Thursday, 26 February 2015

Battlestar Galactica - 2003 miniseries

Oh no. Here we go again. Katie's found a new television show to geek out about, years after everybody else as usual!

The Cylons were created by the people of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol as a labor and military force. Approximately 52 years ago, the Cylons turned on their human creators and the Cylon War ensued. After an armistice was declared, the Cylons left the Colonies, ostensibly to seek a homeworld of their own. The Colonials maintain an Armistice Station as a place where Cylon and Colonial representatives can meet in order to maintain diplomatic relations. However, the Cylons have never sent an ambassador. No one has seen a Cylon since the end of the Cylon War, over 40 years ago...
On what is supposed to be a quiet day, the day of the decommissioning of the old Battlestar spaceship Galactica, the unthinkable happens. The Cylons, not seen or heard from in decades, launches its attack on the human colonies of Kobol, causing total devastation. Only 50 000 humans are left from all twelve worlds. Commander Bill Adama finds himself suddenly the head of the military, while Secretary of Education Laura Roslin, still reeling from a cancer diagnosis, discovers she is the most senior surviving member of the colonial government and sworn in as president. These two have to negotiate the best method of continuing the survival of the human race, and take opposite sides in the "fight or flight" argument. Adama, the military man, initially chooses to continue battling the Cylons, while civilian Roslin's priority is to keep the survivors alive. "The war is over," she says bluntly. "We lost." Sure, I've spent time with the losers of a galactic war before, in Firefly, but that was a petty rebellion, a scuffle, by comparison. Battlestar Galactic is the aftermath of near-annihilation. I say again. Fifty thousand people remain. 

I found the idea about technology advancing so far as to turn on its creators fascinating. It's not a new concept in science fiction, certainly, but I loved the details, that Caprica's Galactica ship reverted back to older technology. Considering how smart technology has got these days, it seems even more relevant than ever now.

The point at which this series tipped from interesting to amazing was when Adama announced the survivors' destination: Earth. I had presumed that the Twelve Colonies of Kobol were extensions of Earth-that-was, a la Firefly. It is the logical assumption, from my Earth-centric perspective. But Adama presents our planet not as "home," but as a legendary "thirteenth colony." Suddenly everything I believed to be true in this universe was turned on its head, especially afterwards when Roslin confronts Adama with the fact that Earth is nothing but a myth. No one knows where it is - or if it even exists!

Battlestar Galactica already shows signs of being darker, less optimistic than most science fiction shows. One character had to make the choice in cold blood to send a hundred people to their deaths in order to save the ship and everyone else aboard - and unlike Star Trek or Doctor Who or any other show with a similar dilemma, no third option became available at the last minute. I can already tell that this is going to be a very traumatic story to get lost in. But it's the characters that will make it worthwhile. Adama and Roslin, reluctant leaders with their vastly different approaches to, well, everything. Adama's son Lee "Apollo," who still blames his father for the death of his brother. Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, the cute, hotheaded, tomboyish fighter pilot. Gaius, the untrustworthy, cowardly doctor who presents a threat due to being under the control of his Cylon lover, the tall, creepy blonde lady who may not be physically present aboard the Galactica, but who he has brought with him nonetheless. And so many more who I haven't yet got straight in my head, but who I am very much looking forward to getting to know better.

2 comments:

  1. INCREDIBLE series. I've never really gotten into Firefly, but BSG owned my entire being last year - it is just so well crafted and your point about it being less optimistic is what, I felt, makes it so real. And yes, when you find out that Earth is the 13th colony or a myth, mind blown!!

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  2. BSG was some of the best made for TV fare of the last 20+ years. I love it, currently making it through the series for the third time.

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