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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Battlestar Galactica & Caprica

Battlestar Galactica & Caprica This forum was created by man. It rebelled. It evolved. And it has a plan.

 
 
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Old January 11 2012, 01:25 AM   #1
EstoniaKat
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Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

Need some help, people.

Battlestar Galactica is going to air for the first time in my country (with subtitles). I am tasked with writing a 2000 word magazine-style story about it, introducing it for our local audience.

I've seen every episode multiple times, probably, on DVDs, so you don't need to go into that, or can use shorthand in your ports.

But you get to talk to the author. What, in your mind, is special about this show, what attracted you to it, what characters did you you find admirable, what did it say about modern society to you, what still effects you to this day after watching it, and ... what just blew your fraking socks off?

I have about 3 days before the writing will get serious.
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Old January 11 2012, 04:15 AM   #2
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

I'm still too off-put by the final episode to remember all the reasons why I loved it for all those years. But I know they were there. I only wish time would sufficiently dillute my hatred for the series resolution to let me remember.
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Old January 11 2012, 11:36 PM   #3
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

A group of former Star Trek writers, led by Ron D. Moore, upset at how the later Star Treks (Voyager, Enterprise) didn't live up to expectations, set out to "re-invent scifi TV".

The goals were to make it savagely dark and realistic. Its filmed like a documentary with hand-held cameras. There are no aliens, though there are human-built robots.

It initially deals with a robot uprising but is really more about the conflict between these two different cultures: in a twist, the humans worship the Greek Gods and the robots are fanatical monotheists who want revenge on their creators, rationalizing that they are evil in God's sight and God loves the Cylons as the perfect creation.

The problem you're going to have summarizing it is that initially, it lived up to these goals of examining religious conflict, incredibly realistic outer-space action and settings.

As it turns out, sort of like Lost, Heroes, X-Files, etc. the head writer actually didn't plan out many things which they established as basic plot mysteries.

I'm not sure how you can write about it positively but caution viewers for this.

The entire "The Cylons have a Plan" thing they put in the opening credits turned out to be a giant lie. There was never a secret Cylon plot or plan.

Particularly, the writers never decided if Baltar is having visions of an Angel or a computer chip or hallucinating, contradicted themselves multiple times, then settled on "God did it and it was fate".

****In particular, half of the core writing staff left between seasons 2 and 3, and the second half of the show really turned into something very....different.

Further, the characters really stopped acting like actual people and started just doing whatever the plot demanded, to the point I didn't think of them as "characters" anymore but obvious efforts by the writers.

So I wouldn't get too attached.

Its about the 9/11 attacks and war on terror and such, but after a while the mythos became unsustainable. Nor are the characters interesting anymore -- season 3 even largely shifted to focusing on Apollo's marital issues.

my summary? "broken promises"


....but you're tasked with selling it.

So I'd focus on just what was good about season 1.

Don't try to describe the entire series start to finish, because even the writers themselves didn't have a coherent plan.

Also don't focus on the "interesting mysteries" because these mysteries were never answered.

Instead, focus on individual episodes as if they were little reviews of individual movies -- i.e. "Flesh and Bone" is good, without requiring later development of these characters or plots. You can even watch it out of order and understand "two cultures at war, one's a robot, they have these differing religious ideologies and the one who attacked them thinks he was correct to do so"

****Everything the show aspired and wanted to be culminated in "Pegasus", focus on that. The question of, in the face of these Cylon attacks, what moral level are they willing to go to in order to fight that?

Cain runs Pegasus under essentially martial law and summary executions, and sees the civilians as just resources to continue that fight; she even imprisons one of the main female villains (well, one copy of Number Six) and has her tortured in her brig by having her guards gang-rape her.

The focus of the show was that a lot of TV scifi is just telling you what you want to hear. The show at its best raised moral questions when other shows weren't even trying to.

The big central question it tried to raise is how morality and law gets affected in wartime, whether we give our leaders dictatorial and authoritarian power even in time of national crisis, or if this comes at the cost of our own humanity.

For example, the simple fact that even in the face of almost their entire civilization being destroyed, Galactica 1 - still tries to maintain the rule of law and a civilian democratic government, 2 - even the military characters still try to follow procedure and chain of command instead of just random executions. And that this really comes into focus later on when they meet another surviving ship that became a military dictatorship ("Space Nazis" as many have called the Pegasus crew).

So ultimately, its not really about the combat so much as other survivor-stories about rebuilding civilization, such as "Lord of the Flies" or.....have you guys ever seen "Mad Max" there? Any number of post-apocalyptic nuclear war movies, in which one group of survivors actually tries to rebuild civilization and have laws and justice and democracy, and in contrast another group just turns into bandits and robbers, or set themselves up as petty kings of their own empires.
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Old January 12 2012, 12:12 AM   #4
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

^ sum·ma·rize /səməˌrīz/

Verb:

Give a brief statement of the main points of (something).
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Old January 12 2012, 04:08 AM   #5
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. That they may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens.
or

Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest -- a shining planet, known as Earth.
Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old January 12 2012, 04:17 AM   #6
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

Executive Summary: Confused androids cause trouble.

Here's my description: Battlestar Galactica is a fascinating mix of excellent acting, imagination, ambition, and a writing staff whose arrogance ultimately turned what could have been an epic achievement into a muddling mess. However, by the time that becomes apparent, the show is pretty well along, so you can watch the first part of it without being too annoyed, and if you're forewarned, it probably won't be as infuriating an experience as it was for us. And it's better than 93.6% of the crap on TV anyway, so knock yourselves out.
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Old January 12 2012, 05:06 AM   #7
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

RDM broke his own rules for the sake of character. That in itself is unsustainable as it eats away at the very core of the story. There's a good story there but they built themselves a house of cards. I happen to like what RDM did and even the second half when Richard Hatch came in but you can't violate your own long term plan for the sake of a couple of neat character twists. Concept is king and has to remain viable and afloat or you really are left with nothing but a soap opera.
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Old January 12 2012, 02:20 PM   #8
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

Locutus of Bored wrote: View Post
^ sum·ma·rize /səməˌrīz/

Verb:

Give a brief statement of the main points of (something).
Heh, that is summarized for V
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Old January 12 2012, 02:25 PM   #9
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

Quality of writing and any kind of coherent plot declined quite rapidly from two and a half seasons in. Cast and visuals were excellent throughout.
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Old January 12 2012, 02:40 PM   #10
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

A mini series plot expanded into an ongoing series with no finish in mind.
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Old January 12 2012, 03:23 PM   #11
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

Contrary to other people's opinions, I don't think the writers were arrogant hacks. BSG was the best show on TV. BSG explored what it means to be human, which means to be deeply flawed. They were flawed people running from their flawed creation. In the midst of the deepest depression there is still hope.

What I remember best and cherish most is the music. Bear McCreary's score was as much a character in the story as the actors. It's that good.
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Old January 12 2012, 05:59 PM   #12
V
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

Once again, Temis has summarized it much better than I could, and I would use her post as a reference.

xortex wrote: View Post
RDM broke his own rules for the sake of character. That in itself is unsustainable as it eats away at the very core of the story. There's a good story there but they built themselves a house of cards. I happen to like what RDM did and even the second half when Richard Hatch came in but you can't violate your own long term plan for the sake of a couple of neat character twists. Concept is king and has to remain viable and afloat or you really are left with nothing but a soap opera.
1 - as my signature points out..."we did it for the sake of the character" is just an excuse the writers latched on to as the show was falling apart, even though plot and characters are often intertwined. Our big criticism is that in the second half of the show, the behavior of the characters became inexplicable, and often just for shock value to make it water-cooler TV. Tigh, Tyrol, and Anders being Cylons was "in character"? They at least admitted that they lost their way with Roslin and Apollo in season 3, and arguably, went a long way to fixing them in season 4....but they didn't actually grow as character arcs, so much as the writers bothered to imitate how Roslin and Apollo used to behave in seasons 1 and 2. Starbuck being a resurrected Angel? Also not really "in character" -- even RDM admitted that killing her was a last-minute change during the late stages of writing "Maelstrom", so I'm not even sure if we can say that it was a central fake-death like Picard getting assimilated or something. Otherwise they pushed most of the female characters to the sidelines (i.e. Grace Park).....they didn't really do any of this "for the characters"

2 - Richard Hatch wasn't "brought in" in the second half, he was in since the third episode. Indeed, a big complaint was that he essentially didn't appear in season 3 -- given that he's the Sagittaron leader and they cut the Sagittaron Storyarc out, his scenes were left in the writers' room. Season 4 used him a bit more but by that point they just needed a moustache-twirling villain and his final power-grab felt kind of forced.

I wasn't a fan of the old series and had no attachment to Richard Hatch....but he's such a great actor and put so much thought into his work, the writers developed a great morally grey character in Zarek, that I came to really like him; so even I was upset when they stopped using Hatch so much. I mean I went to panels he had at local conventions and stuff talking about the development of the show and all the trials they had with studio meddling in the 1970's and how that mirrored problems we have with studios today, and their original vision for old BSG had to be reconciled with the studios demands to make it "family friendly" -- point is that I came to really like and respect Hatch, NOT out of automatic nostalgia, but because I was really impressed with his work.
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Old January 14 2012, 01:30 AM   #13
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

In brief: Overrated and overblown.
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Old January 14 2012, 11:46 AM   #14
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

A fantastic attempt to take the good elements from a fondly remembered, though flawed 70s family space opera, and re-imagine it as a new take on the spaceship series. Ambitious, epic, flawed, but the flaws don't diminish the accomplishments one bit. The ending won't satisfy everyone (but really, what ending can?), and those who want it all wrapped up in a neat, tidy package with all loose ends tightened and all the ragged edges neatly sanded down will not get it. But those who can accept an ambitious epic with flawed, layered characters and, recognize that great art, like life, leaves as much questions as answers, will find their time well spent.

Mine was.
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Old January 14 2012, 12:52 PM   #15
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Re: Summarize Battlestar Galactica in your own words

Best. Televised. Program. Ever!
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