Battlestar Galactica

I thought Friday night’s episode of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was great fun…the best yet. The show gets better every week and is evolving, after a rocky start, into an entertaining cross between LOST IN SPACE and the original STAR TREK.

Like LOST IN SPACE, the heroes are wandering through the cosmos without a home and no idea where they’re going. Dr. Baltar has become an  insane, less-cartoony, version of Dr. Zachary Smith…injecting some much needed humor (and, in a strange way, humanity) into the show.  The robot from the Jupitor II has been updated into the sexy, imaginary Cylon woman who exists only in Dr. Balter’s head…or is she more than that?

Like the original  STAR TREK,  there’s no preaching, no grand space opera, just action, adventure, fun
and sex. That’s right, sex. This week, we actually saw two characters writhing
around and, get this,  having orgasms (though one of the characters
is a Cylon who’s spine glows when she’s climaxing, but let’s not get into that).  Capt Kirk used to get laid every episode…but in the
recent incarnations
of STAR TREK, the pompous, aren’t-we-so-noble-you-could-vomit crewmembers have either been celibate… or
dealt with sex like uptight teenagers (when the producers weren’t engaged in cringe-worthy leering… like  those  ridiculous spongebath scenes in early seasons of ENTERPRISE..or the skin-tight uniform that hugged Seven of Nine’s enormous Borg Breasts on VOYAGER). After watching STAR TREK for
the last 15 years, I was beginning to think "Abstinance" was the new Prime Directive.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA   is  such a refreshing change from the stilted, self-important, sanitized scifi we’ve been getting over the last few years. Each episode reinforces just how calcified the STAR TREK franchise has become. It’s no coincidence UPN finally mercy-killed ENTERPRISE the same season that BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is injecting new life into the genre. It’s as if showrunner Ron Moore, an ST:NG vet, is intentionally rebelling against all the sanitizing, drama-smothering restrictions and formulas he had to endure while writing for TREK. How anybody could endure ENTERPRISE after watching BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is beyond me.

To be far, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA isn’t the first post-STAR TREK show to re-energize the genre.  FARSCAPE managed to muddy space up a bit it’s first season…but then wallowed in melodrama and overly complicated serial storylines, taking all the fun (and almost all of the humor) out of the show, alienating new viewers and some of the old ones, too.

If the writers of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA continue having this much fun with the stories and the characters, the series has the potential to be the next great scifi franchise… and attract more and more new viewers every week.

(This is one time where the revival is infinitely better than the original series that inspired it)

2 thoughts on “Battlestar Galactica”

  1. Doesn’t surprise me that BG is looser than recent incarnations of STAR TREK. Ron Moore, one of the creative forces behind DEEP SPACE NINE, has always had a good sense of context about the shows he works on. On DS9, he and Ira Behr took pretty much the same approach, having been ignored and left to their own devices while Paramount focused (with a bizarre case of astigmatism) on VOYAGER, the GILLIGAN’S ISLAND of science fiction television.
    If they do come back with either a reimagined STAR TREK or a new series (Hey! How’s this for a concept – Seven people on a ship boldly going. All you do is change the cast and writing staff every five years.), I sincerely hope that Paramount removes Berman and Bragga from the mix. I haven’t seen two more myopic show runners since Gerry Anderson did SPACE: 1999.

  2. I agree with you, Lee. BSG is light years ahead of the latest ST incarnations. I was a Star Trek fan for a long time, but quit half way through VOYAGER and just couldn’t stomach ENTERPRISE anymore. Bad stories. Bad characters. Bleh.
    I was skeptical of BSG at first, but I’ve come to love the series. The characters are refreshingly *flawed*, something they were rarely allowed to be on Star Trek. The old magic reset button that was used for Trek in almost every episode hasn’t been used so far in BSG. And all the preaching is gone. BSG is actually a real story where the characters don’t always do the “right” thing, where they have real human desires (sex scene between Boomer and Helo–priceless), and real human flaws. No wonder they’ve already renewed it for season 2. It’s the best scifi on tv today.


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