My first watch through of the original Battlestar Galactica series continues with the third quarter of episodes. We have a fun and varied batch here, with some good, often safe, stories to tell… apart from War of the Gods, a two-parter that deals with literal races of angel-like beings and the devil… More can be found below!
In a distant part of the cosmos, the human race is embroiled in a thousand-year-long war with the robotic Cylons. Aided by the human traitor Baltar, an armistice turns out to be a ruse by the Cylons who launch a massive surprise attack against the Twelve Colonies of humanity, almost wiping them out. Only the Galactica, led by Commander Adama, and a ragtag fleet of 220 civilian ships survive, beginning a journey across the galaxy in search of long-lost sister civilization Earth. But the Cylons will not rest until every last human has been eliminated, and pursue them across the galaxy…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
Why a future ball sport has to have such cheesy attire I don’t know… No wonder Starbuck looks so pissed off!
Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) – Loving father and grandfather who is also the leader of the Galactica, and pretty much the whole of the surviving human race. The fact that pressure doesn’t get to him a testament to his character, that’s for sure!
Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch) – Your brave, flawless hero pilot who can literally do no wrong, ever. Nice hair.
Lieutenant Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) – Cocky and likable pilot who may not be the luckiest guy at the tables, but does a pretty damn good job in blasting things, both in space and with his pistol!
Lieutenant Boomer (Herb Jefferson Jr.) – Pretty dull pilot who only appears when a third character who isn’t Apollo or Starbuck needs to do something…
Lieutenant Sheba (Anne Lockhart) – The daughter of the famous Commander Cain, Sheba now finds herself on board the Galactica after he father and his ship vanished at the end of “The Living Legend”. Sadly, she seems to have lost a lot of her fighting spirit at some point…
Boxey (Noah Hathaway) – Really annoying kid who smiles at all times, often when something serious is supposed to be happening. He has a robot “daggit” called “Muffit” who doesn’t help the obnoxious factor.
Baltar (John Colicos) – Complete bastard who betrayed his entire race and sided with the Cylons, who for some reason keep him around as a commander despite the fact that they hate humanity and want to wipe it from existence…
The Cylons – Hate humanity and want to wipe it from existence…
Plus many more!
I like how in this realm even Starbuck’s attire has turned white!
First thing’s first: the two parter “War of the Gods” (covering episodes 15 and 16). Wow… that’s was certainly far more fantasy sci-fi than you got in the reboot, that’s for sure. The Galatica crew are bombarded by weird white balls of light and soon take a man on board who frankly, has magic powers. The man wants to lead humanity and has a bit of a temper, but otherwise doesn’t seem like such a bad fellow… until it’s eventually revealed that he is literally the devil, and the while balls of light weren’t attacking them, they were attacking him. The aforementioned white balls of light later take Apollo (who was dead, but they bring him back to life), Starbuck and Sheba to their… realm, where everything is all white and perfect in order to help them. So by the end of the two episodes we see that the Galactica and its crew were literally caught in the middle of a fight between heavenly beings and the devil himself… bizarre. Really good viewing mind, in a “no idea what’s going on” way, but still very good!
The episode before that, “Fire in Space”, is a very good disaster movie-style plot. After an devastating attack on the Galactica (the methods that caused the damage are of course never used again, for some reason… nice logic, Cylons!) large areas of the ship are on fire, Adama is injured, and a group pretty much every character who isn’t Apollo, Starbuck or Sheba are stuck in a room that’s slowly filling with smoke. It does an effective job at keeping the suspense up for the episode’s duration, so high praise there. A good 48 minutes, even if Boxey, of course, sucks some of the danger out of some of the scenes…
Episode 18 “Murder on the Rising Star” is a good murder mystery, with all evidence pointing towards Starbuck having just killed a rival of his, leading to Apollo and Boomer to find a way to prove his innocence. It also involves Baltar, who was captured by humanity during War of the Gods, and a second person who was partially responsible for the death of the colonies back at episode 1. Again, the plot is pretty basic, but it keeps you interested for the near-hour, so it deserves praise for that.
The Good, the Extra, the Bad and the Devil.
Episode 17, “The Man with Nine Lives”, was not awful, but it was pretty dull. A classic old con artist type is being hunted by insultingly primitive-ape-looking “desert people” and convinces Starbuck that he might be his long-lost father in order to get off the ship. The Borellians, as they’re known, follow him there and eventually face off. Starbuck is disappointed but doesn’t hate the old man for lying, then, in what was actually a bit of a surprise, it turns out that he really IS Starbuck’s father, but he doesn’t want him to know. It’s… got some heart, but it’s just not that entertaining, the episode really drags.
I have to register disappointment that Sheba went from a “just as good as the men” tough pilot type to a “isn’t everything lovely” woman who is constantly out performed and generally a side-note to the lead males. It’s a shame, because that’s the role the other lead females have had too, we didn’t need another one, even if it is the 70s….
Ouch! Not only is the ship exploding, but a bunch of sparks between the legs too.
Well, Battlestar Galactica’s original incarnation certainly was more … willing to go more “out there” with the sci-fi concepts, that’s for sure. One way or another I was thinking about “War of the Gods” for a few days after watching it, it was a … weird experience, but again, a good one. Next up: The end of the beginning!
“War of the Gods” and “Fire in Space”:
“Murder on the Rising Star” and “The Man With Nine Lives”: