Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Thoughts on Battlestar Galactica

It's hard to believe I was only 4 years old when the original Battlestar Galactica aired. I was probably older when I first saw it. We lived in Germany from 1980 to 1985, when I first remembered seeing the show. Since my parents' friends were kind enough to send us lots of taped shows from "The States" while we were stationed overseas, I remember getting to watch hours and hours of shows over and over again.

I was 3 in 1977 when "Star Wars: A New Hope" first showed in movie theaters. My dad was stationed at Tyndale Air Force Base in Florida at the time. I remember seeing it for the first time there. I've grown up on such science fiction. I also saw most of the Star Trek movies at base theaters. I also remember seeing movies like Blue Thunder at the base theater. When people bitch about letting children watch nasty movies, I remember the only way my dad could see them was to take myself and my brother with him. My dad's friend brought "Terminator" over on New Year's Eve 1984. I was 10.

I believe I recorded the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries to VHS. I probably still have it, but tying to find the tape would be a nightmare. I don't even know if we have a working VHS player anymore. My wife just sent one to Goodwill.Thanks to the miracle of our modern technology, I watched the new Battlestar Galactica through my Amazon Prime membership. Spoilers will follow, so if you haven't seen it but plan to, you've just been warned.

I wasn't sure what to make of the new Battlestar Galactica, but I ended up liking it a lot. I wasn't sure at first what to make of the new Starbuck character. I grew up with Starbuck and Apollo being men. The first time I saw the female Starbuck, I thought "Oh, well, un-holywood decided to cast a masculine woman. Like that makes any sense". But she did grow on me, and I came to like and respect the character, as well as the decision to make that character a female.

The military aspects of the show aren't bad. I get really annoyed, as a veteran, when shows try to salute and screw it up. I can tell when they have a military adviser or not. The 2003-2009 Battlestar Galactica didn't do a bad job with the military aspects. Some actors aren't the best at saluting, but I can tell some of them are trying.

One thing about saluting: In the Navy, we never saluted indoors, and we never saluted without a cover. At sea, we took our covers off (hats) because they would blow away. We never wore covers indoors. So on ship, at sea, damn little saluting happened.

One thing I never understood about science fiction military is the desire to address women as "sir". I've spent almost my entire life around the military, as a brat, sailor, contractor, and direct civilian employee. We always address women as "ma'am". It's not a problem. Women are only addressed as "sir" when being sarcastic or flat out disrespectful

The new Battlestar Galactica finally changed my image of Edward James Olmos. Ever since Stand And Deliver, every time I've hear his name or seen him, I thought "Are you the fingerman? I'm the fingerman too". Even in season 6 of Dexter, this image prevailed. I can finally see him as a different character. It's just like I saw Tom Hanks as Forest Gump for years until Saving Private Ryan came out. Vincent Dinofrio will ALWAYS be Private Gomer Pile in my mind. Every time I see him, I picture him sitting in the head, stroking a gun, going "Hiiiiiiiiiii, Jooooooooooooker!" in a psychotic voice. Typecasting is hard to break.

I did not like Colonel Tigh at first. I get the feeling that was the intention. By the end of the series, I came to respect the character as an old and professional soldier. I love his line when he discovered he was a Cylon: "I'm Saul Tigh, an officer in the Colonial Fleet. That's the man I've always been. If I die today, that's the man I want to be". That's the kind of dialogue that makes it into my quote file.

One thing I liked about the series is how it was brought to such a compelling conclusion. Then they left it hanging on the "it could happen again" note with a montage of our current lineup of robots. That gave me a laugh.

It's a good show, and I should have watched it long ago. I like with programs like Netflix and Amazon, you can watch an entire run of a show in a short period of time. No more waiting each week for the next episode, and no more of that annoying mid-season break that kills a lot of good shows. Flash Forward and Stargate Universe were both casualites of a 4 month break in the middle of a season. That and when they came back, the network kept moving them around and not publicizing the new time. Then they complain "nobody is watching it so we have to kill it". 
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