Felgercarb & the New Battlestar Galactica

Posted: January 20, 2010 in Culture

I just finished watching the re-envisioned Battlestar Galactica TV series (on DVD).  It was an exciting series, lots of action, special effects, and probably the longest chase scene in TV history.  Nevertheless, I really never liked the characters, and found the show to be troubling.  Halfway through the series – after the colonists escaped from New Caprica — I found myself rooting for the Cylons.

It’s hard to like characters who are mutinous, jihadist, immoral, genocidal, abortionist, and cowardly.  Consider the following:

  1. Commander Adama mutinied against the President of the colonies, and was never court-martialed for it, nor punished in any way.  Yet Adama had no hesitation in executing mutineers against his command later on in the series.
  2. While the colonists were on New Caprica, they engaged in terrorism, including suicide-bombing.
  3. The service men and women regularly engaged in inappropriate sexual liaisons, contrary to military codes of conduct.  For contrast, compare this with the Stargate series.
  4. The colonists had no hesitation in practicing genocide against the Cylons, even though the colonists regarded genocide as evil when practiced by the Cylons against humans.
  5. The President made abortion illegal, not because a child has a God-given natural right to life, but for pragmatic reasons – to increase the colonial population in order to avoid extinction.
  6. Near the beginning of the series, the Cylons discovered the location of Galactica and the surviving peoples of the colonies.  Some of these colonists were on faster than light ships, and others were on sub-light ships.  The new President, in an act of cowardice, abandoned the sub-light ships without even putting up a fight to defend them.  The same thing happened when the Cylons discovered the colonists on New Caprica.  Adama and Captain Apollo simply take their battleships out of danger without even trying to put up a fight.

In addition to these, on New Caprica, executive officer Saul Tigh took it upon himself to murder his wife Ellen because she had betrayed some of the other colonists (to save him).  This vigilantism was further seen after the colonists left New Caprica.  Some of the main characters, with the approval of the President, engaged in the murder of those who had “collaborated” with the Cylons.

Interestingly, neither Richard Hatch (original Apollo) nor Dirk Benedict (original Starbuck) liked the new series, though Hatch later reconciled himself to it and even played a recurring character on the show.  Dirk Benedict, however, never liked the show.  According to the Wikipedia entry for Benedict:

“Benedict was sharply critical of the revived series, and the changes to the story and characters.  A May 2004 article in Dreamwatch magazine, entitled ‘Starbuck: Lost in Castration’ revealed his disdain for the re-imagined series, its dark tone and its moral relativism.  Benedict said, ‘”Re-imagining”, they call it. “Un-imagining” is more accurate.  To take what once was and twist it into what never was intended.  So that a television show based on hope, spiritual faith, and family is unimagined and regurgitated as a show of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction.’”

To me one of the biggest problems with the series is that during the final seasons, some of the main characters were turned into Cylons.  (Spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen it yet.)  I thought it was pretty stupid to turn Colonel Tigh and the Chief into Cylons.  It was bad enough that the writers had done it to Boomer earlier on, or changed Starbuck from a man into a woman.  But they really “fracked up” the story line when they turned main characters into Cylons.  They had a lot of explaining to do, as the switch created a lot of anachronisms in the narrative.

For instance, the Chief and his wife Cally had a child.  Since it later turned out that the Chief is a Cylon, the baby would have been half-human, half-Cylon.   At a certain point Cally is killed by one of the other Cylons, then the Doctor later tells the Chief  his son is not really his own child but was the product of an earlier liaison between Cally and someone else (a non-Cylon).  The Chief seems to take it in stride, as if it were nothing at all to give up one’s son to another man.

The writers came up with this silly resolution for the simple reason that they already had a half-human, half-Cylon child, Hera.  Having another half-human, half-Cylon child would detract from Hera.  Of course, if the writers had selected more plausible characters as the final five Cylons – and the Chief was certainly not a plausible selection for the part — there would have been no reason to get rid of the boy, or have the Chief react so non-chalantly to losing custody.

I wonder whether a gay agenda was at work in selecting the final five Cylons.  The obvious moral of the arc was that humans had to learn to live with Cylons, to get over their prejudices and intolerance toward Cylons.  One of the major goals of the gay rights agenda is to convince people that the gay lifestyle is the same as skin color or gender.  In this way, perversion can be turned into a civil right.  Maybe I’m just imagining it but whenever the TV or movie industry begins to talk about tolerance, it makes me wonder whether the sheep should get nervous.

Another bit of silliness is that the writers turned the 13th tribe into Cylons!  Thus, when the colonists found the planet called “Earth” they discovered it had been populated by Cylons.  In the original show, the members of the 13th tribe were considered “brothers of man.”  Why the new show chose to make them all Cylons is inexplicable.  It was just another meaningless attack on the canon.

I was also greatly annoyed at the decision to scrap all the ships and technology of the colonial fleet, flying them into the sun.  This deliberate rejection of progress and turn to the “simpler life” or to primitivism represents the romantic, agrarian view that technology and civilization are threats to human enlightenment and survival.

For me, such simpler life thinking would mark the beginning of a new Dark Age – and that’s apparently what ensued on New Earth.

As I said, this is a fast-paced and exciting series to watch, but you might want to watch the old series, too, to get a better appreciation for, and perspective on, the legend of Battlestar Galactica.

Vern

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Comments
  1. Cagey Cecil says:

    I dug your ‘epistle to dippy’, your take on Bg’s 2nd series dystopian re-
    Visionism was fracking enlightening; one that left me feeling disturbing-
    ly parochial in my interpretation of today’s space channel tv fare.In short, this was
    that cold water shot to the brain; the time to tumese(sic) my
    ever waning distecular fortitude.

    Thanxs S.W

  2. I wasn’t fond of the general nihilism in the second series myself. The Cylon in the red dress could stop a molecular clock, though. Dang. The business of all the unmilitary hanky panky-that’s not a good sign. You gotta have discipline in a military or you’re history.

  3. Vern Crisler says:

    Thanks Dante. Yes, lack of military discipline made the show seem more like a typical Hollywood tv show rather than “realistic” science fiction.

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