"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.