Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Scandal! I like the old Battlestar Galactica better.

I am certain science fiction fans everywhere are ready to smack me around after that headline.

Let me make my case.

On YouTube, I came across a trailer for something called Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming. You can see it here:

From what I've been able to dig up, it was sort of a proof-of-concept video put together by Richard Hatch, Apollo from the 1978 series. The idea was that Second Coming would pick up pretty much where the series left off, mercifully denying any existence of Galactica: 1980. Anyway, the Battlestar Galactica is still leading a "ragtag, fugitive fleet" that is the remainder of humanity after the Cylons have destroyed the 12 colonies. Commander Adama has died and his son Apollo has now taken over that role. Colonel Tigh is now President of the Quorum of Twelve. John Calicos returns to play the treasonous Baltar. Conspicuously absent is the other tonsorial-ly challenged Warrior, Starbuck. Instead, Hatch created a new character as Starbuck's daughter, who is also a crack Viper pilot. There's even Count Iblis, although not played by Patrick Macnee. Looks like there's another alien race in addition to the Cylons as humanity's enemy, but the trailer isn't clear.

This sounds like a Galactica novelization called Armageddon that was written by Hatch and Christopher Golden. The cover even has the Warriors in the same red flight jackets as in the trailer. Anyway, Hatch's intent was to bring Battlestar Galactica back to TV. But he had powerful competition. The reboot eventually shown on SciFi in 2002 was already in production and eventually won out.

I couldn't help but feel sad, wishing that Second Coming had come into full being.

The 2002 SciFi series obviously became a big hit. Compared to the original, the reboot was better written and better acted. The cheese factor was dialed way down. It contemplated real human issues. It was a far more realistic (as much as something like this can be) production than its predecessor. It should be something that I rave about.

But I don't.

I could never get into the reboot. I appreciated it for its quality, but I just couldn't devote myself to it consistently. Never could figure out why. After watching Second Coming, I realize that subconsciously I had the answer to that question all along.

BSG is something I watch to get away from my problems, not meditate upon them. If I want to see people stab each other in the back and lose out to their baser instincts, I can just walk out the door any day or turn on the news. Because of this, I never once found myself caring about any of the reboot characters. The original Galactica wasn't that way for me. Despite being two-dimensional, the characters of the 1978 series faced their overwhelming odds with a sense of honor. They were heroes. Even though their home and much of their entire race had been wiped out, they somehow pressed on. They displayed an uncommon valor in doing so.

Is that kind of heroism cool? No. Is even realistic? No, but that's not what got this kid watching the original show, buying the toys to go with it, and reading the Marvel Comics series (which could be a blog post in its own right). Sometimes I don't want science fiction to show me an extrapolation of how things are. I want to see how they could be. I get enough realism during the day without having to add to it in my slim entertainment time. So make my Battlestar the one from 1978.

And I still want a Viper.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

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