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Why I Think Battlestar Galactica Sucks - Cephus' Corner

Why I Think Battlestar Galactica Sucks

March 28th, 2014

galactica

This is not my Battlestar Galactica.  I remember in 1978, laying on the floor in the living room, excitedly waiting for the first episode of the original BSG and having the President having a news conference and pre-empting it.  I remember hoping that they wouldn’t join the show, already in progress.  Luckily, it was just 20 minutes late and I got to see it all and I thought it was amazing.

Now I’m not going to pretend that the original series was high art or anything, but since I just did a post on why I think Firefly sucks, I thought I’d continue the trend with the 2004-2009 series Battlestar Galactica.

This is another one that people either love or they hate.  I come down on the hate side.  That’s a shame because I really, really wanted to like it and I really did like the original mini-series, but as time went on, the show decided it wanted to hit every bad bump in the road, every single plot element that I personally detest and it wasn’t long before I just couldn’t take it anymore.

So where did it go wrong?  Here’s my list of things that I hated:

1.  The setting.  Yes, I know this is post-apocalyptic and I don’t like that, but Battlestar Galactica got to be absurdly dark.  Sure, they’re on the run from the Cylons, trying to survive, but they were doing that in the original 1979 series too and it never got that dark.  No matter how bad things got, there was always hope.

2.  The characters.  There isn’t one damn character in the whole show that I would piss on if they were on fire.  They’re all horrible, disgusting, awful human beings. Again, sure, it’s after the majority of humanity got wiped out, but these are not the kind of people I want jump starting the species.  They’re all a bunch of immoral, irrational assholes, reprehensible in virtually every way.  I might make a slight concession that Adama has a few decent ideas, but for the rest?  They’re horrible.

Glowing Spine

Because nobody would think that’s weird.

3.  The Cylons.  Cool concept, I guess, just horrible execution.  Even fans of the show have to admit just how badly they were done.  Okay, you’ve got humanoid Cylons who are supposedly completely and totally indistinguishable from real humans, but they do things that should make them painfully easy to identify!  What about that stupid glowing spine orgasm thing?  Worse yet, what about the transmitter in the brain that sends all experiences back to the Cylon motherships so they can implant those memories into new versions?  How can either of those not be plainly obvious in any medical scan?

4.  The metaphysics.  I hate religion anyhow, I think it’s something that all advanced societies are going to outgrow and therefore, it really doesn’t belong in science fiction. The humans had religious beliefs that got stronger as the show went on, which was when I decided I wanted the Cylons to win.  Then the Cylons decided they wanted to be religious too.  After that, I just wanted both side to fly into a star and die painful, horrific, searing deaths.  Worse yet, the religions were actually true to some degree, you had angels and shared dreams and divine intervention.  That’s not sci-fi, that’s stupid.

battlestar-galactica-fleet-into-sun

Let’s just park the fleet over there!

5.  The ending.  Pretty much everyone agrees that the ending of Battlestar Galactica sucked, mostly because it made no logical sense whatsoever.  It’s like the writers had no clue what to do and they were out of time so they made up the most ridiculous thing they could think of.  Sure, everyone goes native but apparently, nobody had any futuristic weapons, no tools, no nothing that would ever have been found by future generations.  Flying the Galactica into the sun?  Really? The writers had so many dangling plot threads that they decided to pull a religious ending and declare “God did it!”  Yeah, fuck you all.

Add to all of that, the fact that BSG was essentially a quest-show and quest-shows all have inherent problems.  They’re out looking for Earth.  Eventually they have to find it.  There’s only so long that the writers can dangle the prize before the characters, only to yank it back at the last moment, eventually they have to achieve their goal, but in achieving their goal, the show has to end because the quest has been completed. This can’t go on too long or the audience gets bored and the importance of the objective gets muted.  It’s the same problem that shows like Star Trek: Voyager had, they have to get home but they can’t actually do it or the show ends.  However, I never really cared if BSG got to Earth, in fact I actively hoped it never would.  I don’t want those idiots to be our ancestors.

Oh, and shaky-cam sucks.  Just sayin’.

Come on guys, when is this “dark for the sake of being dark” nonsense going to go away?  Sure, things can be bad, but if there’s no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel, what’s the point?  Why not stick a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger?  Far too many TV shows out there today are gritty, not because they have any good reason to be gritty, but because gritty is “in”.

I hate gritty.  I hate badly written, dark because dark is cool, awful characters, badly plotted, shaky-cam, stupid stories and Battlestar Galactica was all of these in spades. Nothing was better at the end of the show than it was at the beginning, in fact, I’d argue that it was worse.  Oh, and all of those idiots wandering around the woods? They’re going to end up with every disease in the book because they have no natural immunity or antibodies against any of the Earth diseases.  And yes, before you say those diseases wouldn’t affect them, these Galactican asshats are supposed to have been able to interbreed with the early humans.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Someone ought to tie up Ron Moore and stop him from ever writing anything ever again, he’s never done anything actually good in his life.  This show was awful on every level.  If you want to try to defend any of it, feel free in the comments.  Good luck.

 

Comments

14 Comments

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  • Dan says on: April 1, 2015 at 7:46 am

     

    Heehheheheheheheheheh!!!

  • The Other Jim says on: August 26, 2015 at 4:11 am

     

    Better late than never. I’m trying to find something to disagree with in this post, but I can’t. I had hopes for this series because it’s hard to screw up a remake of BSG in comparison to the 1978 BSG which was made in an era of disco and feathered hair. Yet, they screwed it all up. The casting was horrible and unbelievable. I never thought it was possible to find a more uninspiring group of Canadians, but with this cast they found them. Worse, they came across as the sorts of vapid, self-loathing people I encounter at Cal-Berkeley or UBC. In essence, they looked like a bunch of West Coast urban hipster pseudo-intellectual students and their Noam Chomsky-wanna be professors. Add to this the dreadful writing and we all ended up with characters who were completely unlikable, unsympathetic, and irredeemable. The Cylons were scarcely more sympathetic. Ronald Moore should have taken a page from Blade Runner and made the artificial humans more empathetic than the real ones. Alas, he made them all unpleasant.

    As for the meta-physics, I found the treatment of the entire idea of faith and religion to be shallow and trite to the point of being insulting to both atheists and people of faith. Clearly, the ideas were written into the show by people who had lazy, ignorant, and misleading concepts of religion and atheism. Really cliched stuff IMO.

    The series ending. Agreed it was horrible. The thing that bothered me the most was that if was supposed to be set on Earth 150,000 years or so ago, the last thing these people would have done is set foot anywhere on Earth. I mean anywhere. Why? Because the fauna was extraordinarily deadly. This was an era of the mega-fauna which included predators like the short-faced bear, dire lion, dire wolf, sabertooth tiger, hyenadon, the megalauna(giant lizard) in Australia, flightless birds, etc. They all would have ended up as some mega-fauna predator’s meal in short order. Yet, they’re all shown happily wandering into the wilderness oblivious to the hell that awaits them. It’s like I was watching some eco-hippy’s wet dream.

    I’ll add that what also annoyed me was the underwhelming sci-fi technology. If you’re going to have a civilization that’s mastered faster than light travel, you would think they could come up with better weapons than rail guns and personal projectile firearms which already exist in our real world. Look, I wasn’t expecting light sabers, but come on, all you’ve got on a FTL megaship are rail guns? And what about the Cylons using nukes? I mean, if they are largely artificial and machine based wouldn’t it be better to get rid of all the humans via biological and chemical weapons rather than irradiating themselves or their conquered territories?

    As goofy as the 1978 series was, not to mention the low production values they at least made passing attempts at including alien races in the tv series. Not at all this time around. One can go on about how wretched the re-imagined version of BSG was. What confounds me is how many people I meet actually liked this version of BSG.

  • Mau Buysse says on: October 28, 2015 at 4:46 pm

     

    The only good thing about the remake was that it ended…..
    As a kid I really loved the original series. It had everything : space ships, killer bots, laser gun fights, characters you loved or loved to hate, in short : in good ol’ fashioned golden age Sci-Fi, simple, but lotsa fun.

    The remake : after watching only a few episodes, I already felt completely disgusted over the blunt glorification of moronic “militarism for the sake of militarism” (…), the astonishing overall lack of likable characters, the complete absence of any positive concept of human morality & that most unpleasant sinister atmosphere in which every episode was literally drenched.

    I forced myself to watch half the series, hoping that at some point it would lighten up, but finally gave up on the whole thing because I simply found it too utterly depressing to watch….

    On the Cylons : in the original series, the Cylons were said to have evolved from an originally humanoid species that allowed their technology to overpower them.
    The Cylons consider biological life forms inferior and certainly would not bother to mimic human appearance…..
    The fact that the Cylons were pictured as ruthless machines and LOOKED like ruthless machines, was what made them look “pleasantly scary” – the “human look” of the new series only made them look utterly boring…..

    Anyone claiming that this was a good remake, is totally delirious and holds no true respect for classic Sci-Fi – that much is for sure. 🙂

    Glad to see that there still are other people who feel the same.

    • Cephus says on: October 28, 2015 at 5:29 pm

       

      It’s not just that it ended, but that it was such a complete clusterfuck ending. Really, really, really awful.

      I don’t know if I’ve said this before and don’t want to look, but I still remember sitting in front of the TV in the living room waiting for the first episode to air and it was pre-empted by some Presidential thing and I was afraid that they were going to join it already in progress, but it actually did air complete and I thought it was fantastic. Sure, it doesn’t hold up over time, but very few shows do. It was fun for the sake of being fun and that’s really what a show ought to be.

      The new one though, I really hated from the very first episode. I kept watching, hoping it would get better and it never did. I kept wondering when we were going to get characters worth rooting for and we never did. It just kept getting worse and worse and worse. I don’t get people who like these super-dark post-apocalyptic shows because I hate them with a passion.

      The Cylons in the original were never friendly. They were never trying to infiltrate humanity. They just wanted to kill them. You knew what to expect. Of course, they made humanoid Cylons in the new one so it would be cheaper to make instead of having to do all CGI Cylons in every episode. The justification was stupid and the number of things they had to hand-wave to rationalize was absurd. I’m sorry, but any creature that is entirely indistinguishable from a human at any level of resolution, that creature is a human! If it could do any of the things the show pretended they could do, it would have been easily detectable, especially the uploading crap and the shiny spine. What a stupid show.

      I’m sure the people who liked this were kids, the ones who have no clue what the classics are line, or what anything good is like. These are the idiots who like things like Twilight after all. Kids need to rent some taste.

  • Gene says on: December 13, 2015 at 12:45 am

     

    i just finished watching the battlestar galactica 2004 to 2009 series…. believe me it was the biggest waste of time next to watching “LOST”. gosh people…. i want my 60 plus hours back. I totally agrees with you….

    it was all good until at a certain point when things started to get religious and shit.

  • J-Man says on: May 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm

     

    Another reason the 2004-09 series sucks because it’s on basic cable, and this means there’s no full frontal female nudity, no f-bombs, no C-words and no gore allowed (too bad premium channels can get away with that stuff and basic cable can’t).

    So therefore, it sucks.

    • Cephus says on: May 28, 2016 at 10:04 am

       

      You don’t really need any of that stuff for a series to be good. The original used “frak” because that’s all they could do and they used it in the new both as a callback and because that’s also all they could do. It would have been nice if they could have done more.

  • leoharrysuedamerika says on: August 15, 2016 at 2:22 pm

     

    I’m sorry, but I beg to differ.
    1. I actually think it is (or was at the time at least) quite fresh to play the apocalypse straight. Rather than going on merry adventures and visiting exotic forheads and cultures, the people in this fleet has to deal with issues like food, energy, psychological stress of living on a bunch of ships for months (and years) at a time and deal with really interesting questions, like, if only 50,000 (and less) people are left of the human race, do you have the right for abortion? Or do you have the respnsibility to conitinue the human race? Is it right to rig an election if your opponent’s decisions will certainly lead to doom. When is a machine alive? Are the cylons just a bunch of mindless robots or are the human models more? The series consantly asks difficult questions and often doesn’t even find an easy answer. This may not be the kind of drama you want (hell, I’m not always in the mood for this), but it is something the series actually does much better than Star Trek in my opinion (even though Star Trek isn’t bad at it, I actually love those shows).
    2. That was kind of the point. The whole show is constructed arround the question “Is the human race worth saving?” And making flawed and imperfect characters who sometimes make horrible decision, just like a lot of real people do, and have those flawed characters pushed to the edge and see how much of the moral standards they have withstands this pressure is what makes the series interesting. Again that may not be what you like and that’s fine, but I think it is a great strength of the show and makes it also a great companion piece to Star Trek in a way, where moral standards are always held high, no matter what problems arise. THis is a show that takes a character like Helena Cain and definitely points out her flaws but also acknowledges that in some ways she was actually right. Once again, no easy answers.
    3. Yeah, the cylons. I have to admit, Six sex was just awkward and shoehorned in at times, but I think the point was, that the humanoid models, in becoming closer to humans, also adopted more human flaws. They essentially also oppressed “lesser” cylon models like the centurion and felt nothing but hate towards humanity. But overall, it is clear that they weren’t thought out very well from the beginning. But the little details weren’t really the point. Just that in becoming more human physically they also became more human in terms of their flaws. And the original Earth is testament to that: That earth was inhabited by humanlike cylons, but they ended up destroying each other, just like humans seem destined to be in this show.
    4. Yeah, this is where I concur. I don’t mind religion in sci-fi at all. It is part of our culture and will always be in some way (so here we disagree), but I usually find it more interesting when the effects of religions or belief systems on individuals are explored rather than the metaphysics of the religions themselves (Deep Space Nine did this pretty well with Kira imo). Kara finding the “new” Earth was actually okay for me, but they shoudl have kept it much more vague. Was it destiny or was it luck? Was it God or a coincidence. Having angels and God as an actual character in the show, was pretty awful and really bogged down larger parts of the final season for me.
    5. I like the spirit of the ending (starting anew and leaving most of technology behind), but I also disliked the execution. Apart from God and angels playing an actual role in it, the midochondrial eve bit was awful… and Lee will probably get together with a cave-woman at some point? I think it would have been more interesting if they arrived maybe in 4000 BC, when the first known civilisations formed. Since there are so many refences to Greek and Egyptian culture they could have been the founding fathers of those cultures. Well, kind of hit and miss for me.

    And that is pretty much all I have to say in response for now. I don’t think that BSG is dark for the sake of being dark. The end of the human race is a pretty bleek event and I think it was smart to do this justice and play that really straight. And it paved the way for shows who do more of that now. Stargate Universe was a show that was dark for the sake of being dark and it didn’t work for me. But the end of the world and the many morally difficult concepts they are juggling in BSG – what other show should be dark if not this one? Seriously.
    Shaky Cam – I understand, I feel the same way about the overuse of it, but I think it gave BSG a roughness that fitted it gritty premise, so here it actually works imo. But that is a question of taste and if you had a problem with that, I can grant you that.

    To sum it up, I think this show took some bold risks. They are actually exploring very dark and interesting themes – not for the sake of being dark, but because these are really difficutl issues. BSG takes our long and messy history and takes Star Trek’s pink glasses off and really asks the question “Does humanity deserve to exist? Even with the tendency for violence, oppression and our seemingly inevitable behavior to ultimately destroy ourselves?” And it does this quite well. Sure, the later seasons dwindle in quality. Especially the metaphysics of God and angels are eventually played way to straight. No deus ex machina, just straight up deus! This is where the show crumbles under the weight of its own ambitions. But ultimately, I think it is one of the better sci-fi shows out there, of not one of the best.

  • Tim-1 says on: February 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm

     

    What the redeeming quality of BSG was however was Grace Park.

    • Cephus says on: February 4, 2017 at 12:38 pm

       

      She’s gone on to do better things.

  • Van says on: March 9, 2017 at 8:52 pm

     

    This was such a terrible show.
    Gritty for the sake of being gritty.
    Overly dramatic for the sake of being overly dramatic.
    Convoluted for the sake of being convoluted.
    So many plot flaws, so many inconsistent characters, so many predictable plot twists and twist jut for the obvious sake of belaying the plot. FFS I hope in thousands of years we’re not doing a riverdance (or whatever it is) on a newly colanised planet.
    It’s like the writers just took what little they know, used NO imagination, NO research and then jumped thousands of years into a future reality – outdated ideas in a futuristic reality – what a pitch!
    This show took no risks, it just played out the same old sentimental hollywood crap, they played bagpipes at a rave and thought it would fly…with respect only for the writers ignorance, they mansplained the very complex themes they wholeheartedly failed to approach!
    Along the watchtower in spoken word huh! Haha that was so frakking bad!!

    • Cephus says on: March 28, 2017 at 12:06 pm

       

      All of what you say is true. Honestly, the only people I have found that really enjoyed nu-Galactica are people who are too young to remember the original. Now I’m not saying that the original was high concept television or anything, it had tons of problems too, just like virtually every TV series out there, but for the time that it was done, it was a good show, unlike this Moore-mess that went flying into the sun.

      I don’t really care if a show takes risks because there are shows out there that are risky, just for the sake of taking risks. Edgy just for the sake of being edgy. I care if a show is good. That means it has to have characters that you care about and can sympathize with. Old BSG did, nu-BSG did not. You have to want them to survive. Old BSG did, nu-BSG just made me want them all to die in the most horrible way possible. You’re absolutely right, Moore and the rest of the nu-Galactica crew just took what was popular at the time and stuffed it into a show not known for any of that. Why? Name recognition, of course! That’s why virtually all reboots fail, because they don’t actually care about the original property, it’s just a name, used to make a buck.

      No thanks.

  • Anthony Macheras says on: March 29, 2017 at 6:11 pm

     

    Haterz will hate..Let me just say..before i watch the revamped Gallactica..i was cautious,negative,i wouldnt believe that anybody can revamp the old series..Of course that cannot happen..the actors have aged..everythin changed..That doesnt mean nobody can try?I watched the new series..and..i was amazed..The did an excellent job..new people..but still the old concept..a blending of old and new ideas..plus new visuals etc..etc..Lots of back to back episodes,and stories that connect the original series with the new,amazing performances from Ed james Olmos,Marry Mac Donnell and all the cast was just great…I disagree on the thing that”u couldnt sympathize the new characters”or relate..Wrong..Amazing performances as i said,James Callis(was he amazing or not),Michael Hogan??u didnt like him either?what show were u guys watchin?? I had an amazing time watching all the episodes…compared to the non -existand , soapy,cheesy,childish sci-fi tv shows..that are out there in dozens..and they are all a big Fail..This show kept the fire going..and to end..let me just say..U people are not hardcore BSG fans..those who are..understand 100% everythin i am talkin about….Go watch new star trek instead..a space crew, full of teenagers..kids party…totall fail…BSG2 was absolute badass..No shiny,beautifoull lads and curvy teens..Just serious television..with awsome script,depth and great visuals..U never understood what u saw..Cheers..!!!

    • Cephus says on: March 31, 2017 at 9:01 am

       

      I was actually very positive, I loved the original mini-series they did and thought they were going to do a good job on the series. However, once the series came on, it just didn’t match up to what it should have been. And no, we’re not fanatics. We actually care about watching quality television. Nu-Galactica simply wasn’t, at least in my opinion. You are, of course, welcome to your own.

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A Place to Share my Geeky Side With the World. Comics, movies, TV, collecting, you name it, I indulge in it.