TAKE a hike, Star Trek.
Or move back to the Delta Quadrant.
Battlestar Galactica is here and by the looks of it, the popularity of the reimagined 70s series is not about to vanish into space anytime soon.
While the Star Trek franchise has entertained more than its usual hardcore fans (i. e. normal human beings), the series failed to sustain its excitement beyond its various forays into the big screen—the latest of which will be shown next year—and the skin-tight uniform of Seven of Nine, the sexiest Borg this side of the Alpha Quadrant.
Despite its drawbacks, Klingon-speaking, sci-fi geeks will never disavow their loyalty to the Federation.
Which is understandable.
Besides occasionally providing humor in space (thanks to Star Trek: Voyager), the series has tackled subjects—the effects of altering the past, among others—no other entity in primetime television has ever done before.
Unfortunately, its pre-eminence in the television universe may soon be eroded by Battlestar Galactica, as reimagined by Ronald D. Moore.
In its three-part, three-hour pilot which aired in 2003, the antiquated battleship led by Commander William “Bill” Adama (Edward James Olmos) is shown being decommissioned.
Minutes before it is formally transformed into a museum, the cylons, a race of biomechanical beings, launch a debilitating attack on the twelve colonies of Kobol, Galactica’s fictional world.
Using heavy weapons and a virus which destroys their networked computer systems, the cylons render Kobol defenseless, nearly wiping out its population.
Galactica and its passengers survive, thanks to the ship’s non-networked computers.
Together with a small group of non-military vessels which escape the invasion, Galactica jumps to another area light years away.
However, the great escape is just prelude to various issues afflicting the survivors of the human race.
Just a few days into space, the leaders of Kobol’s 50,000 survivors face a brewing political conflict, owing to a leadership vacuum.
With most civilian officials dead, citizens and military personnel remain half-hearted about the leadership of Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), who before being sworn in as President of the Colonies, was education secretary.
But these concerns take the back seat especially after the fleet is attacked by cylons every 33 minutes for more than ten days.
Unfortunately, not even a severe water shortage—as featured in a later episode—could encourage humans to avoid politicking altogether.
During the last episode of the first season, earlier political tensions culminate into a full-blown mutiny.
Captain Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber), son of the battleship’s commander, points a gun at Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan), the ship’s executive officer and his father’s best friend, to prevent him from arresting President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell).
Since Lee fails to stop the arrest—and what he considers to be an imminent military takeover of the fleet’s civilian government—Lee the mutineer joins Roslin the recently-deposed president in the brig.
However, within a few minutes of their jail time, both learn that Bill Adama is shot by a half-human, half-cylon sleeper agent, masquerading as a reconnaissance female pilot.
And while Adama is spilling his guts out on the bridge, the cylons attack the ship and its civilian fleet. Tigh then assumes command, ordering an immediate jump to an area light years away.
However, upon arriving at the pre-arranged coordinates, Galactica discovers that the rest of the ships are gone and with it, the fleet’s only doctor who can fix the commander.
But that’s just the beginning of a series whose episodes and season-enders have always increased and later satisfied viewers’ expectations.
Rarely funny, often dark, but almost always fast-paced, Battlestar Galactica, according to an American entertainment magazine, is not just the best science-fiction show on television, it is the best show, period. Too bad the series ends on its fourth season, which begins next year.
Published in September 2007 issue of Personal Fortune under the title TV sci-fi at its best