I had tried to watch Battlestar Galactica 2003 when it first came out. Unfortunately I could only focus on how the series was destroying my childhood by completely ignoring (or deliberately raping) concepts that were brought forward by the original series which I was fond of (Starbuck and Boomer women? Baltar a part of the crew? Please). But after hearing everyone and their grandmother claiming this was the best show on TV, ever, I gave it another shot.
I've finished watching the miniseries and 2 of the series episodes. Here are my thoughts. I've done my best to avoid spoilers :
- Ship design : Vastly inferior to the original. Should've left it as-is. The new "everything must be rounded" philosophy is really not a aesthetically pleasing as the old retro-tech squarey look of the original series. The Cylons are the ones suffering the most from the "upgrade", as both raiders and base-stars look awful. The most prevalent Colonial Viper in the show, the Mark II, looks pretty similar to it's '70s brethren, which is a good thing, because the newer Vipers don't look that good.
- Cylons : Aside from their ship, the newer sex-craved bio-cylons are also kind of lame. Obvious demographic-targeting ploy to lure in young boys with the dreams of kinky robot sex. It does provide a good opportunity for a "The Thing"-like suspicion fest, as the crew could now be infiltrated with human-like cylons. Except they should be easy enough to spot. The hornier someone is, the most likely he or she is a cylon.
- Characters : There's something you didn't have in the '70s : character development. The new show beats the old one hands-down here. We are no longer in a clean-cut, good or evil environment. Characters are now ambiguous, make decisions that kill innocent people, by mistake or deliberately. Baltar is particularly interesting, although he spends entirely too much time inside his own head screwing his cylon lover.
- Plot/Direction : Another point where the new show mops the floor with the old one. The sense of urgency and isolation is a lot clearer. The number of humans left alive is accounted for and updated, and it goes down more than it goes up. The first episode is particularly effective in expressing just how desperate the situation is.
- Stupid gripe : You know the rather recent camera trick used in exterior shots to track fast-moving object? The camera starts badly focused, zoomed and oriented. It stays that way for about a second, then zooms/focuses/orients itself really fast towards the subject, then stays on it somewhat erratically as if the cameraman had trouble keeping track? Well, in Galactica, they use this trick WITH ALL EXTERIOR SHOTS, even those without fast moving objects. Now THAT is slightly amateurish and rather annoying.
- Music : The original Galactica theme ruled, and it was a bad mistake to leave it out of this show. Speaking of the introduction of the new show. So far it's horrible. Music is really not that endearing and the opening of the show is made from shots of that very episode, sometimes containing spoilers. Thumbs down.
- Overall : I'm hooked. It is, so far, a much better show than the old one, albeit one with relatively poor ship design, annoying exterior shots and artificially injected sex. The characters are awesome and the dilemmas gut-wrenching. It's qualities far outweighs it's shortcoming. Looking forward to the rest of it.