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Battlestar Galactica : a "re-imagining"?

Sci-fi RULES!!

"Wait a minute," I hear some of you say. "I thought she stays away from Sci-Fi, and reads mostly fantasy books?" Well, you are kinda right. I can't quite explain why I'm so NOT a fan of sci-fi books when they are "fantasy" in a way... but that is a digression... this blog is about Sci-Fi tv series. I'm going to highlight two specific shows, tho there are plenty more to say about many others...

1. Battlestar Galactica (BSG):

How many of you, like me, had this HUGE crush on Starbuck, played by Dirk Benedict? He and his buddy Apollo would be fighting the Cylons while Commander Adama led the rag-tag fleet to a distant planet known as earth.

How many of you remember "Galactica 80", a very lame continuation of the series, where the Galactica actually does arrive at earth, only to find it technologically inferior, and totally unequipped to deal with the revelation of "brethren" from the stars let alone the existence of Cylons that want to wipe humans off the face of the universe?

How many of you caught the tribute to Dirk Benedict's role in BSG when, in one episode of the A-Team, Dirk Benedict's Faceman is at one of those theme parks, and a Cylon passes by, and we see Faceman doing a double-take, as if the Cylon was familiar to him but he didn't know why? I certainly loved that scene :-)

And a few months ago, I found a VCD on Battlestar Galactica (thanx "Joe") which turned out to be either the 1978 movie, or the pilot episode of the series. Aaaaah, it was so nice to see the actual beginning - how the 12 colonies were attacked by the Cylons, how Baltar was entangled with the Cylons, how Apollo got saddled with thet irritating kid and his pet "dog"...

So.... when I heard recently that the Sci-Fi channel was "re-imagining" the series, I did wonder what it was all about. Caught an interview with the director/producer/whoever who actually said "If you are a fan of the original series, do NOT watch this new series." Hmmmmm, that doesn't sound too good...

Somehow managed to catch what looked like the pilot episode of this re-imagined series ... and O M G it S U C K S!!
Firstly, it seems to take place about 40 years AFTER the original series started, and again takes place at the "12 Colonies of Kobol."
It's essentially the same "pilot episode", except that Starbuck, Apollo, Boomer, etc are "call-signs" for the current pilots?? huh?? and "starbuck" is female??? so is "boomer"???
According to the story, the Cylons had "disappeared" for about 40 years, and suddenly return out of the blue (looking much cooler, i have to admit,,, even their spacecraft have the "roving red line"... but then again they HAVE to add that in since cylons don't look like the cylons we know anymore... they look like regular humans (well, 12 of them do, anyway)), knocking out most of not all of the colonies' defense because the cylons have some sort of virus that, well, knocks em out.
The Battlestar Galactica is practically the only thing that is immune to them, because Commander William Adama (grooooaaaaan... yes, Adama...) didn't trust technology, or has foresight maybe?, and refused to upgrade the network on the ship.
Immune also would be the obsolete Vipers from 40 years ago, that just so happened to be onboard the Galactica during the time of the Cylon attack. If nothing else, are they trying to tell people NOT to upgrade to the newer version of Windows?
Oh, and the theme about "trust no-one, the enemy is among us" (i.e. the American's paranoia about terrorism) is greatly played upon, what with a cylon known to be among the humans on the Galactica...

I sat through that show, cringing at almost every other scene, wondering why people couldn't just leave the show as it was,,, I think I'll just go out and get myself a copy of BSG:TOS (Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series), all 24 episodes, and watch them to wash the bad taste i my mouth left by my exposure to BSG:TNS!

2. Babylon 5 (B5):

I believe this is the best Sci-Fi series ever.. although I have only seen perhaps half of the total series. Didn't help that I only started watching it during my last year in college (Season 2)... and while it was a miracle that B5 actually made it to Malaysian tv (Season 3), it didnt stay on very long (what to do... so few Malaysians actually like sci-fi maaaaah)...

Because this series came out around the same time as ST:Deep Space 9, many people assumed it was essentially the same story told on a different channel acted by diferent actors. WRONG! B5 had a definite start and end, unlike all ST series, that just kept going and going and going until writers ran out of ideas, or ratings dropped too low, or whatever :-)

This is a unique story, designed to be told over the span of 5 years. It mixes in angles on spirituality with classic good vs evil situations plus of course providing a view of earth, politics, and how all things are linked... cross-reincarnation of souls... age-old evil... politics... economics... social order... telepaths... inter-species love & marriage...

In a way, you could look at it as an allegory of what's been happening on earth, where the League of Nations, and later the United Nations were set up to broker peace after major wars. In this case, Babylon 5 is a space station, built by Earth but considered neutral territory. "Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last, best hope for peace."

Part of the beauty of this story is that its arc is over 5 years, not everything gets neatly tied up at the end of each episode. For example, for things that happen in one episode, the implications may only rear its head a season later. For example, i had an epiphany of sorts today watching Ep1.05: it showed the first appearance of the Shadows!! In fact, I am slowly making my way though the entire Season One (thanx again for the gift, Kosh!), and am sure I'll see much of the foundation being laid for the bits of the story that I do know from Seasons 2 & 3.

Can't wait to get my hands on the remaining Seasons 2 - 5!!!

Breaking news: B5: The Memory of Shadows is either a full-blown movie, or tv-movie, that's due to be out in 2006. It seems that Warner Brothers is in the process of getting things together for it... and it seems they are totally re-casting every character, which has the B5 fans up in arms... my concern would be story itself: I do hope they don't go off on a tangent, or create something inconsistent with the main storyline...

Please please please let this NOT go the same way as the "re-imagined" BSG!!


  1. BSG? Wow! Can I borrow the VCDs? Can I? Can I? Malek


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