Thursday, April 19, 2007

Point/Counterpoint: Old BSG vs. Better BSG

It's an age-old question on par with Coke vs. Pepsi, Zima vs. Lighter Fluid, Pampers vs. Huggies. Which is better -- old Battlestar Galactica or new Battlestar Galactica? Ms. C and I sat down recently, wearing Pampers and Huggies, mixing a little Zima and Coke, and tackled The Question:

Liz: The new BSG -- or should I say, the "real" BSG -- is 100 times better than the original for the simple reason that there's no velour*. Anywhere. And Admiral Adama doesn't wear a cape or a giant Bea Arthur-sized broach.

Ms. C: The new Battlestar Galactica is a fine television program, that's true. And while I concede that Captain Adama is quite the commanding figure as played by Edward James Olmos, the old version of the show was definitely better. 1.) It was the heyday of the 70's and tight pants were not only permitted, but encouraged. 2.) Lorne Greene! DIRK BENEDICT! C'MON! 3.) Starbuck was a lot more fun back then. Now, Starbuck seems more kickass, but is definitely, and annoyingly, too caught up in her own drama. 4.) You know what else I liked about the old version? The Cylons made that whoosh-whoosh sound with their eyes more. Oh, and don't get me started about the constantly naked toasters on the new version. It's like whenever the writers feel their male audience reaching for the remote, they throw some gratuitous toaster sex in the mix.

Liz: First, I can't believe you numbered your arguments when you know I suck at math. And second, the new version of BSG has Laura Roslin and that should trump everything else. She is, by far, the coolest character on the show. Kind and serene one minute, then shoving people out the airlock, inciting a religious furor and stealing an election the next. How can you resist that?

I agree that the whoosh-whoosh cylon eyes were pretty great though. And so was Dirk Benedict, although I think Katee Sackhoff could snap him like a twig and then beat him with the Emmy she'll win one day. Maybe they can save that for a big-screen BSG?

Ms. C: I have to hand it to you, Laura Roslin is my favorite. And even though the original had Patrick Macnee of The Avengers fame (as THE DEVIL! HOW COOL IS THAT?!), the acting star power in the new version is light years (You sly boots, with your space references! -- Ed.) ahead of the classic series.

I would, however, like to bring to your attention that the new BSG suffers from a severe, and grievous, lack of Daggits. Muffit, the dog/bear/robot, animated by a chimpanzee delightfully named Evolution warmed many a heart in the original series.

Liz: As a rule, I like anything and anyone played by a costumed chimpanzee, so I'll agree with you on the sad lack of Daggits. I also agree that it was pretty cool to have Patrick Macnee playing a role on the show. But you've got to admit that the new Baltar as played by James Callis is a million times better than that sniveling dude in the original series. When Callis snivels, he does it with conviction. You really believe he's pained by his delusion-driven decisions. You also really believe that he's pained by his syphilis -- because you can't make syphilis jokes too often!

Ms. C: Ewww! Syphilis! And toaster syphilis at that. You've hit me with another bon mot in mentioning Callis' convincing sniveling. It pains me to watch him writhe around like he does but that only goes to show that he's a great actor.

Well, the only thing I've got left is to say that the successful transformation of a classic series like Battlestar into a compelling contemporary science fiction program slicks up a dangerously slippery slope. What's next? Buck Rogers played by Luke Wilson? Lindsay Lohan as Wilma? Twiki reimagined as a leggy fembot?!

Liz: I would cry giant, salty tears of joy if someone re-made Buck Rogers. We'd get to see Birdman again. And the space vampire. And Twiki and Gary Coleman enduring short-person-joke hell. Maybe we could even get thin-haired Gil Gerard and his unitard back. I'm ready to relive those golden days and I'm ready to relive them NOW!

Ms. C: I loved Buck Rogers. I had a little girl crush on Gil. And to think of seeing Birdman or Dr. Theopolis side by side with today's awesome special effects...well, I'd be watching the show standing up, afraid to run to the bathroom for fear of missing something.

Liz: There's nothing to do now but start petitioning Tarantino for Buck Rogers II: In Space No One Can Hear Your Polyester Scream. Who's with me?

* Defined by Wikipedia as "a textile...(which) combines the stretchy properties of knits such as spandex with the rich appearance and feel of velvet."


Shan said...

while I did make my parents go buy a huge big screen TV (faux wood cabinet! remote control!) in preparation for the OLD BSG and its one glorious season on ABC (we won't even consider "Galactica 80" as existing), and there's a lot to like about the old one: ship design, cylon eyes, "by your command," Count Iblis and ship of lights, the hotness that was Sheba (Maureen Robinson's daughter!), there's really no comparison between the old and the new. The acting, character complexity, SFX, scripts, moral issues tackled -- are all far superior in the Ronald D Moore/David Eick version. It's not even like comparing old Trek with Next Gen, where I love and appreciate TOS in spite of the hamminess and cheese factors because they tackled some "important" topics, and did it well for the time. I'll still watch an old BSG occasionally (particularly the Pegasus and Iblis shows), but they pale in comparison to the current Best Show On TV. And you're right -- no velour. Plus, John Colicos never had sex with imaginary robots or uttered "no more Mr. Nice Gaius."

annie said...

Indeed, live for the now.
Remember Captain Tight Pants
in this cent'ry, too.

(I didn't want to break my streak of haiku comments as I continue to catch up on internet reading)