We Love the City

The monologue is my preferred method of discourse.

When did Battlestar Galactica go wrong?

Season One DVD coverI have two memories of watching Battlestar Galactica: It was really good at the start, and really bad at the end.

At least, it was really bad near the end. I never finished the series, thanks to being terrifically annoyed by almost everything that happened in season 4.1 – not to mention being annoyed by splitting seasons into multiple DVD sets. So: I don’t know how the series ended. I didn’t care when the “final four” was revealed, and I still don’t know who the final Cylon was. Nobody tell me.

But one night, while browsing Netflix, I started watching the original Battlestar Galactica. It was really bad.

Don’t get me wrong: I loved it when I was a kid, and Dirk Benedict is still totally rad. But the special effects always looked like leftovers from Star Wars – and were often recycled episode after episode – and the story was generic and bland.

After half an hour of that, it occurred to me that I should re-watch the remake, since it was so good at the beginning. And then, I thought, I should figure out exactly how that great beginning turned so bad.

So here we are: I’m re-watching Battlestar Galactica (the ongoing, not the miniseries; we already know the mini is awesome), and blogging about every episode. Some of them I’ll bunch together for thematic reasons, or simply because some episodes are so boring I can’t string together more than two or three sentences about them. I’m going to start with the ongoing series, because we all know the miniseries was great.

Let’s get a few of my prejudices out of the way, so you can decide whether you care about my opinions right off the bat:

  • The War on Terror themes were great. The mystical Cylon prophecies were lame.
  • I really like Katee Sackhoff.
  • The show never had great actors, but most of them were well cast. There’s Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell, and then everyone else.
  • One exception: Tamoh Penikett is incredibly dull. He has the emotional intensity of a damp piece of plywood, which is unfortunate for a guy who has to handle a lot of the emotional content of the show.
  • Jamie Bamber is also super boring. Likable, but dull.
  • Baltar is awesome. Seriously, James Callis created a loathesome yet still sympathetic character.
  • The best Cylon reveals were the ones you never see coming, and the ones that were built up – hello, Final Four – were disappointing. Boomer, D’anna, and Cavill were fantastic, because you never suspect them; Cavill even joked about being a Cylon, which meant he obviously wasn’t one, but then PSYCHE! He was. It ruled.
So with that out of the way, let’s get this party started.

Season One

One response to “When did Battlestar Galactica go wrong?”

  1. iHateTheTViHateThePresident


    I just finished watching BSG this morning, for the first time, and I was looking around for a good but negative critique of the show. The fact that this is hard to find (it’s easy to find people that hated the finale, but the idea that they couldn’t see it coming is disappointing on a different level) actually made me lose faith in humanity for a few seconds. But I won’t delve into that.
    Lo and behold I find this blog, somebody else who is also late to the party and grasps that BSG started coming apart at the seams well before the final season. I bookmarked and look forward to reading these reviews. I like to lump television in with other media, with film and literature and it pains me that people aim so low and don’t believe it’s possible to produce great art in the medium of television.