Friday, July 22, 2005

Galactica 2.0

I've never really watched anything on Sci-Fi, but I have found myself hooked on the new version of Battlestar Galactica that has been running since last year. I happened to catch a marathon of season one and the preceding miniseries a few months ago, and thus I have finally found a current TV series to obsess over. Having childhood memories of the original series (and bad memories of Galactica 1980), I had somehow pretty much missed that this series even existed and found myself intrigued by the new concept and immediately sucked in, all the while fearing for the worst based on the cheesy remakes we've been inundated with this year. I quickly found my fears to be unfounded.

The best parts of the new series include what I would call a somewhat realistic military feel to the show. The combat, technical aspects, and jargon feel very real. Gone are the lasers... real guns with realistic wounds prevail in this show. It seems like these people are reacting very much in the way real people would if they were in this situation and it really feels very modern-day (ignoring the fact that they're on a starship). The people have been recast in a much less sci-fi-ish mode as compared to the original, with the outlandish names (Apollo, Starbuck, Boomer, etc.) used as call-signs and the players given real names. This further adds to the realistic aspects of the new show.

The other new angle in this series is that the Cylons (the red-eyed robots from the original) have evolved into cyborgs that "look like us." From what I've heard from a few locations, this was partly a cost-cutting measure (CGI robots are expensive), but it is also a nice little plot twist, as they can now infiltrate the human ships and have led to the paranoia running rampant. But this also leads to a little of my initial confusion in watching this show... is it a re-boot or a sequel? It is a re-boot, but the implication is that the Cylons existed in their robotic state as they did in the original series and had wars with the humans prior to the new series. I initially thought that the original series constituted these original run-ins, but obviously not.

Episode two of the 2nd season kicks off tonight (9pm CT). Good sites for research are the Sci-Fi site and Alan Light's podcast. The producers also offer a podcast version of a running director's commentary (ala any proper DVD presentation) on iTunes. Good stuff...

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