A review of Battlestar Galactica

I had watched most episodes on Sci-Fi Channel, but recently I started re-watching it from the beginning using the DVD version. Galactica is “ok”, but not outstanding. Many things just don’t make sense. What I like on “Lost” is the amount of realism it brings with its characters and situations, even if Lost is also a scifi/fantasy series. But Battlestar Galactica’s writers are just not as careful with continuity and simple logic. In detail:

* The technology is very uneven. They have technology to do “jumps” in space and create big ships, but other, more basic technology, is absent. Heck, they don’t even have iPods. It’s like the writers cut back on daily technology on purpose just so they make their situation more dramatic. But by doing so, they made it less realistic.

* First the Cylons are killing billions(?) of humans without mercy, and then they cut back on their killing for no good reason other than advancing the plot.

* Why are there no robots among people? “Good” robots that is. I mean, it was not that robots were completely banned after the Cylon Wars. Or at least, we were not told so.

* They still haven’t cured cancer, not even myopia. :P

* It does not make sense to be running away from Caprica for months and yet, when Starbuck had to go back she got there in an instant. If jumping so far was so fast, galactic exploration would have been a common practice and possibly Earth would have already been found.

* From the moment they got into “New Caprica”, they still wanted to find “Earth”. Why? What’s wrong with New Caprica and even some other habitable planets they visited before? As long as Cylons could not find them, there was no reason to continue the search for Earth specifically, but to find a habitable planet and plant their asses there.

* Cylon detection among humans should have been easy as a pie. And yet, it’s not, again for plot reasons.

* Cylons can download to a new body, but for some weird reason they have no connection to the hive mind? Even if it’s not possible to communicate peer-to-peer, it should be possible to communicate with the “server” if a spaceship is close. It is stupid to not be optimized to do that. More over, their political structure doesn’t make enough sense either.

* Shaky cameras suck balls. Get a tripod. It costs less than $500 for the kind of cameras they use.

* The worst of all: RELIGION. All the super-natural religious crap, are just that: crap. It feels like even their political decisions are based on religious grounds which is at least laughable — at least for humans with a level of technology.

Other than that, Battlestar Galactica is not a bad show. But I think it evolved to be cult show because there is nothing similar on TV. If only the writers were paying more attention to detail.


l3v1 wrote on July 28th, 2007 at 7:07 AM PST:

Well, it really seems Lost is like Jack Bauer: the best in everything and beyond…

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Eugenia wrote on July 28th, 2007 at 9:24 AM PST:

It seems to me that it is.

Brent wrote on July 28th, 2007 at 10:00 AM PST:

Even though, BG is mostly about drama, with continuity being secondary I still believe they do a great job on the technology front, and even with continuity. The main thing is that they’re all humans (well, most of them, as far as I can tell from the first 2 seasons which is all I’ve seen so far). And humans don’t make much logical sense—their continuity is all off. For example, I know of someone who has a tremendous amount of software, and writes about it and reviews it, and thinks software sucks. Does that make any sense? ☺ Even the Cylons are not very consistent because they’re trying to make themselves in the image of their creators so they can eventually be like them, and be creators like them, themselves (part of the Cylon/Mormon theology of the show). When I watch the people on the show do stupid, inconsistent stuff, I think “wow, that’s great TV, real people would act that way”.

Addressing some of your specific points (all except those which refer to a season I have not seen yet).

* Uneven technology: just because they’re not using a specific technology does not mean they did not sometime in their past use it. Maybe they did have cell phones and iPods long enough to learn how much they sucked and so sensibly stopped using them (I, for one, LOVE the fact that they use such tremendously huge phones). Consider leaded gas, which made engines run better but we learned to stop using.
* Cylons stopped killing humans because a couple of Cylons, having lived as humans, convinced the rest that humans deserved to live. Not an easy-to-swallow explanation, but at least they covered it in at least two episodes.
* Humans stopped liking having robots around.
* There may not be a good, foolproof cure to cancer except death.
* New Caprica is the first planet they find with some possibility of being hidden from Cylons. Also, it’s clear during the election episode that the planet is not very ideally livable, and that people are not choosing to live there for any well-thought-out logical reasons—because people of the future are just as illogical as people of today.
* Starbuck was able to jump to Caprica quickly because she had that Cylon ship which was able to do it in one jump due to fancy Cylon technology.
* Cylons are hard to detect because they’re trying to be like their creators, so they’ve worked real real hard be indistinguishable from humans.
* I don’t understand why Cylons choose to not be better networked. I hope we’ll get a better understanding of that some day.
* Religion. I expect people to always have religion, as long as there are people, not matter how advanced their civilization—same goes for Cylons trying to be humans. To be surprised that political decisions are based on religions grounds is to deny most politics in many countries (including my own) or to assume that people will somehow evolve to a higher state of understanding that does not need religion. Advances in technology have not effect on the level of religiousness (consider all the technological religious linux / open-source zealots). I do do do do do hope that by the time the show ends we will find out that all of the religious prophesying was pure hokum, although I don’t expect that outcome.

But, again, they don’t care nearly as much about detail as they do about drama. And I think drama is much more important.

For a sci-fi show that completely does away with any attempt at continuity, I recommend Red Dwarf.

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Eugenia wrote on July 28th, 2007 at 10:28 AM PST:

>I know of someone who has a tremendous amount of software, >and writes about it and reviews it, and thinks software >sucks. Does that make any sense?

Yup, it does. :D
It’s because I have so much software around that I can see how much it sucks.

>And I think drama is much more important.

I agree, but Lost simply does it better. In my mind, Lost makes more sense than some of Galactica’s plots.

Thom Holwerda wrote on July 28th, 2007 at 10:44 AM PST:

When it comes to realism, there’s only one sci-fi franchise that does the trick: Alien.

Optimus wrote on July 28th, 2007 at 11:57 AM PST:

Personally I never felt there are some gross inconsistencies in as much episodes of Battlestar Galactica I have watched till now. What you mention here didn’t make me wonder because it is supposed to be an imaginary story of some far civilization with it’s own technological choices, religion, ethics that I cannot decide if it should make sense or not. Especially the political and religious parts cannot be judged as inconsistencies imho as they are just based on the culture of that imaginary civilization which could be still seem stupid to our civilization, but I cannot thing they are mistakes in the scenario or something. I can’t say about the technology but such things doesn’t matter much to me usually.

I like the religion issue in the way it fills up into the scenario. E.g. what I found interesting is that the humans even if technological advanced they still believe in twelve gods which seems so ironical in comparison to cylons that believe in one eternal god and love (maybe the same irrational for some :) . Humans hate the cylons as they look evil to them but as the scenario progress I start to sympathize the cylons more because of this and other factors. I think the religion plays nicely here, maybe it’s a bit odd how technologically advanced human would still believe in twelve gods (which relegion also resemble the greek mythology at times, strange as it is. Also, the twelve planet names are like the zodiac circle, even more odd). It’s also supposed that the intentions of the cylons are not easilly seen and that’s more mysterious and interesting to me than asking “why could the cylons kill people and they didn’t?”. It’s still not inconsistency to me but a deeper scenario that maybe doesn’t portrait cylons as the “total evil” who get destroyed or anything at the end (don’t know what happens further yet) but has some philosophical meaning I’d like to understand someday. I just don’t feel the same with you about BS..

Other than that, I am really hooked with BS :)

l3v1 wrote on July 29th, 2007 at 5:40 AM PST:

Just one more thing about:

“It feels like even their political decisions are based on religious grounds which is at least laughable”

At first, I just went over that without much thinking, taking it as being ok. But thing is, even today – although we are technically less “advanced” than the BG universe – such issues are present and not something to be easily dismissed. I don’t want to point to countries and regions and religions, but hopefully you get the point.

Regarding your almost “religious” :) love of Lost :) I have to say, I’m happy this is different. In fact, I’m happy Lost was different. I’m always happy when we get to see something different. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even care. In the case of BG we got something else too: since it has it’s – distant – relations with the BG of the good ol’ days, we have some special attitude towards it. And what was an additional feature that kept me watching the new BG was the full length audio commentaries, I thought they were really awesome.

Optimus wrote on July 29th, 2007 at 10:10 AM PST:

I just talked to a friend who is a BS nerd about your review and he also pointed to me something about the old technology in BS. It’s supposed that BS is the only ship that survived the cylon attack becauseo of the very old technology they used (the cylons couldn’t spot it or didn’t bother to fight such old technology (ok,. I know it still doesn’t make much sense :) ). Also the captain of the ship disliked modern technology (maybe just a prejudice against it after he has seen what the cylons that was build by them did to the human race?) and ordered to put in the ship the oldest technology they could find. BS also was supposed to be a musem ship my friends tells me, at first. (I haven’t seen the first episodes yet to find out the story). I know there can be still inconsistencies but it’s still a fiction.

Also a fact that my friend told me and I really liked is that the creators of the series don’t just make yet another episode and try to match with the plot so far. Instead, the whole scenario from the beginning till the end was thouroughly written before starting filming any episode. The series end in 4th cycle and several fans asked for more episodes and what they got in answer was: “We are not gonna make a 5th cycle because in the 4th this is how the story ends as originally written in the scenario!”.

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Eugenia wrote on July 29th, 2007 at 11:24 AM PST:

Actually, the latest news is that the producers asked for 5 seasons but SciFi Channel could not commit because of the falling ratings. And so they are ending BSG at 4 seasons.

Trent J. Townsend wrote on August 1st, 2007 at 7:22 AM PST:

Ugh, I’m sorry for this off-topic post, but the subject of the article reminded me of it (who am I kidding, everything does); I’m still bitter about Firefly. Sadly there’s no room in my brain for most Sci-fi until the attrocity that was its cancelation has been rectified.

To Fox: “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”

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