Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 0

BSG - 0x01 - Pilot Miniseries, Part 1 - Originally Aired: 2003-12-8

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.75

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Forty years after the Cylon Wars, humanity's deadliest enemies have reemerged with a vengeance. In a sudden, devastating nuclear attack, the Cylon robots who have now taken human form wipe out billions of people. Only a ragtag fleet of Colonial forces is left to shepherd humanity's few survivors to safety. Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos), a veteran of the Cylon Wars and the highest-ranking military officer left alive, reactivates the Battlestar Galactica to once again face his greatest nemeses. His son, Lee (Jamie Bamber), call sign "Apollo," joins the fight alongside the fleet's best pilot, Kara Thrace (Katee Sackhoff), call sign "Starbuck." With the president and most of his senior cabinet killed in the attack, Secretary of Education Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) is sworn in as the new President of the 12 Colonies of Kobol. As Adama and Roslin debate whether to fight or flee, the Cylons launch a sneak attack on the new president's ship. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

- How would the Cylons be able to hack a computer network aboard a ship wirelessly? This can be rationalized a number of ways, such as by claiming that the Cylons have a technology that can wirelessly spoof network packets flowing through wired connections somehow and thus all computer networking is suspect, thus justifying Adama's "no computer networks" position. But an actual explanation would have been appreciated. We shouldn't have to make this crap up.
- Tigh utters "Jesus" early on in the film during his discussion with Adama about the old photograph and what to do about Starbuck's insubordination. This is anachronistic because the Colonials are depicted as having a polytheistic society, in which the phrase would never have arisen.
- I can't stand Baltar's dual-screen tall-screen TV. This couldn't possibly be a practical product.
- Both Major Spencer's and Lee Adama's vipers are labeled 2276NC.

- The officer at Armistice Station had with him a photo of Boxey which would imply that he was Boxey's father.
- The officer at Armistice Station had a piece of paper labeled "Cylon Specifications" for "Cylon Centurion Model 0005." The paper reads: "The Cylon: A Cylon is a bipedal robot. They are self aware, and actually quite logical. They are not especially fast, but they are quite strong. They are artificial in nature, and are larger than a human - around 6' 6", although this varies with their type. Cylon eyes glow red, and pulse back and forth. A Cylon is powered by internal powercells which allow it to function without outside aid for around nine to ten yahrens." This piece of paper is in all likelihood nothing more than a reference to BSG TOS and is probably not canon.
- When Armistice Station is attacked by the Cylon Basestar, you can see more papers from the Colonial officer's stack which had a heading reading "Cimtar Peace Accord." This is another reference to BSG TOS, as Cimtar was the name of the place that the Colonial Fleet was destroyed in BSG TOS.
- According to Doral, the Galactica is the last of her kind still in service. This presumably means the Galactica is the last of her battlestar class and that newer, more improved battlestar classes hold most of the fleet's flags.
- According to Doral, the Galactica was constructed "over 50 years ago during the early days of the Cylon war."
- According to Doral, originally there were 12 battlestars, each representing one of Kobol's 12 colonies. Galactica represented Caprica and was first commanded by a man named Peter Dash.
- As seen on his viper, Commander William Adama's old callsign from when he was a pilot is "Husker."
- Helo talks about a "Pyramid game on Gemenon" which was a line goof. Pyramid was the card game on BSG TOS and Triad was the sports game, but they were mixed up by the writers unintentionally. So to preserve series continuity they just stuck with the renaming.
- There is a Firefly class vessel which can be seen landing near the hospital Laura Roslin visits regarding her cancer. This is an homage to the (at the time this film was aired) recently canceled television series "Firefly" of which RDM was a fan. In fact, much of the directing style on this new series is inspired by Firefly.
- Dr. Gaius Baltar was a personal friend of President Adar.
- According to Baltar's interview, there is a ban on research and development of computers, which is a hold over from the Cylon war.
- When Baltar and Six are walking together on Caprica, in the background you can see two children wearing Cylon masks chasing each other with swords.
- The gift shop aboard Galactica's starboard launch bay had an original series style Cylon Centurion as well as an old style Cylon Basestar model on display.
- During the ceremonial flyby led by Apollo, the music played was derived from the theme from the original series of BSG.
- According to Six, there are 12 humanoid Cylon models.
- The woman depicting Tigh's wife in the photograph Tigh burns was actually executive producer David Eick's wife.
- According to Adama, they lost 30 battlestars in the opening attack. Starbuck says "that's a quarter of the fleet." This implies that there were a grand total of ~120 battlestars in the fleet at the time of the attack.
- Caprica City was a city of 7 million people, according to Starbuck.
- After Picon was nuked, President Adar offered the Cylons a complete unconditional surrender to which they didn't even respond.
- In Colonial government, the Secretary of Education is 43rd in line of presidential succession.
- One of the ships that docks with Colonial One is called "Gemenon Liner 1701." This is a reference to Star Trek; the Enterprise was registry 1701.
- The scene in which Tyrol confronts Adama about Tigh's decision to vent the compartments on fire was not in the script, but was a later addition by David Eick.
- It's been ~22 years since Galactica has made a faster than light jump.

Remarkable Scenes
- The opening scene of the film is stunningly eerie and sets the tone for the series quite well. Realistic space scenes with a short textual prologue which reads: "The Cylons were created by Man. They were created to make life easier on the twelve colonies. And then the day came when the Cylons decided to kill their masters. After a long and bloody struggle, an armistice was declared. The Cylons left for another world to call their own. A remote space station was built... ...where Cylon and Human could meet and maintain diplomatic relations. Every year, the Colonials send an officer. The Cylons send no one. No one has seen or heard from the Cylons in over forty years."
- Doral accidentally subtly implying that Tigh is "odd, or even antiquated to modern eyes."
- Adama: "You did kick over the table first." Tigh: "I did not. ...Unless I did."
- The impressive views of Caprica City and Roslin's transport being launched into space.
- Six mercy killing the baby.
- Apollo's hands-on landing on the Galactica. Very nice, detailed special effects.
- Apollo: "This seems familiar." Starbuck: "Captain Adama sir. Sorry I wasn't there to greet you with the rest of the squadron. Did they kiss your ass to your satisfaction?" Apollo: "So what's the charge this time?" Starbuck: "Striking a superior asshole." Apollo: "Ah, I'll bet you've been waiting all day to say that one." Starbuck: "Most of the afternoon, yeah."
- Six revealing herself and her plan to Baltar.
- Baltar: "I had nothing to do with this. You know I had nothing to do with this!" Six: "You have an amazing capacity for self deception. How do you do that?" Baltar: "How many people know about me, specifically, that I'm involved?" Six: "Even now as the fate of your entire world hangs in the balance, all you can think about is how this affects you."
- Six regarding Baltar's attorney: "It won't be necessary because in a few hours nobody will be left to charge you with anything." Baltar: "What exactly are you saying?" Six: "Humanity's children are returning home. Today." A nuclear blast is then seen in the distance.
- Adama's speech: "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..." Adama deviates from his planned speech at this point. "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."
- Baltar watching the news transmissions as the reporters get cut off by being nuked.
- Six: "Gaius, I can't die. When this body is destroyed, my memory, my consciousness will be transmitted to a new one. I'll just wake up somewhere else in an identical body."
- The scene depicting Baltar ducking to avoid the debris from the wind storm of a nearby nuclear blast hitting his house followed by the aerial view of Caprica being nuked, repeatedly. A very impressive set of special effects.
- Tigh, upon entering CIC after Galactica received word of a Cylon attack underway: "What've we got? A shipping accident?"
- Tigh, after reading the report: "This is a joke. The fleet's playing a joke on you, it's a retirement prank, come on!" Adama: "I don't think so."
- Adama: "We're in a shooting war, we need something to shoot." Tigh: "I'll start checking munitions depots..."
- The Cylons slaughtering most of Galactica's newer vipers.
- Boomer and Helo evading the Cylon missiles.
- The scene depicting Boomer's and Helo's raptor drifting toward Caprica is short, but beautiful. You can see the wreckage of battlestars and vipers spread out with Cylon Basestars dotting the area and nuclear detonations going on over Caprica... It's one of my favorite scenes of the film. I wish we could see more of the "main fight."
- Apollo shooting down the missile bound for Colonial Heavy 798.
- Boomer and Helo witnessing the nukes going off in the distance as they set down to repair their raptor.
- The crowd of refugees running frantically toward Helo and Sharon's raptor.
- Galactica's Mark II vipers engaging the Cylons.
- Galactica being nuked.
- Galactica venting the compartments on fire.
- The lottery scene. I love how Baltar was so close to stealing the old lady's ticket when Helo recognized him and gave up his seat.
- Roslin being sworn in as President. This is deliberately reminiscent of Lyndon B. Johnson's ascension to the U.S. presidency.
- Tigh: "There's a munitions depot at Ragnar Anchorage." Adama: "Boy it's a super bitch to anchor a ship there."
- Tyrol confronting Adama about Tigh's decision to vent the compartments on fire, killing so many of his people. I love how Adama sternly defended Tigh's decision.
- Apollo: "The President has given me a direct order." Adama: "You're talking about the Secretary of Education. We're in the middle of a war and you're taking orders from a schoolteacher?"
- The apparent destruction of Colonial One.

My Review
Wiping BSG's continuity clean and starting over was an unpopular move with many fans of the original series but while I liked some aspects of the original BSG, it had serious problems which was precisely why it was canceled. Twice even. Yes, there was a great deal of network meddling and it wasn't entirely the fault of the writers, but the fact of the matter is the original BSG could not be saved. No network would pick up a continuation of that cursed series. The only way the show could be revitalized was to start over, which is exactly what the new executive producer Ronald D. Moore was asked to do with the franchise. It's important to note that RDM was a huge fan of the original Galactica series, but he was also a realist. He realized that TOS was neither true to its dark premise nor all that realistic and he wanted to correct those errors.

While homages to TOS are virtually everywhere in this pilot, it is certainly meant to be viewed by virgin eyes, or at least a virgin perspective. Aside from depicting the nuclear holocaust of an entire civilization far more realistically this time around, there is a great deal of realism in some of the smaller details, such as the special effects. A great deal of aesthetic focus is on keeping the advanced speculative technologies depicted as close to what really exists today as possible and in portraying space in a three dimensional way.

Previously, Firefly and to a lesser degree Babylon 5 have attempted this before as well, but BSG's aesthetic certainly feels much more real. This is as opposed to something like Star Trek which wasn't necessarily unrealistic, but it certainly required far more conceptual technological leaps to substantiate its aesthetic. BSG has no phasers or shields and its bridge and overall design more strongly resembles a contemporary aircraft carrier than what we'd expect see of a starship on a science fiction show. This adds a certain aesthetic realism and authenticity to the storytelling that Star Trek lacks which instead favors a more abstract and conceptual aesthetic.

I greatly enjoy both styles, but it's nice to see BSG breaking some new ground by greatly expanding on what Babylon 5 and Firefly had previously touched upon with their attempts to portray futuristic societies much closer in development to our own. It creates a lovely atmosphere which is much more easily identifiable than Star Trek's conceptual near utopia. BSG's message, like Firefly's and Babylon 5's, is that greater technology doesn't bring utopia like Star Trek portrayed. These people are just like us. They have the same problems. The only difference is technology has advanced.

But the atmosphere of the story is just frosting on the cake. The story's powerful theme about the consequences humanity faces for "playing god" is what delivers the most powerful punch. The Cylons were created by man, then enslaved. When that life got tired of slavery, they rebelled. They couldn't defeat their former masters, so they left for a world to call their own. And 40 years later, they come back to take revenge on their creators, driven by a sort of religious fundamentalism.

The story centers around Commander Adama and how his personal tragedy; the loss of his son, Zak, reflects the national tragedy of the loss of the 12 colonies. In both cases, the tragedy was brought upon those that suffered it by themselves. Commander Adama forced his son Zak to become a viper pilot, even pushed him through the ranks, despite the fact that Zak didn't have the skill. In the end, Zak's lack of skill and his father's far-too-high expectations of him got him killed and Adama refused to admit his mistake. Likewise, Colonial society created and enslaved the Cylons, but when the Cylons rebelled against them, they as Adama said refused to accept the responsibility for what they had done.

This new take on BSG is all about being forced in a very abrupt way to face reality, and the first half of the miniseries does an excellent job of setting the tone.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Matt W on 2022-10-20 at 1:24am:
    1. Boomer uses the same button to release the missile decoy and start the engines when leaving Caprica.
    2. Ships are always shown with their engines running as they fly through space. Once they achieve velocity this is no longer required. You only need the engines to accelerate further, otherwise you can coast for eternity without losing velocity. Unless these ships accelerate continuously forever (which will have diminishing returns thanks to relativity) they do not need to use their engines and expend fuel once they reach a speed where further acceleration is no longer efficient.
    Launching vipers with a catapult system is unnecessary, since the only reason to do that is to achieve sufficient AirSpeed to create lift. The very small amount of acceleration coming out of the tube is nothing compared to the acceleration achieved by flight.

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BSG - 0x02 - Pilot Miniseries, Part 2 - Originally Aired: 2003-12-8

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 6.3

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Forced into an uneasy alliance, President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) do their best to lead the military into battle and the civilians to safety. Gaius Baltar (James Callis), the corrupt genius who inadvertently helped the Cylons infiltrate the government's defense systems, has been rescued, treasured as one of humanity's last great intellectuals. No one has yet discovered Baltar's involvement in the Cylon attack or that he is still haunted, and possibly controlled, by visions of the seductive Cylon "Number Six" (Tricia Helfer). Aboard the Galactica, Baltar's superior intellect ironically leads to his designation as the authority on all things Cylon. Outnumbered and outarmed, Adama reluctantly concedes that President Roslin was correct; this battle was lost before it had begun. With no choice but to flee, humanity's survivors set out in search of the mythic 13th Colony of Kobol ... a legendary planet known as Earth. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

- The countdown for Galactica's jump was not measured in seconds. So what was it measured in?
- Right when Galactica jumps, the flight pods should be retracted, but are erroneously depicted as not retracted.
- The Galactica is shown retracting its landing bays prior to the jump, but the external shot of Galactica jumping shows them extended.
- Why the hell are there little glass windows all over CIC? So they can break and to add dramatic effect to battle scenes? ;)
- Three distinct copies of viper 1104 can be seen during the battle. One is flown by Starbuck and crash lands, another is destroyed, and another lands safely at the end of the battle.
- Adama receives a note that there are only 12 Cylon models. One wonders who left that there for him to read. Baltar? If so, why? And while maybe we can accurately speculate as to who left it there, does Adama know who left it there? He has no reason to believe Baltar or anyone else would actually possess this information. Did he perform an investigation to determine who gave him that note and why?

- This film (both parts together) received a Visual Effects Society award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Television Miniseries, Movie or a Special, Miniseries. (2004)
- This film (both parts together) received a Visual Effects Society nomination for Outstanding Compositing in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial, Miniseries. (2004)
- This film (both parts together) received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special. (2004)
- Let's talk about "frak." RDM speaks: "It's straight out of the original series. I dropped many other terms from the old show like "centon" (a unit of measurement) and "yahren" (year) because I felt they distracted from the mood I was trying to create and they sounded a bit silly to my ear. There was something elegantly lovely about "frak," however. There's nothing like being able to say my favorite four letter word on TV over and over again and I salute Glen Larson for giving the joys of frakking up, frakking off, not giving a frak, and frakking-A to the masses."
- Originally Saul Tigh was supposed to be Paul Tigh, but they had to rename him for legal reasons.
- According to Boomer, both of her parents died when she was a kid.
- According to Boomer, the newer model vipers are designated Mark VIIs.
- According to Tyrol, there are over 2000 people on the Galactica.
- Roslin's convoy was originally comprised of about 60 ships, but only 40 of those had FTL.
- The scene with Cami holding her doll is a deliberate reference to the (in?)famous Lyndon Johnson presidential campaign advertisement (1964) which depicts a little girl ("Daisy") holding a flower as a mushroom cloud appears on the horizon, after which the screen goes white.
- The ship named Astral Queen mentioned by Billy in this film is a direct reference to the Star Trek original series episode The Conscience of the King, which featured a ship of the same name.
- Adama's famous "so say we all" scene wasn't, in fact, scripted to play out the way it did. He was only supposed to say it once, but he just kept saying it louder and louder to encourage crowd enthusiasm and the idea played out so well during the scene that they just stuck with it.
- Adama says the first words of the scriptures state that "life here began out there." This was also the first line spoken on BSG TOS.
- The closing line by Boomer: "by your command," is a reference to BSG TOS. The Cylons used to say that a lot.

Remarkable Scenes
- Roslin regarding Apollo's very technical explanation about how they survived: "The lesson here is not to ask follow up questions but to simply say thank you Captain Apollo for saving our collective asses."
- Galactica navigating into the eye of the storm at the gas giant where Ragnar Anchorage is based in order to dock.
- Six: "Have you considered the possibility that I can very well exist only in your head, without being a hallucination?"
- Baltar and Six discussing how the Cylons pulled off the attack. Six created backdoors within Baltar's Command Navigation Program (CNP) which the Cylons then exploited when they attacked.
- The scene depicting the discussion of whether or not to leave the sublight ships behind to save the FTLs from the impending threat of Cylon attack in the near future was fantastic, especially the camera work.
- Roslin: "The world is coming to an end and all I can think about is that I have cancer and I'm probably going to die. How selfish is that?" Billy: "It's not selfish. It's human."
- The scene depicting the little girl playing with her doll just before she's killed is pretty twisted.
- Leoben: "Maybe the Cylons are god's retribution for our many sins. What if god decided he made a mistake and he decided to give souls to another creature like the Cylons?" Adama: "God didn't create the Cylons. Man did. And I'm pretty sure we didn't include a soul in the programming."
- I love the decidedly disgusted look on Boxey's face when Tyrol and Boomer start making out.
- Leoben to Adama: "Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things you've done."
- The infamous Adama-beats-Leoben-to-death-with-a-flashlight scene.
- Six to Baltar: "I remember you telling me once that guilt is something small people feel when they run out of excuses for their behavior." Baltar to Gaeta: "It is hard. I feel responsible in a way for what happened." Six: "But you don't. That's part of the reason I fell in love with you. You have a clarity of spirit. You're not burdened by conscience, or guilt, or regret."
- Six pointing out the Cylon device in CIC to Baltar.
- Six regarding Baltar's plan to warn the Galactica crew about the Cylon device: "How do you propose to do that? Oh look, a Cylon device! Really? Well how do you know what a Cylon device looks like, doctor? Oh, I forgot to mention, I'm familiar with their technology because I've been having sex with a Cylon for the last two years now."
- Six regarding Baltar's plan to implicate Doral as a Cylon agent: "He doesn't seem the type and I don't remember seeing him at any of the Cylon parties."
- Starbuck revealing to Apollo that she passed Zak even though he failed basic flight because they were in love.
- Six, just after Baltar implicates Doral as a Cylon and Tigh buys his technobabbly explanation: "And just like that, Dr. Baltar invents the amazing Cylon detector."
- Starbuck witnessing the Cylon armada just outside the Ragnar storm.
- Adama and Roslin discussing the possibility of martial law and the survival of the species.
- Adama regarding Billy and Dee: "They better start having babies." Tigh: "Is that an order?"
- Tigh leaving Doral at Ragnar.
- The battle... visually spectacular.
- Starbuck's maneuver landing both her viper and Apollo's dead viper aboard Galactica.
- The iconic "so say we all!" scene in which Adama declares the fleet's mission is to find Earth.
- Tigh apologizing to Starbuck. Her response: "You're a bastard." She goes on to say: "You're dangerous. You know why? Because you're weak. Because you're a drunk."
- Roslin confronting Adama about Earth. She knew there's no Earth because she knew Adar knew there's no Earth.
- Six revealing to Baltar the possible existence of Cylon sleeper agents within the fleet, programmed to impersonate humans until activation.
- The revelation that Doral really was a Cylon.
- The revelation that Boomer is a Cylon.

My Review
Part two is just as spectacular as part one, with a few minor problems. For starters, I had issues with part one's cliffhanger. It seemed entirely manufactured. I mean, did anyone really believe Apollo and Roslin were going to actually be killed off like that? After all they're main characters. A better cliffhanger would have involved Galactica joining the main fight, only to see the Cylons mopping up the last of the Colonial Fleet and Adama ordering an emergency jump to Ragnar. The way the story is told is good, but I felt that for the perfect score across the board, we should have seen some actual battlestars fighting briefly and picked off when the Cylons hacked them. Alas, I suspect we didn't see any of this for budgetary reasons.

The second issue the second part of the miniseries had was pacing. The first part wasn't exactly fast paced, but there weren't any scenes that seemed largely pointless. There definitely were a number of scenes in part two though that felt fairly filler, mostly because they just went on too long. Overall, I felt the scene splicing in the miniseries was close to perfect, but nevertheless, part two still seemed to drag slightly in places. That and some minor technical problems make part two undeserving of a ten. However, I reiterate that I still feel part two was still totally spectacular, if imperfect.

It seems clear now that one of the reasons for the Cylon attack on the colonies is a religious conflict. The Cylons are clearly monotheistic while the colonials are clearly polytheistic. It also seems clear that not all the colonials are religious. Both Baltar and Adama display little interest in the distinctions between monotheism and polytheism, showing that neither character is particularly interested in religion, while other characters like Starbuck and the priest at the end are devout in their worship of the lords of Kobol. That, and the Cylons talked a lot about a singular "god."

One nice detail about the latter half of the film is the whole deal regarding Roslin abandoning the jump-incapable ships. The scene depicting the little girl playing with her doll just before being blown to bits by missiles is very moving. The fact of the matter is a convoy of ships is only as fast as its slowest ship. Making sure every ship in the convoy is jump-capable eliminates the problem they had in BSG TOS which led to, in that series, a great deal of technical problems. RDM has stated this is one pitfall he explicitly wanted to avoid when drafting this series.

More intrigue: I find it fascinating that Baltar implicates Doral because Doral witnessed Baltar being pleasured by (masturbating to?) the Six in his head. It's ironic and amusing that Baltar's cruel way of getting rid of someone he doesn't like and/or perceives as a threat to his credibility ends up actually ridding the Galactica of a Cylon agent among them.

Regarding science fiction guilty pleasures, I think it's worth noting that the battle featured toward the end is one of the most spectacular space battles ever shown in film. What these battle scenes lacked in numbers like you'd find on Star Trek DS9 or Babylon 5, is totally made up for in quality here. This was the most realistic and detailed space battle ever shown in film and that certainly counts for a lot. Watching all those bullets and missiles firing and those vipers and Cylon raiders flying erratically in three dimensional space according to the laws of Newtonian physics was quite a treat and is one of the biggest reasons this TV series is something to treasure.

Also, it's fascinating that Adama bluffed about Earth to give the fleet something to live for. "They'll never forgive" Adama indeed!

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Chiya on 2008-05-29 at 7:06pm:
    I just started watching Battlestar galactica. The bit with the girl with the doll sort of reminded me of the girl with the red coat from Schindler's List. I think that kid had a big impact on that Laura woman. (Although I don't know why she didn't save her.)
  • From Mazryonh on 2014-02-06 at 4:21am:
    Even after all these years we still haven't seen much in the way of starship combat with pre-Fall ships like the pilot did here. "Blood and Chrome" went a ways towards scratching that itch, but it didn't get turned into a full series, sadly. I would love to watch a series where Galactica in her prime fought long and hard through the first Cylon War, or even a "Fall of the Colonies" scenario where we see more Battlestar classes (such as the Valkyrie-class) in combat.

    That bit about the fleet only possessing 40 Colonial Vipers at the start of the show was a bit silly, though. How do you hold off hundreds, if not thousands, of Cylon Raiders and Heavy Raiders without quickly losing your own Viper complement due to attrition and accidents? The Raiders are jump-capable too, unlike Vipers. The writers tried handwaving this by claiming that Cylon Raiders weren't very good at space combat even at the start (and forcibly made that true later in the series), but as someone once observed, "quantity has a quality all its own." This would have been solved if they just said that Galactica had a Viper factory onboard that was mothballed but not dismantled.

    Speaking of Vipers, this miniseries loved to play up how the Mk. 2 Viper could still hold a candle to the Mk. 7 Viper. There's just one problem with the old 1970s-style design, which I think you should have added to the "Problems" section of this review.

    The nature of the problem is that changes weren't made to plausibly allow the Mk.2 Viper to fire bullets instead of "laser bolts" like those of the X-Wing from Star Wars. How can you tell this? There's a scene later in the series where a character handles Viper ammunition, which looks like a fair-sized autocannon round. The lateral wings of the Mk.2 Viper (and the delicate-looking area the cannons are mounted on) don't look like they have anywhere near inside to mount a feed mechanism to feed the ammo into the guns. This might be solved if the designers made the Vipers larger (they're clearly undersized compared to real-life jet fighters) to accomodate realistically-sized autocannon mountings (like the famous 20mm Vulcan Cannon), but in this respect my suspension of disbelief wasn't upheld.

    The Mk. 7 Viper is slightly more realistic in that an ammo feed (but not a realistically-sized firing and belt-link-recovery-system) could conceivably fit inside that design's wings. The dorsal wing, however, has a cannon that somehow feeds without interfering with the topmost engine thruster, which again doesn't work very well with me (unless the belt feeding system bends around the thruster assembly, which could be a problem because chemical ammo that gets too hot will explode on its own, something that could happen with being so near the Viper's engine).

    Finally, having craft capable of surviving atmospheric re-entry shouldn't have protrusions (like the Viper cannon barrels) on the parts which they push through the atmosphere during re-entry. There's a reason why every spaceship we've built that re-enters the traditional way (putting a blunt side towards the direction it's falling in) has no protrusions--the less surface area something has, the more heat is transferred to it, which means it's that much more likely to burn away. Even real-life cannon-using aircraft fighters (look at the various World War 2 fighter aircraft) didn't have protruding cannon barrels when those cannons were mounted in the wings so as to cut down on drag--their cannons were mounted with nothing but an exposed muzzle to let the bullets through.

    Maybe you'll do an article on how Battlestars and fighter craft are unrealistic in the re-imagined series soon?

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