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Battlestar Galactica Classic For discussions about the classic Battlestar series which starred Dirk as the one and only "Starbuck". NO Ron Moore show posts here please.

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Old 04-11-2015, 02:25 AM   #1
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Default Battlestar Galactica (1978) Review Saga of a Star World

PART ONE

Battlestar Galactica (1978) Review: Saga of a Star World -

February 9, 2015 by neoethereal


“There are those who believe that life here, began out there, far across the universe… Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man, who even now fight to survive, somewhere beyond the heavens.”



There are, I’m sure, many sci-fi fans who have seen the new, 21st century version of Battlestar Galactica, without having seen or even knowing anything about the classic series. I can’t exactly fault any fellow geek for this, as the classic series, while far from a flop, didn’t get to enjoy the same success in syndication as a little series known as Star Trek. It was very rare to see this show on television throughout the years, but I was fortunate to catch most of the series in a marathon on the Sci-Fi Channel (back when they spelled their name correctly). In addition, once the first season had concluded, Galactica did not get a chance to be reborn on the big screen, also unlike Trek.

I’ve heard a lot of people, both within geekdom and in critical circles, poke fun at Glen A. Larson’s classic series, and I concede that time had not been kind to some aspects of it. The effects, though quite good considering the era and the budget, are repeated with such frequency that it at time borders on comical. Occasionally some of the acting can be hammy, and from time to time the performances are a bit too feel-good and “family friendly,” especially given the show’s end-of-the-world setting. Sometimes the Cylons come across as goofy before they can be threatening. But one could level similar complaints against Star Trek: The Original Series, and to a lesser extent, Star Wars (the original, unaltered version), and we fans all know that the strengths of those franchises greatly outweigh any nitpicks and shortcomings. I argue that the same is true of Battlestar Galactica, and I feel that it is an important, under-appreciated, and quite entertaining space spectacle which deserves to be given a chance by modern audiences.



* * * If you have not yet watched this 1978 science fiction show, and want to avoid having details of the series spoiled, stop here. The show is available for streaming on Netflix if you want to watch first and read later. * * *



Battlestar Galactica kicks off with a movie length, three part pilot, an epic by the name of “Saga of a Star World.” The first act sets up the principal conflict, which is a war between humanity and a race of machines known as Cylons. As the episode begins, the war is being brought to an end with a historic, unprecedented peace treaty. Humanity is spread across twelve colonies, all of which take their names after constellations (or do we on Earth take the names of the constellations after the colonies? Food for thought. Within minutes the show is demonstrating creative ideas and a unique twist on human mythology). These colonies are governed by the Quorom (or Council) of 12, all but one of whom is war-weary and eager to accept a Cylon offer of peace. Adama (played by the legendary Lorne Greene), who is also the commanding officer of the Battlestar Galactica, is that one member of the Council who keeps his vigil, and doesn’t blindly trust the Cylons’ peace agreement.

(The commander’s name is another mythological reference. Adama is of course a play on Adam, the first man. Adama’s role in the series shortly becomes that of humanity’s father figure)


Baltar (played by the great character actor, John Colicos) is the Council member who brokered the truce between the organics and the synthetics, and is the man most insistent on the human fleet reaching its rendezvous with that of the Cylons. I don’t know what audiences in 1978 thought, but to me Baltar is pretty obviously telegraphed as one of the show’s main antagonists even before the first shot is fired. This is magnified by the wonderful sliminess which Colicos puts into his character.


Aside from this main event, there are many smaller conflicts that are introduced to the audience. The pilot moves at a brisk pace, but does at least give us time to get to know the important characters. Apollo (Richard Hatch) is Adama’s son and one of the top pilots among the ranks of the Colonial Warriors. He and is young brother, Zac, go out for what is supposed to be a routine patrol. But when Zac gets in trouble, and the Colonial Fleet, paralyzed by the Council’s inaction, fails to intervene, he is killed in action. The tragedy is magnified by the fact that Zac was flying in place of Apollo’s friend, the ace pilot Starbuck (Dirk Benedict), who let the young man have a chance to fly alongside his brother.

In part one, Starbuck’s character is the most clearly defined out of any in the principal cast. He is a wisecracking, cigar-smoking, card playing showoff of a Viper pilot who provides the show with its greatest source of levity. On top of the trauma of losing Zac, and the sneak attack on humanity, Starbuck also has to deal with a strained relationship with Athena, Adama’s daughter.

There are many little plot threads like this that are started, but left dangling by the end of part one. The main premise of the show, that of Galactica being the only Battlestar to survive the Cylon sneak attack, and that it is the last protection the people of the Twelve Colonies have, is set up by the end of the chapter…. The classic show doesn’t come across with the gravitas and the drama that it wants to. The attack on Caprica in particular just doesn’t hit with enough punch. Some of it, I’m sure, is simply due to the fact that TV shows in the 1970s were only allowed to be so dark, and I can imagine that Glen Larson and co. probably wanted to make their show grittier and darker than what was allowed.

What also undercuts the drama is the somewhat convenient and contrived way in which the human survivors flee from the routed colonies. Adama calls for the survivors on Caprica to spread the word to other colonies, for them to gather whatever ships they can and rally to the Galactica. I’m left wondering what the Cylon basestars were doing while these ragtag human ships were lifting off? Were they too busy blowing up cities, or rounding up and interrogating people in the major population centers? There isn’t a very good explanation of it. About all we have to go on, is the implication that the Cylons are a few pieces of RAM short of a processor. When a pair of Cylon Centurions are seen talking to Baltar, they seem to lack the ability to think beyond their basic orders, and have difficulty making complex judgments.

The final plot thread that is left dangling, is when in the last scene, Apollo, Starbuck, and fellow pilot Boomer are seen surveying civilian ships for damage, and to ascertain what the people on board need. Most of the civilians who fled the colonies are in a bad way, lacking even basic supplies of food and water. There is clearly a huge disconnect between the Colonial military’s commanders, and the Warriors who are representing them, which is a conflict that is set up for the next chapter of the episode.

“Saga of a Star World” is a huge piece of sci-fi, and while it doesn’t have the impact that I’m sure it did for audiences in 1978, it is still a fun, engaging adventure which sets up a lot of juicy material to follow up on. And while normally I like to review multi-part episodes in one article, this particular one is just massive, and I would rather not make this a wall of text. I’ll be returning next week to finish off my review of the pilot. In tribute to the re-imagined series, I will leave you with this:


So say we all!


https://uncommongeek.com/2014/11/04/b...orld-part-one/


Continued...
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Battlestar Galactica (1978) Review Saga of a Star World

PART TWO


Battlestar Galactica (1978) Review: Saga of a Star World –

February 9, 2015 by neoethereal


If there is one serious criticism I have with how this show started, is that it moved way too fast. Part One of “Saga of a Star World” moved with breakneck speed to set up the show’s main premise, and cataclysmic, world-shattering events took place in mere minutes of screen time.

Part Two, wisely, slows things down a notch, and brings us in closer to the characters who drive the story. The human fleet is left reeling from the devastation of the Twelve Colonies, and basic necessities such as food and water are hard to come by. True to what happens with most governments and/or bureaucracies in a time of crisis, there are few answers and few solutions given to the peoples’ plight.

Commander Adama, in his grief over the loss of his son and wife, and under the tremendous burden of being in command of the fleet, is rather ineffectual here. It falls to Apollo to set things right, and he (along with a reluctant Boomer and Starbuck) cut through the military command’s red tape to find solutions to their problems. In these moments where Apollo carries the burden, Richard Hatch shines, and it is where his dynamic with Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck is at its best.

Starbuck… ah Starbuck. He is definitely a peer of Han Solo. He tries to avoid work and responsibility at every turn. He would like nothing better than to have a drink, a nice cigar, play some cards, spend time with a lovely lady… but deep down he is a good guy who will do the right thing when pressed. He sounds like a cliche but he’s an effective character archetype for a good reason.

The story conflict gets really interesting when Apollo finds out that a man named Sire Uri, a man who is now on the Council of Twelve no less, is responsible for hoarding caches of food and supplies for himself and a select few. How telling. A corrupt man such as Uri is waist deep in excess, mere days after the destruction of the Colonies, and the death of his wife. In a nice “burn” moment, Apollo notes how much Uri seems to be grieving for his wife, and uses it to guilt him into sharing food with the rest of the fleet. It’s a great moment to watch.

Apollo goes further in his maneuvering against Uri, and even steps on his father’s toes in the process. He proposes a daring tactic for the fleet, a way for them to avoid the Cylons while finding a place to re-supply. Of course, the most direct way to the world he has in mind, Carillon, is through the Nova of Madagon. The Nova (which is really more of a nebula; an active supernova would be easier to fly around) is hostile enough as is, but it has also been mined by the Cylons.

Uh-oh.

Boomer and Starbuck are “volunteered” for a crazy Viper mission in which the pilots must fly blind, using only sensors to locate and destroy the Cylon mines. This is the visual highlight of the episode, as the Vipers race through the bright, wispy red Nova and wipe out dozens upon dozens of lethal, ship-killing mines. It’s one of the better-looking action scenes in the series, in my opinion.

Did I mention that Starbuck flew the mission after being literally burned by Athena? Unable to come to an understanding on where they stood together, Starbuck and Athena are something of an estranged couple. However, when Starbuck lays the charm on an injured socialator (effectively the same thing as a Companion in Firefly), Cassiopeia, and the two share an intimate moment, Athena finds them on camera and blasts them with steam. Ouch. I hope for Starbuck’s sake that his pants were still on.

The little character moments like these really add to the charm of the show, and raise the stakes for the people we are following. I wouldn’t blame someone for feeling lost of disconnected from these people if all they’d seen of the show was Part One of the pilot. If the pilot was to be re-written, which, I guess technically it was with the 21st century Galactica, I think putting character development first and end-of-the-world cataclysm second really makes it easier to get invested in the story.

The plot thickens for the fleet when they do indeed find Carillon, and an Ovion-run chancery (casino) full of humans who have no idea that the Colonies have been destroyed. Of course, Starbuck is in heaven: a casino where money flows freely, drinks are abundant, and beautiful women are found at every turn. The Ovions seem strange at first, and seemingly kidnap Serina’s son, Boxy, at one point, but declare Carillon open to humans. They even send supplies and fuel to the fleet, but as Adama notes, only small quantities of precious fuel are being sent up from Carillon.

Is the chancery too good to be true? Are they hiding some terrible secret? Is the fleet being lulled into a false sense of security?


Of course they are, this is 1970s television! But what happens exactly? Is it it worth watching? That is a discussion best left for the exciting conclusion, Part Three of “Saga of a Star World!”
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:27 PM   #3
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=N9C6glyH37E
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:50 PM   #4
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I love it!
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:29 PM   #5
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This cracked me up.
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:51 AM   #6
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Lol
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:12 AM   #7
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Happy 39th Birthday to BSG!
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:01 AM   #8
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Happy 39th Birthday to BSG!
Happy b-day to BSG from me as well

Let's celebrate with a BSG marathon today.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:30 AM   #9
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Happy birthday to the one and only BSG!!! So say we all.

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Old 09-17-2017, 10:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Battlestar Galactica (1978) Review Saga of a Star World

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Happy birthday to the one and only BSG!!! So say we all.
Um, FYI, that expression is not from Battlestar Galactica. It's from a show that pretended to be Battlestar Galactica at first, but then dropped the pretense after the pilot.



Just so you know.
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Old 09-17-2017, 11:10 AM   #11
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Happy b-day to BSG from me as well

Let's celebrate with a BSG marathon today.
Already on it. I'm on episode 9, but had to watch "saga of a star world" twice. The originally aired version and then the remastered version.

The original version is what I remember growing up. They cut out some of my memories when they remastered it.
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"If you don't know what to do, do nothing. If you don't know what to eat, eat nothing." My favorite quote. If only I can get this in writing. To be fair, the discussion that preceded the quote was about not settling because you don't like your choices. You should find a good choice for you.


"Anybody who goes to bed the same day they got up is a quitter."

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Old 09-17-2017, 01:50 PM   #12
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Um, FYI, that expression is not from Battlestar Galactica. It's from a show that pretended to be Battlestar Galactica at first, but then dropped the pretense after the pilot.



Just so you know.
I have blasphemed. *hangs head in shame*



Put me on the prison barge... (please let that be a classic BSG reference!)
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Old 09-17-2017, 03:32 PM   #13
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I have blasphemed. *hangs head in shame*



Put me on the prison barge... (please let that be a classic BSG reference!)
You are too cute to go on the prison barge. I say turbo washing on the Galactica for you.
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"If you don't know what to do, do nothing. If you don't know what to eat, eat nothing." My favorite quote. If only I can get this in writing. To be fair, the discussion that preceded the quote was about not settling because you don't like your choices. You should find a good choice for you.


"Anybody who goes to bed the same day they got up is a quitter."
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Old 09-17-2017, 03:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: Battlestar Galactica (1978) Review Saga of a Star World

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I have blasphemed. *hangs head in shame*



Put me on the prison barge... (please let that be a classic BSG reference!)

LOL!

Yes, the prison barge is a classic BG reference. They had one on that other show, too, but it's a classic reference.

You are forgiven. There was a tremendous effort expended to overwrite the classic series so it's quite natural that some of the expressions from the pretender migrated into the fan lexicon of the classic.
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Old 09-17-2017, 04:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: Battlestar Galactica (1978) Review Saga of a Star World

Thank you! I'm going to binge watch the episodes on my DVR to brush up.

VBS! Turbo-wash the Galactica?? I'd rather eat my cigar.

Wait, no. That's an A-Team reference...
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:26 PM   #16
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Thank you! I'm going to binge watch the episodes on my DVR to brush up.

VBS! Turbo-wash the Galactica?? I'd rather eat my cigar.

Wait, no. That's an A-Team reference...
I don't know. You might need to find Starbuck to find a cigar... but I'm sure that cleaning turbo washes may keep you out of the brig and off the prison barge.
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"If you don't know what to do, do nothing. If you don't know what to eat, eat nothing." My favorite quote. If only I can get this in writing. To be fair, the discussion that preceded the quote was about not settling because you don't like your choices. You should find a good choice for you.


"Anybody who goes to bed the same day they got up is a quitter."
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: Battlestar Galactica (1978) Review Saga of a Star World

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyngirl5 View Post
Thank you! I'm going to binge watch the episodes on my DVR to brush up.

VBS! Turbo-wash the Galactica?? I'd rather eat my cigar.

Wait, no. That's an A-Team reference...
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:50 PM   #18
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I don't know. You might need to find Starbuck to find a cigar... but I'm sure that cleaning turbo washes may keep you out of the brig and off the prison barge.
Cigar? That's "fumarello" to you. Which is one of the more creative Colonialisms, IMHO. I feel like there's a good joke in it somewhere, or at least a limerick:

There once was a Caprican fellow
Who liked him a good fumarello...

Anyone want to finish the story?
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:57 PM   #19
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There once was a Caprican fellow
Who liked him a good fumarello...

Anyone want to finish the story?

He struck a match
On a nearby hatch
Took a deep drag and turned yellow.
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:14 PM   #20
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He struck a match
On a nearby hatch
Took a deep drag and turned yellow.
Very nice! I was running out of rhyming words. But if he turned yellow, it must have been a bad fumarello. Don'a tell Donatello.
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