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Miniseries, Night 1

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
Revision as of 09:22, 11 February 2005 by Ernestborg9 (talk | contribs) (→‎Notes: - original broadcast (2 pts) & re-broadcasts)

Overview

After 40 years of peace with the Humanity's bastard children, the Cylons, Humanity finds itself victim of a genocidal attack and the survivors are forced to flee from their twelve colonies in the Cyrannus system.

Backplot

  • The Cylons were created by the Colonials as a labor and military force. 40 years prior, the Cylons turned on their Human creators and the Cylon War ensued. The Cylons were exiled from the 12 Colonies and were never seen again in any known form.
  • The Battlestar Galactica is the last relic from the Cylon War and is being decomissioned. It was slated to be turned into a museum piece.
  • The Colonies, who were once technophobic due to the Cylons, are recovering from their phobia and are integrating technology back into their normal lives and, as a result, military crafts.
  • The Cylons are capable of infiltrating any networked computer system and disrupting electrical equipment.
  • The Colonials descended from a mother world, known as Kobol.
  • There is a myth about a 13th Colony of Kobol, known as Earth.

Questions

  • What happened to the Cylons over the course of their 40 year exile?
  • What events transpired that made the Cylons hate their human masters? When did this occur?
  • Where is the Cylon homeworld?
  • Are there other life forms or powers that exist in the universe?
  • Does Earth truly exist, despite Cmdr. Adama's disbelief?
  • What happened to Helo on Caprica? (Answer)
  • We know of 7 of 12 Cylon models: Boomer, Number 6, Aaron Doral, Cylon Centurion (old), Cylon Raider, Cylon Centurion (new), and Leoben Conoy. What are the other 5?
  • If the Cylons hate Humanity with the passion that they do, why did they mimic human form? Was it for strategic purposes or was there something greater?

Analysis

Noted Improvements from the Original

  • The basic story is still present: robotic Cylons surprisingly attack the 12 Colonies resulting in a holocaust, thus forcing a "rag-tag, fugitive fleet" to coalesce around the last surviving battlestar, Galactica, to seek a mythical 13th Colony where refugees hope to find shelter from the Cylons. However, many of the fine details are changed, such as:
    • The Cylons were created by Humanity, not by a reptilian race (also called Cylons) who hated Humanity.
    • The Galactica is a 50 year old relic on the verge of decommission.
    • The names of "Apollo", "Boomer", and "Starbuck" are changed to call signs. Characters have the standard First, Middle and Last Names.
    • The futuristic (and often confusing) terminology used to denote distances, measuring, and time in the original series have been replaced with understandable terminology. "Year" was known as a "yahren" in the original.
    • The ship designs, save for some revisions to the Mark II Viper and the Galactica and a few noteworthy background ships (such as the Freighter Geminon and the Botanical Ship, have been redone.
    • The Quorum of Twelve, is not mentioned in the mini-series, and has apparently been replaced by a setup similar to the United States executive branch. There is a president, vice president, and secretaries (the Quorum does not make an appearance until episode 1.11 Colonial Day, in which it appears somewhat similar to the
    • Instead of the out worldly, Egyptian-esque clothing and city designs (i.e. pyramids) seen in the original, the clothing and cities are more contemporary in design and function.
  • The relationships and characters from the original have been changed slighly as well.
  • The show has taken a more realistic turn. Realistic science, which was painfully absent in the original series, is applied in this series. From the movement of the space vessels to the tactics used in space, to even the noticeabley diminished sounds in space (yes, it is muted, which is unrealistic -- but a necessary evil foisted upon the show by the higher-ups), the feeling of realism is in place. Realism is also affirmed by the documentary, hand-held camera style with the use of "snap zooms" and other guerilla documentarian niceities.
  • Certain models of Cylons appear human, right down to the blood -- it would take complex tests just to screen for these Humanoid Cylons. Not only is this a budget-saver, but it also generates some very disturbing questions. For one, the Cylons have now managed to merge in with human society, making it easier to manipulate from within. This mirrors terrorist methods of infiltration and delivering destructive results to heavy population centers (a la suicide bombers). It also brings up interesting questions regarding cross-species mating: Can Humanoid Cylons mate with their Human creators?

Plot and Character Analyses

Since plot and character are so intertwined, both will be covered here.

Armistice Station

The Armistice Station gave us a chance to understand the conflict between the Cylons and Humanity. It also introduced us to the new Cylons and broke away from conventions set in Science Fiction. Instead of storming the station, the Cylons used Number 6 and sexually assaulted the Armistice Officer. Question is, why was the Armistice Officer assaulted sexually instead of physically? The answer is three fold:

  1. This defied those who would make the claim that Battlestar Galactica is a "rip-off" of Star Wars; the same claim that was made against the original.
  2. This showed that the Cylons understood the devestating affect of sexual molestation. Since when did a Human expect for a Cylon to attack Humanity in this way?
  3. There is a drive within the Cylons to understand - and possibly experience the sensations of being truly alive.

The armistice station was destroyed by ahe Cylon base star. Though this was a dramatic blow, this does seem rather unnecessary from a logical point of view. The Cylons present were more than enough to subdue the Armistice Officer and be able to keep the station for future purposes.

Commander William Adama & Nostalgia

With the Galactica's future being a museum piece with gift shops, Commander William Adama is ready to retire, albeit reluctantly. Adama heads to retirement with tredipation, unsure of what he would do with the remainder of his life. His crew will ultimately be disbanded and good-byes are abound. There is a sense of a ship seeing its last days, despite some of the joy that some of the crew members have in continuing their military careers.

Adama is presented with his reconditioned Viper, which was rusting in a junkyard on Sagittaron, as well as a picture of himself and his two sons when he was younger.

This is a touching moment, demonstrating the crew's affection for him as a person. It also establishes Adama's legitimacy as a war-hardened commander in the series quite nicely.

Starbuck & Tigh Card Fight

The "card fight" between a Lieutenant and Colonel sparked a bit of controversy in the fan community before it aired. In the original draft, Starbuck got off free without being thrown in the brig. However, given the fan's astute observation of a disturbing lack of disciplinary action against Starbuck for striking a superior, the aftermath was changed.

The scene demonstrates Starbuck's mistrust of authority and the antagonistic relationship between Tigh and herself. The touch of classic Starbuck elements, i.e. the gambling and fumarello smoking, is a nice homage to the original that fits in nicely. Katee Sackhoff's portrayal tells viewers that this isn't the same Starbuck from the original, as she is clearly unbalanced.

Tigh himself comes off as a grouchy, inebriated old man who has seen his glory days, which hammers home the fact that the good ship Galactica is seeing its last days. When he puts Starbuck in the brig, she knows she's stepped over the line -- but so has he, given that he flipped over the table first.

It also nicely puts Starbuck in a confined place from a story standpoint, allowing other characters to be introduced.

Laura Roslin's Cancer Storyline

The cancer story line for the Secretary of Education Laura Roslin seems a bit over-the-top from a superficial standpoint, which distracts from the main story. Yet having the cancer story-line helps show that smaller tragedies don't cease simply because another one looms ahead. It also reveals Roslin's vulnerability and puts her character in a realistic ethical conundrum, where she is more concerned about her own well-being when billions of people have been victims of the Cylon genocide.

The scene where she checks her breast does seem extraneous and could have been handled better from a story point of view.

The Infanticide Debate

One of the more emotional and argued points in the whole mini-series is not the sex changes of two main characters, and certainly not the major change in the Cylons, but the incident where Number 6 kills an infant in the market place.

The question during the debate focused on the immorality of the act and was purported by those against the re-imagining as being an indicator that the source material wasn't being taken seriously.

The intent of the act was never questioned. It is simply assumed that Number 6 killed the baby out of cold blood.

The doubt of Number 6's intent, or possible lack thereof, still surrounds this scene. It was obvious that Number 6 was puzzled by the fraility of the baby and questioned as to how the neck could support the weight of the baby's head. Many items can be deduced from that scene, a few follow:

  1. It was a deliberate act. Cold and ruthless. Nothing more.
  2. Number 6 has feelings and is rational. Due to her knowledge of the impending attack and the expectation that the entire human race could be eradicated, could the act be merciful?
  3. Could it be an act of spite? In "33", her mental image asked Gaius Baltar if he wanted children. With begs the question: Can Humanoid Cylons propogate their race through Human childbirth?
  4. Could it be a simple lack of knowledge? If so, the infanticide was accidental, and Number 6 had no way of knowing.
  5. She did demonstrate curiousity as to how much the neck could support. Could the death have been an unethical experiment on her part?

The most disturbing aspect of the whole debate lies in the assumed assumption that a single act of infanticide is unacceptable, whereas the genocide of the entire human race (including born and unborn infants) by Cylon hands seems to be more palatable.

The "Glowing Spine" Scene

One of the major inconsitencies in the mini-series was gleaned from this scene. The fact is established that Humano-Cylons were, for all intents and purposes, organic. Also established was, even with the most thorough of tests, it is almost impossible to screen Human from Cylon. Thus begs the question: What caused the spine to glow? It certainly wasn't a human reaction to sex. Since the Cylons went to the very painstaking process of creating an undetectable Humanoid Cylon model, it is conceivable that glowing spinal columns -- and more to the point the chemicals that would cause the aformentioned reaction -- would arouse undue suspicion and thwart Cylon plans.

One possible explanation for the glowing spine would be that the glowing spine is the act of "6" transfering some part of herself into Baltar, as evidenced later. However, this explanation is highly speculative.

Note: Comments from members of the production crew have since suggested that the only reason the glowing spine was included was that it "looked cool" at the time, and in retrospect, may have been a mistake.

"Humanity's children are returning home... today."

It is interesting to note Baltar's ability to deceive himself even when the human race is being eradicated.

Additional information can be added later on. Feel free to do so.

Notes

  • The miniseries was initially broadcast in two two-hour segments. During re-broadcast (such as with the UK's Sky Movies channel), the two halves were combined into a single 3-hour 56-minute "film"

Initially, there were 12 battlestars, one representing each Colony. Battlestar Galactica represented Caprica. These were built with antiquated technolgies, as were their fighter craft, to avoid the Cylons's tactical advantage of disrupting complex electrical and computer equipment.

  • Networked computers were susceptible to Cylon infiltration, forcing the Colonials to react by reducing their dependance on technology.
  • The fleet has been greatly expanded since then, with at least 36 and possibly as many as 120 battlestars, although it is by no means certain all the vessels in the fleet follow the Galactica design.
  • As the Colonials became more confident of their security, integrated systems were re-introduced to their civilian and military craft.
  • The Cylons believe in God, whereas the Colonials believe in a pantheon of Gods mirroring the 12 Olympian gods of Greek mythology.
  • Cylons are also called "chrome toasters", mainly for their original appearance (a nod to the original series).
  • All pilots have call signs.
  • Commander Dash was the Galactica's first Commanding Officer.
  • In the mini, Boomer is referred to as a "rook" by Starbuck, meaning a rookie. In Act of Contrition nugget is the chosen name for rookie pilots.


Blooper Moments

  • At the start of the episode, dialogue is retained from a draft scipt which placed the Twelve Colonies actually on Kobol, rather than spread among twelve worlds. The giveaway lines are spoken by Aaron Doral (played by Matthew Bennett):
"Now, as I was saying, form follows function, and nowhere is this axiom of design more readily apparent than on the world famous Battlestar Galactica...now originally there were twelve battlestars, each representing one of Kobol's twelve colonies...."
Given the show is set among 12 different worlds, and Kobol is now regarded as the birthplace of humanity, abandoned at some point in the distant past, Doral's should have used the words "worlds' famous", and simply referred to the original battlestars representing each of the Twelve Colonies.
  • At the time of her first FTL jump, Galactica retracts her flight pods. However, when the jump is made, the ship is shown with the pods still extended.

Nods

  • The Firefly-class ship, Serenity, from the sci-fi series Firefly makes a brief appearance. It can be seen flying above Laura Roslin when she is about to hear her prognosis of breast cancer on Caprica.
  • The fanfare just prior to Commander Adama's speech is taken from Stu Phillips's theme for the original Battlestar Galactica.
  • The pilot Jolly makes a brief (verbal) appearance, just prior to the Cylon's massacre of the squad led by James Spencer, Galactica's previous CAG. It is not the same actor that played Jolly in the original.
  • The original Cylon Basestar can be briefly seen in the Galactica museum.
  • President Roslin makes a point of calling Lee Adama "Captain Apollo", saying that it has a nice ring to it.
  • During the attack, Colonial 798 Heavy assists Gemenon Liner Seventeen-oh-one (1701). This is a nod to RDM's work on Star Trek.

Noteworthy Dialogue

Adama's Speech at the Galactica's Decommissioning Ceremony

"The Cylon War is long over, yet we must not forget the reasons why so many sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. The cost of wearing the uniform can be high, but --

"Sometimes it's too high.

"You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question, why? Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed, spite, jealousy. And we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we've done.

"Like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. When that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn't our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore."

Official Statements

Edward James Olmos' (EJO) Statements Regarding the Mini-Series

After the announcement of Edward James Olmos' involvement in the mini-series, portraying a role that was previously done by Candian actor Lorne Greene, many fans contacted him. As is evidenced by the quotes before, Olmos demonstrates his honesty and reaction to the mail, most of which could be classified as fairly negative.

From his official website:

  • "I must say one thing and will say this very clearly. If you are a person who really has a strict belief in the original, I would not advise that you watch this program...We really don't stand true to the kind of characters that were built around the original. It definitely does break the mold. Some of the characters' names are the same, but the intent and the way that we are building the reality is completely not the reality that was built in the original." -- 7/03
  • "I'm going to be the first one to say it really clearly. Please tell your readers, do not watch this program...[P]eople get really, really angry. You've got to remember that this is a show that was only on . . . in the late '70s, and to this day has a very strong fan base. Tens of thousands of people who write to each other for 25 years over a program that is not on the air and is not even being rerun.
    "They didn't want this at all, and I didn't know any of this. . . . All of a sudden, my e-mails went through the roof. Suddenly I was accused of teaming up with Ron Moore and creating just a slap in the face of all these people, and I didn't want to slap anybody."
  • "Trust me, don't watch it. If you are a real, real staunch 'Battlestar Galactica' person, don't watch it. . . . Just don't write to me, all right? I warned you. I was honest."
  • "I've gotten some really strong, strong mail. . . . They're really bitter. They're very angry. And I know the Sci Fi Channel wants to say that everybody's going to enjoy it. They're not."

Statistics

Guest Stars


Writing & Direction


First Run Air Dates & Releases

  • UK Airdate: 17 February 2004
  • US Airdate: 8 December 2003, 9 December 2003 (2-night engagement, Sci-Fi Channel)
  • Canadian Airdate: 17 January 2004
  • DVD Release: 28 December 2004