First of all, I was never a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica. To me it was a cheesy piece of 70’s shlock and terrible space opera. So, all the people complaining about a female Starbuck seem just a bit obsessive to me.
Disclaimers out of the way, the reimagination of Battlestar Galactica currently airing on the Sci-Fi Channel is good. In fact, it’s really good. It takes the shlock of the original, adds a new dramatic twist and produces something that easily outshines the original.
The miniseries takes place 40 years after the end of the war between the humans of the Twelve Colonies and the robotic Cylons. The Cylons have decided to destroy their human creators, and the first part of the miniseries deals with the beginning of the Cylons attack. The crew of the 50-year old Battlestar (think of an aircraft carrier in space) have to restore their aging ship to operational status and fight back. The Galactica is also deliberately designed to be low-tech so that the mechanical Cylons cannot jam its computers. It’s an interesting approach, and one that makes sense and provides a visual throwback to submarine and war movies past and present.
Edward James Olmos lends some gravitas to the beleaguered Commander Adama as the head of the Galactica. The rest of the cast manages to follow his lead, and even the sexy Cylon Number Six played by former model Tricia Helfer manages to be believable in her role as an evil android seductress. There are some moments of real danger that make this series far more hard-edged than the escapist space opera of the original.
BSG takes cues from submarine movies like The Hunt for Red October and Das Boot as well as hard-edged military movies like Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down. The drama is intense, and the visual design of the show is stunning. This easily deserves an Emmy for special effects, and may also be in the running for Best Miniseries as well. The casting, the writing, and the production design is all dead-on, and while fans of the original BSG may vent their anger on Internet message boards, those looking for some quality television will find the new BSG worthy of some tube time.