Who would have thought a remake of a classically campy late-70’s flop could actually serve up some of the best science fiction to air in years? Sure it’s still a little campy, sure it has stolen ideas everywhere from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep to Alien to *cough* Voyager *cough*, but heck if this new Battlestar isn’t really great television.
The character acting is mostly good and it improves significantly whenever Olmos or McDonnell is on screen (they tower). The special effects are stellar in their visceral shaky-cam style — making up for what they lack in technical prowess with sheer imagination (and making you wonder if you’re really watching the same channel that’s airing sfx bellwethers like Snake King every week). What really sets the show apart, though, is that it has taken what was Wagon Train (or Mormons?) in space in the original show and turned into a genuine drama with real political intrigue and, at times, the kind of thought-provoking parallels that the best science fiction aspires to. And of course there’s some quality action. What this amounts to is that, well, you don’t really end up feeling like you’re watching science fiction — at least not in that Star Trek, Babylon 5 kind of way. The show is somehow not nearly as self-conscious as those, even in its first season.
All this isn’t to say that Galactica Revisited is absent rough edges. Some of the acting feels a bit over the top (the doctor and his in-head Cylon buddy come to mind). Not all of the sub-plots work so well, either. And what the heck happened to having at least a token semi-major African-American character? (Spiritual advisors don’t count!) Hell, even the original Battlestar got that one right. Considering, though, how far the show has come from the somewhat shaky miniseries to the green light to a bang-up season finale, it’s clear we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
For more, see creator Ron Moore’s blog