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July 22, 2005

The binnacle and the bat'leth

Details from Ron Moore's concept memo outlining the "naturalistic science fiction" of the new Battlestar Galactica and much more besides in this New York Times Magazine article (via the Neighbour of the Flea).

After numerous meetings and a full script treatment, he wrote a two-page memo that laid out the basic tenets of what the new ''Battlestar Galactica'' would eventually become. ''We take as a given the idea that the traditional space opera, with its stock characters, techno-double-talk, bumpy-headed aliens, thespian histrionics and empty heroics has run its course, and a new approach is required,'' it began. ''Call it 'naturalistic science fiction.''' There would be no time travel or parallel universes or cute robot dogs. There would not be ''photon torpedoes'' but instead nuclear missiles, because nukes are real and thus are frightening.

While I am not surprised die-hard fans of the original series would have preferred a continuation of the original story I am astonished anyone could hold on to their antipathy to the new series having actually seen it. But then these supposed die-hard fans find it convenient to ignore, or in the case of the author of the New York Times piece are evidently unaware of, the fact there already has been a continuation of the original series. In addition to the 24 Battlestar Galactica episodes of 1978-1979 were 10 episodes of Galactica 1980. This was exactly what these supposed true Battlestar fans claim to want: a continuation of Glen A. Larson's story for the most part written by Larson himself and in the case of one final, desperate episode starring Dirk Benedict as Lt. Starbuck. It was horrid. Horrid beyond belief. Take this creepy summary of that last episode, "The Return of Starbuck", for example.

Dr. Zee reveals to Adama a dream he had about a warrior whom Adama recongizes as Lieutenant Starbuck, who was lost 14 years ago in a Cylon attack. Zee goes on to describe Starbuck's crash landing on a barren planet, where he built himself a Cylon companion from scavenged parts and befriended a pregnant woman who'd arrived there in time to give birth. (Original Airdate: May 4, 1980)

Most sensible people would compare this horror to the new series, one of the best science fiction series ever produced, and admit they were wrong to doubt Ron Moore.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 22, 2005 07:44 AM

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I think I saw a few of those, but reading the episode synopses, I think I'd like to see them again just for their wrong-wrong-wrongfulness. I remember Kent 'grown-up Boxy, sorry, Captain Troy' McCord's and that other guy's acting. Yeesh. Or maybe it was the writing. Or the directing. And Mister Brady as the scientist in the first episodes.

Helping out the small independent farmer and shutting down polluting chemical plants - yes, now *that's* sci-fi.

Posted by: The_Campblog [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 22, 2005 08:48 AM