Well, this took a while to get to. A few years ago, I decided to revisit the original Battlestar Galactica show and its horrid sequel, Galactica: 1980. If the original 70’s sci-fi show was a father, then G: 1980 was the child who decided to go down the dark path and become an arsonist. If the reboot is anything, it’s the franchise’s child who went to get his doctorates in Science, Liberal Arts, Theology, Philosophy, and Aerospace. What I’m trying to say is that Season 1 of 2003’s Battlestar Galactica might be pretty good.
Battlestar Galactica came out as a mini-series in December 2003 and eventually had their first season a year later on the Sci-Fi Channel. I don’t remember what I thought of the show when it first aired. I saw some of the original mini-series when it was aired on NBC of all places. I think my thoughts were “Hmm… this is a little racy. Nobody isn’t in the room, are they?” Okay, it's not Game of Thrones, so it's not that racy. I actually didn’t get to see much of the first season when it was aired. I think I only saw a few episodes especially the season finale. Talk about “Holy Crap!” Since it’s not on Netflix anymore, I’ve been finding the seasons for cheap in different places.
I know some were bothered by the changes to the reboot. Starbuck’s a woman? Tigh’s a white guy and a jackass? Boomer’s a pretty attractive Korean woman? I wasn’t as knowledgeable about the original series, so I wasn’t really bothered by the changes made. Heck, I’m still not bothered by them. Not a lot was changed though. If anything, stuff just got modernized and it looked less Star Wars-like. After all, BSG was a bit a riff on Star Wars. I didn’t recognize any of the actors at that time except for Edward James Olmos.
Battlestar Galactica takes place in another part of the galaxy. There, humanity lives in a group of planets known as the 12 Colonies. Beforehand, humanity was at war with the Cylons, a robotic species that they created. After the war, the Cylons went into deep space and stayed hidden for 40 years. In the present day, the come back much different and more powerful than ever. They strategically wipe out the 12 Colonies. About 50,000 humans remain from the attack and one Colonial fleet ship, the Battlestar Galactica, remains to keep them safe. Since their area of space is pretty much overrun by Cylons, humanity’s leaders decide to take the survivors and search for the mythical 13th Colony known as Earth.
Baltar, I don't if I can say that you're lucky or stupid.
So, what can I say that already hasn’t been said about this? This first season succeeds in so many ways. The show had some good people behind it. Ronald D. Moore and David Eick knew what they wanted to make the show into. They took things from the original series and modernized them in a way that worked. Heck, they even took Richard Hatch (Apollo from the original show) and used him in a way that was pretty cool. The stories felt of the time especially since 9/11 was still on everyone’s minds. It also touched upon a variety of topics.
Not only did it have good people behind it, but the cast was also pretty good for the most part. I mean, you got Castillo (Edward James Olmos if you don’t know) from Miami Vice! You’re definitely going places! In all seriousness, there are some standouts with the cast. My favorites from the season were Commander Adama, Starbuck, Apollo, and Gaius Baltar. You gotta mention ‘ole Gaius. You never knew where they would be taking this guy especially in later seasons. The characters also felt pretty real. They weren’t perfect men or women. They’d make mistakes, lie, and sometimes treat people like crap. Even the humanized Cylons had some interesting depth to them.
Hmm... they're acting a little too friendly.
On the subject of the Cylons, they got a huge upgrade here. While there are robotic CGI versions walking around, they also now look like and act human. Not only does this make them more interesting, it makes them into a much more serious threat for the Colonial fleet. It was already tough for them surviving and all. Now, they got to deal with deadly cyborgs in disguise? “I would have just stayed on Caprica! At least some of them are nice to look at,” I jest! Anyway, not only were the Cylons antagonists. Sometimes, there would be conflict in the fleet itself. Since they’re on the run and tensions are up, someone’s gonna get punched.
The overall look of the show was pretty good. It has a realistic, lived-in flair to it. It also has a cinematic feel and a personal, up-close feel to it. The battle scenes in space were pretty good for the most part. They were few and far between but when we got them, they were good and entertaining. The special effects used for the Cylons were fine for the most part. Lastly, the music for the show is awesome. There’s no way to describe it. You might also hear something familiar during the mini-series if you’re an old-school fan.
Okay, Ellen Tigh is an unlikable person.
Nada. The show is awesome. ‘Nuff Said.
Okay, okay. I might have a couple of nitpicks about the first season. You may have had a couple of episodes that were okay for the most part. They weren’t bad but they weren’t that great either. Sometimes, the acting could be a little poor. It’s not always the case in some episodes, but it can show up from time to time. I also gotta admit that the robotic Cylons took some time to get used to. I know we wouldn’t get the original, Stormtrooper-looking guys, but my hesitation to the look probably has to do with the effects for them. All I’m saying is that it would have been cool to see some practical effects for the robotic Cylons. Other than that stuff and a couple of other things, the show’s good.
Richard Hatch: Well, you don't have my hair, but I think you'll do well, kid.
Finally, here are my 6 favorite episodes from the season.
1. The Miniseries – The Cylons return and destroy the 12 Colonies. The survivors leave their system and search for Earth.
2. "Kobol’s Last Gleaming" – It’s the season finale where a lot of things go down. It’s not mass hysteria, but it’s close.
3. "Litmus" – A suicide bomber causes the truth about Cylons disguised as humans to come out.
4. "33" – It’s the official pilot of the series. The fleet is on the run from the Cylons and they attack every 33 minutes
5. "Hand of God" – The fleet is running out of fuel. They find a source, but a Cylon base is surrounding it.
6. "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" – While Pres. Roslyn is reeling from some startling news about Commander Adama, Col. Tigh’s wife is found. Hilarity ensues.
Overall, this was a short but good first season. If you haven’t checked it out, do so. You might like it. Will it get any better from here? You and I will have to find that out one day down the road. For now, I’ll look at something else. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and be a little wary of tall, seductive blondes. Oh yeah, I just noticed another connection to DS9,,,