Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Battlestar Galactica: From the Beginning

Battlestar Galactica was one of those things I had been hearing about recently (in addition, of course, to Dr. Who, but I'm resisting watching Dr. Who--though I do plan to get to it eventually); I haven't even been sure if all of the references have been to the original 1978 series or to the more recent one. But being the way I am, I had to, in any case, start at the beginning.

It's always strange watching something you know has a cult following but which you know nothing about. The first part of the three part pilot bored me a bit, but I later wished I had been paying better attention since it sets the scene for so much. I started a pattern of watching one episode every night before bed, discovering after a few nights that I was looking forward to watching. The show is light and entertaining; it made me giggle and smile. Though it is sci-fi, it reminds me as much of a pioneer story.

Which brings me to the "comparisons." Yes, some of the design elements look suspiciously like Star Wars, but they are from the same era and the plot is hardly anything like Star Wars. It didn't remind me much of the original Star Trek series, either; in fact, it reminded me more of The Next Generation, sometimes so much so that I wonder if that crew got some ideas from Galactica. And the pure adventure of Battlestar Galactica almost reminds me more of a Jules Verne novel than other TV shows. With that said, this show seems to stand pretty steadily on its own.

As I said, it has something of the pioneer spirit, of braveness and daring, of responsibility and planning, of undaunted spirit and hope. Despite the Cylons, it stands in stark contrast to today's dystopian stories. And that I think is what makes this show enjoyable. It presents sorrows and hardships, but is never grim. Instead, it presents heroes who will stand up to foes and civilians that choose not to give up hope. Sure, the show obviously had some budget constraints, physical limits that set boundaries to a premise with great potential. Having finished the 1978 series yesterday and only the 1978 series, I say that there is still much to explore. Both with these characters we have been made familiar with and with this created world at large.

I'm nervous about starting in on the short 1980 series tomorrow. I'm thinking that my quick transition from series to series will help me accept each one better (how many are there? four total, right?) than original fans did. But is this a good or a bad thing? That, no one can answer.

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