A Ragtag Fugitive Fleet

"Ten thousand light years from nowhere, our planet shot to pieces, people starving, and I'm gonna get us in trouble?"

The very idea of a Starbuck not played by Dirk Bennedict seems oddly disquieting to me, but a Commander Adama not played stoicly by Lorne Greene - not that he's up for much of anything these days - makes me cross my arms defensively over my chest, furrow my brow, and fire a salvo of doubting glances.  My hesitations aside, it seems that Sci-Fi is moving forward on their plans for a new four-hour Battlestar Galactica mini-series to be aired late this year, with veiled suggestions of a series to follow.  You can check out the freshly posted Battlestar Galactica website here, or read on for the highlights. 

According to Sci-Fi, the production has brought Star Trek: First Contact writer Ronald D. Moore on board to pen the screenplay and Michael Rymer (Queen of the Damned) to direct.  Further, if the casting is any indication, don't look for this to be a quick copy cutting of the original series, as Katee Sackhoff (yes, feminine) has been cast as Starbuck, and English actor Jamie Barber (2nd Lt. Jack Foley from Band of Brothers) as Apollo.  Here's some official PR for your perusing pleasure (alliteration is fun!):

The beloved Battlestar gets a modern twist when SCI FI re-imagines the groundbreaking series in which "a ragtag fugitive fleet" of the last remnants of humanity searches for its true home. Fleeing the mechanoid Cylon race responsible for the slaughter of their human colonies, the Battlestar Galactica survivors must meet a new set of challenges in order to escape pursuers hellbent on human extinction. This intriguing take on a classic creates an epic miniseries with action, adventure and family drama.

So, there's doubt in Mudville, I would expect, and perhaps a little sympathy for Richard Hatch whose fruitless life endeavor to be part of a Battlestar revival is, finally, spurned.  Well, at least Moore and company are aware that they'll be hesitation to accept this new Galactica without, at the very least, the predictable grumblings of internet purists, so writer Moore has also taken some time to pen a letter to the fans.  Among his words, are an explanation:

I think there's life in that old giant. But I think that just poking him with a stick and expecting him to leap to his feet and resume his journey as if no time had passed would serve only to hasten his final death throes. He needs a makeover. Especially that '70s hair. So we've set out to bring the old boy back to life and give him a new look and a new outlook on life. And we're going to ask him to tell his stories again, from the beginning. Tell them again, but this time go deeper. See, we were young once and when the old guy spun his tales of Apollo and Starbuck, we were satisfied with clear-cut heroes and nakedly evil villains. But we're older now. We've eaten a lot of popcorn over the years. We're ready for a bigger meal. Make the story more complicated. Make the people less black and white. Challenge us, provoke us, grab us by the throat with those massive hands and dare us to invest ourselves in flawed characters who face ambiguous choices in an imperfect world. Dare us to root for heroes with all-too-human weaknesses. See if we'll still embrace them if they fall prey to their imperfections. Ask us to care for human beings instead of caricatures.

Don't kid yourself.  You'll watch, and you know you will.  If Sci-Fi's treatment of the Dune series has taught us anything it is that they are at least better than David Lynch, and that counts for something, though not very much.  I'm not sure the Dune mini-series is necessarily analogous, but I feel a real need to heap some scorn on David Lynch a pretty much every opportunity.  Regardless, I hope this Battlestar Galactica project is both successful and worth my time.

- Elysium

Comments

Woo HOO I'd heard there'd been a bit of a fight about the rights between some of the old cast and Sci-fi about who'd redevelop BG. Hopefully they'll do a damn good job of it (mind you I still can't get my head around a woman playing Dirk benedicts smooth talking womanizer Starbuck!) The one thing I hope they do keep is the basic design of the Vipers and Cylon pursuit ships and The Galactica itself. Oh and they'd better pick someone good to take Lorne Greenes part. Please don't let them screw this up! I'd love to see a new film as well with a good hollywood A-list cast and lots of money to hire a company like WETA to do the FX.(I wish!)

PS I have problems with the BG website link, it puts two http's in the address.

Quote from letter:

"...dare us to invest ourselves in flawed characters who face ambiguous choices in an imperfect world. Dare us to root for heroes with all-too-human weaknesses."

Cliche.......overload.......must reach...utility...belt.... 

I really would like them to concentrate on actually telling a story, and not just focus on seeing what they can change to "update" the series.  I don't really hold out much hope though.

A female Starbuck? A ***** FEMALE Starbuck?

Why in the name of GOD would you ***** with one of the only decent characters in the entire series? He was drinking, gambling, womanizer and now his charcter is reduced to some bimbo who gives hummers in-between combat missions?

BAH. BAH I SAY!!!!!

This is what happens when I make him post on a Saturday, two "https" indeed. Thanks for the heads up mysterious anonymous man. All fixed!

Don't know why the hell it posted anonymously!

And why shouldn't it be reinvented?  The original series made you want to gag, and Galactica 1980 made you want to beat a dog over the head with a crowbar.  Ron Moore's got some talent (Hello, can you say Deep Space Nine?) to give the show a creative spark.  At least it seems they're keeping the Cylon red-thingy in.

Here's a review of the script for those interested.

(SPOILERS)

Starbuck apparently isn't the only one to get a sex-change apparently. Oh, and the Cylons are actually created by Human beings this time around. Space: Above and Beyond anyone?

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cg...

Somebody flush this turd quickly. The guy doing the review seems to like it though. I never thought I'd take the extreme position some of those Tolkien freaks took in regards to LoTR but apparently this old series meant more to me than I would have thought.

This is going to suck, no question. "Re-Imaginings" are rarely any good, and I have YET to see Sci-Fi make anything worthwhile on their own. Hell, I'll watch it because it's one of my favorite TV shows of all time, but my expectations are incredibly low.

Uh, there was the implication that the Cylon's (or at least the Imperious Leader) had been created by Man (or at least Count Ribli) in the original series.

I'll give this a watch, because A) Elysiums right, no matter how much I may throw a tantrum about it, I'll watch it, and B) It IS Ron Moore, so hopefully since he felt he just HAD to screw with it, he'll have done a good job. DS9 is my hands-down favorite Trek, so he'll get a *little* benefit of the doubt.

But, I have to say I think they're (Sci-Fi Channel) totally insane for not going Richard Hatch's route as laid out in his new book(s). Everything that was too ambiguous or dorky in the series, he dovetailed/explained perfectly and really managed to bring back the characters with an extra 20 years of experience tacked onto them. Great stuff that I think Sci-Fi stubbornly/stupidly decided to pass on.

Looks like Edward James Olmos is gonna be Commander Adama... personally I don't see it (to be honest, it's nothing against EJO, but I have a hard time imagining anybody filling Lorne Green's shoes in that role), but whatever.

Mary McDonnel as President Roslin. I like her, but I'm not sure about the character in general. =\