Anne and I sat down to watch the new Battlestar Galactica mini-series last night and I must say that, so far, I’m not very impressed. Keep in mind that I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the original series which I did watch growing up. I liked the original BG, but I thought it had its own problems such as a high cheese factor. I wasn’t opposed to the idea of taking a new turn on the original series and things like Starbuck being a woman now didn’t bother me in the least.
That said, my biggest complaint about the “update” are the cylons themselves. They are all but near-invisible outside of one very human looking model that seems to be almost sad about destroying mankind and likes to engage in sex(?) and a couple of spaceships. Two cylons that did appear to be updated versions of the ones in the original show did show up for a brief scene where Number 6 (the aforementioned hottie cylon) is first introduced and they looked pretty cool even if they were obviously CGI, but that’s all we’ve seen of them so far. Probably because they’re CGI and too expensive to do. These new cylons aren’t very menacing at all and, in fact, strike one as complete cowards compared to the originals. They resort to subterfuge and sabotage whereas the originals ran rough-shod over the humans due to their superior numbers and firepower.
Even if this were a completely original show, though, I’d have problems with it. I’ll dispense with all the nit-picky science stuff like the fact that the cylon’s nukes apparently don’t generate EMP pulses when they go off and just stick to stuff like the fact that the show does a lousy job of making you care about any of the characters. Part of this is the acting, which isn’t the greatest, and part of it is the story, which definitely isn’t the greatest. The hottie cylon shows more emotion than most of the humans in this show. Edward James Olmos probably does the best job out of the cast, but as he’s the only actor I recognize that’s probably not surprising and he spends most of his time looking constipated when he’s supposed to be trying to keep his emotions in check. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was thinking at those moments about how the fans of the original were going to rip this show a new asshole at those moments. He was the one who told the press that fans of the original series should stay far away from the new version. Looks like he should have warned all of us.
Another problem is the soundtrack, or rather the near complete lack of a soundtrack. I noticed this about two-thirds of the way through. A lot of scenes that could have benefited from a strong musical component to underscore the emotion and drama were completely bereft of any music at all and the few scenes that did have music had this wimpy sorta-techno sound to them as though tossed on as an after-thought. When the original series does a better job with the soundtrack despite its cheesiness then you know you’ve got problems. I’ve seen bad video games with better soundtracks. I don’t always recognize how much a good soundtrack will help a movie until it doesn’t as is the case here.
In fairness, we’ve only seen half the show and it’s possible the second half could make up for the failings of the first half, but you’ll pardon me if I’m not holding my breath. Courtney has a choir concert tonight so we’ll be taping the second half and won’t get a chance to watch it until Thursday at the earliest. If nothing else, I’m hoping the cylons will make more of an appearance and try to be less wussy in their fighting style. It’s hard to imagine how it could get much worse.
Update: Scott over at Gamer’s Nook had a much more favorable reaction than I did.