Contains mild spoillers!
The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is of course totally different from its original. You cannot deny that, quality-wise, the re-imagined is way better than the original but because it’s so different from each other, it is hard to compare the two. I also wrote a rewatch blog about the miniseries and I decided to split the complete series into 3 blogs: Miniseries; Season 1&2 & Season 3&4. From memory I know I like the first two seasons better than the last two seasons. The first two seasons and the first batch of episodes in the 3rd season, the occupation episodes, which reminded me of the occupation on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in season 6 where the Dominion, including the Cardassians, retake the station. I am not going to talk anymore about the last two seasons, that’s for the next blog.
As I said before, the re-imagined version is really good, it’s got good stories, flawed characters, the commanders, Adama and Tigh are just as flawed, which is a basis for good storytelling. In the first two seasons, it’s hard to even name one mediocre episode, which is an achievement in itself. But… I want so much to love Battlestar Galactica, want to adore it, want it to name it among my favorites: Babylon 5; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; Stargate Atlantis and The Expanse. But I can’t, I just can’t! I cannot deny it is very good television, but I also cannot consider it one of my all-time favorite TV shows! This has bothered me for a while now, because, let’s be honest, it is good SCI-FI! But for me, I think the biggest problem is, that there isn’t one character I really care for! Not one! There is no G’Kar, no Ivanova, no Garak or Sisko, no Sheppard, McKay or no Amos or Bobbie Draper.
With this new rewatch I was sure I was going to see it differently than my last rewatch back in 2014, but after watching the miniseries and the first two seasons, I have come to the same conclusion, good SCI-FI, but it will never be one of my favorites. There is one character I do like up to a point, certainly in the first two seasons, this will change going into seasons 3 & 4. This is Gaius Baltar. But the fact that he is constantly surrounded by that 6-feet tall blonde Cylon, becomes boring quite fast. Thought it was fun during the miniseries but to have her there for two seasons in his head, I didn’t like it much.
Starbuck (Kara Thrace) is also not a character which I tune in for. Perhaps mostly because Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck, from the original series, is irreplaceable. Perhaps this is the reason why Ronald D. Moore decided to change Starbuck into a woman, but I never really cared for this version of Starbuck. About the original Richard Hatch’s character Apollo, granted, he was the sidekick back then, perhaps not intended at first but it turned out to be the case, like Kirk and Spock from Star Trek. But I so much liked the camaraderie between Starbuck and Apollo of the original show, those two characters were real buds. I just don’t have that same feeling with the Starbuck and Apollo from the re-imagined version. What I do like about this Apollo is his uncomfortable relationship with his dad, this really comes over to the viewer. And regarding Apollo, I have to say, in these first two seasons at least, his character really is evolving. I do find him more interesting during this last rewatch. In hindsight, at least for these first two seasons, the most interesting character! Jeez, never thought I’d say this!
I like flawed characters, they are always more interesting but as a commander I think maybe Adama and Tigh are both very flawed commanders. For instance, season 1, episode 6, “Litmus” where Adama agrees to an investigation but when it comes to close to home, he just he suspends the tribunal and walks out. Another one, season 1, episode 13, where he arrests the president on questionable grounds. He even sends in an assault team. He forgives and accepts Colonel Tigh’s mistakes without question during the time he lay in the infirmary because he was shot by Cylon Boomer. He has a weak spot for Kara (Starbuck) which makes his decision making not always logical. Another moment, season 2, episode 6, “Home Part 1” where Adama and Roslin are in a conflict again, Adama is adamant, he does not want to give in. But after one talk with Dualla, he turns around. Colonel Tigh should, in my opinion, never be the second in command for reasons I think I don’t have to explain. But all in all this makes good TV, although not always believable, but this is just my view on it.
I have a bit of a problem with the re-imagined Cylons, I just don’t care for them, at least Baltar (although not a Cylon of course) in the original version had humor! Even Lucifer I believe he’s is called, was funny. The only funny Cylon in the new version is John Cavill (Dean Stockwell) in these first two seasons at least, intended or not. I know it’s a serious TV show, but a show does need humor, any show does in my opinion. I can only say quality-wise it has been an excellent two seasons but just to give you an example, I am watching a few shows right now, among them, BSG and another one Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I am much more looking forward to watching an episode of AoS than I do of BSG.
Season one starts out with two very good episodes, first one “33”, where the fleet gets a ‘visit’ from the Cylon fleet every 33 minutes. And “Water” is also a good story, where the water tanks explode and Boomer goes to the Chief for help because she thinks she has done this somehow. The quality of episodes never goes below a 7 out of 10 and most of the first season get an 8 from me. I think my favorite season one episode is episode 10 “The Hand of God” (of course the title of the series finale of BSG TOS). Where they are on the run and running out of fuel, they take the offensive and attack the Cylons where Apollo is the hero!
I find season 2 not much better than the first season, they are both equally good seasons but season 2 arguably has the best 3 episodes of the whole series. Of course those are the Admiral Helena Cain episodes. This is some of the best TV ever made! I really love these episodes, especially “Pegasus”, episode 10. Absolutely phenomenal. The two-parter Resurrection closes the Cain storyline in quite a disturbing way! A perfect performance from all cast but especially Michelle Forbes as Cain. So happy I still have the movie “Razor” to look forward to! The season 2 finale, two-parter “Lay Down Your Burdens” is also a very entertaining story. Presidential elections, mixed with going back for Anders and finding New Caprica. It is a great set-up for the beginning of season 3. Episode “Black Market” was a positive surprise, I knew from past viewings I thought it was okay but with my recent rewatch I actually appreciated much more! Perhaps also has something to do with Apollo being the carrier of the episode and as I said earlier, his character has become more interesting to me with this rewatch.
Yes I know, I have said that this will never be among my top 5 favorites or something, but I cannot deny that Battlestar Galactica, especially the first two seasons, delivers some fantastic TV! I am looking forward to the next batch of episodes on New Caprica (I love these episodes), but if memory serves, I am less fond of seasons 3 & 4 than I am of seasons 1 & 2. But who knows, perhaps I will gain new insights here as well! Rewatch recommended!
Screencaps taken from: Frak-That.com