Monday, 1 September 2014

A guilty defector to the Battlestar

Of all the guilty pleasures, perhaps the most insidious are those that involve a volte-face on a personal dislike. Once you hated it, now it is rather nice. Perhaps it's why churches never have any problem finding sinners.

As someone who was very fond of the original Star Wars trilogy, I regarded the (original 1970s) Battlestar Galactica as a cheap, horrible, knock-off imitation and despised it deeply. Actually I still do. (Even the logo of the original series looks suspiciously like that of Star Wars.) I wasn't alone in this. Apparently Isaac Asimov said 'Star Wars was fun and I enjoyed it. But Battlestar Galactica was Star Wars all over again and I couldn't enjoy it without amnesia.' Not to mention the reaction of 20th Century Fox, which promptly sued Universal.

However I recently had an evening to spare, and meandering through Netflix for something to watch I came across the 2004 Galactica reboot. It had one of the highest star ratings of anything I've ever seen on Netflix, so I thought, grudgingly, I'd give it ago. And having sat through 3 hours of the opening miniseries, I'm hooked.

Okay, bits of it are still derivative. Where it's not playing on Stars Trek and Wars, it has huge dollops of Heinleinesque Starship Troopers (not the movie, the original book). But having said that, there is much to like about it - whether it's the intriguing presence of the phantom, red dress wearing Cylon woman, apparently in the head of the amoral, in-it-for-himself British (inevitably) computer wizard, the pull between state and military, or the idea that the Battlestar was essentially a museum, so has the relatively low tech that is the best defence against the robotic enemy.

What's more, now I've discovered it ten years after everyone else, I've got four whole seasons to watch...

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