Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Non-Comic: More Miscellaneous Battlestar-type thoughts.

I have no blogpost today. None. Nada. Zip.

Though, since my post about why the new Galactica has kind of lost me along the wayside, I have started watching a lot of episodes of the older series which I hadn't seen in years. Maybe I'll blog about that.

The costumes are insane, the plots make no sense, the writing is atrocious, the dialogue is absurd... God, how I adore it. Seriously.

I mean, hell. The Triad costumes *alone*...

Actually, I was surprised, but I actually like the way the old series handles the initial destruction better than the new series. I freely admit, most of the time my preference for the old series has more to do with my love of the absurd and ridiculous. But I actually think, in terms of emotional impact and quality, the old series did this better. There was a lot more sense of chaos and personal danger. Screaming, explosions, frantic and panicked people running for their lives while the crew watches the monitors helplessly...

I think the general sense of immediate and personal terror comes across a lot better in the old series at that moment.

The other thing I liked better about the old series, and this is more of a personal thing than a general quality thing, but I liked that the first casualty of the resurgence of the war was a character that had become familiar to the audience. He had been introduced as though he would be a major character, with interrelationships already established. Even though I knew that character was going to die (hard to avoid spoilers for a thirty-year old show, even if I hadn't seen new BSG first) I found myself mildly shocked anyway.

I find myself contrasting that with Number Six blowing up the Caprican outpost in New BSG or, even better, the whole baby incident. That last was genuinely shocking as well and gave a peculiar sort of insight into the Cylon's character, which I liked. But at the same time, I couldn't quite help but feel that it was done more for the sake of, well, killing a baby, with the character insight as an afterthought.

I admit, in the sense of realistic storytelling, having strangers be the first victims of the new war is a lot less contrived and much more suitable. But I do think it loses some of the emotional connection as well as robs that particular character of his significance to the overall mythos.

And, I'm sorry but being "that guy who Kara got killed and caused a rift between her and Lee, and Adama and Lee, and her and Adama and is partially the cause of the chip on her shoulder" while personally significant doesn't measure up to "the first victim of the Cylon betrayal."

I wouldn't begin to compare the characters though, since they're completely different animals, names aside. I did like the new BSG's change in having the peace between the Cylons and the humans last for forty years or so. It allowed the series to have a very different dynamic than the first series, in which the peace was new and very short lived. It allowed the characters to develop in different ways. In the old series, the main characters are all experienced soldiers, confident in their skill in battle against the robots. The new series has more desperation though as, except for the oldest of the crew, no one really has any experience against this enemy. I don't really have a preference either way, but I do think the contrast is interesting.

In general though, I find the old version much more entertaining than the new version for a number of reasons:

1) Adama (Lorne Greene version) is so much worse a father than Adama (Edward James Olmos version). Seriously. I mean, verbally, he's a lot more supportive and in general he's a lot less of a jackass to his son. But it seems like every time Apollo ends up stuck on some planet somewhere, Adama's ready and willing to leave him there!

And then there's that bit with Iblis which roughly paraphrased goes something like:

Iblis: You've pissed me off, so I'm going to target a life that means more to you than your own!
Adama: Hmm, now would be a good time to send my son investigate Iblis's lair!

Then again, Bill Adama sent HIS extremely pretty son with two beautiful non-combatant women and one barely post-pubescent kid into a prison ship where they hadn't seen a woman in twenty years or so. So it may be a toss up there.

2) Apollo is quite possibly, quietly, insane. I only noticed it watching this time around, but the man seriously has no filter of "Oh maybe this INCREDIBLY RISKY PLAN would possibly get us killed, so let's not do it!" Admittedly, some of that is just main character/hero-syndrome. But there's something...off about the man. And I don't think it's bad acting. (Honestly, in retrospect, Richard Hatch is quite possibly one of the best actors on the show. That's not saying much, mind you, but there we go.)

It's not that he's not aware of the dangers of the mission. Or that he is aware, gulps, and does it anyway. It's like...he's aware, but it doesn't mean anything. Like when they're flying blind through a nebula of some sort shooting at mines, via the Galactica's sensors. You have Boomer nervously ask "What happens if we miss one?" (namely explosion) And then Apollo's eerily calm/almost cheery "One of us will be the first to know."

Sadly, most of the inherent "okaaaaay"-causing-ness comes from the line delivery, but it's one of many small moments in which I found myself going "...you're not entirely sane, are you?"

3) The fact that even when they're barely scraping by with regards to food, water and fuel, they're never short on hair conditioner. I love the seventies.

4) Capes and King-Tut style fighter helmets. Also, the bridge officers totally wear silver lace.

5) Dirk Benedict trying to cry. Seriously. It's hilarious. The man's not really bad in general, but...yeah...

(In contrast, the fact that Richard Hatch can manage to look pretty even when soaked with tears to the point where they're coming out of his NOSE boggles the mind. It must be the soap opera actor pedigree.)

6) The fact that it becomes painfully apparent, really early on, why for the modern television audiences, ONE of them had to be turned into a girl.

For the record, I'm actually kind of sad that they picked Starbuck to be the girl rather than Apollo. I mean, I can see why they did. I think, ultimately, Starbuck is a bit more stereotypically masculine* than Apollo is, which makes for an interesting dynamic in a female character.

(* in as much as being a 70s heartthrob allows one to be "stereotypically masculine")

At the same time, however, I'd really have liked seeing a female character in the role of the straightforward, good-natured, usually-confident, idealistic, stoic, goal-driven, responsible leader type. The "Captain America" type role, if you will. I love this type of character, but for some reason, it's very hard to think of female characters that fit. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Wonder Woman, though I'm sure there are more out there. Either way, I still find the idea of a female old-school Apollo remarkably appealing.

That said, I'm, possibly paradoxically, less interested in seeing a female version of Lee Adama. Don't get me wrong, I like Lee quite a lot, but he's a lot more Spider-Man than he is Captain America, I think, and thus an archetype we see more often in both male and female forms.

But yeah, anyway, that's how I've been spending the majority of my weekend. :-) I love this incredibly bad, awesome, show!

3 Comments:

  • At June 09, 2008 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    By the way, Kalinara... with this week's BSG, I definitely stand by my theory that the interpersonal relationships between the characters is actually the central theme of this season.

    And sorry to be anonymous all the damned time, but I'm pretty freaking lazy....

     
  • At June 09, 2008 7:40 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    :-) I don't doubt it, really. It's just that, ultimately, I'm not sure the manner of interpersonal relationships are really to my taste.

    It's not entirely rational, I suspect, but there you go. :-)

     
  • At June 09, 2008 10:21 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    "The costumes are insane, the plots make no sense, the writing is atrocious,the dialoge is absurd...God how I adore it..."

    You've just beautifully summed up what I love about the entire Silver Age. A different thing of course, but still...!

     

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