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Playing BSG Deadlock... I got the urge to watch the show for the first time. My impressions so far

So Deadlock is a rather fun turn-based strategy game and I've been playing it this whole Labor Day weekend. In the middle of it, I decided it might be a good idea to finally sit down and watch the show it's based on. Not the original 1976 show, I'd already caught most of the episodes of that one, but the new Sci-Fi Channel show from 2004. I'd watched the miniseries pilot back in the day and hadn't been impressed, but maybe now that I've played the game it'll work better.

First, the designs of the show have aged terribly. The CGI Cylon robot monsters look terrible in both their design and actual execution on the show. They look bad and the CGI looks bad. I don't know what they were thinking when they drew up these things and stuck them into the footage. It's a horrible design and not anywhere near as iconic and memorable as the classic Cylon suits from the original show. You kinda wanna just throw up your arms and sigh everytime they show up, because they completely break the immersion of the show and look fake as hell. And it's an especially odd feeling to see dozens of copy and pasted CGI Cylons standing next to Tricia Helfer in a fetching stylish red leather jacket and high heels. Very odd.

The Basestar looks horrendous and nonsensical. Why did they mess with such a good thing? The classic Basestar design from the original show had this nicely grounded, solid looking silhouette that was instantly recognizable and formidable, much like the Star Destroyer design from Star Wars. It was a powerful basic shape. The new Basestar design looks like this crazy tentacle monster ship that doesn't make any sense and looks awful from every angle. It doesn't "read" well on camera, as special effects people tend to say.

They don't delve all the way into the sci-fi universe of the show as much as I would've liked. When the BSG's soldiers show up, they're all wielding standard FN-P90s with contemporary scopes and silencers. Looks nothing like what you'd expect from a sci-fi show set in a distant galaxy. And the soldiers themselves are all dressed up in what you'd expect from any Canadian SWAT unit. The same helmets and goggles and pads and everything. It's all completely underwhelming and lackluster and feels out of place. This is what's great about shows like Star Trek... they use phasers that look like dustbusters. They're not using real life tools and weapons and clothing that takes you out of the setting.

The shaky cam (I believe they referred to it as "cinema verite") style is also very old and dates the show terribly. It's annoying and so comprehensibly stomps over all the shots in the show as this distracting element. It feels almost like a joke how often the scene will start with this excessive shaking and swaying and then zoom in on a close up. Some shows are just classic and can be watched over and over again and not ever feel dated, like Star Trek TNG. BSG unfortunately can't claim this at all, because of this crazy shaky cam. It's a shame.

Tricia Helfer's job description for this show must've been "look sexy and whisper seductively in this guy Baltar's ear." Cause that's what she does, and it feels excruciating and unnecessary and blatantly exploitative every time. I dunno if they think the audience is super horny or needs to get laid or what, but it's this constant bombardment of Helfer getting undressed or trying to kiss Baltar or Baltar trying to kiss her or Baltar jacking off or whatnot. It's just so irritating and unbearable for me that I've gotta fast forward through these parts. I mean, I thought ST Voyager's Seven of Nine was bad, but it's nothing compared to the awful stink of weird lewdness and lusty seductive whisperings that go on in every Baltar scene. I can't stand it, as a normal guy who likes porn but doesn't want it in his sci-fi shows.

And so I'm going along, and the episodes don't really make much sense to me, like how people are staying awake for five days straight, and yet not taking shifts so they can actually get some rest. That's just real bewildering and I dunno how they're actually flying around in Vipers every 33 minutes and making crash landings successfully after five days of zero sleep. It seems unlikely to me. But I go along and keep watching. But then I get to that one episode. And it might be one of the worst hours of television I've ever watched. And it's the episode where we're introduced to Colonel Tigh's slut of a wife. She's just a huge slut. And I dunno, I don't like this episode. It's just an hour of having to endure this huge slut that's going around and slutting it up and everyone being annoyed. And I dunno, I don't get it. It's not entertaining, I don't know why we needed to see this or meet this person. It's just hey... here's this old randy slut that Tigh somehow married. Oh, okay. Please kill me.

So Ron Moore worked on Star Trek TNG once it got good, and he's running this show as well. When I saw the independent tribunal episode, I thought to myself: Hey, this'll surely be a nice fun new twist and different take on the TNG episode "The Drumhead". That seemed like where it was going. But... nope, it ended up just being a redo of The Drumhead, without changing a thing. What a disappointment. There was nothing new said or gained or explored, it was literally just The Drumhead but in the Galactica.

And finally, I'm getting near the end of the first season, and it hit me that... really, I've been watching a ship full of assholes. The whole show is just this ship full of unlikeable assholes who do irredeemible acts and you can't root for and they might as well just die. Apollo and Starbuck get into some weird tiff over Starbuck sleeping with Baltar and so they just have a fistfight out on the hangar. Then Apollo actually goes and pulls a gun on Tigh during a tense military standoff. What is this? Who are these unlikeable, despicable people? Where did this come from? Apollo seemed like a normal, rational dude, but then all of a sudden you see him pointing a pistol at Tigh's head and he gets carted off to the brig. I mean, wouldn't this be treason and is he prepared to be executed? Cause I feel like that's what should happen. So now I can't be invested in anything that Apollo does for the rest of the show, because he went and made a colossal mistake that he should be executed for and it made no sense and I can't understand this character anymore. It's just bizarre. But that's the thing, the entire ship is full of these assholes and their unlikeable personalities and actions. How do you really root for these people? I mean, I get it that Ron Moore was quite stifled by the narrative limitations of Star Trek TNG and trying to make compelling drama with the optimistic future that Roddenberry envisioned. But he ended up doing it and we got great stories with these wonderful, warm, likeable characters on TNG. They felt like a welcoming TV family that we wanted to join, to embrace and journey with every week on a new adventure. I get the exact opposite feeling with the crew of the Galactica. These guys are a bunch of assholes that you don't like or understand or want to be around. And that's ultimately the main failure of the show. It's not the bad CGI Cylons or the obvious FN-P90s. It's the awful characters.

But hey... at least Deadlock is a lot of fun.

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