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Sci-Fi's Battlestar Galactica miniseries opinions


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#1 of 106 Nelson Au

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Posted December 28 2004 - 04:52 AM

Did a quick search for this and didn't see anything. I'm in sort of foriegn territory here as some may know my focus is Star Trek.

I know the original Battlestar Galactica, saw it as it originally aired. I don't own the complete series, but I do have the original film when it came out on DVD a few years ago.

Looks like the new Miniseries is out today on DVD. The new series that came out if this miniseries is not out yet as I understand it.

I was curious about seeing the miniseries. What are some opinions here about the new "re-imagining" that Ron Moore has done to it? I know that Richard Hatch has turned his point of view on the whole thing. My opinion of it is like his, it is what it is and you should judge it on it's own rather then compare it to the Glenn Larsen original series. Thanks for any insights.

Nelson

#2 of 106 Rick P

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Posted December 28 2004 - 06:01 AM

The mini is pretty good IMHO. This is not your 'old' Battlestar however. This has some real 'edge' to it. The new series is execellent also.

An 'edited' version of the Mini will be airing on NBC the night before the regular series starts on SciFi (cut down from a 4-hour slot to a 3-hour), so if you want a look before you buy (but I'll be hanged if I can think what they can cut..)

#3 of 106 Aaron Silverman

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Posted December 28 2004 - 06:46 AM

If you take it on its own merits, then it's pretty decent. However, it really has very little to do with the original series beyond the names of characters, which I find kinda offensive. Frankly, it would probably have done better if they had just made it original, which would have made a lot of people say "it sorta resembles Battlestar Galactica a bit" instead of "I can't believe the way they screwed up my old favorite."

The worst part was

that they made Boomer a Cylon spy. WTF?!?!?!?!?!?! Posted Image

Note that the series has already been on for a while in Europe. There's a thread in the TV Programming area.
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#4 of 106 Rob_Walton

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Posted December 28 2004 - 06:48 AM

Both the mini and full series are pretty damn good , if you ask me . Better than most Sci Fi series , and probably better than the majority of recent TV shows in any genre . The full series is similar to Firefly in some ways , and that's all to it's credit . It's jettisoned the kitsch charm of the original but added real drama and action in its place . The characters aren't all goody goodies with perfect track records - which is a nice change from Star Trek style SF - and the villains aren't as straight forward as they first appear . Don't worry I won't spoil it for anyone ! If you haven't seen it yet you're in for a treat - especially with Tricia Helfer retaining her role !

#5 of 106 Eric Paddon

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Posted December 28 2004 - 08:28 AM

As a true fan of the original series who has written a number of Galactica fanfic stories over the years, the fact that this miniseries exists is the greatest insult to 25 years of hoping and waiting to see loyalty and patience rewarded with a true continuation of a series that has been unfairly maligned for too long, and so often because of the result of some blatant disinformation (i.e. the "Star Wars ripoff" charge).

"It's jettisoned the kitsch charm of the original but added real drama and action in its place. The characters aren't all goody goodies with perfect track records"

It's when I read comments like this that really get my blood boiling because that is just not true when it comes to the original. The originial's characters were not perfect, they had normal human foibles but managed to remain people who had normal human relationships with family and friends and were not dysfunctional cliches ripped off from bad movies like "In Harm's Way" (as is the case with those in the Moore version). And as for "real action" I would note that it was in the original that you actually *saw* the destruction of the Colonies taking place with people running in panic from the devastation, and you actually *saw* another battlestar being destroyed, whereas in Moore's version you *never* see any of this happen and instead get the news of planetary and other ship destruction given through bland, mumbled dialogue as if the actors were reading a weather report.

And as for "real drama", all I have to do is point out stellear episodes like "Living Legend", "War Of The Gods" and "Hand Of God" which stand head and shoulders above any Star Trek episode and any piece of Sci-Fi TV contemporaneous to Galactica. That is why it's appeal sustained with it's fanbase all these years and not because of "kitsch charm". It's because Ron Moore failed to recognize those facts that he ended up getting a lot of angry feedback, and it's just going to continue when he and the Universal PR department insist on continuing to insult the fanbase of TOS by running "Superior to the original" as their choice of soundbite for the back of the disc.

#6 of 106 Chris Roberts

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Posted December 28 2004 - 09:03 AM

I'm kind of neutral on the original series. I think it was way ahead of its time in many respects, but I have no interest in watching it on tv today.

I hated the new mini-series. I can't see taking it on its own merit either as the name invites comparisons. Here is a copy of what I posted in another forum shortly after seeing it.

"My roommate talked me into watching this. It was pretty bad and I will list why because the internet exists for scifi rants such as this. So you´ve been warned I´m about to totally trash this series. Read at your own discretion.


First of all nothing in it is original. I´m not just talking about how they copied the names from the first Battlestar Galactica, but they copied the man creates machine who turns against him formula that´s been done too much already and even had a version of the chick from Terminator3 in it.
At least in Terminator they explain why the machines turned against humans. They never explain anything in BG2003. Not that its important considering everything about this miniseries was utterly predictable well before it happened.
The music sounded like that bad B5 Crusade music. Since they were wearing Babylon 5 lookalike uniforms and copied how the Starfury´s fought I guess it fits.

Now, since they chose to name it after an existing series they have invited comparisons between the two. So I will compare the characters for now.
Adama - Edward Olmos had only one facial expression during the whole series. No charismatic presence at all. He´s no Lorne Greene folks.
Col. Tigh - Changed from a cool black guy to an unlikeable drunken loser.
Starbuck - At first I was bothered by them changing this character from a man to a woman. Then when I saw the series I wondered if that was the case since the actress looked and acted like a man. She was kind of creepy actually.
Boomer - Another good character changed from a man to a woman. I have nothing against women characters, but they could have easily named this character Sheeba or something.
Baltar - Changed him from an older (Adama nemesis) to a younger guy. The problem is the actor (like all the young male actors in the mini) just wasn´t very good. He wasn´t as wooden as the guy playing Apollo, but still.
Apollo - With him looking like Tim Daly and Baltar looking like Steven Weber I had to remind myself this wasn´t Wings in space.

In short, none of the characters in this series had any depth to them (except maybe the head mechanic on the Galactica) and I found I didn´t care if they lived or died. Most of the actors showed no believable emotions and that was the few times they actually tried.

The culture of the 12 colonies was ridiculously similar to Earth´s. The lady president was wearing high heel shoes for one thing and I find it difficult to believe a different and more advanced culture would create that type of totally inefficient footwear. A lot of other little details that made it seem like no effort was made to create something different and made the culture totally improbable. Remember they were an advanced culture that we are only a colony of. Yet our cultural evolutions were exactly the same despite totally different environments, religions, etc..
Only 40 years since the war and they were back to using networked computers in the ships that were built to defend them from machines who they knew could attack computers. Yeah that made sense.

Now its not the worst scifi I´ve ever seen (I watched 20 minutes of Lexx once), but its something I would never recommend to anyone I liked. Fortunately I think its budget would be too big for the sciffy channel to pick it up as a series."


Obviously I was wrong about that last part. :-

#7 of 106 Chris Bergmann

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Posted December 28 2004 - 10:54 AM

It's easily the best science fiction show since DS9 has ended and might even end up surpassing it.

And it has almost nothing to do with that cheesy, badly acted, poorly written joke of a show that the original BSG was.

I've seen the first nine episodes and there's more character development than in three seasons of Enterprise (or seven seasons of TNG).

To me it's the best new show (even beating Lost) and if you look at the ratings and the critic's responses in the UK then it's going to have a long run (unless it gets too expensive for SciFi).

The only danger the show faces is that it might be too good - some people might be bored by a show that is this character driven or by the fact that the characters are real people and not the cardboard cut-outs they are used from SciFi shows.

#8 of 106 Eric Paddon

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Posted December 28 2004 - 11:37 AM

"And it has almost nothing to do with that cheesy, badly acted, poorly written joke of a show that the original BSG was."

Then why did Ron Moore feel the need to glom off the name and characters of the original, not to mention the rough outline of the orignal story (so much so that Glen Larson rightfully sued to get writer's credit on this, and then stuck it to Moore by using a pseudonym) in order to put his hack job of dysfunctional cliches from badly written WWII movies and stale cliches of "man brought this on himself" before the public?

If Ron Moore had any guts or integrity he would have called his piece of junk by another name. Period.

#9 of 106 Nelson Au

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Posted December 28 2004 - 02:45 PM

Thanks for the insights. I knew there was a lot of controversy over this new version and I'm sorry I re-opened old wounds. I didn't think there would be this kind of reaction still.

Interesting to know NBC will be airing the mini series. If I don't buy the DVD soon, then I'll look for the broadcast. I chose to not have cable or satallite, so the miniseries release on DVD let's me see it. I am still curious to see it.

#10 of 106 Eric Paddon

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Posted December 28 2004 - 02:59 PM

Nelson, don't worry, it's just a simple, unfortunate fact of life that the bad feeling about this still exists and it's going to probably stay that way for a long time to come.

As a Star Trek fan, you could best understand the anger in the Galactica fanbase this way. Suppose in the late 1970s, the Star Trek franchise had been revived through a "reinvention" of the series in which Spock was now a female, and the underlying philosophy of the series changed dramatically from the original, and that there was no acknowledgment or continuity with the original Star Trek, but merely the use of a title and some character names? And that all of this was done by an outside producer/writer who had never watched more than two episodes of the original series in the years since it first aired?

If that had happened after the years of activity by Trek fans in getting their favorite series revived in a new way, the disappointment and sense of anger I think would still exist a quarter century later. And in short, that's exactly what the Galactica fanbase got served up after spending 25 years to try and get the property continued or at worst, remade in a straightforward way. Not a one of us ever would have predicted this outcome in a million years.

#11 of 106 Carl Walker

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Posted December 28 2004 - 03:10 PM

The original Battlestar Galactica was a fantastic show....

for a 7 year old in the late 1970's.

That was my age when it first aired. I was 100% hooked and couldn't wait for each new episode.

When it was announced that the original series was coming to DVD, I was in heaven. Imagine my dismay when I found that I couldn't even watch the whole thing all the way through one time. I sold it after about a month of trying. It was BEYOND bad. Posted Image

I just finished watching the miniseries for the first time tonight after buying the DVD as a blind purchase today. IT WAS AWESOME!!!! This is good Sci-Fi! To all of the whiners who complain about the "re-imagining" of the original series, would you have preferred that it go line-for-line from the original script a la Van Sant's Psycho remake? Personally, I like the curve-balls that were thrown at us with this miniseries.

Bottom line is, I hardly watch any TV with the exception of college football, the NFL, and my DVD collection. I'm not really a fan of Sci-Fi for the most part... However, I am VERY MUCH looking forward to seeing this wonderful series when it airs next month. Posted Image
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#12 of 106 Yee-Ming

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Posted December 28 2004 - 03:43 PM

Like Carl, I was a kid (8) when the original BSG came out and I loved it. Shortly before the DVDs were announced, it was actually re-run on local TV which I managed to tape and watch. Yes, some of it was cringeworthy, but I'm in the camp which thinks it had a certain charm about it.

Having watched the new miniseries and 5 eps of the new series, I'd have to say it's pretty good. Like many fans of the original, I was appalled at some of the things Moore did, but once you get past that, it's not bad.

I think the biggest complaint is, they shouldn't have called it "Battlestar Galactica" or re-used the old names. I'm in two minds on this. But the fact seems, those who loved the old BSG and would've been naturally drawn to the new one consider the new one a travesty, whilst those who hated the old BSG might in fact like this new incarnation, but might be turned off by thoughts of the old one. In retrospect it would seem that they indeed should've used different names. But as you all know Hollywood nowadays insist on re-making, or "re-imagining" (ugh!) old properties, to get a leg up in name recognition and a head-start in marketing. This is not going away any time soon and is no doubt going to get worse.

(OT, but since we're talking about re-makes: I recently watched the original Ocean's 11. Much prefer the new version. My wife, who is a Sinatra fan, couldn't be bothered to finish watching.)

Quote:
Suppose in the late 1970s, the Star Trek franchise had been revived through a "reinvention" of the series in which Spock was now a female, and the underlying philosophy of the series changed dramatically from the original, and that there was no acknowledgment or continuity with the original Star Trek, but merely the use of a title and some character names? And that all of this was done by an outside producer/writer who had never watched more than two episodes of the original series in the years since it first aired?

Some would say that's exactly what Enterprise did, or even Voyager in some ways, but that's another argument for another thread...

#13 of 106 Eric Paddon

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Posted December 28 2004 - 03:46 PM

You will forgive me Carl, if I find the idea of you not having once seen the series in repeats in the last 25 years since it aired when you supposedly loved it so much as a child to be a dubious one.

And furthermore Carl, what we wanted was a CONTINUATION of an existing storyline that fascinated us, because of the fine work of actors like Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Lorne Greene, John Colicos, Anne Lockhart etc. and the strong underlying values and philosophy that Galactica was unique in championing, in contrast to the sci-fi shows that had preceded it. And Ron Moore not only arrogantly took that from us, he also "reimagined" it by trashing the values of strong positive characters and strong family relationships (giving us instead whiny, dysfunctional oversexed characters ripped off from soap opera movies like "In Harms Way") the moral clarity of the Human-Cylon conflict (serving us instead the oldest and smelliest of cliches of "man brought this on himself"), and the positive view of religion and matters of faith that were so vital to the original. If a remake honored those philosophical underpinnings of the original, I could accept that. But when it goes out of its way to remake Galactica through the eyes of its detractors, that is another thing entirely.

We are not "whiners" we are people who had a genuine appreciation for this show, learning to appreciate it from an adult perspective, and we are the ones who sustained interest in the property for 25 years, and if we're ticked off because an outsider jumped in from left field and trashed the legacy of what we tried to keep awareness in, you can be damned certain we're not going to be calm and placid about that.

"Some would say that's exactly what Enterprise did, or even Voyager in some ways, but that's another argument for another thread..."

The difference Yee, is that Star Trek fans have already received their continuation with six movies with the original cast, and the Trek spinoff series are all set in the same universe as the original, and where the respect for the original is maintained. Galactica fans are still waiting for their patience after 25 years of shabby treatment to be rewarded.

#14 of 106 Sean.S

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Posted December 28 2004 - 04:07 PM

Ron Moore, a co-creator and writer of this show, is touting it as being the "anti-Trek," meaning the antithesis of the Star Trek legacy. This is exactly my problem with it.

First off...I despise the documentary-style direction. It is simply grating and screams, "Hey! We don't have any imagination, so let's just try realism!"

Second, it is just to pessimistic and dark. Where's the spark of life? Where's the hope and optimism?

Thirdly, Moore also states that there will not "really" be any aliens, and that he doesn't want to adventure-of-the-week shows. Lovely. Why not just take out the science fiction element altogether?

I'm sorry, but the pilot for this show epitomizes bad science fiction, especially with "Star Trek: Enterprise" shining brighter than ever.

#15 of 106 Nelson Au

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Posted December 28 2004 - 07:10 PM

Thanks Eric-

I can identify and I did think about how fortunate we Trek fans did get what we wanted. Luckily Paramount didn't do the re-imagining of that property.

What is interesting is that in about 1975 or 1976, I was in high school and my geometry teacher gave me a copy of a document that was circulating around to Trek fans. It was, as I recall, a sort of "feeler" of sorts that asks the question, What would you think of a new Star Trek TV series? But in order to do it, the characters of Kirk, Spock and McCoy are played by new actors. I can remember that day very well and I might still have that flyer somewhere. I wasn't too happy to see that and I wasn't going to accept that. The power of fandom then likely gave Paramount a very strong answer of no!

It's a strange world where a guy who's a true fan of the original Trek series gets to work for Gene Roddenberry and writes some very good Star Trek episdoes and then goes on to write the film that kills his hero Captain Kirk under Rick Bermans's watch and then goes onto the re-imagined BSG.

#16 of 106 Rob_Walton

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Posted December 28 2004 - 08:53 PM

Quote:
First off...I despise the documentary-style direction. It is simply grating and screams, "Hey! We don't have any imagination, so let's just try realism!"

That shaky camera technique is getting old pretty fast isn't it . Sorta reminds me of the Terminator 2 morphing effect which seemed to be everywhere for a while .

Quote:
Second, it is just too pessimistic and dark. Where's the spark of life? Where's the hope and optimism?

If you want escapism there are plenty of shows which manage that quite well . For myself I'd prefer a little grit in my porridge to the plasticated nonsense that Star Trek has become . Smugly perfect people don't hold any interest for me , and knowing they'll win through every week regardless of the odds removes any possibility of tense drama .

Quote:
Thirdly, Moore also states that there will not "really" be any aliens, and that he doesn't want to adventure-of-the-week shows. Lovely. Why not just take out the science fiction element altogether?


Does a show have to feature aliens to be considered Sci Fi ? It's still based in a scientifically fictitious universe with technology far advanced from ours . Maybe you're just disappointed because you've come to expect aliens and they didn't show up . But personally I'm glad not to have forehead of the week episodes , there's plenty of that too if you really want it .

#17 of 106 Dave Scarpa

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Posted December 28 2004 - 11:51 PM

I thought it better than it had a right to be I was pleasantly surprised. I'm still not sold on Cylons taking Human Form, but I enjoyed the Mini series. The Series debuts in January and has already been receiving Hight Praise from those seeing it overseas and thru other means.
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#18 of 106 Rutgar

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Posted December 29 2004 - 02:12 AM

Quote:
That shaky camera technique is getting old pretty fast isn't it . Sorta reminds me of the Terminator 2 morphing effect which seemed to be everywhere for a while .



The shaky camera technique not only gets old, but gets really annoying as well. I watched Bourne Supremecy this past weekend where they just waaay over did it. Entire fight, and chase scenes were just one big blur. Not only was the length of this technique too long, but the motion of the camera work itself was over exagerated, and extreme. I found myself screaming at the Director, "HOLD THE DAMN CAMERA STILL!"

#19 of 106 GarySchrock

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Posted December 29 2004 - 05:51 AM

Quote:
And furthermore Carl, what we wanted was a CONTINUATION of an existing storyline that fascinated us, because of the fine work of actors like Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Lorne Greene, John Colicos, Anne Lockhart etc. and the strong underlying values and philosophy that Galactica was unique in championing, in contrast to the sci-fi shows that had preceded it.

Personally I think that's at best an unrealistic expectation to expect any studio to do. After all, I assume the original series was cancelled due to ratings? Continuing the same thing is a sure way to find it cancelled again. Let's face it, sci-fi is not exactly faring well on american television right now.

Personally, I remember liking the original as a kid. I did rent some of the dvd's recently, and while they were ok, I have to say I didn't feel compelled to finish rewatching the series. While the new mini series was definitely NOT the original BG, I'd have to say that it really did pull enough of the original concept to use the name.

Basically I think it comes down to if you're a die-hard fan/zealot of the original, there's a good chance you're not going to like this one. If you're not, give it a try, personally I thought it was fairly decent, and had definite potential for the series.

#20 of 106 Eric Paddon

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Posted December 29 2004 - 06:42 AM

"After all, I assume the original series was cancelled due to ratings?"

No it wasn't. This is one of the many bits of disinformation Galactica fans have had to counter these last 25 years. Galactica in point of fact had the *highest* Nielsen rating of any science fiction series in the history of network television. Higher than anything Star Trek ever drew in its three seasons. The series was cancelled by ABC because at the time, ABC had suddenly developed a swelled=head regarding its status as the #1 network and as a result began to unrealistically raise the bar in terms of numbers it wanted to justify what was an expensive series. They saw Galactica's strong numbers and then foolishly thought that if they moved Mork And Mindy to Galactica's timeslot, all the sci-fi fans who'd boosted ABC's numbers on Sunday nights would be watching Mork as well. They guessed wrong on that point. ABC has never done as well as it did on Sunday nights at 8 as they did with Galactica.

By contrast, had Galactica aired on a network that was in trouble overall at the time like NBC, it's renewal would have been a foregone conclusion, considering how NBC gave Buck Rogers a second year despite drawing much smaller numbers.

"Continuing the same thing is a sure way to find it cancelled again."

I don't think you quite get what it is we wanted. We simply wanted a continuation set in the same universe that picks up the existing storyline. That doesn't mean we say pick up right after the last episode, it means move the storyline ahead 25 years, use a "Next Generation" ensemble as your stars and keep the old cast in supporting roles to bridge the gap, and acknowledge plot developments that took place in the original. Nothing more. Even if only for a one-shot miniseries to wrap things up. It's not so much as a new continuing series we wanted as a chance to see the story revisited as we knew and loved it.

"I'd have to say that it really did pull enough of the original concept to use the name."

Except in terms of all the vital underpinnings that has ensured the original's long-term staying power with its fanbase. That is why for so many of us, Moore's series is a betrayal because he isn't doing his "reimagination" with respect for the original in the way that Burton did with his Planet Of The Apes reinvention.

And here is another thing you need to be aware of. There *was* a continuation project with the original cast that was within weeks of beginning to be produced by Tom DeSanto and directed by Bryan Singer. Sets had been built, Dirk Benedict had been signed on to return. Then, 9/11 derailed the production schedule and Singer had to move on, and once he was out of the project, Fox lost all interest in it. Sci-Fi then ended up with the project and basically dismissed DeSanto (who had made a genuine effort to reach out to the fanbase) and brought in Moore. In short, Galactica fans were so close to seeing our dream realized and then had it taken away in the cruelest fashion in which the name of a show we loved is now being used to attract the interest of a fanbase that comes in with condescending, sneering contempt for the original. And that's something I can't ever forgive.


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