Saturday, January 29, 2005

How I Learned to Enjoy Broccoli and Battlestar Galactica

“So how are you going to know that you don’t like broccoli if you don’t try it first?” My mother asked.

“We’ve had it before.” I said. A smelly green pile of boiled foliage gave off steam not all that far from where I was sitting.

“I’ve prepared it a different way.” She said.

I looked at the bowl and its contents and shuddered.

The conversation took a different turn and somehow, and I really don’t recall how, I avoided the broccoli.

Years later I tried it and loved it.

This being said, I owe Ronald Moore and the crew responsible for the new Battlestar Galactica an apology. When I first heard that Sci-Fi Channel was going to be producing a new Battlestar Galactica series I got a little fanboy shiver. I loved watching the original back in the day, so to speak, and I thought that it would be a sharp idea to revisit the original and see what sort of changes were in store for that ‘rag-tag fleet’ of starships heading for that ‘shinning planet known as Earth.’

Then I heard of the changes that were going to be made to the show. First of all the Sci-Fi Channel was making it. In the years that they have been in the business of making Sci-Fi originals, Dune has been one of the only projects that was worth watching. I was also concerned that the Cylons were going to look like humans; there were no laser/blaster weapons, Starbuck was going to be a hot young female starlet (as opposed to the male woman chasing swashbuckler from the original) and, what really synched it for me, the entire ‘Chariots of the Gods’ story line was going to be M.I.A. As a child of the seventies, this was very distressing for my nostalgic fanboy heart and I decided that I’d wait to see the mini-series until after it came out on DVD – that way I could avoid all of the commercials and get it all in one dose. Why torture myself with several nights of sitting in front of the TV when it could be a ‘one your done’ sort of experience? My expectations for the ‘reimagining’ (a term has made me cringe ever since the remake of Planet of the Apes) were not high.

I rented the DVD yesterday. What can I say? I was wrong. It was wonderful and certainly a tremendous launch for a new space epic. They have taken a smart turn for the best with this project. The characters are richly written and portrayed. They are treated with respect and dignity. You care about them. There is not a one-dimensional player in the lot and that is a testament to the writing of the script and the telling of the tale. The acting is exemplary and the story is well served. The effects are remarkable and, given the world that they exist in, ‘real.’ The battle scenes are visceral; just as they should be. In fact, the whole project has a hard science quality to it. This is important since the whole shooting match hinges on believability. The viewer must believe that the Cylons are effectively committing genocide against their creators – the human race. The viewer must also believe that the only hope for survival of our species lays in the hands of Commander Adama, the President of the 12 Colonies and the crew of last surviving Battlestar.

This viewer now believes. All apologies to cast and crew. Please just keep doing what you’re doing. I detest network television but I will be watching this series. The story is worth it.

To all my fellow fanboys who have had issues with the new series – try the broccoli; you’ll love it.

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