When the most recent incarnation of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) ended in 2009 I found myself scurrying to find a replacement series of equal space operatic caliber. I found nothing, falling on Fringe to provide what little sci-fi greatness my TV could muster. I clung to the notion that a BSG prequel was in production, but alas, 2010’s Caprica was far from what fans were looking for. Many would say the original Star Trek was the greatest televised space epic. Others might argue that Star Trek: The Next Generation holds that crown. Still others would protest that Firefly is unsurpassed in all of its space pirate glory. Not me. For me, Ronald D. Moore and David Eick’s 2003 re-imagining of Glen Larson’s 1978 Battlestar Galactica series resonated most for its questions on existence and creation, and a full-bodied depiction of war at a time when war was prevalent in our every day lives.
Syfy, in conjunction with creators David Eick and Michael Taylor have conceived yet another Battlestar Galactica prequel that began airing on November 9th at Machinima.com. Unlike the more grounded Caprica, the new series, Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome propels the BSG arc right back into space where it belongs. Eick and Taylor have set the events of Blood & Chrome during the First Cylon War. The series follows William H. Adama (Luke Pasqualino) as a cocky young pilot fresh out of flight school. This arrogant rookie phase of the Adama character nicely pivots with the older, more focused and battle hardened Adama played masterfully by Edward James Olmos in BSG. In Blood & Chrome, Adama, who is stationed on the Galactica for his first tour, is instantly whisked away for a top-secret mission staged deeper in the galaxy. All of the charms of BSG are apparent in Blood & Chrome. From top-notch digital effects (some of the best ever seen on TV), tense action, and lots of “Gods damn’s” and “Frak’s,” it has just the right flavor to compliment the 2003 series.
So far, episodes 1-4 of the scheduled 10 have premiered on Machinima. Each episode averages about ten-minutes in length. Episodes 1 and 2 established Adama as the arrogant rookie, pairing him with seasoned Captain Coker Fasjovik (Ben Cotton) to pilot a harmless “milk run” of little importance. Adama, a top-notch Viper fighter pilot, is assigned the lesser Raptor transport vehicle for the run. Their cargo is Dr. Beka Kelly, who diverts their planned supply run with a secretive mission that takes the three across the galaxy to a squadron of ghost ships settled in Cylon territory.
Episodes 1-4 are packed with thrilling dogfights between Adama and the Cylon’s. Where the action is abundant and cleanly executed, Blood & Chrome’s depth has thus far been a bit weak. “Dead meat” characters are thrust into scenes of forced emotion in a story that lacks the moral and religious stakes of the 2003 series. Adama’s confidence is well played by Pasqualino. It all appears to be leading into a larger event that likely shapes the Olmos portrayal of Adama we’ve come to know as resolute and empathetic.
Thus far, Blood & Chrome is a mere four episodes, or 40 minutes into its ten episode run. It’s too early to tell where things will end up, but I admire its consistent relationship to BSG. If you haven’t yet, catch up with episodes 1-4 on Machinima.com, and look out for episodes 5 and 6 on Friday 11/23, 7 and 8 Friday 11/30 and the final two episodes, 9 and 10 on Friday 12/7. Syfy will air Blood & Chrome in its entirety as a movie in early 2013. If successful, maybe they’ll even produce more episodes in the future. In the meantime, director Bryan Singer (X-Men) is getting closer to bringing his dream project of a BSG movie to theaters. It’s been said that Singer’s movie would be set somewhere in time between Glen Larson’s and Ronald D. Moore and David Eick’s Battlestar Galactica’s. Will it actually happen? It “Gods damn” better.
- Tony Nunes