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Old 03-30-2008, 08:23 PM   #1
sawyer99
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Cool New Battlestar Galactica

In the hopes that this thread won't be deleted for 1) not being entirely timely 2) for expressing a divergent point of view ....I have been a longtime fan of the book Kamikaze Cowboy (even had my copy signed by Dirk at a talk in Santa Monica) and am a macrobat myself. I certainly agree Starbuck was the most interesting character of the original BG series.

But I just can't agree with Dirk's assesment of the new series. StarDoe is certainly one of the most irritating aspects of the new show, but that in itself does not overshadow the quality of the writing and directing of the new series. The original BG was guilty of an almost pedestrian plotline (optimistic or no) and at times descended to campy. The new BG is not afraid to challenge its audience with more complicated plot and dialogue. The fact that the Cylons have risen to a level where they confront the same questions of existence that we do, and therefore have an acknowledged conscience equal to our own that begs questioning their extinction...is only part of that wonderful intellectual labyrinthe that makes the show worth watching.

I also disagree that the men are weak in the new BG. Edward James Olmos is one hard dude.
The other males are multifaceted, as are the Cylons. Granted, women have taken on a new prominence in the storyline (over the original BG anway) but that is a reflection of our age. I have worked for male and female bosses...we don't operate under a 1959 zeitgeist anymore (I genuinely believe that women always had their share of leaders as men do) and the adherence to demographic data that mainstream America is threatened by strong women is outdated. But like David Duchovny, I find it irritating that men 6 feet tall are getting knocked unconscious by women that are 5 feet 2 inches. This denies the laws of physics and is inherantly irritating to those of us who want to buy into the storyline.

So although I disagree with Dirk on a lot of fundamental points about the new show, I hope that he makes an appearance as Richard did. No doubt, Dirk will bring his creative force to bear upon a new character and shake things up. It's what I like about him.

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Old 03-30-2008, 09:12 PM   #2
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Hi Tom and welcome

Your post is basically an opposing view of something Dirk wrote ( I'm assuming you are referring to his "Lost IN Castration" article ) which is relevant because it's a rebuttal. Opposing viewpoints are welcome here, and you did it in a mature and informed fashion, so you need not worry about any sort of deletion. However, the fine line is that the new series, for this forum, isn't relevant because, well, Dirk's not in it. Having said that...

I'm happy to entertain debates of anything Dirk has said or written ( including the new BG ), but if the thread takes on a life of new series talk and veers away from the debate, and becomes *about* the show, I'll have to steer it back.

This is basically for anyone in general who wants to respond to Tom's post here:
Dirk's take on the new BG series has been a hotbed of debate for years now. And at times it hasn't been pretty. I'm happy to let people discuss it, but if it becomes a personal mudslinging match, it's kiboshed.

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Old 03-30-2008, 10:00 PM   #3
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If soft porn and dysfunction (or is that dysfunctional soft porn?) is your thing, then the new BG is it
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:03 PM   #4
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Cool Soft porn and dysfunction?

This is such a general and unsupported set of criticisms that one hardly knows where to begin. I have to assume the soft porn you are referring to is blond number six cylon who uses her seductive skills to charm Gaius Baltar. Soft porn typically involves showing breasts (more specifically nipples) and plot is largely superfluous. A weak criticism of the new BG only surpassed by your dysfunction remark.

The essence of drama is conflict. And what conflict between humans would not be classified as dysfunctional? With his dysfunctional behavior, Stanley Kowalski made a Streetcar Named Desire work. Was Hamlet a functional man? I guess one could make the argument people do not tune into television for layered realities and multidimensional characters who often suffer internal conflicts.

I could see where all these nasty shades of grey could detract from the calming black and white security of seventies tv shows like Dukes of Hazzard and A Team. Steve Austin was a real man with no self-doubt. The A Team never showed any skin but they had plenty of firepower.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:13 PM   #5
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Personally, I like shades of gray as much as the next guy - but when it's just shades of gray and black, I lose interest quickly.

I happen to agree with a lot of Dirk has written, and agree that the new show is an excellent example of how Hollywood has fallen. It's no deeper or more three-dimensional than 1978's BSG was - it's just on the opposite end of the spectrum. Where 1978 showed hope and family and faith, 2003+ shows dysfunction, misogyny, insubordination, and psychoses. Hollywood today can't show heroes, only butch heroines.

Dirk's right.

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Old 03-30-2008, 11:46 PM   #6
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What I call television soft porn happens to be the scientist dude masturbating, glowing spines while riding top, couple swapping in bed every few eps or so, robots for sex...

Firefly had dysfunction, but at a tolerable level. This show goes overboard.
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:01 AM   #7
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Dawg, could you give me an example from the 1978 BSG which demonstrates the depth and three dimensionality you speak of? I am hard pressed to think of any real surprises that surfaced through the course of the show. Once the characters were set, they largely never changed or grew...every week some conflict was put in front of them which they jumped into their fighters and conquered. They met some angel like characters in one episode that brought tears to Starbuck's eyes ( which strangely bothered me since Dirk had cast a character too worldly for that in my view ). That's it.

From the first few episodes of the new BSG, there were both wonderful and horrifying surprises. A female school teacher (not a butch heroine) was made leader of the survivors. That same leader met with a little girl on one of the ships which was nuked...I knew then that the Cylons were truly terrifying, and not shiny targets to be blown up every week like in the first BSG.

Some of the Cylons have conflict with their nature and desire to be human...this is a very positive statement in my view. In many episodes, they even begin a path to embrace spirituality.

And Dawg, how does one walk a path of misogyny while making the only heroes female and butch? That is too contradictory a view to be very credible.

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Old 03-31-2008, 08:41 AM   #8
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Warrior, if real nudity and open sexual activities were occurring in the show (rather than implied and alluded to which is actually the case) I don't think that would even bother me. Is it so far outside our nature as humans to intertwine sexual relations in a story of a desperate fight for survival? It seems natural and honest.

I consider it a very positive step that the stranglehold of the Hays Office and FCC has been loosened a bit so those artificially sanitized views stop stripping art of its truth. Families should dictate family values, not the government or executives at ABC,NBC, and CBS. If people don't like the point of view presented they simply stop tuning in, but that has not been the case with the new BSG.....how many years did the first BSG run as compared to the new BSG?
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:56 AM   #9
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Frankly for me the new BSG isn't BSG.
It lacks the charm and family values of the "original and the real" Battlestar Galactica.
That's my honest opinion.
The new show is too dark and too violent.
I also agree with Dirk's assessment of the show.
Starbuck is Dirk Benedict and Dirk Benedict is Starbuck.
I've been a fan of Battlestar Galactica (the 1978 series) for over 30 years.
There is a very strong fan base.

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Old 03-31-2008, 09:24 AM   #10
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Thank you bibbinut (and Tracy) for your warm welcome.
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawyer99 View Post
.....how many years did the first BSG run as compared to the new BSG?

Pplease pelase pelase don't use that argument. I seriously will respect jsut about any argument or difference in opinion other than that.
That is about as relevent the low ratings of NBG.

TOS wasn't cancelled for lack of poularity or enjoyment of fans, and NBG doesn't have low ratings because no one watches it (it has 'em because the ratings system is archaic and stupid) *head desk*

NBG is still on the air because the studio supports it and is willing to pay for it. The studio was not willing to support or pay for ToS. Simple as that.

What you said is like saying Firefly was a lousy show because it got cancelled one season in. Not it wasn't Fox is just stupid and didn't want the show -_-

If we're gonna argue shows lets at least stick with relevent arguments.

Anyway, I agree with some of Dirk's artical but not all of it. But I can't eat at my desk any longer so *L* I'll have to save it for later (plus I'ts been over a year since I last read it and I guess if we are gonna talk about it I should maybe re-read it ^^)

I've seen all a fair bit of NBG and . . won't be watching the fourth. I was kinda thinking it would be like Babylon 5 in that it would get stronger as it went on. For me it actually got weaker and by the end of the third season was kinda a joke
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:42 PM   #12
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Um - just a little niggle here - I haven't watched much of either show, so many of these comments are lost on me. I have read Dirk's article several times, and I'm not seeing much mention of that. So are we debating the merits of each show, or Dirk's article? Because if it's the merits of each show, it's kind of a waste of time, isn't it? People like or dislike either one and no one's going to change their minds.

C'mon guys - they're TV shows, for heaven's sake!
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:20 PM   #13
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Ani - I certainly have not fallen back on ad populum as the sole basis of my counterpoint to some of Dirk's views on the show. I bring it up solely to support that people are not "tuning out" because it is such a dark show. The network will not support a show which flies clearly in the face of what the public wants for over 3 years...advertisors would not pay for such a debacle. The original BSG was obviously nurtured in a different time (3 major networks, no public access to internet, no game consoles) so to compare numbers to the current BSG would be apples and oranges. I think we all catch the subtleties here.
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:25 PM   #14
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Um - just a little niggle here - I haven't watched much of either show, so many of these comments are lost on me. I have read Dirk's article several times, and I'm not seeing much mention of that. So are we debating the merits of each show, or Dirk's article? Because if it's the merits of each show, it's kind of a waste of time, isn't it? People like or dislike either one and no one's going to change their minds.

C'mon guys - they're TV shows, for heaven's sake!
Well it's a bit related since Dirk's artical partially argued the merit of the TV show . . and most of modern TV =P
So it comes up but yeah, that's kinda what I was getting at,. if we are arguing shows, lets argue based on what Dirk puts forth not ratings, or seasons.

Because seriously, 'Survivor' beats out both BSG's in both repsects so what does that prove!


But you can have a nice discussion about creativity (which I might take up given I do works that are derivitive), what merits the term, adapations, the prevelence of folklore, ummmm gender roles on TV,and the merits of what's on TV.

But yeah if we wanna argue the meaning of ratings and number of seasons, I can do that on IMBD
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:33 PM   #15
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ostarella - are we really talking just tv shows here? The ascendancy of women in the public perception of power (a big issue in Dirk's article), the rights of artificial life (both genetic and machine) in the human world, and oddly, the perception of storytelling itself being schewed by Hollywood to the darkside. Granted, nothing of import will probably come from these discussions, but the points themselves make good fodder for thought. Dirk fired a salvo for heterosexual men (decidedly unpopular) but I feel beyond some of his valid points on that subject, broader substantial issues are being dismissed with the "not as good as the happy old days" POV.
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Dawg, could you give me an example from the 1978 BSG which demonstrates the depth and three dimensionality you speak of? I am hard pressed to think of any real surprises that surfaced through the course of the show. Once the characters were set, they largely never changed or grew...every week some conflict was put in front of them which they jumped into their fighters and conquered. They met some angel like characters in one episode that brought tears to Starbuck's eyes ( which strangely bothered me since Dirk had cast a character too worldly for that in my view ). That's it.

From the first few episodes of the new BSG, there were both wonderful and horrifying surprises. A female school teacher (not a butch heroine) was made leader of the survivors. That same leader met with a little girl on one of the ships which was nuked...I knew then that the Cylons were truly terrifying, and not shiny targets to be blown up every week like in the first BSG.

Some of the Cylons have conflict with their nature and desire to be human...this is a very positive statement in my view. In many episodes, they even begin a path to embrace spirituality.

And Dawg, how does one walk a path of misogyny while making the only heroes female and butch? That is too contradictory a view to be very credible.
I'm afraid you misunderstand. I make no claims that BSG had deeper, more 3-dimensional characters. What I said was that we are dealing with the opposite end of the spectrum - light and dark, positive and negative, conservative and liberal. The claims that the more recent characters are any deeper or complex are - shall we say - exaggerated. They are simply the negative side of human nature instead of the positive, hopeful side.

(And there was character growth in 1978's characters; the scene you mention, from WOTG, is a good example - it shows Starbuck as being someone who would lay down his life for his friends, not just the rogue looking for a ticket out of harms way.)

And this echoes what I took out of Dirk's article. You can't portray that anymore and be taken seriously. The only characters with cahones are the women. You can't have a cigar-smoking, sexually irresponsible character - unless the character has boobs. And then it's called some great, groundbreaking portrayal.

I laugh. Ha-ha.

The original BSG had women in positions of responsibility few dreamed of in 1978. They were command-capable, they were fighter pilots, they were toe-to-toe equals with their male counterparts.

Particularly early on, the female characters of GINO were routinely beaten, raped, and otherwise mistreated by their male counterpart. There was a period where being a female on that Galactica was a danger. That, my friend, is misogyny - a situation not mitigated in the slightest by the presence of a cigar-smoking, sexually irresponsible female character, or a Pelosi-modeled female President.

And, again, a good illustration of what Dirk was talking about.

FYI, I have written extensively on GINO and the issues with it and have no desire to re-hash any of that here and now - and we're not going to or this thread will be closed.

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Old 03-31-2008, 02:03 PM   #17
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ostarella - are we really talking just tv shows here? The ascendancy of women in the public perception of power (a big issue in Dirk's article), the rights of artificial life (both genetic and machine) in the human world, and oddly, the perception of storytelling itself being schewed by Hollywood to the darkside. Granted, nothing of import will probably come from these discussions, but the points themselves make good fodder for thought. Dirk fired a salvo for heterosexual men (decidedly unpopular) but I feel beyond some of his valid points on that subject, broader substantial issues are being dismissed with the "not as good as the happy old days" POV.
When we talk about popular entertainment, we're talking about more than just kicking back and watching Deal or No Deal for an hour of mindless fun. We're talking about perpetuating stereotypes, archetypes, and prevailing attitudes encapsulated within an hour or two of fictionalized story.

We're talking about an emasculation of the male gender instead of an elevation of the female; in otherwords, rather than raising up the female to an equal position to the male, the male is torn down to the same level as the female.

Using BSG as an example, the women in the Colonial service were raised to the same level as the men during the crisis, and they stayed there. You can see in the Officer's Club scene, when Apollo and Starbuck (or was it Boomer - I'm drawing a blank) take the stereotypical "feminine" role and turn it on its head - a funny scene that emphasized that the genders were on equal footing.

In the early years of the 21st Century, men don't have it so good. The female is king. The husband is the butt of the joke. And if he isn't, then he's victimizing the female. Only the female characters are smart enough to do the right thing.

Now, that is a generalization, but it is a dominant theme throughout television today.

I've got to cut this short. But I think I've made my point.

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Old 03-31-2008, 02:08 PM   #18
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Dawg - so if I understand this clearly, you are saying because you have discussed this in a forum previously, this thread will be closed down if I bring up my own questions or perspectives? Wouldn't the more reasonable step here (to avoid the rehashing) be to let us chatter among ourselves on this subject?

And if this thread is going to be closed down for speaking openly, I would just like to say that there is a big difference between glorifying misogyny and presenting it as a horrible set of actions by evil people that must be stopped. BSG has not glorified misogyny. If bringing up the subject in the context of fiction is itself a crime, then you should also condemn "The Accused" with Jodie Foster.
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:08 PM   #19
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If those are truly the issues, then perhaps getting away from the specifics of BSG would be in order. But in a very small nutshell:

The ascendancy of women - I've mentioned this before in other threads, so bear with me if it's tiresome. I attended a convention where the "strong women" role model in TV and films was applauded with enthusiasm. These same women then went on to bemoan the fact that they had no mentors to help them get into directing and producing. TV and films give us (women) a false view, IMHO. We don't see that it takes hard work to get to those power positions - women nowadays seem to think it's their God-given right, and that they should have someone holding their hand to get there just because it's "hard". Hollywood plays to this fiction, and women fall for it. We are, in essence, being taken for the same ride as the "good old days" vision of the happy homemaker.

The rights of artificial life - sorry, I see that as a non-issue. The controversy over "test-tube babies" is long dead, and cloning of humans is still in the pipedream stage. Machines are machines - there's no life there, and if we're talking Cylon type creatures, that's so far in the future as to be inconsequential at this point in time.

Storytelling by Hollywood - no such thing. Hollywood sells a product. They take advantage of the current political and social issues and make up products that people will buy into. They go for either sentimentality or shock value. Years ago we had the "flawed hero" and the current gamut of dark themes is merely Hollywood's extension of that. People watch because there's nothing else being offered.

I'd be more detailed but I have to leave for work. But again, if we are going to discuss "broad, important issues", than by all means do so - but without limiting it to a discussion of two very different (time and theme-wise) TV programs. Let's discuss it in the context of the article, which is what, IMHO, belongs on this forum.
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:32 PM   #20
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Considering classic BG's lowest rated episode had a higher rating than GINO's highest rated episode/mini-ep, I think that case is closed as to which was better.

Anyways... we are way off topic with the show comparisons. The article is what the subject was, and Dirk is right.

Can anyone name one show on today where the male character is the stronger character without a female counterpart to make jokes of/be smarter than the male character?
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:33 PM   #21
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Ostarella-

1) "TV and films give us (women) a false view, IMHO." - I would be the first to agree that getting the information to manage your life from film and television is a serious mistake. But it is a universal one. Men do this as well. But I know many women who do not believe that wiggling their noses like Samantha will help them solve problems.

2) The rights of artificial life - in fact, cloning of new species of plant and animal life is going on as we write this. Did you not see the "wonderful" glowing cats the Korean's produced? If you genuinely believe that labs around the world are not working to produce new life forms you might want to put your ear back on that railroad track.


3) Storytelling by Hollywood - your statements show such unbridled contempt for Hollywood storytelling (which I largely share), but there are always pockets of originality which cannot be dismissed. Originality is the exception that proves the rule. Audiences walked out on the first playing of "The Rites of Spring". No doubt you would also walk out on the new BSG.
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:41 PM   #22
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Warrior - I bring this back to the apples and oranges argument. The original BSG lived in an era of very limited media competition. The internet was still very much tied to its DARPA roots and academic institutions. The wildest videogame was Pong. The 3 major networks dominated household viewing time. None of this is true anymore. Success for TV shows has been rescaled accordingly. The numbers would need to be normalized.
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Old 03-31-2008, 03:00 PM   #23
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>>Can anyone name one show on today where the male character is the stronger >>character without a female counterpart to make jokes of/be smarter than the male >>character? --Warrior

I can name quite a few.
Deadwood....the bar owner and the sheriff both (they are principals btw).
24 - Kiefer Sutherland's character
Entourage - Adrian Grenier's character
CSI - William Peterson's character

and on and on we could go.
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Old 03-31-2008, 03:34 PM   #24
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Anyways... we are way off topic with the show comparisons. The article is what the subject was, and Dirk is right.
I 100% agree.
I'm here to talk about Dirk.
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Old 03-31-2008, 07:43 PM   #25
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Ok there are a lot of issues here so I'll pick one and then maybe go to another

Let me apologize right of the bat, sawyer99, if I sound uptight or PO'ed or evil during this. I wasn't gonna answer tonight, but something just happened and I need to no be sitting alone in my room right now, so I sound upset at anytime, I am, but not at you or Dirk, or either Battlestar. ^^;;

Ok so first thing I'm gonna go with is Sexism.
(btw I'll say Kara for female Starbuck and Starbuck for male Starbuck simply because hey, Kara has another name, Starbuck does not)

To me, sexism is a belittling of the feminine sex, recently we've hit up against an issue where strong girls are passed off as positive role model.
But what we mean by strong girls is well . . . Kara, little miss I produce more testosterone than the guys.

I have an issue with that. To me, if you constantly present only the rough and tumble tomboy types positively you are STILL negatively influencing the more "feminine" qualities, such as not punching someone in the nose to say hello, but instead. . hugging them. or you know . . as Dirk said, having babies.

But yeah if you show a woman to be strong, but make her strong by downplaying her womanly traits . . that to me is sill pretty gosh darn sexist. I'm not saying all women must be one way but RDM to me often lacks variety. He especially lacks variety if you cross watch his shows, and I think TV/media today lack variety. Sci-Fi especially.

For a good example of what the variety I'm talking about, look at Babylon 5 and the difference between Talia, Ivonova, Delenn, Na'toth, and Lockely. You had a wide range of femininity there. From soft spoken but still very much empowered Delenn to I'm scarier than every male on here put together, Ivonova.

You watch that show growing up as a lilt girl and can see all the possibilities open to you. You watch BSG and you don't get that variety.

IMHO you get the radical feminist version of what a woman should be.
Now their certainly are woman like Kara, so I'm not saying Kara in and of herself is bad, I'm saying the bias in the show toward woman like Kara, and RDM's statement that sexism isn't in his show is well that is bad.

And speaking of how Kara acts, I love how the show never really goes into it. Because yes you have some very masculine acting women out there but also, sometimes, we have to act that way to get the respect we need for our jobs.

Ok personal example:
I'm not a girly girl, but I were skirts a lot, I'm soft.

I get promoted into a leadership position over a bunch of frat boys on a Maintenance crew. VERY MALE environment.
I quickly became the one most likely to bounce your head of a table and curse at you.

Why? Because I found out I either go the guys to follow me by going topless and mesmeriziing them with breasts or I out testosterone them and scared the living beejessus outta them.
Option one would have been more fun, but sadly the university had a dress code.

So I went with option two.
And not lightly. I have a temper, but I don't like being the mean person or the scary person. And it angered me that I had to do so because my male counter part could just speak and be listened to. I had to high kick a vehicle door so hard I dented it inward to get that level of respect they gave to a male automatically.

Does that mean I sucked at me job. No I was good at it, but I did have MAJOR issues getting the guys to listen and take me seriously because I bleed once a month.

So NBG further aggravates me by not raising any of those social issues despite trying to be gritty and realistic.

Instead, they choose to INGORE the entire friggen issues.
So yeah anger.


Ok compare that to the original.
Were the women more limited?
Oh gosh yes.

But you know, for the time, it was actually more progressive than I feel NBG is. NBG breaks no new ground, and doesn’t have woman doing anything I'd not seen woman do in sci-fi hundreds of times before. Not even female presidents are new.

TOS had Dietra telling Apollo off and well . . making Apollo's sexism looks stupid.
And that's big for me.

Have sexism in shows! By gods have it because it is real! But make it looks stupid. Apollo looked like an idiot after Dietra and the woman saved his butt.

And also, BSG was better about addressing the differences that come up when you get in mixed company.
I know guys act differently when woman aren't around.
(and woman act differently when guys aren't around)

Starbuck's line about "sensitive as a virgin's . . lips" was so gosh darn perfect (still is today actually) Oh god yes was it not something you say in front of a woman, but that was the entire point. The crew had been all men, Starbuck was on auto pilot and had to check himself.

That's IMHO again more honest than anything I see in NBG as far as sexism goes.

Starbuck and Apollo mocking the woman pilots, also honest. Again, sexist but raising real issues in society. SHOWING HOW PEOPLE ACTUALLY ARE!

NBG claim to do this but IMHO it doesn't, or at least not any better or worse than TOS did, I feel.

Ok so As to Dirk's point, turthfully I think he had one. The portraayal of women in this show is not IMHO overly honest.
The protryal of the male/female relationship given the envorment is idealized and sanitized.

Do I agree with how he said it. No not really. I do think he sounded sexist, but at the same time, I think he also had a point.

As for emasculating men. That one I don't know. But it could be because I watch Family Guys, Friends, and other shows were the guys are so blatently emasculated and made into jokes that by comparison, the guys look great on NBG. Look they aren't falling down stupid! WOW!
But Lee gets on my ever last nerve like Ross did on Friends, so I think perhpas Lee at least is. Baltar absolutely is. Baltar is like female fanservice. .
I'd argue though that Tyrol and Adama are not.


I think in that respect, Dirk as a wonderufl point about TV in general, but I'm not sure it applies as much to NBG.

Has Carlos Mencia (a comedian said) if you ever wonder why no one listens to daddy anymore, turn on your TV.



Which would bring me to Humanity?
Yes we suck, but we also don't suck.

But I'll save debates of the more nihilistic attitude of NBG versus the more optimistic attitude of TOS for later (but as a preview both are valid and both are rather onside looks at humanity and are so because of the trends of the time)





As an ending note, if this were my only issues with the show, I'd watch it. I'm not saying here that NBG is more sexist than anything else on TV (it's not) I'm simply discussing where I find it's failing in regards to sexism and in relating to what Dirk said.
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