I Swear, There Are No Cute Robot Dogs

Just a friendly Vodkasphere public service announcement here.

I mentioned a day or two ago that the new “Battlestar Galactica” series was my favorite TV show of 2004. That might have sounded a little odd for many reasons, but especially so considering the show doesn’t premiere in the US until tonight (January 14). But thanks to an oddball contractural agreement, it’s been playing in the UK since last fall, and the episodes aren’t terribly hard to find online (no, I’m not going to give you directions, so don’t ask).

Frankly, I didn’t expect to like this show at all. I’d watched the 1978 original avidly, and loved it–but what the hell, I was in the fourth grade back then. As one of Pixar’s execs noted recently, kids have no taste, and will watch pretty much anything (no link and no name, sorry; I think I read it in an airline magazine). The Sci-Fi Channel, which is responsible for the “BG” remake, runs the original shows all the time, and at 36, I can barely stand to watch them. Take away the neat-looking spaceships, and it’s just standard-issue 70’s television. In other words, crap (although I still think Lorne Greene was great as Adama–sue me).

Listen, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one, because I was thinking the same thing you were a few months ago: “‘Battlestar Galactica?’ C’mon, that’s a punch line. It’s the definition of suckage. What, are you going to tell me to watch ‘Buck Rodgers’ next?” Full disclosure: I have neither a Tron costume nor (ahem) a Lego Star Destroyer in my house. I’m not saying any of this out of loyalty to nerd-dom.

When the “miniseries” version of the new “BG” came out in late 2003, I tuned in mostly out of sick curiosity, i.e., “Let’s see how much this sucks.” I was pleasantly surprised to get adequate entertainment instead. It wasn’t great. At four hours minus many, many, many commercials, the thing dragged a lot. Some of the acting was good (Edward James Olmos as Adama, Mary McDonnell as a Secretary of Education suddenly elevated to the presidency), and some not so good (the new Apollo was almost as wooden as the original). But it wasn’t bad.

So I, ah, arranged to view the first couple of episodes when they showed up online in the fall… and I was astonished by how good they were. At forty-odd minutes a show, they had a speed and vitality that was missing from the miniseries, and the writing was so much better than the original show, there wasn’t any point in quibbling about Starbuck being a girl and Colonel Tigh becoming a bald white dude (okay, I’m still a little torqued about that one, but let it pass).

Anyway, I’ve gone on way too long here, but the bottom line is: Check it out. The premiere two episodes run back-to-back tonight on Sci-Fi, and they’re terrific, especially the first one, titled simply “33.”

I’ll guarantee you this much: it’s a hell of a lot better–and more grown-up–than any ‘reality’ crap you’ll find on the tube tonight…

UPDATE: As a reader points out, I completely goofed up the Pixar thing above; his name is Craig Good, and the interview was on NRO. I mixed it up with a Brad Bird interview I read on an airplane.

Also, Ain’t It Cool News collects a whole bunch of positive mainstream press reviews of the show here. Pretty strong endorsements, especially considering every non-geek critic over 30 had to have been pre-wired to hate this one.


74 Responses to “I Swear, There Are No Cute Robot Dogs”

  1. Becky in Ohio Says:

    I missed the mini-series. I, too was addicted to the original BG (still am, if I can force myself to saty awake till it comes on Sci-Fi channel). I saw the notice that BG is coming back, and I haven’t been this excited about a new show since, well, nope, I haven’t been excited about a show if an AWFUL long time. I have the popcorn ready…Thanks for the heads up, I CAN’T WAIT!!!

  2. greg Says:

    I’ve been pretty excited about the series since they released the miniseries last year.

    The only scifi remake that is upcoming that is bothering me is “War of the Worlds” with Tom Cruise in theaters. There are a couple of reasons: 1. You don’t remake the great classics (see also: Manchurian Candidate) and 2. The main character does nothing in the movie but narrate, so the fact that it has Tom Cruise in it makes me think that they will have totally destroyed the original story line.

  3. Sandy P Says:

    I thought it would also suck big time, but I was also surprised at the miniseries. Looking forward to watching it.

    Interesting twist on it, I think the Ceylons want to feel. I don’t recall that from the 70s, but it’s been a long time. All that sex and they glow. And they’re pissed at their parents because their parents didn’t love them, cast them out, IMHO.

    But that’s my take.

  4. Nick Says:

    I have to agree… I think it will end up good. I’m also a big Stargate SG-1 fan (yes… that officially labels me as a geek)… so sue me. The only problem is that they insist on showing them on Friday night. Why the hell do that? Thank god for DVR’s.

  5. Angie Schultz Says:

    I, too, thought that a Battlestar Galactica remake would fill a much-needed gap in the world of TV programming, until I watched the new miniseries. (I still have to wonder: why? Why remake this series, then shuffle everybody and everything around?)

    I was in high school when the original BG came out, and was very disappointed by it. When I watch those old episodes now, I’m charmed by them. That hair! Those clothes!

    The old Cylons really looked great. I was sure that in the future, everything would be black and chrome, and shot through a star filter. Feh. I cannot think these human-looking Cylons an improvement.

  6. Will Collier Says:

    Angie, I confess, I too have a soft spot for the old clanky chrome Cylons. There’s no doubt that the current producers went with the “they look like us now” theme not primarity for dramatic purposes, but because it’s cheap. It’s a very old TV-sci-fi dodge to come up with human aliens (Star Trek, The Invaders, even the “War of the Worlds” show from the 80’s, I mean, you name it) because actors are much cheaper than alien costumes, makeup, or now CGI.

    That said, the “BG” writers ran with it in a very interesting way; it makes for some good dramatic TV, believe it or not… and there are still some real robot-looking cylons showing up down the line.

  7. SAHMmy Says:

    I watched one episode of the new version. I was put off that they made the new Starbuck a woman! Oh pul-eeze spare me the PC. I don’t think the Apollo/Starbuck thing works at all with Starbuck as a woman.

    But that’s just my 2 cents.

  8. Jeff Harrell Says:

    Did anybody watch the re-cut version of the pilot that aired on NBC last weekend as a movie-of-the-week? The original cut was three hours, split across two nights. The NBC cut was a much tighter two hours, and it was good. Some important subplots got lost

  9. The Shape of Days Says:

    ‘As of this moment, we are at war’

    The blogosphere is all agog with talk of tonight’s US premiere of “Battlestar Galactica.” Jen is excited. So’s Will Collier.

  10. ricky Says:

    Cmon, Buck Rogers was AWESOME! Well, at least Erin Gray in those smokin’ tight outfits was! She fueled many a nights fantasy in my 11 year old brain!
    I can’t actually remember anything else…

  11. Dave Justus Says:

    I have only seen the mini-series that came out last December but I did enjoy it.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised at how well the female Starbuck character worked.

    Anyone else notice how cold it must be in those old battlestars though?

  12. Winston Smith Says:

    I resisted this remake–the PC stunt casting turned me off–but finally caved and watched it this last weekend on SciFi.

    It’s quite dark. It’s quite well done. It’s not quite the same Battlestar Galactica I watched when I was in fourth grade (we must be the same age, Will), and there are times when I think the show could be a bit more of an homage than it is. But if this were a brand-new show, I would have no qualms about it, so I’m treating it as if it has nothing to do with the original (which, frankly, it does not).

    Thank God SciFi has finally made a decent, first-run show. I know a lot of people liked Farscape, but that was godawful piece of crap.

  13. Paolito Says:

    I have been watching ripped versions of the new series and I am surprised to admit how much it has grown on me. The show can be frustrating at times, especially when it comes to the character of Dr. Baltar, but overall it is very enjoyable to watch. I very barely remember the original, I was 3 in 1978, but I always loved the concept. The new series is very well done and enjoyable even when it is corny and sentimental. I highly recommend giving it a try.

  14. Paolito Says:

    By the way, Episode 12 just aired in Britain so we have a little bit of catching up to do.

  15. Andrew Says:

    I loved the original (and still pull out the DVDs occasionally to enjoy them); while the show had numerous flaws, it had enough strengths to generally succeed. I was therefore quite disappointed with the remake, probably in large part because of my like for the original. I watched the mini-series again the other night, however, and found it less objectionable, so I’m willing to give the series a shot. There were still some pretty serious plot holes I hope they avoid in the future, though.

  16. Beer Says:

    “33”… Damn those folks from Rolling Rock!

  17. Robert Says:

    Of course Sci-fi has to schedule it up against Enterprise. Grrr. Guess I’ll have to videotape it overnight. And Erin Gray almost made it bearable to sit through Twinkie. What a freaking annoying robot that was.

  18. Laurence of the Rats Says:

    I’ve enjoyed the new version as well and I’m looking forward to seeing the series episodes starting tonight.

    One touch I really, REALLY like is that in this new version of space combat, they chuck nukes around.

    THANK YOU! It drives me up the wall just how many scifi shows don’t even address this. Getting a ten million degree fireball just outside your hull won’t do any ship any good.

    Babylon 5 is the only other show to even mention (or use them, rarely).

    I can’t counte how many times I wanted to slap the Star Trek people for not even mentioning WHY they don’t just knock an enemies shields down then use the transorted to leave a nuke in a bathroom with a 2 second timer.

    My wife has manage to miss the last hour of the miniseries repeatedly and is planning on watching it on tape tonight before it all gets rolling, so I get to see that nice escape fight one more time. 🙂

  19. JOe Says:

    L of the Rats;

    I always say transport out the engine shielding, matter meet antimater!

  20. Alan S. Says:

    I was aware of the remake for some time, probably partly through this website. I watched the NBC cut the other night, and while I thought there were some good moments, it really seemed choppy, with some odd hanging references. Turns out that was entirely due to editing out an hour or more. Sci-fi ran the whole thing a couple of days later, and it was much better.

    Two scenes in particular struck me: One reunites Starbuck and Apollo after he’s assumed dead. I may be wrong, but I swear that was verbatim dialogue from an episode I saw as a kid. Recasting an awkward male “buddy” moment into an even more awkward male-female scenario was kind of inspired.

    The other was more of a shot than a scene, really, but made me laugh out loud. Fans of the old series will remember that there were only about six or eight effects shots, recycled endlessly. One of those consisted of a Viper, shot from the side, which kind of casually avoids a couple of enemy shots by swinging closer to the viewer, then farther away. Seen once, it was innocuous enough, but after you saw it in every single episode it quickly grated. I mean, freakin’ robots are such lousy shots that you just do a gentle chicane to avoid them? Well, they duplicated that shot in the miniseries – except, when the ship starts to swing away – BOOM! Smithereens.

    Had me just dying laughing on the couch.

  21. Joan Says:

    Lord, it’s geeks running amok over here today… yippee!

    First things first, though, Will: here is the Pixar interview in which the guy says that kids will watch anything. It was on NRO. Ahem.

    As for the new BG, I’ve got friends who love the new stuff and keep telling me I have to watch it. The last time I got sucked into an original Skiffy series I practically needed an intervention, but maybe now I could handle it a bit better.

    Certainly sounds worth checking out, anyway. Ta!

  22. Sandy P Says:

    B5 B5 B5 B5 B5 B5

    Praise The Great Maker!

    I couldn’t watch them for 3 years.

  23. sulizano Says:

    Thanks, Will, for the heads-up,

    My sweet new hubby has been aching to see this. We scurried home tonight just in time to pop in a videotape to record it (we of the non-Tivo crowd).

    You get any nasty weather yesterday?

  24. Ed Driscoll.com Says:

    Absolut Geekapolooza

    Will Collier of Vodkapundit and his readers are enjoying the new remake of Battlestar Galactica. The old series still emits enough of an enormous cheesy odor for me to want to stay as far away from the remake as possible….

  25. dorkafork Says:

    Didn’t the original showing of this new BG have the ships moving silently in space? Or did I just imagine it?

  26. Patrick Chester Says:

    Well, so far I’m liking it.

    (Okay, there isn’t much good news in this story so far, but I think it’s being well-done.)

    The Cylons are depressingly thorough, don’t you think? At this point, I want them to show one of the human-form Cylons sitting on some ridiculous chair acting all Evil Overlord-like. O_O;;

    (…I was 8 back in ’78 so yeah, I saw the original.)

  27. Mike Daley Says:

    Original BG was the all time suck SciFi series on TV, full discloure, I was in my 30’s when it debuted.
    The current incarnation is orders of magnitude better than the original.
    Plus, SciFi Channel broadcasts all their original series in 16:9 letterbox, so superior even on my non-digital 32″ Sony flatscreen.

  28. Robin Roberts Says:

    The new Battlestar Galactica is scheduled opposite Enterprise? Gee, I didn’t notice …

    So far I’ve seen “33” and “Water” and must say that if the writing and acting says at this level, it will be the highest quality SF TV series to date. And I say that as a huge fan of B5 and Farscape.

  29. erp Says:

    A long time ago before recorded history, there was short lived series about a garbage scow in space. Don’t remember the name of it, but Richard Benjamin was the captain and one of the crew was of the vegetable persuasion by the name of Ficus. It was hilarious, but only lasted one season, if that. Too intellectual for common tastes.

  30. Angie Schultz Says:

    erp – Quark was the name of the show, with Benjamin playing the title character.

    bee Bee BEE BEE BEE BEE! — Ficus, practicing his mating ritual

  31. Casey Tompkins Says:

    Can anyone give suggestions on how a poor schmuck without cable (i.e. ME) could manage to watch the minseries and the new series?

    I’ve heard tons about it, but I can’t see it! And no, I’m not coughing up $40/month+ for cable just for one show. I don’t have the money these days.

    …I wonder how soon they’ll put it out on DVD?

  32. Anachronda Says:

    Robin Roberts: Do you remember “Space: Above and Beyond?”
    erp: I also remember Quark fondly. The bit that pops most easily to mind involves (I think) one of the Bettys offering to pin a flower on Ficus and he responds with “that would be like me pinning a pork chop on you”.
    The only thing that bugged me about the new series was the whole looking for water bit. I’m sure some astronomer out there probably knows better, but I would expect about any old star to be surrounded by a cloud of comets. Other than that, I really enjoyed tonight’s episodes.

  33. Down deep in Texas: The View from Waco Says:

    Battlestar Galactica: Something old, something new

    Well, I was really impressed in December of 2003 when the Sci-Fi channel rolled out it’s version of Battlestar Galactica. Like Will over at Vodkapundit, I was also in the 4th grade when the original BSG came out. I loved it then, but like a bad chees…

  34. Jeff Harrell Says:

    I’m sure some astronomer out there probably knows better, but I would expect about any old star to be surrounded by a cloud of comets.

    If I remember this right, comets aren’t water ice. They’re balls of frozen gases, like oxygen and nitrogen. This may be totally wrong, however.

    To the contrary, the show really scored big points with me with Tigh’s little mini-speech about how the galaxy is a barren and desolate place.

    And did anybody else catch the fact that they found nearby stars with “optical and radio telescopes” rather than long-range sensors powered by TV magic?

    And while I’m pointing out neat things that I noticed, let’s talk about CAG and UNREP. The term CAG was used frequently in both the pilot and the first episode, and UNREP was used a couple of times during the second episode. At no time were either of the terms defined. I had to google ’em. CAG is a Naval aviation term that stands for “Commander, Air Group,” and UNREP means “underway replenishment.”

    I like it when shows assume I’m smarter than I am. It reminds me of that episode of “The West Wing” where Bartlet yelled at God for five minutes in Latin with no subtitles.

  35. TL Says:

    Ok, I’m hooked. That comming from a guy who loved the original (campy Sci-Fi isn’t always a bad thing) and really disliked the mini-series when it showed up last winter. The new series still had it’s annoying bits (Starbuck’s a girl, $1.99 Ikea clocks all over the place, humans created the Cylons…), but if they can keep the writing and acting to the same level as the first couple of episodes it will be a winner.

  36. Anachronda Says:

    Well, according to http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/newton/askasci/1995/astron/AST145.HTM:

    Comets are thought to be “dirty snowballs” composed mostly of water ice and
    methane ice.

  37. DB Says:

    This is the first must watch series for me since Joss Whedon folded up his TV tent. My wife likes it even more. We got the miniseries DVD last week. I have to disagree with several here and say that I had no problem with the length.

    I watched the original as a kid, and it was OK in a campy way but it is not something I jones for. It filled the void while I waited for the next Star Wars. In fact, it’s a damn shame this fine series has the remake baggage around cluttering up it’s image.

    I loved Ronald D. Moore’s work on various Star Trek projects and was expecting this to be good but I was suprised at how good. Too bad the Trek powers that be let him slip away. If Enterprise was shot in this style and written as well it would not be struggling for the fourth year running.

  38. Mark Says:

    Did the Colonol Tigh in the miniseries remind anyone of John McCain?

  39. the other JD Says:

    Enterprise has gotten a LOT better under Manny Coto. It’s a shame that this didn’t happen while it still had an audience.

  40. erp Says:

    Did the Colonol Tigh in the miniseries remind anyone of John McCain?

    Yes. So much so that the minute I saw him, I just assumed he was the villain. (I never heard of BC prior to reading about it here and at Lileks) so I had prior knowledge.

  41. erp Says:

    of course, I meant I had NO prior knowledge.

  42. Scott Says:

    He looks like McCain, but that’s about where it stops.

    Living in Europe, I’ve seen all the eps aired thus far. It’s the best sci-fi, I think, since the glory seasons of Babylon 5 and Farscape.

    It’s dark, but not unremittingly so; there are a couple of eps that are pretty lighthearted.

    But man, what a show. Be sure to check out Episode 4, “Act of Contrition,” which is about as good a character drama as one could ask for, and Episode 10, “Hand of God,” which the survivors go on the attack. I’ll stack those episodes against anything on TV.

    The only complaint I have is the B-plot, with “Helo,” a Colonial who gives up his seat for the sneaky genius weasel Gaius Baltar in the miniseries. He’s running around Caprica, one of the nuked homeworlds, fleeing nuclear radiation and Cylons. He gets about 7 minutes an episode, and it’s been kind of a disconnected distraction from the main plot.

    In episode 11, “Colonial Day,” though, the B-plot finally goes somewhere, giving a textbook definition for the fight-or-flight reflex.

    If Americans don’t watch this and it’s cancelled, you’ll have no one to blame for another decade of nothing to watch but Survivor and American Idol.

  43. Scott Says:

    Although, I will admit that “24,” also known as the “Jack Bauer Power Hour,” also rocks.

    “There’s no TIIIIIMMEEE ….”

  44. BumperStickerist Says:

    Edward James Olmos keeps getting in the way of my willing suspension of disbelief

    …I keep expecting the Viper pilots to come in off a patrol and then study math for the AP tests.

    …other than that, the show is teh roX0r

  45. Angie Schultz Says:

    …I would expect about any old star to be surrounded by a cloud of comets.

    Not old stars, or hot stars, but you’d think that would still leave plenty of candidates.

    …”Helo,” a Colonial who gives up his seat for the sneaky genius weasel Gaius Baltar…

    See, now, I assumed that guy was crispy toast. You’re ruining it for me!

    That scene where the people storm their little ship, while mushroom clouds bloom softly in the background, was really cool. Maybe not too realistic, but cool.

  46. erp Says:

    I’m no atronomer or astronaut, but I’ve watched a lot of “Magic School Bus” videos with my granddaughter, so I know that it’s very cold in outer space.

    Therefore the very first flow of water out open ports would freeze solid PDQ and keep any further watery water from flowing forth.

    Or words to that effect.

    The MSB didn’t have a video on finding water on barren rocks in outer space, so I have nothing to report about that. I’ll leave that to you scientific types to figure out.

    Heads up to BumperStickerist: Keep on breathing in and out and eventually everyone will start looking like they’re 12 years old. Just had a procedure done on my hand and the surgeon looked like a junior high school kid. Plenty scary, but as my kids said, would you rather some old geezer cut you up?

    Enjoyed BG but am glad to know that future eps will be a bit lighter and more cheerful.

  47. Jeff Harrell Says:

    Therefore the very first flow of water out open ports would freeze solid PDQ and keep any further watery water from flowing forth.

    Not with the pressure differential, Erp. Besides, because of the rapid pressure change during the rupture, the water in the tanks would be boiling violently anyway.

    Also having seen all of the episodes aired so far, I think I know what Scott’s talking about when he refers to a more lighthearted episode. Don’t expect “Friends in Space,” mmm-kay? The funny episode still ends with an incredibly chilling moment. Seriously, the hair on the back of your neck will stand straight up.

  48. Tom Says:

    I have seen the first 12 episodes on SkyOne and every one is as good as or better than the one before. I even enjoy wantching them over again and I pretty much thought the orifinal series was crap, ponderosa in space.

  49. Larry Says:

    The original series was based upon Mormon theology. I see some hints of that in the new series but I was wondering if anyone else knew if they keep the same theological structure and assumptions?

  50. Steven G. Erickson Says:

    I enjoy reading this blog.

    I posted a link to this post on FreeSpeech.com

    Steven G. Erickson aka Vikingas
    New England, USA

  51. Anachronda Says:

    erp, not only is it cold in space, but there isn’t very much air pressure. Both temperature and air pressure go into the boiling point. While I agree that the water wouldn’t stay liquid, I’m not certain whether it would freeze solid or boil off. Guess I skipped too many episodes of Magic School Bus.

  52. McGehee Says:

    While I agree that the water wouldn’t stay liquid, I’m not certain whether it would freeze solid or boil off.

    Both? The droplets formed in the near-zero air pressure freezing into snow maybe? Too fine-grained and dry to stick together and seal the rupture, though.

  53. Physics Geek Says:

    Geek alert

    yes, I will be watching Battlestar Galactica has been resurrected on the SciFi Channel. If you didn’t have a chance to see the mini-series last year, let me give you a bried synopsis: all of humanity has been wiped out…

  54. Les Jones Says:

    Battlestar Galactica

    I’m watching the new Battlestar Galactica right now on the Sci-Fi channel right now, thanks to Will Collier’s recommendation. So far, so good. If they develop the characters this could be a good show….

  55. BigFire Says:

    Re: Larry

    As it has been pointed out many times, the original series mapped better to the story of Book of Exodus. The Twelve Tribes of Israel cast out of Egypt == Twelve Colonies of Kobol.

  56. Robin Roberts Says:

    I do recall Space: Above and Beyond, but thought it was just the old “Combat” tv series done in space opera style. It didn’t hold me.

  57. rjsasko Says:

    The original BSG did have strong references to the Biblical Exodus but was also a cautionary Cold War tale. The Civilian government wanted to believe in the Peace Process so much so that they threw out all common sense in the hopes of singing Kumbaya with their enemies. Adama and the military had the mindset of “peace through strength” and “trust but verify”. They were overridden. The result was Armageddon.

    Yes it was campy. Yeah they reused an awful lot of special effect shots. Considering it was by far the most expensive show ever made at that time and even though Top Ten ratings couldn’t save it due to its high production costs I am willing to cut it a bit of slack. At least they had a Starbuck who actually knew how to smoke a cigar. (Unlike the new PC version) And the Intergalactic Space Hooker was also a definite plus.

    What bugs me most about the new show (other than the copout human Cylons which make me yawn-I mean just how many times is that dinosaur going to be trotted out while the writers/producers pat themselves on the back for their ingenuity…yeah sure) is that Ron Moore only knows how to make characters one way and one way only. He writes them so flawed, so despicable, so one-dimensional in their supposed three-dimensionalness that he makes one root for the “villians” to kill them all. Apollo hates his dad and Tighe is an alcoholic and blah, blah, blah. And hopefully the Cylons kill them all before the next episode airs to put them out of their (and our) misery. First Moore did it to Roswell and now he did it to BSG. Makes me wonder just what kind of people Moore hangs with in real life? Maybe he writes from the inside of a prison cell in the Maximum Security wing at San Quentin or something?

    Many years from now the campy, cheesy, disco pants and haircuts 70’s version will still be playing in reruns here and there. The new version will be long forgotten (especially after the Prozac needed to get through every eppy runs out).

  58. erp Says:

    As for whether the frozen water would clog up the holes, it’s logical, but who knows? The MSB waffled on this. Even if the water was boiling, would it be a match for the cold of deep space? Don’t know that either, but in any case, even if the water escaped the ship it would remain nearby either as one solid mass of ice or in flakes. It can’t evaporate — no air in space to absorb the moisture and it can’t go anywhere on its own. — no winds, no gravity. Remember those shots of the astronauts working on the outside of their space craft setting “down” their tools in space, they stay right where they’re put, so they would have been better served to reclaim the H2O right in the vicinity of their ship than run around looking for it on barren rocks. Looking for it — foolish. Expecting to find it — foolishness. I’m willing to suspend belief of the unknown, but am not willing to suspend belief of the known.

    Anyway, I sent the question to my theoretical physicist son who will not doubt research this question and send me the definitive answer after he has conferred with his peers worldwide and when he is satisfied that every permutation has been explored. The short answer is a concept unknown to this bunch. Whether any of us will care anymore by the time we get the answer from the genius world, is not known. If you’re interested, send me an email (erp617@yahoo.com) and if I remember the question, I’ll send you the answer.

    I love science fiction and started reading it 60 years ago with Isaac Asimov and I do like the show, but the relentless dismal grayness is depressing. Why is everybody dressed like workers in the factory scene in “Doctor Zhivago” ? Thankfully that scene was short and was followed by fields of daffodils and ice palaces. A word to the wise.

  59. HT Says:

    Tragically, the new series will never see Lloyd Bridges showing up with the Battlestar Pegasus to mix it up with both Adama and the Cylons…

    I have watched both the pilot and the first couple of new episodes, and may continue to watch intermittently, but the poor understanding of matters military and their logical extensions into the realm of space combat severely degrade the enjoyment factor for me. Of course, the supply problems casually written into the series will kill everyone in the refugee fleet long before their military incompetence does them in, so who cares, I guess.

    IMHO, there is only one SF writer who actually seems to understand this stuff (David Weber). I doubt that his Honor Harrington or Starfire books will ever be translated to any screen anywhere, at least not faithfully enough to avoid the same sort of technical and tactical inconsistencies that have plagued every SF drama that has ever been made.

    But that doesn’t mean he’s not worth reading, of course.

  60. Anachronda Says:

    erp: Good point. I hadn’t even thought about where the water went or why it disappeared.

  61. McGehee Says:

    Don’t know that either, but in any case, even if the water escaped the ship it would remain nearby either as one solid mass of ice or in flakes.

    No. Each individual mass or particle would continue moving away from the ship at the same velocity it had on escape.

  62. Angie Schultz Says:

    OK, I’ve watched the first episode, and I don’t think it’s worth the praise you guys have lavished on it. For one thing, you can tell already that the writers have a bad attitude. They have contempt for their audience.

    Why 33 minutes? The characters ought to be wondering about this, wondering if maybe they can figure out how the Cylons are doing this, and stop them. But, no, the characters aren’t meant to be real people, they’re little cardboard cutouts whose purpose is to be tortured, or heroic, or tragic on demand.

    This is not good writing. This is crap.

  63. Jeff Harrell Says:

    Apollo hates his dad and Tighe is an alcoholic and blah, blah, blah.

    Patience. That’s all I have to say about that. Patience.

    Tragically, the new series will never see Lloyd Bridges showing up with the Battlestar Pegasus

    That’s okay. I can only think of him as the old guy from “Joe vs. the Volcano,” anyway. Moore has gone on record, though, saying that he would like someday to tell a story inspired by the “Living Legend” episode of the old show.

    They have contempt for their audience.

    All due respect, Angie

  64. erp Says:

    33 minutes? Obviously to allow for commercials.

    McGehee –_ velocity of ejection — but isn’t that the question?

  65. Angie Schultz Says:

    All due respect, Angie

  66. Jeff Harrell Says:

    it ought not to have been a grunt who asked that question after five days, but Adama who asked that question as soon as a pattern had been detected.

    You’re kind of jumping to the conclusion that he didn’t. That part was omitted because it wasn’t interesting. It didn’t advance the story. In what way would it have been good TV for a bunch of tired, scared, desperate people to stand around going, “But why?” for fifteen minutes?

    I thought of a number of things they could do to at least try to work themselves out of their predicament.


    The writers set up an arbitrary box, let their characters squirm around inside it

    Yes! Exactly! That’s writing in a nutshell. Establish some interesting characters, put them in a situation where there’s stress or conflict, and watch how they respond. You’re arguing that the box was the wrong color, or that it had the wrong number of corners. Which, while being perfectly legitimate in its own way, colossally misses the point.

    A series in which characters are put in artificial situations to writhe and wallow for the enjoyment of the viewers is a soap opera.

    It’s also Shakespeare. You think the idea of a prince whose uncle murdered his father and married his mother is anything less than contrived? You think Hamlet’s solution to the dilemma

  67. JammerJim Says:

    Just to be pedantic for a second here, space is not cold. Nor is it hot. Deep space is a vaccuum [sp?](mostly), and a vaccuum is *nothing*. Hard for nullity to have a temperature. Its how the the old thermos bottles worked, IIRC.

    What does happen is that stuff in *shadow* is very very cold. Stuff in the light of a reasonably close by star (say, within 100 million miles of a G2 type) will be hot.

    Thus endeth the lesson. 🙂

  68. Jeff Harrell Says:

    You ended the lesson prematurely.

    Just to be far, far more pedantic, it’s got to do with the relationship between temperature and pressure.

    Have you ever used one of those cans of compressed air that you can buy at the hobby store? You depress the little nozzle at the top and air shoots out

  69. Will Collier Says:

    “It is very cold… in space.” –Khan

    (Hey, you guys want to argue with Khan, count me out!)

  70. Sam Says:

    Starbuck’s gender has nothing to do with PC.

    It has everything to do with space babes. The old BSG was aimed at 8-12 year-olds. The new one is aimed at late teens/twentysomethings.

    Sci-fi fanboys like babes, and they like babes with attitude and a flightstick even better.

    There’s no room for Nurse Chapels and Uhuras in today’s world – that’s not PC.

    A very important note – this is NOT a remake. It’s a re-imagining, meaning they took the basic premise of the show and built it anew.

    I don’t have the pink-tinted glasses of childhood experience tarting up the old show – I’ve seen some of it, and it’s pretty much godawful. The new one is not only good sci-fi, it’s good TV full stop.

  71. Sam Says:

    “Why 33 minutes? The characters ought to be wondering about this, wondering if maybe they can figure out how the Cylons are doing this, and stop them. But, no, the characters aren’t meant to be real people, they’re little cardboard cutouts whose purpose is to be tortured, or heroic, or tragic on demand.

    This is not good writing. This is crap.”

    Methinks thou doth miss the monkeys in dog suits too much. How the heck do you figure out how the Cylons are tracing you? You jump, and hey presto, no more Cylons around, can’t figure out anything since they’re not around, other than trying to figure out the FTL capabilities of technology you have pretty much zero information on, based on the amount of time it takes for them to jump after you.

    All the while you have to prep an entire fleet for another jump, ready fighters, all understaffed.

    See, it’s Wesley Crusherian cardboard characters who come up with deus ex machina contrivances based on something as freaking cryptic as ’33 minutes’. Real people run and keep running until new information comes up or they get lucky.

    Or maybe they go to Planet Vegas hours after the apocalypse. Go figure.

  72. irish19 Says:

    HT: WHOA!!!! The idea of the Honor Harrington series on TV or even a standalone like The Apocalypse Troll sends little shivers up my spine. Weber really knows his stuff. I’m not sure TV would do it justice, but what a thought.
    I saw the original BG when I was in grad school. A bunch of us got together to watch the premier, and we agreed that it had a lot of potential if they didn’t turn it into Lost in Space with better special effects. Unfortunately they did, and I grieved very little when it died. I missed the premier of the new miniseries, being otherwise engaged burning powder at my local range, but will start watching it this week.

  73. Angie Schultz Says:

    I said:

    I thought of a number of things they could do to at least try to work themselves out of their predicament.

    So Jeff says:


    Well, I didn’t really want to get into nerd ping-pong “Well, you see according to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, you…” “No, no, you’re not taking into account the DeBroglie…” but:

    In the pilot it was established that tracking through jump was impossible (unless this was de-established in the last hour, which I haven’t seen for a while). Therefore, I’d think the characters would at least wonder how the Cylons were tracking them. I don’t recall that any did.

    The first thing I’d do is make sure that the fleet didn’t wait for the Cylons to show up. A big part of their problem is that the Viper pilots are exhausted because they need to get out there and do battle with the Cylons to keep them off the civilian ships. This wouldn’t be necessary if the civilian ships would jump even a minute — half a minute — earlier, given that the Cylons are courteous enough to arrive punctually. (Heck, they all could try jumping a minute earlier. It’s possible the Cylons are getting a fix on them as soon as they make contact. If the Cylons jumped in, and the whole fleet had gone, maybe their tracking system — whatever it is — would be stymied.)

    I could go on, but I won’t. I agree that solutions on the order of “realign the Penrose tubes through the Hawking converters so that…” are not satisfactory. But I don’t see how a dumb deus ex machina that puts the characters in jeopardy is any better than a dumb deus ex machina that gets them out.

    But my point is not so much that the characters didn’t solve the problem, as that they had a problem which suggested several solutions, none of which were even addressed. If the writers really wanted to make their cardboard cutouts writhe believably, they should’ve chosen a different situation for them to writhe in. Moore apparently thought his little deus ex machina was good enough for his sheep-like audience, and anybody who thought otherwise was just a nerd who wanted hear about how the Dirac transmitters were adjusted until the vacuum zero-point reached the Zaglauer coefficient.

  74. Jeff Harrell Says:

    In the pilot it was established that tracking through jump was impossible

    Roslin asks Lee if the cylons will be able to track them after they jump. Lee says no, that it’s impossible. “Theoretically impossible?” she asks. “Theoretically,” he concedes.

    So yeah

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