica, and I find other parts VERY distasteful, and for me it's very much a Love/Hate attitude I have about the show, but I have grown to kinda like the show, and will continue to watch it. It has drama, the camera work I happen to like, some of the actors are very good, it has interesting plot twists and questions yet to be answered. So for now I'll overlook the distasteful elements.
And of course I loved the original, and really wish that a character like the "IL Series" Cylon Lucifer (voiced by Jonathan Harris, "Lost in Space's" Dr. Smith) was included, and hope (I'm sure quite pointlessly) that a episode similar to the original's "The War of the Gods" would be made in future
When George Lucas announced that he was to make the Star Wars prequels
I had this preconception of a darker, better acted, and more more grown
up version of the movies that were made in the late seventies - early
eighties. Instead we got a bunch of kids movies, littered with some of
the most terrible cinematic decisions ever put on celluloid.
And then the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica came along, which I must add, I watched from start to finish only after the show had made it's debut on mainstream television.
I was initially sceptical of whether this would be any good, but after having reached the finale I can honestly say that this is quite simply the best sci-fi show ever made. The scripts are top notch, the acting superb with a real heart and soul, and characters that, even with their faults, will be remembered with great affection by the viewers for many years to come.
This is the template for all future TV shows. I't does not overstay it's welcome, knows when to stop, and constantly delivers fresh, new ideas as the seasons progress.
Series 1 was a great introduction; series 2 built on the initial success and delivered some of the shows highlights; season 3 was awesome for the first half (until the writers strike kicked in just after half way - but still highly entertaining); and season 4 put the icing on the cake with what I consider to be a tremendous and satisfying end to this great series.
The only downside was that I wished it could have continued, but I guess it is better to exit on a high and leave the crowd wanting more.
For me this has stripped Star Wars of it's crown and raised the bar where although it may one day be equalled, will never be bettered.
As a child of the 70's I can say that I loved the original BSG and
always wanted a proper return to the story, not that lame attempt
called "Gallactica" with the guy from "Adam 12". However, I was
skeptical about this new show because of the core changes, like making
Starbuck and Boomer female, for example. It didn't matter. This is one
of the best TV shows ever made. It's dramatic, funny, sad, extremely
dark and immensely engrossing. By changing the character of Baltar from
a ruthless power hungry madman in the original to the witless and
sympathetic patsy that he is at the beginning of this show creates a
whole new dynamic to this character and his development. Adding the
president to be a counter balance to Adama instead of the commander
automatically ruling over everyone was far more believable than the
council full of wusses that were supposed to be in charge in the '78
Bottom line, the stories are more intense, the characters are stronger, the suspense can drive you mad. This show is addictive to say the least. The creators have brought a realism to this idea that just wasn't there in the original. In '78, the show was a campy attempt to capitalize on the Star Wars phenomenon that was definitely entertaining, but was also a little too convenient in its "everything works out by the end of the episode" theme. Life isn't like that. This new version completely escapes from the happy family sweetness of a '70's TV series. Battlestar Gallactica(2004) is a more believable life and death struggle because people actually die in this series. The only noteworthy death in the original was that of Serena, and that was in the first 3 to 5 hours of the series. These people are fighting for their lives. They're not all going to make it. The last scene of season 1 had me and all my friends jumping out of our seats yelling "NOOOOO! They didn't just do that!!! They can't leave it like that!! When does the next season start?!?!?!?!" Not many shows have had that kind of effect on me in my life, and I watch way too much TV.
In closing, BSG(04) is a fantastic show. If you were a fan of the original, savor it for what it was, but give this reincarnation a chance, I think you'll love it.
1. If you want mindless techno-babble, then this show isn't for you. 2.
If you don't manage to appreciate what good... no, let me rephrase that
for you: exquisite acting is, then you definitely shouldn't watch it.
3. If you expect to have a crew of four, including a science doctor, an
alien, a military and some random Indiana Jones guy, all of them
solving new let's-save-the-Earth-before-lunch problems, then skip BSG,
is not for you. 4. If you're afraid of seeing real human stories put
into a SF shell, perhaps you should go back to Star Trek (and I'm a
trekkie too, but...) 5. If you crave to hear 'shields up' or 'engage'
or other classic one- liners, then you should rather settle for "frak".
Or is it "frakk"? 6. If you're unable to follow a 4 season-long story
arc with every episode adding something precious to it without having
withdrawal symptoms, then you should really don't give it a try. 7. If
all that you want is see people in tight suits flashing laser pistols
and teleporting from harms' way, then change the channel. 8. If your
interest for spiritual quests, tough sexy girls and people really dying
and not returning is something like zero. Oh well, you might skip that
'dying and not returning part' :P 9. If you don't like space battles
rendered so real (and with as most care for real physics as a TV SF
show can take) that you feel you ARE there. 10. Finally, if you have a
mind so closed that you cannot appreciate what the best SF show ever
made is all about.
In my opinion, any problem that somebody would have with this show would be his/her problem, not the shows. For the rest of us, BSG raised the bar so high, we almost cannot enjoy other SF shows anymore.
But then... we can always re-watch it, and hope others will learn from it, too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After watching the whole series, I must say this was a total
disappointment, and the ultimate proof about how things are done in
Hollywood: good contacts, speaking loud, and making the audience
believe they are smarter than they really are because the series it's
From the very beginning there were lots of things that didn't add up, but we let them pass, such as full-election process in a refugee fleet, including public debates and such, as if anyone of the 48.000 survivors could care about politicians after their worlds, friends and family had just been killed. Boomer's sabotages to the fleet didn't make much sense, but they were interesting. Cain's "reimagining" was just a one-dimensional creation, a square warmonger who -as always happens with writers who dislike the military- is ultimately proved wrong in almost everything she does. Things got gradually worse, starting with the one-year jump, and the introduction of the "final five", a concept that most likely was spurned by fans who were asking themselves who were the remaining "models", instead of writers who actually had anything planned for those characters.
While the show garnered critical acclaim, viewers left in droves. Those who remained could be ultimately divided into two groups: the fanatics, for whom anything with the brand "Galactica" (excluding the old show) was God turned into television, and regular viewers who were giving the show the benefit of the doubt, hoping that things could be salvaged at the end with a plausible explanation.
The show's decline, however, became even more pronounced in the last seasons. Instead of fixing the glaring problems of the previous seasons, they introduced new ones, contradicting a lot of stuff, and creating whole story lines -the aforementioned "final five", for example- that in the end turned out to be just a big red herring. Even worse, they committed the worse sin for a show supposedly grounded in reality, even being sci-fi: they resorted to "divine intervention" to explain the whole plot and most of the central story lines. Two characters, one barely seen, suddenly became "angels", while another was turned into a "divine creature", without even the most basic explanation. The whole epilogue for the characters was a disaster, pulling the "emotional strings" while throwing logic out of the window.
To add insult to injury, the show's lack of appeal forced a number of obvious budget cuts, but at the same time, the number of episodes per season was increased from 13 to 20. As a result, we ended up with a sci-fi show with little sci-fi at all, with almost no action to speak of (space or otherwise), and tons of episodes to the top with filler. Of course, that filler was filmed as if it were "relevant" and "dramatic", with hand held cameras and dramatic lighting, no matter if it was just two guys speaking about nothing in a corridor.
As always, a number of fanatics claimed, as they will always claim, that the show was about the characters, about "drama", and never about space battles and such. They are wrong. Battlestar Galactica was sold as a sci-fi drama, not just "drama", and that's the reason it was green lit in the first place. Those who claim that Galactica was always what it turned out to be in the last disastrous seasons should take a look at what it was in the beginning.
In the end, the problem was one person -Ron Moore- with too much power and ego to make "just" a sci-fi series. He had the means, and ultimately proved his detractors right exactly about what they were trying to say from the beginning: that Moore, and Galactica, were all show and no substance, with soap-operish drama, weak actors -with a few exceptions in Olmos, McDonnell and a couple more-. Not only that, but by trying to write himself out of his corner, Moore's writing turned most of the events in the earlier seasons totally unnecessary, ruining the series as a whole.
So farewell, BSG 2004. You went the way of the do-do at the end, and just like the X-Files, managed to survive as long as you could avoid giving answers. I doubt anyone would want to re-watch the series knowing how useless everything turns out to be.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This show is so messed up that the writers had to pull a "Deus ex
machina" to tie up loose ends in the finale!!!
The producer of the show wants us to believe that it is a very deep scifi drama when in reality is just a pretty dull drama with some robots in it. I believe that the show was written as they moved along without a clear idea of what to do next. The series has interesting concepts and ideas. Sometimes the series gained some momentum, but it fizzled away very quickly.
The people from this far far away planet called Caprica celebrate what they call "baby-showers", drink "wine" and "champagne", suffer from some strange sickness called "cancer" eat sushi etc etc. There is no creativity in the writing!!! Everything looks and feels like today Earth!!! Even the characters behaviors!! If I want to see an earth like drama I'll watch 24, ER or The Bold and Beautiful
I did not feel the characters struggle to survive. Starbuck and Apollo tried tooo much to be "cool" and "tough". I hated both characters. Adama cried tooo much for a seasoned commanding officer.
The couple of seasons of Babylon 5 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105946/ dealing with the Shadow war kicks the whole galactica series ass.
I really wanted to like this show. I watched every episode, but at the end I still cannot recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have just spent the last hour looking through several posts that tell
fans of the original Battlestar Galactica to give the new "improved"
series a chance.
Well I HAVE given the new BSG a huge chance... I even bought the miniseries sight unseen excited at the prospect of falling in love with the characters all over again (regardless that Starbuck and Boomer are now females). I then recorded every episode of season one (this was the only way to ensure I didn't miss an episode as I work shift work). I've tried and tried and tried to even LIKE the new BSG but unfortunately I have to say that IT IS BORING....I'd rather watch paint dry! I'll give you my reasons:
1) The writers/producers seem to be relying on the fact that viewers want to see the main characters in compromising positions with each other almost every time the scene changes (just turn the channel and you'll see that sort of thing on just about every other program - ranging from "sex in the city" to the common late night movie). The blond "bimbo" cylon is only there to try entice the male viewers. She does absolutely nothing for female viewers...apart BORING them to death and making them wish she would go away so that the story can advance.
2) There is also very little depth to the characters...you'd think that by the end of season one you would have some favourite characters that you want to see winning the battle over the "evil cylons" - BORING
3)The long and drawn out process of trying to discover who may be cylon or not. "Just cut to the chase" and get on with the story! If I wanted to watch a series based on conspiracy, backstabbing, and following every thing that the president says to try and catch the cylon impostors....I'd watch "24". The fact that it takes an entire series of this BSG just to clarify some simple story lines is BORING
4) There are far too many references to modern day Earth in the form of language, fashion, technology and religion. These are supposed to be a race of humans that are living in the distant regions of the universe! I find it extremely hard to believe that a society who's distance so far removed from our own could evolve in a completely parallel and uniform fashion! You just have to look at how diverse our current societies are (ranging from Christian to Buddist) and the cultural differences of the countries on this Earth. Are the writers that narrow minded that they want us to believe that the only way Humanity evolved in the far reaches of the universe is the same as modern day America??? This isn't boring it is STUPID!
I could go on for ages about why this "new improved version of BSG" is BORING, but, short of trying to watch both the miniseries and season one all over again to find some redeeming qualities, I'm going to go and turn on my DVD player and loose myself in the PURE ENTERTAINMENT that is the REAL "Battlestar Galactica - The original series" After all I did what most of you asked...I tried the new BSG and it is BORING! BORING! BORING!!!
I was a fan of the original and a fan of science fiction, but more so I am a fan of great cinematic television. This show went beyond my wildest dreams. Some people have a hard time with certain dramatic and artistic choices made by the producers, but to me those choices only make the show stronger and gutsier. The new Battlestar Galactica concentrates on characters, drama, and the human condition and shies away from the fantasy, serial elements of the original and others of the genre. A first rate cast with real acting chops help ground the story and characters in a universe where the audience cares what happens to them. This is the antithesis of the original that relied on caricature villains and cartoon story lines. The new show tackles real life issues about human rights, religion, and the moral ambiguity of war. It's no wonder Battlestar Galactica has garnered glowing reviews from Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, TV Guide, and the American Film Institute.
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