In which I squeal like a fan-boy at the prospect of Battlestar Galactica returning tonight,.
Battlestar Galactica, a series I grew up with, has been remade. I viewed the remake with some trepidation as I have some fondness for the original. Some did not view the original in a similar light to me and were cynical for that reason. All round, I personally thought the thing would suck, but decided to give it a chance. I was glad I did.
They began with a pilot, the pilot was shown some time ago, and I missed it. Sky have been showing the pilot this week. It was in two parts, then they ran the lot together.
The first run-through I missed the second half of the second part (the tape was too near the end and ran out). For the full run-through I wound the tape to the beginning, but the whole thing was longer than the tape. Stupidly I forgot to check for length!
So, I've missed the last half hour or so of the pilot. Still, what's the general impression?
Overall, good. The are some nice nods to the original series, the music being played at a ceremony, the original cylon specs being onscreen before we see the new cylons, the cylon in the museum.
The new cylons still have the cool glowing thing going on, which is nice - though the CGI isn't quite photoreal. Some of the 'old model' cylons still exist, as 'they have their uses', so with luck they'll make an appearance.
Starbuck is particularly good - nice use of a cigar there. Some will object to her being a female, though the article linked to was written before the show was seen.
I was unsure about the female Starbuck, thinking that the 'Buddy' thing between Starbuck and Apollo would be lost. I got past this pretty quickly. She had the 'swagger' and 'in your face' attitude that Dirk Benedict did, without the apparent self consciousness (though this bore fruit with the Cylon in the A-team titles). They've played it so the Buddy thing can continue, though there will always be a risk that they'll play it for romance - something which should be avoided.
Colonel Tigh isn't the likable character I remember, though this setup could simply be down to his growling around due to impending retirement. This worked for me too, you wouldn't have the best of the best on a museum piece - Tigh is on his last legs, and Adama is about to retire (though he comes across much better). Adama is held in high regard. Adama has respect for his executive officer, but his XO himself doesn't command respect. He is struck by Starbuck at one point, and at another point a crewman complains directly to Adama about him. I do hope that they let this roll out a bit, it could be fairly interesting.
The series is tough, the world (or rather, worlds) comes to an end, and the kiddies die too. Not just random kiddies, but kiddies that have had some screentime and been shown to be cute. One of the early kiddies is still in a pram.
The 'humanoid' cylons are quite effective, though I would not want to see them overused. They should be 'expensive' to build, and so used with care by the cylons.
Baltar is played very well - nicely ambiguous. There is a lovely scene as people are vying for a place on the last shuttle off the planet, and someone asks him for help. He's quite sympathetically done, serious thought has been given to why Baltar acts as he does. What is unclear is why Number Six (a Cylon) acts as she does at times!
Oh, and Firefly's Serenity makes a brief appearance just as the minister is visiting the doctor.
What don't I like? I'm not overly keen on the cylon ships. These are essentially one big flying cylon. Sensible for the cylons - but there was something about the flying wing with the three cylon crew that I liked a lot.
Oh, and no cylon has yet said 'By your command'. I miss that. I also miss the brown 'colonial' uniform, though the new styles are good, so I won't miss the old uniform too much.
I also found Apollo to be rather weak - though I think this was the script not the actor.
As has been hinted in some places, though it is 40 years after the 'original cylons', it is not 40 years after the 'Lorne Greene' Galactica.
The picture above is from the Cylon Helmet Project.