Monday, April 02, 2012

Geek TV: Battlestar Galactica (New Series)

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Concept: A true rarity in television – a TV show that originally lasted a single season about a quarter-century earlier, revived with a new cast and new twists on the original concept, and even more successful than before! This second version of Galactica was grittier, with costuming resembling more standard clothing, and the sets having more of a modern-day military look, rather than the futuristic version of the original series. And rather than the “toaster” Cylons of the original series, in this series, the Cylons are nearly identical to humans, and some of them have already infiltrated!


NOTE: This entry features a LOT of spoilers, so if you've never watched this series before but plan to, you might want to skip this entry!

Total Episodes: Five-part miniseries plus 73 regular episodes

Original Air Dates: 2004-2009

Original Network: Scifi Channel

Geek Factor: 9

Characters:

battlestarb2Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos): Veteran of the First Cylon War, commanding officer of the battlestar Galactica. Father of Lee Adama and Zak Adama. Admiral Adama doesn't really believe in the religion of his people, and mistrusts politicians. Very loyal to those he considers friends.

President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell): After the Fall of the Twelve Colonies, Secretary of Education Laura Roslin is the most senior elected official left alive (43rd in succession). She assumes the Presidency, and shortly begins a friendly but adversarial (well, that's how I see it) relationship with Adm. Adama. She later loses the Presidency to Baltar.

Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff): Gifted Viper pilot with an attitude. Oh, and of course this Starbuck is a female, as opposed to the original series' male Starbuck. She has a strong rapport with Adm. Adama, who seems to view her as the daughter he didn't have.

Leland “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber): Son of Adm. Adama and CAG of Galactica. His relationship with his father has always been strained, moreso since the death of his brother Zak (Lee believes his father's responsible for Zak's death, when in reality, it's more Thrace's fault).

Doctor Gaius Baltar (James Callis): Brilliant scientist, but inadvertent traitor to the human race thanks to his relationship with the Cylon Number Six. After the Fall of the Twelve Colonies, he tries to make up for his actions by acting selflessly, as well as becoming President.

Number Six (Tricia Helfer): Beautiful blonde Cylon who is indistinguishable from a human. There are various Number Sixes out there, but one of them had a relationship with Baltar that put her into a position to weaken the defenses of the Twelve Colonies. Later, this same Number Six has a relationship with Col. Tigh!

Number Eight (Grace Park): Although her shipmates believe she's the human Sharon “Boomer” Valerii, she's actually a sleeper agent who believed herself to be human, hiding her real mission as a saboteur and assassin.

Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan): XO of the Galactica, Tigh appears to be a 71-year-old human, but is actually a 2,000+ year old Cylon! He had false memories implanted in himself that allowed him to believe he was really a human, although as the series progressed, he regained his lost Cylon memories.


Geek Guest-Stars:

Original Apollo Richard Hatch (who'd unsuccessfully tried to revive the original series prior to this) appeared in 22 episodes as Tom Zarek. Lucy Lawless, best known as the lead on Xena: Warrior Princess, appeared as D'Ana Biers in 16 episodes. Lawless also had a cameo in Spider-Man, and voiced Wonder Woman in Justice League: The New Frontier. Dean Stockwell, famous in geek circles for playing Al Calavicci on Quantum Leap, played John Cavil in 14 episodes. Stockwell had also had appearances on the original Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible, Night Gallery, the 1989 version of Twilight Zone, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Star Trek: Enterprise, and Stargate SG-1. He provided the voice of Duke Nukem on Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and provided the voice for the adult Tim Drake in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Colin Lawence played Lt. Hamish “Skulls” McCall in 13 episodes, but prior to that he had been seen in a 1997 Outer Limits, two episodes of The X-Files, five episodes of Stargate SG-1 (most of those playing Major Warren... or Sgt. Warren, the IMDB has both ranks), a 2002 Twilight Zone, Andromeda, X2, Fantastic Four (2005), Blade: The Series, and Watchmen. Lara Gilchrist played Paulla Schaffer in 10 episodes, but prior to that she voiced the Invisible Woman on the 2006-2007 Fantastic Four, and played Carly on three episodes of the 2007 Bionic Woman. Sebastian Spence had a few minor genre roles before playing Lt. Noel Allison in nine episodes, but perhaps his most vital genre role was playing Ted Kord in a 2011 episodes of Smallville.

Don Thompson played Specialist 3rd Class Figurski in nine episodes, but before that he'd guested in two Stargate SG-1 episodes, played Uncle Pat McCallum on Blade: The Series, guested on two Smallville episodes, four X-Files, and a few other bit genre roles. After Galactica, he played Detective Gallagher on Watchmen. Lorena Gale did voices for some animated shows, guested on a number of genre programs, played Lynette on three episodes of M.A.N.T.I.S., guested in three X-Files, three episodes of Outer Limits (1997-1999), and played Dr. Claire Foster on Smallville for three episodes before playing Elosha in the miniseries as well as eight episodes of the regular series. She also had a brief role in the Fantastic Four movie.

Michelle Forbes played Admiral Helena Cain in three episodes, but she will probably be better remembered for playing Ensign Ro Laren on Star Trek: The Next Generation. More recently, she appeared in 15 episodes of True Blood.

battlestarb3Geek Pedigree:

Series star Edward James Olmos played Gaff in Blade Runner. Most recently, he played Mike Axford in The Green Hornet. Mary McDonnell had an earlier brush with genre politics when she played First Lady Marilyn Whitmore in Independence Day. James Callis played Aspyrtes in the 2000 version of Jason and the Argonauts, and was more recently seen in Eureka playing Dr. Trevor Grant.

While Tricia Helfer didn't really have any genre credits prior to Galactica, I'd be remiss by not mention ing her playing Carla in nine episodes of Burn Notice, a guest-appearance on Chuck, voicing Sif on an episode of The Super Hero Squad Show, and appearing in the 2010 pilot for The Human Target.


Prior to Galactica, Katee Sackhoff's only real genre role was playing Jen in Halloween: Resurrection, but she also appeared in most episodes of the revived Bionic Woman, did a voice in an episode each of Futurama and The Super Hero Squad Show (voicing She-Hulk), had a cameo appearance in an episode of The Big Bang Theory as herself (or rather, Howard's fantasy version of her), provided voices for a number of characters on Robot Chicken (including playing Thrace in a few episodes), and can be heard as Sarah Essen in Batman: Year One.

Way before Galactica, Michael Hogan guested in episodes of the 1988 Twilight Zone, the 1990 War of the Worlds, the 1997 Outer Limits, and an episode of Andromeda. Since Galactica, he portrayed Slade Wilson in two episodes of Smallville.

Alessandro Juliani did voices for Camp Candy and voiced Kid Icarus on Captain N: The Game Master, Nightscream on Beast Machines: Transformers, played Druid on Dark Angel, voiced Gambit on X-Men: Evolution and then played Lt. Felix Gaeta on Galactica. Most recently he played Dr. Emil Hamilton on the last two seasons of Smallville.

Rehka Sharma played Dr. Beverly Shankar on episodes of Dark Angel, as well as guest spots on The Lone Gunmen, The Outer Limits (2001), The Twilight Zone (2002), and also played Dr. Harden in seven episodes of Smallville prior to playing Tory Foster in 31 episodes of Galactica. Most recently she played Sarita Malik on V.

I already wrote about Glen Larson's other genre contributions when I posted about the first Galactica. Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore was a producer or co-producer on Star Trek: The Next Generation, co-executive producer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, was a consulting producer on Good Vs. Evil, and a co-executive producer on Roswell. He also wrote many episodes of those series, as well as episodes of Galactica.

DVD Release: Complete series DVDs.

Website: http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Portal:Battlestar_Galactica_(RDM) is an excellent fan site and database to the re-imagined series. SyFy's Galactica page is still up at http://www.syfy.com/battlestar/, which also includes a link to the Battlestar Galactica Online game, which you can reach at http://en.battlestar-galactica.bigpoint.com/big/06/?aid=331&aig=311&aip=bkw

Notes: I have to admit, when I first heard about this re-imagining, I feared the worst, especially when I saw just how different it was... and changing the gender of some of the characters didn't help! And there's also the characters that were entirely dropped... but once I really looked at it as sort of an “Earth-2” Galactica, I watched the miniseries and enjoyed it, although I never made the regular series a regular thing for me. I did catch up on a few seasons on DVD some years back, but have yet to see the entire series... and I'll probably need to just start from the beginning again so I won't be completely lost!

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