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what's new

Remember, my What’s New page goes the wrong way! New entries at the bottom.

7/31/03 An exciting addition coming to the Battlestar Zone, as John Larocque presents his famous Battlestar Galactica FAQ and other articles. I’ll be posting these over the next few days; until I create a new area for them they’ll be in the Articles section. We’ll start with John’s important Different Versions of the Battlestar Galactica Pilot.

8/8/03 Another addition from John Larocque, his article The Battlestar Names and Their Name Sources. This makes a very interesting comparison with Larry Mager’s article on the same subject. Meanwhile, there’s some kind of glitch (or what GeoCities calls a “feature”) that’s making the nondescript yellowish background I use show only intermittently. I’m working on it....

12/29/03 I’ve made a few minor updates to some of the articles about the premiere to include bits of info on what’s on the DVD set. Expect a review of the DVD set - I may do it as separate episodes - soon. What amazes me is this - some scenes that I know were shot are still missing. Odd, that.

4/6/05 OK, I’ve been grumpily tronning long enough. A good friend of mine has convinced me I have to sit down and watch the new series. And I will! And perhaps I will change my mind, because it sounds like it’s improved considerably from the premiere. And, I have to add, it’s done one thing the original never did - it’s been renewed.

4/8/05 Uploaded a bunch of pages with the background problem fixed, font corrected to what I use now, and typos done away with. This will take some time, but at least I’ve gotten started on it...

4/11/05 Uploaded numerous “fixed pages” over the weekend and am continuing to work on it. Updated the BG Links page; killed off dead links, corrected URLs, and added new links for the new show. Anyone who knows good sites about the new series, let me know and I’ll get them up.

4/12/05 Battlestar blogging! Redoubtable blogger Atrios is a BG fan and mentions the new series in his popular blog!

7/16/05 Everyone see the season 2 premiere? Yikes! Adama gets shot, Roslin and Lee are in the brig, and then Tigh loses the fleet! Only on the new one, eh? In other news, Ed Bishop and Michael Billington both passed away in June, a few days apart, the two of them familiar to science fiction fans as Commander Straker and Colonel Paul Foster of UFO, one of my own favorites.

8/1/05 Frack, what’s going on over at Colonial Fleets?! I can understand being irritated at best by the Pegasus episode, but some folks are going waaaayyy over the top, basically accusing Ron Moore of approving of rape as a form of interrogation. Um, who did you get the impression were the good guys in this story? Did you get the impression anyone on the Galactica approved? Cripes!

2/22/06 Daniel Schweiger interviews new BG composer Bear McCreary over at Film Music Radio here; the interview will be up for two weeks. Check it out! I find the music for the new series one of the most interesting things about it. While the style is entirely different from what Stu Phillips established for the original, McCreary has proven a worthy successor. On a different topic, has it occurred to anyone else that the show has slipped rather badly in the second half of the season? Cain was killed off ridiculously quickly, the episode about black markets in the fleet was ludicrous (surely the powers that be would have better control over supplies and people traveling higgledy piggledy all over the fleet would be limited by the need to conserve fuel); the episode in which several important people were mysteriously all in a bar taken over by rebels was over the top (and killing poor Billy was just a sympathy frag), the episode in which the Pegasus’ latest commander gave his life to save the ship was a direct takeoff of Take the Celestra, and promoting Lee to command the Pegasus just is nuts - I wouldn't trust the guy to tie his own sshoelaces, much less command a battlestar (and there’s no one else higher in the command structure with big-ship experience?!). Also, doesn’t anyone in the entire fleet realize that Gaius Baltar is just bloody nuts? Guess not. And I often wonder if Ron Moore realizes that much of his fan base is visibly and nastily to the right of Attila the Hun.... Hm. The last few episodes remaining before the end of the season are going to be interesting; hopefully this is just second season blahs and Moore et al can pull it out as they get ready to start shooting Season Three.

10/7/06 At long last the third season of the Ron Moore Galactica has begun, after a curious lack of repeats all summer. Presumably there was some reason for this other than to try not to point out how badly the series slipped in the last half of the second season.... The second season started very strongly, but dribbled to an end after Ron evidently forgot about the Colonial religious quest to find Earth, one of a number of plot threads that never seem to be either fully addressed or finished. While I agree that there are redeeming aspects of the new series, there are major problems as well, and Moore’s remarkable lack of imagination - this guy evidently knows, if anything, less SF than the SF-deprived producers of the original - is one of them. We started, of course, with 9/11. Then Ron played happily to the mobs of right wingers who flocked to the show, flinging out odd religious themes (the ban on abortion in the fleet was particularly gratuitous - Ron’s evidently never heard that refugee camps swarm with kids). Now the Cylons have become the Bush administration, and the unfortunate Colonials who were stupid enough to abandon the fleet to settle “New Caprica” (can you say ‘created for a plot device?’) are the beleaguered Iraqis, with Colonel Tigh doing his best al Sadr impersonation and sending out suicide bombers (!) while the Cylon administration acts like Condi and Ronald Dumsfeld at their worst (“Torture? We don’t do that!” I suspect, by the way, that the surviving right wing fans will soon depart, and good riddance to them too. Science fiction is not conservative in the least. It’s forward-looking with a strong libertarian wing). Major, major irritants:

1. Baltar. Will someone shoot his ass, please? Come on, Gaeta, grow a pair! He is by far the least convincing character on the show, although admittedly played very well by James Callis, whose air of barely restrained hysteria in character can be marvelous to watch. But it is ridiculous to assume that he would have ever been electable as President, and incredible that no one has yet noticed his role in the destruction of the Colonies, whether unintentional or not. And his collaboration with the Cylons should earn him a firing squad or hanging.

2. Cylon religion. Cripes, what a bloody mess. It’s incredible to me that Moore has gotten by this long with his Cylons running around yapping about their “God” without any indication of what this religion is or how it started and no one telling them to their face that they’re just a bunch of bloody nutters. It’s also very tiresome to hear the Cylons, again, yapping about their religion and its “superiority” when it - and they - have no moral underpinning whatever aside from “do what feels good at the time,” whether it’s screwing Baltar or slaughtering humanity (someone on a discussion board claimed that the Cylons “lost their innocence” last night when one of them shot one of the Sixes through the forehead. Please.  That’s like suggesting Hitler lost his innocence when he had Eva Braun’s erstwhile brother in law shot in the ruins of Berlin for trying to skip the bunker scene. Oh, there was a holocaust? Hm).

3. The Cylons themselves. Uh, time for some backstory, Ron. Ron? Ron?

4. The acting. With some major exceptions, the cast still is third rate at best after all these years and not improving. One of the most remarkable two or three minutes of last night’s premiere was when Richard Hatch showed up in his role as Tom Zarek at the very end. Hatch can out-act the entire cast, with the lonely exception of Edward James Olmos, and did so last night in a short part with a few lines. Certainly Galactica has some decent acting - I’ve mentioned Callis, but about the only others above average are Mary McDonnell, Grace Park, and Aaron Douglas. In particular Jamie “Commander Pudgy” Bamber and Katee Sackhoff are frighteningly weak, although being forced to play characters that are maddeningly inconsistent from episode to episode certainly can’t help.

5. Which brings us to the consistency, or lack thereof. Characters change pretty regularly to suit the needs of the week’s script, with a few notable exceptions (Adama, Roslin, Baltar - the first two stay in character and Baltar is always just bloody nuts). One of the most inconsistent - and the one with the most promise, perhaps - is Sackhoff’s Kara Thrace, who is a drunken whore one second and a first rate warrior the next. If she was the only character with wild swings, I could probably accept it better as just being the way she is, but she isn’t the only one.

6. No courage at all. Sure, Ron likes to use current events to base his scripts around since he has no obvious talent for science fiction, but what in the hell are we to think about the overwhelmingly white-bread cast (yes, I know he has a couple of token blacks and one token Asian in there) and crap like fully-dressed sex scenes? What in the world is with that? No gay characters? No atheists or members of dissident Colonial religions? Very few older people? No one with handicaps? And a black gangsta running the black market?! I don't need a show to be as PC as Star Trek - TNG, but Ron’s view of the future is, well, Republican.

7. One of the most irritating things about the new show is how so many of its fans blast the original. Yes, the original looks dated - and so will RM’s BG in thirty years. Yes, Ron can be more daring (though he usually isn’t). Yes, he has better special effects. But has he had as many first-rate episodes in two full seasons than the original did in one? Where is Ron Moore’s Living Legend? Where is his War of the Gods?

8. Is there a plan? Or is the show winged from week to week? It certainly looks winged to me.

Much of that is nitpicking - and I do mostly like the show. But the thing that really irritates the heck of out me is that Ron has had incredible advantages that the Larson BG never had - a supportive network, renewal, a strong production team - and done so little of lasting note with it. Will that change this season?

10/21/06 Alright, last night - that’s what the hell I’m talking about! There was an episode that was true to the spirit of the original, and well done on top of it, certainly one of the top couple of episodes of the new series so far. If this is what we can expect to see this season, then you go, Ron!

10/22/06 Great BG modeling news from the iHobby Expo in Chicago! Cybermodeler Online’s Michael Benolkin reports: The biggest news that caught my eye was Battlestar Galactica. The old Monogram kits are getting updated!! The Colonial Viper will now feature a clear canopy, cockpit interior, pilot figure, and studio-accurate details. The Cylon Basestar and Raider kits are also being reworked to studio accuracy as well. Now there’s some good news, especially in the case of the viper, which was based on the full-size filming mockup, not the Apogee sfx models. While I doubt the viper can be made completely accurate, perhaps we can expect some of the more inaccurate details to be touched up. Due dates for the kits are almost a year out, but it wouldn’t greatly surprise me if these turn up a little earlier.

2/14/08 Well, the Revell “updated” viper has finally showed up (along with the Raider and Basestar), and, unfortunately, the “improvements” didn’t amount to much. See Michael Benolkin’s review here for pics of the sprues and the decal sheet. Yes, a cockpit - not a very good one - has been added, along with a clear canopyy (molded in the closed position only), plus a pilot figure (gun on left side - Apollo, evidently, although he doesn’t look much like him!), and a new stand. The rest of the package is not so impressive. Now molded in China, the kit’s details are soft - odd for molds that haven’t seen that much use. New clear parts have been added to the tail, which at the same time has come out with - get this! - even less accurate detailing than the original piece. None of the other mistakes have been dealt with. The vent on the side of the nose is still represented by a decal (huh?), the sides of the afterburners are still lacking accurate detail, the back of the intakes still has an inaccurate ridge, and the less said about the decals, the better (OK, I’ll say a few things - poorly printed, glossy, pixelated, inaccurate colors, misspellings on the crew names - never seen on the real thing anyway - and less than accurate markings. Snort.). So much for Revell’s promise of “studio-accurate details.”

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