Impressions: Battlestar Galactica

Lets just start by stating the obvious: I’m a latecomer to the Battlestar Galactica scene. This would be because since 2003, the media and my friends have been conspiring to get me to watch the damned series. I don’t like being told what to do.

This would be why I’ve never watched Lost, Dexter, The Wire, The Sopranos or several other vastly hyped post-2000 TV series. On the other hand, I simply don’t like Buffy, Babylon 5, 6 Feet Under and several other vastly hyped TV series which I have bothered to watch which doesn’t encourage me to watch over hyped new TV series unless they are related to my interests (The West Wing, The Daily Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm) or contain the magic words “Trek” and “Star” in the title.

In the interest of disclosure, I have seen all of the original Battlestar Galactica TV series as well as it’s awful follow-up, which saw the crew getting to grips with life on Earth circa 1980. It left a mixed impression – by and large I found the entire thing hysterical.

Anyway, my (very late) impressions of the first episode:

Things I like:
– Adama Sr is wonderfully badass.
– The new Robotic Cylon and Battlestar designs are amazing.
– Dr Baltar looks very like Mirror-Bashir from DS9.
– Space Combat is actually realistic compared to Star Wars/Star Trek etc where ships act as if they were aircraft within atmosphere. Weapons, explosions etc make minimal noise which is also more realistic and adds to the drama.
– Doing with Humanoid Cylons what Stargate SG-1 should have done with Human-Form Replicators.
– No Instant Reset. The most annoying thing about Star Trek Voyager was the instant reset button being pressed at the end of every episode – never any long term damage, no psychological impacts, endless parallel time lines. It’s annoying and a sign of flawed writing. It’s nice seeing the flip side of that coin without the deus exs introduced when Enterprise tackled similar problems.

Things I don’t like:
– Shaky camera isn’t cool, it’s annoying and it doesn’t add to realism.
– The new Basestar designs are horrible, but the old versions were a bit too Millennium Falcon.
– Too many Humanoid Cylons. Humanising enemies reduces the fear factor (see also: Star Trek’s Borg, SG-1’s Replicators).
– The Number 6 in Dr Baltar’s head is too much like the Crichton/Harvey relationship sans the black humour that made it such a good plot device in Farscape.
– There is only one true Number 6, and he is trapped in The Village.

Overall, I’m left with a positive view. Despite still having a very fixed view of what Cylons should look like.