Just completed my first viewing of the entire Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined) Series.
Wow! It’s not what I was expecting at all.
As a die-hard Trek fan, one of the things that always bothered me about it was the emphasis on technology worship and a distinct de-emphasis or outright absence of spirituality in the series. It just never seemed realistic to me that humanity would abandon thousands of years of spiritual knowledge to an exclusively technological and supposedly “science-based” existence. I mean even Einstein believed in some type of God or creator.
This is probably one reason why Deep Space 9 is so popular since it finally gives us a spiritual Star Trek culture in the Bajorans who’s civilization was technologically advanced long before humanity, yet their culture still remains very spiritual.
I never watched BSG, even in it’s 1978 rendition. I tried to watch it then but it felt boring and never grabbed me. Plus I loved All In The Family which aired in the same time slot. What do you want? I was small and their song was catchy. 🙂
When the Battlestar re-imagining was announced in 2004, I tried again, and again, it just never held my attention.
I’m guessing it was a little too dark or maybe I was just too busy. I mean settling down for a specific hour every week to watch a show that I may or may not like was just too much time to take out of my busy schedule.
Well, “Thank God for streaming!”, is all I can say. Because if not for on-demand streaming, I probably never would have watched Battlestar Galactica and would have missed out on something truly incredible.
If you’ve never watched Battlestar Galactica, prepare to be shocked. This is NOT Star Trek. It is NOT Stargate. And it is definitely not Star Wars or even Babylon 5. Though of all the space-opera-type series, I’d say Babylon 5, Atlantis & DS9 are closest – but not really. It’s really in a class by itself.
Battlestar Galactica is rated PG-14 and could just as easily be rated R for many episodes. It is a serious drama as opposed to the more mild drama of the aforementioned series.
There are many scenes that those who don’t tolerate intense drama will find disturbing. But I assure you, experiencing this epic story is well worth a little periodic discomfort.
The characters are realistic. The problems they face and the character reactions to them are equally so. The dialog, storytelling and performances are superb and are matched by the sophisticated and highly nuanced 70+ episode story arc.
In the tradition of all great sci-fi, Battlestar Galactica takes elements of our cultures and the human condition that we all face and places them in a conflict-filled dramatic sci-fi universe.
It weaves its parable of the possibilities of life after death, reincarnation, spirituality and “a higher power” using the premise of Greek, Christian and even Pagan mythology having their origins in a race born a long long time ago in a place far far away. In so doing, it causes the viewer to examine the true definitions of life, the soul and the spiritual world and to re-examine how we view our own history.
And somehow it manages to do this without offending a single belief system.
Lovers of intelligent plots and lore are likely to enjoy Battlestar Galactica’s “what did he/she just say?” moments and its pay-offs. This show pays off nearly everything leaving few, if any, stones unturned. And it does it all without insulting the intelligence or fan status of the viewer. (Take that Episode 8!)
Lovers of special effects and sci-fi technology will be impressed by Battlestar Galactica’s VFX realism and intrigued by this universe’s technology. To paraphrase VFX innovator John Knoll, “When VFX are done right, you don’t even notice them. Visual-effects shots should flow into the rest of the live action, and you shouldn’t be able to see a difference.”
Battlestar Galactica was created by Glen Larson who brought us some of the most popular 70’s and 80’s TV series across multiple genres. Some of his more popular works that our Sci-Fi Bloggers fans might recognize are Knight Rider, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Mysteries, It Takes a Thief and of course Battlestar Galactica (1978).
The re-imagined BSG, and the one to which this review refers, was executive produced by Star Trek alum Ronald D. Moore who also wrote many of the show’s episodes and I’m sure wrote many of your favorite Trek episodes across TNG, DS9 and Voyager.
The show is also perfectly cast with such notables as Edward James Olmos, Tricia Helfer, Richard Hatch, (who co-starred in BSG 1978 but plays a different character here), and Mary McDonnell.
And oh, that voice that you can’t quite place? Mass Effect fans will recognize Michael Hogan, the voice of Mass Effect’s Captain Bailey.
A note about the watch order.
If you plan to watch BSG you should check out this excellent watch guide from Lincoln Cannon. Though the guide has you watch in lore-chronological order, you can easily start with the mini-series and continue from there, which is what I did.
I didn’t watch Blood & Chrome or Caprica, which I probably will do now after I watch the series finale at least a 3rd or 4th time. Wow! So good 😉
UPDATE: I’ve now watched Caprica and it’s awesome. Too bad it didn’t get at least another season which would have served the story well. DO NOT WATCH IT FIRST. MAJOR SPOILERS. I can honestly say that if I had watched it first, many of the delightful surprises in Battlestar Galactica would have been spoiled.
My rating for Battlestar Galactica: Repeat Bingeable & Tell Your Friends
You can catch Battlestar Galactica now on Peacock (PeacockTV.com), NBC’s streaming network. You’ll have to sign up to view the link but it’s mostly free.
So go grab your frakin’ gun and bring in the cat and watch some Battlestar Galactica!
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