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On Battlestar Galactica
Stripping the Bones
Raising a New Battlestar From the Ashes of the Old
There are those who believe that being a Battlestar Galactica fan means always having to say “I’m sorry.”
That was how it once seemed.
“It was the helmets,” a friend confided, smirking. “Apollo’s making a parachute drop into a Cylon city and he’s wearing the exact same hockey helmet I had in my gym bag.”
Over time it went from bad to worse. Fans of allegedly superior SF offerings from Star Trek to V took delight in poking fun at everything Galactican: the robotic dog, Muffet, the unicorn-riding teen guerrillas of “The young Lords,” the way planets full of clones and even shipboard computers couldn’t help falling in love with Starbuck. And they did have a point. There was plenty to mock.
Critics were no kinder. When Galactica hit TV screens in 1978, the show was derided as a rip-off of Star Wars and The Ten Commandments. The hoots got louder when Galactica 1980—with its flying motorbikes and Wolfman Jack episode—was released. Eventually the verdict was condensed into a single word: cheesy. All a fan could do was raise counterexamples of feeble moments from other series. Thank the Lords it was Captain Kirk, and not Commander Adama, who had to chase down a stolen brain.
Faced with so many naysayers, it became less and less worthwhile to mention how great those original stories had been. It was genuinely scary, for example, to watch Galactica burn in “Fire in Space.” John Colicos as Baltar was one of SF’s most memorable villains, alternating between smug superiority and …
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