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The Law and Politics of Battlestar Galactica 321

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the why-don't-they-wear-normal-tank-tops dept.
privacyprof writes "Fans of the show Battlestar Galactica might be interested in our interview with writers and producers Ron Moore and David Eick. Three law professors at the blog Concurring Opinions have an hour-long interview with Moore and Eick about the legal, political, moral, and economic issues raised by the show. The interview is available in audio files; alternatively, people can read a transcript of the interview (Part I) and (Parts II and III). Part I examines the lawyers and trials in the show, how torture is depicted, as well as how the humans must balance civil liberties and security. Part II examines politics and commerce. It explores how the cylon attack affected the humans' political system, and it examines how commerce works in the fleet. Part III examines issues related to cylons, such as the humans' treatment of cylons, how robots should be treated by the law, how the cylons govern themselves politically."
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The Law and Politics of Battlestar Galactica

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  • people seeing a need for balance on these issues in the abstract

    but in real life, i bet a lot of these people who see a need for balance turn into kneejerk privacy fundamentalists or kneejerk security fundamentalists

    there are limits on everything folks, even [insert principle you hold most dear]
    • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:20PM (#22624306) Homepage

      there are limits on everything folks, even [insert principle you hold most dear]

      Including, of course, the principle that "there are limits on everything"?

    • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:27PM (#22624382)
      I'm constantly frustrated by these exact issues on battlestar galactica. When the workers rebel in a classic Marx revolution, the stupid president just brushes them off, and never really addresses their concerns.. somehow the problem just sort of goes away and the workers happily go back to working dangerous, repetitive jobs 16 hours a day, every day for years with no weekends. Mhm. Also I hate how they constantly abuse the cylons.. I mean yeah they're the enemy but they're obviously intelligent and sentient and they're not even given basic human rights. A Six is currently shackled to the floor in one of their small cells. The humans call the cylons obscene caricatures of real people and refer to them as "mechanical" and "machines"... they're entirely biological and indistinguishable from humans, at least some of them. There's some serious xenophobia going on here and it's hard not to sympathize with the cylons, especially the Six is custody who's constantly told that she's a worthless pile of bolts.. that must be causing some serious psychological damage, and I can't help but keep that abuse in mind when watching the "light" parts of the episodes.. as if I'm supposed to sympathize with the humans? They're more vicious than the cylons..
      • by jjohnson (62583) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:32PM (#22624452) Homepage
        The producers are very much interested in not having BSG be a one-sided 'humans uber alles' series. I take it you're in the middle of the second season, where Cain's Six is being tortured and gangraped on the Pegasus. As the series continues, a lot of human decisions come back to the haunt them, and the Cylon perspective is explored.
      • by AJWM (19027) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:39PM (#22624522) Homepage
        I think you need to go watch the first episodes (the miniseries) over again.

        They Cylons launched an unprovoked sneak attack and thoroughly nuked the twelve colonies, after a 40-year cease-fire. And you're saying the humans are more vicious?

        Your name isn't Gaius Baltar, is it?
        • by erlehmann (1045500) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:19PM (#22625008)

          Your name isn't Gaius Baltar, is it?

          Emmm, no. Or ... yes, i mean yes. Of course my name is ... what were you saying again ?
          But, clearly, what I need is ... emm ... a nuclear ... warhead. I need a nuclear warhead, right.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by LandDolphin (1202876)
          Take it your not finished with the series. Else, you'd know that the humans sent a pilot over into the Cylons space that violated the treaty and provoked the attack.
          • by AJWM (19027) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:52PM (#22625446) Homepage
            That turns out to have been a toaster^WCylon pretending to be human to provide an excuse for the attack (a time honored tradition in military history).

            There's no way the Cylons had the time to build up the force they had, and to conduct the necessary infiltration of Colonial defense infrastructure, were that not the case.

            Besides, even if that were a human, don't you think nuking twelve planets is a bit of overreaction to one lone pilot incursion? That's like USSR launching WW-III because of Francis Gary Powers' U-2 incident. A bit vicious, don't you think?
          • by Have Blue (616)
            I believe that episode ended with that not being the case- Adama realized that his belief that he caused the attack was just a result of blowing his own shame and guilt out of proportion, and that event was not in fact a direct trigger for the war.
      • by glwtta (532858) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:51PM (#22624652) Homepage
        I mean yeah they're the enemy but they're obviously intelligent and sentient and they're not even given basic human rights.

        The humans on BSG are deeply religious and believe that humanity is defined by a Gods-given soul, which a man-made machine cannot have - it's a pretty major part of the show, if a little unsubtle. Goes along with the whole theme of the cylons having a more "evolved" religion than the humans (by our Western standards, of course, where monotheism > highly ritualistic polytheism).

        Of course, the cylons did also exterminate the human race, some people would hold a grudge.
        • by Comboman (895500) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:30PM (#22625144)
          The humans on BSG are deeply religious and believe that humanity is defined by a Gods-given soul, which a man-made machine cannot have - it's a pretty major part of the show, if a little unsubtle.

          I'd have to disagree slightly with that assessment. Most humans on BSG (at least the ones the show centers around) only show a token devotion to their Gods (if at all). Baltar is an atheist (at least at the start) as is Adama (he thinks Earth is a myth). Rosalind is a believer but is not above using religious posturing for her own political ends. The Cyclons on the other hand are unswervingly devoted to their God. I believe there's an intentional parallel with western secular 'Christians' and extremist Muslims.

          • by idontgno (624372) on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:14PM (#22625732) Journal

            The Cyclons on the other hand are unswervingly devoted to their God.

            That's a generalization, and still wrong when there are only 12 personality basetypes to compare.

            Specifically, the "Brother Cavil" model seems to be persistently atheist in all incarnations shown.

            I believe there's an intentional parallel with western secular 'Christians' and extremist Muslims.

            That's an easy assumption, but there's a practical inconsistency there: the Cylons are a functional nation-state complete with a high-tech standing army which the Colonials are in active war with. Extremist Islam has no such state. At least, not one which is actively at war with any nation of the West. So the comparison to any current situation is seriously flawed. If you focus on just the differences in religion and want to see a connection to behavior and interactions between the factions, you can certainly see it, but it's not cut and dried.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by glwtta (532858)
            Most humans on BSG (at least the ones the show centers around) only show a token devotion to their Gods (if at all).

            Some do, but I got the impression that's not very indicative of their society as a whole.

            Baltar is an atheist (at least at the start) as is Adama (he thinks Earth is a myth)

            Baltar is The Scientist archetype, so of course he's an atheist, it's the setup for his whole "unlikely prophet" arc (not terribly original, but it's a thing). At least I got the impression that his atheism was so
      • by peragrin (659227) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:52PM (#22624676)
        You should ACTUALLY watch the show.

        The workers's strike was eventually resolved by rotating jobs. The ore processor's got moved to other jobs in the fleet, and other people were brought in to fill in the gaps. Not idealistic but workable and it keeps people from getting bored and lazy in their work. It also makes the more stressful jobs easier to deal with.

        It is how that episode finished up I do believe. Might have been the next.
      • by KwKSilver (857599)

        There's some serious xenophobia going on here and it's hard not to sympathize with the cylons, especially the Six is custody who's constantly told that she's a worthless pile of bolts.. that must be causing some serious psychological damage, and I can't help but keep that abuse in mind when watching the "light" parts of the episodes.. as if I'm supposed to sympathize with the humans? They're more vicious than the cylons..

        Would that be the same Cylons who nuked and killed several billion humans from orbit?

      • by owlnation (858981)

        as if I'm supposed to sympathize with the humans? They're more vicious than the cylons..

        I wouldn't try to dig too deeply into BSG. While some aspects of the story and characterization has been well written, the majority of it hasn't been well thought out. There are MASSIVE plot holes. There are many aspects of human behavior shown that are untruthful, unbelievable, or badly written. It looks very much that for the miniseries, and maybe the first season, they took the original series stories and tried to

      • Don't forget that the Cylons are trying to exterminate the humans.
      • To me, that is the point. That is what made the show powerful.

        If you notice, not all the humans share the same perspective. And among those that do, they are hardly presented in a positive light.

        The whole point of the show is to raise these moral ambiguities, and to force you to think.

        And while we're at it -- the Cylons destroyed twelve planets, and are now attempting to wipe out the rest of the humans. They can and do manipulate the humans, and I would argue, continue to cause as much damage as the humans
      • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:21PM (#22625852) Homepage
        I'm on the opposite side of you in the question of how Cylons should be treated. They have proven themselves an existential threat to the human race, and they should be exterminated without pity or mercy. I was frustrated by the one episode (much later than where you apparently are) when they decide not to release a biological weapon that could wipe out the Cylons all at once. I'd press that button in a heartbeat, and I think any leader responsible for the safety of the human race would do the same.

        Still, it's a good reflection on the series writers that they are able to evoke such complex and powerful quandries.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Brian Gordon (987471)
          You should go back and watch Star Trek TNG, learn some starfleet ideals. Picard was absolutely right not to return Hugh with a disease to exterminate the Borg. Yes they were a threat to the human race, but genocide is never an acceptable solution. Would you wipe out a species to ensure your own survival? Murder? Starfleet wouldn't, and neither would I.. these are ideals worth dying for.
          • by ianare (1132971) on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:53PM (#22626314)

            Would you wipe out a species to ensure your own survival?
            If that species was bent on exterminating mine, yes, I would. And so would any other living thing, for that matter. Genocide and murder are certainly not acceptable in normal times, but when fighting for survival, all bets are off.
            • by Faizdog (243703) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:04PM (#22627862)
              Where do you draw the line for survival though? Is it your species, your nation, your state, your county, town or neighborhood? I could understand these issues at the macro level, i.e. survival of the species. And it's absurd at the micro level, i.e. I will kill everyone in the next town over even though we live in the same county. Where is the line in the middle though? What if the US was in a war against China to the bitter end? The human species will survive, but is genocide still allowed to protect your nation/race? That's already happened in Africa, and we pretty much agree on a world-wide scale that was atrocious.

              Good sci fi makes you think about the real world, and I'm not quite sure where that line falls.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by gfxguy (98788)
            I agree with ianare... if you are given the choice of "We exterminate them, or they will exterminate us." Then I don't think the decision is very hard... I'm not going to allow my species to be exterminated just to keep the moral high ground.
      • I think the series is scripted to provoke exactly the kind of conflictual emotions you have mentioned - it's an old trick and it works well for retaining viewer interest. The interesting thing is that you feel the writers haven't considered these issues - I don't think they show the humans in an uncritical light at all, in fact many of the worst acts in the war are committed by humans (rape, torture, etc), I think you're feeling exactly what you're supposed to feel - i.e. 'Hang on a minute, that's not right
  • And religion? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by webword (82711) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:07PM (#22624118) Homepage
    Yes, a little offtopic but if you're going to talk
    about politics and law, why not religion too, right?
    The image is slick...

    Battlestar Galactica Last Supper [flickr.com]
    • by NickCatal (865805)
      Is there a story behind that?
    • by ignoramus (544216)

      if you're going to talk about politics and law, why not religion too

      Maybe because we already know it's all about [holysmoke.org] mormons [michaellorenzen.com] in space [icwseminary.org]?

      • by farrellj (563) *
        Well, at least the original was.

        The Gods in the new BSG are more like Classical Gods, and I don't think that the Mormons are polytheists.

        ttyl
                  Farrell
    • by pjl5602 (150416)
      Nice image, but I'm curious... Where is Tory? If she's one of the final 5 wouldn't she be important? Is she supposed to be at the empty spot at the table? Or is she the "red shirt" of the final five?
      Found this [ew.com] in the Flickr comments and it might be of interest...
    • I can't say that I agree with all the character positioning, but of course I'm not one of the writers so what do I know? Supposedly there's an entertainment weekly site that explains all of their reasons for placing certain characters where, but I couldn't get their site to work.
  • What I'd Like... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:17PM (#22624262)
    What I'd like to see is more details of how and why the Cylons broke free of Human control in the first place. Not what they did afterwards. How did the 12 Colonies screw up so badly with their robots from the beginning?
    • by kalirion (728907)
      Probably a buggy implementation of the Three Laws. Also, giving your intended slaves an illusion of free will is never a good idea.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:35PM (#22624482) Homepage Journal
      There was a bug in Service Pack 7, the rest is history.
      • There was a bug in Service Pack 7, the rest is history.
        Actually, I think it was Service Pack Six [battlestarwiki.org].
    • Microsoft decided to enter the market.

      I'm sure that you meant to get a serious reply, but it's the perfect set up for a joke.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by downix (84795)
      In the original series, (where the Cylons broke free of their original reptilic masters) a man named Count Iblis corrupted the central control computer, now called the Supreme Cylon, which in turn directly reprogrammed the IL-series Commanders (who from then on had a voice identical to Iblis), which in turn reprogrammed the IL-series humanoids and IL-series Centurions. Now, how much of this will be taken into the new show I have no idea, but it was an interesting take.
      • In the original show, the Cylons were not created by humans, they were created by another race (also known as Cylons, but biological) who were all killed by the machine Cylons when they rebelled.
    • What with BSG finishing on SCI-FI, the rumour is that they might be giving the prequel series 'Caprica' a look... so that will show the creation of the Cylons and their eventual rebellion.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:17PM (#22624268)
    The best science fiction is always used as a tool to explore the current issues of the day. Whether it's aliens subbing for commies in the 50's, or cylons standing in for terrorists in the 1st season of the new Battlestar Galactica, using science fiction always lets you take a step back from the subject and explore it indirectly in a way that you never could if you made a show that deal with it directly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      So what is the significance of when the Cylons occupy the new home planet in season 2.5 (or 3?), and the humans are carrying out suicide bombings and other such guerilla tactics? It seems as if the Cylons are actually the big governmental organization and the humans are the terrorists...
      • by imgod2u (812837) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:05PM (#22624830) Homepage
        Exactly. Keep in mind that fiction does not need to be restrained by a rigid one-to-one mapping. It need not be cylons = terrorists, human = good guys.

        In fact, the Cyclon occupation was an incredibly clever (IMO) portrayal of modern-day Iraq and the tension and mentality (on both sides) of an occupation. The Cyclons apparently have this new religion (monotheistic one stressing love and forgiveness) and its teachings stop them from just wiping out the humans on the colony. This is the role of the United States in Iraq currently. The humans are the insurgents. Some have gone along and accepted Cylon rule (and even helped them) while others continue fighting. The morality and view from both sides is explored.

        The primary of which being suicide bombing. It wasn't a "oh noes! suicide bombing is bad and cannot be excused" mentality. It tread a fine line and explored the motivations behind such tactics. The desperation, the hatred, etc. It also explored how in resorting to such tactics, the humans were losing their humanity and that the cost of fighting was just too high in those cases.

        The show is a wonderful allegory of modern day and has really portrayed its modern day equivalents in a light I had not thought anyone dared.
      • They're trying to provoke thought along the lines of 'when our guys do it, they're freedom fighters. When their guys do it, they're terrorists.' Or thoughts of 'what price freedom?' Or 'One person's 'law and order' is another's 'fascist police state.' And so on.

        Here's an example. Why wern't the Taliban 'terrorist religious extremeists' when the US of A was funding them against the USSR?

      • by Xelios (822510)
        Exactly. In this depiction humans were occupied and vastly overpowered by the Cylons. They refused to surrender but couldn't hope to match the military power of the Cylon force. Suicide bombings ended up being the only effective way to strike at them. Col. Tigh says "I've sent men on suicide missions in two different wars now and let me tell you something. It don't make a gods damn bit of difference whether they're riding in a Viper or walking out onto a parade ground. In the end, they're just as dead."
  • having to decide whether or not to watch Season 3 from my friend's download, or wait for the legitimate dvd. Seriously, making the law abiding fans wait a couple of years between seasons for the dvd's is a long time, no?

    I have managed to wait this long, I can wait a few more days. But my fervor for the show has dropped considerably during the lull in releases.
    • by peragrin (659227)
      Season 4 of BSG has been a long time in coming it starts in two or three weeks in the USA. sci-fi channel. Itunes usually carries it a few days later for download.

      I have done both. I download the shows I otherwise missed. for $2 it isn't a bad deal and I still can watch them both full screen.
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Yes, I can see how if you watch the downloads now, and then buy the DVD when it comes out, you are a deeply immoral person.
    • by imgod2u (812837)
      Simple, what is legal is not 100% correlated with what is moral. In such cases, civil and legal dissent is a citizen's birthright.
  • During the Gaius Baltar election period there was an attempt to manipulate the election results. As viewers know, Baltar was inaugurated, and things went south pretty quickly.

    An interesting debate question is: was honoring the election results really the right thing to do? Would everyone have been better off if Roslin was reelected, even though it would have been due to vote fraud?
    • An interesting debate question is: was honoring the election results really the right thing to do?
      since this is no basic citizen's right question (where the answer is: no election can nullify constitutional rights), what exactly is the purpose of this question ?
  • by erlehmann (1045500) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:55PM (#22624702)
    ... is that the only character that follows clear moral principles is karl "helo" agathon; every other character on the show has obvious flaws (which are necessary to create tension), but he is the only one that does what he deems right without doubt.

    i like the message transported through this: in the end, there are no heroes.
    • by EdwinBoyd (810701)
      I'd argue Colonel Tigh does the exact same thing but doesn't necessarily get the same happy turnouts. He's got severe personal problems that often spill into his professional life but Tigh has consistently done what he feels is best for the survival of the species (not necessarily the 'good of the people'). The episodes where he leads the resistance are still some of the most insightful the show has ever turned out.

      All this with the sad caveat of 'when he's sober'.
    • by glwtta (532858) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:31PM (#22625164) Homepage
      is that the only character that follows clear moral principles is karl "helo" agathon; every other character on the show has obvious flaws

      Isn't that the classic tragic flaw? Uncompromising goodness usually ends badly for the hero.

      (sidenote for non-classics geeks: his name is a nod to this too, agathos means "good" in Greek, often in the sense of "noble" or "virtuous")
  • Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you Gods?
  • ...the USA in space. If I'm hopeful I'd say the cultural, unconscious biases are very strong, if I'm cynical I'd say that the writers serve some american media interests by spreading morality tales about things from an american aspect.
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      If I'm hopeful I'd say the cultural, unconscious biases are very strong

      Right, because it would be far more appropriate for a show written by Americans for a primarily US audience to make sure that the social dynamics depicted in the show completely embraced, instead, the perspective of people from rural Nigeria? Or made it be all about Tibet? Or perhaps focused the entire thing on a subculture of young, cosmopolitan Italian girls who are utterly convinced that sunglasses and shoes are the most important
      • Whoa, you're way too defensive. This wasn't ment to be 'merkin (*cough*) bashing. I just simply hilighted the fact that a scifi in space could be, you know, less USA specific. I don't think the majority of americans enjoy a scifi series because the issues presented are so much like regular life.

        For me a scifi dealing with problems, isssues and social structures familiar from everyday life - sucks. It sucks because a scifi must explore new possibilities and do things differently, imagine the as of yet unse
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dctoastman (995251)
          Science Fiction uses fantastic elements as window dressing to cover up the fact that they are trying to get you to think about the human element. All good science fiction (Star Trek, Asimov, BSG, B5, Firefly (definitely not all of it, but examples)) is less about the science and more about the people and the choices they make.

          You're looking for Space Opera (Star Wars and its ilk), two doors down on your left.

          And also, who's to say that it is meant to be USA specific. Maybe you are just extrapolating based o
    • by Have Blue (616)
      It would be what you accuse it of being if the entity corresponding to the USA was always portrayed as correct and victorious in every conflict. This is not at all the case.
  • by lelitsch (31136) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:39PM (#22625288)
    I know a number of fans, but quite frankly, I haven't really watched it since the end of season 2. Yes, the beginning of season 3 got more into the moral issues of occupation and resistance, but it did it at the expense of storyline, internal consistency, and even believability. I mean for crying out loud, who brought 20th century trucks from Old Caprica to New Caprica?

    But the main reason I started to first TiVo instead of watching, then not watching the episodes on my TiVo, and finally not taping them at all, is that in my opinion, the quality of the writing went way down. Season 1 and 2 had terrific, well timed dialog, Season 3 and later descended to shouting, ranting, and screaming.
    • I thought it was terrific, well-timed shouting, ranting, and screaming. No accounting for taste, I suppose.
    • by Xelios (822510)
      I hope you didn't miss out on Exodus I, II and Collaberators, that was some top quality BSG.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by d34thm0nk3y (653414)
      Season 1 and 2 had terrific, well timed dialog, Season 3 and later descended to shouting, ranting, and screaming.

      Well, hiding from killer robots bent on extermination for several years would do that to anyone.
  • Ron, you've [worked on] both "[Star] Treks" ([The Next Generation] and [Deep Space 9]), and there are often these [episodes that] once in a while [were] not [focused on the] main characters.


    It's so cluttered with those things it's hard to read.
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cedric Tsui (890887) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:49PM (#22625420)
    I stopped watching the series after it stopped being about running away from the hoard of robots trying to murder everyone. I'm not terribly interested in complicated relationships. That's what soap operas are for.

    Briefly in the early part of the series, things started running out. Simple commodities like whiskey and playing cards. I was upset when that issue disappeared. A random assortment of military and civilian vessels might be well stocked, but they certainly would not have a full assortment of manufacturing capabilities. Especially for specialized good like pharmaceuticals. They eventually addressed a shortage of antibiotics, and the development of a black market. But realistically. They would be able to produce no antibiotics at all.

    And really. Why would a passenger vessel capable of hopping between stars in the blink of an eye have manufacturing centers? Or fuel refineries? Or food production capabilities.
    I was hoping to see Cloud Nine, the dome greenhouse like ship be converted into agricultural land.

    I know these issues aren't nearly as exciting as -getting into bed with your imaginary genocidal robot-

    Think about it though. The main goals following some sort of catastrophe like this would be.
    1.Stability: Stop whatever killed everyone from still doing so. Stop the panic. Get people working together instead of looting from each other.
    2.Preserving technology, infrastructure and supplies. If you've got something that works, you can't replace it. Do whatever you can to keep it working.
    3.Rebuilding infrastructure. Need to grow food to live once the supplies run out. Can we built farming workers? No. Can we build tractors? No. Can we build shovels? Yes. Start from there, and learn what we need to make it work.

    4.(optional) Preserving knowledge. After everyone's farming, hunting, gathering, or whatever is needed to stay alive. We realize that we still know how to make all sorts of advanced technology, even if we don't have a large enough society to make use of it. It would be valuable to archive all the knowledge so that it is accessible after the last battery runs out of juice.

    just my thoughts...
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Why would a passenger vessel capable of hopping between stars in the blink of an eye have manufacturing centers?

      Nobody said they are all passenger vessels - it's whatever ships happened to escape destruction, so there are plenty of various industrial ships, as well (a refinery ship was featured specifically several times). Overall, they seem to be pretty advanced technologically, and at least some ships (the BSG itself, especially) were designed to be self-sufficient for extended periods of time - I'm s
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shotgun (30919)
      2.Preserving technology, infrastructure and supplies. If you've got something that works, you can't replace it. Do whatever you can to keep it working.

      That's what I thought of during the Razor episode, when the Admiral wanted to strip the civilian ships and go fight a guerilla war. What the hell, you idiot? You have working ships and people that can operate them. Those people being of a very small set of remaining humans. Why would you just throw either away. Program the ones with FTL spools that are n
    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday March 03, 2008 @06:16PM (#22628704)

      Briefly in the early part of the series, things started running out. Simple commodities like whiskey and playing cards. I was upset when that issue disappeared. A random assortment of military and civilian vessels might be well stocked, but they certainly would not have a full assortment of manufacturing capabilities. Especially for specialized good like pharmaceuticals. They eventually addressed a shortage of antibiotics, and the development of a black market. But realistically. They would be able to produce no antibiotics at all.

      And really. Why would a passenger vessel capable of hopping between stars in the blink of an eye have manufacturing centers? Or fuel refineries? Or food production capabilities.
      I was hoping to see Cloud Nine, the dome greenhouse like ship be converted into agricultural land.

      I know these issues aren't nearly as exciting as -getting into bed with your imaginary genocidal robot
      It's because they never thought the whole premise through. According to the show, the twelve colonies were all in one system. Why would there even be a need for interstellar transit if you never had to go further than the next planet over? The analogy here would be coastal lighters used to flee across the Pacific, only the distances are thousands of times greater. How are they carrying enough fuel and consumables? Why would they even have that range to begin with? It would be as if my little commuter Cessna just so happened to be capable of intercontinental flight, even though I only used it to go to the next state. Hell, the space shuttle could probably be rigged to reach Mars if they used those weird low-energy transfer orbits (stick an ion drive and reaction mass in the cargo bay) but the trip would take years and years and the consumables would run out in less than a month.

      What probably would have been a smarter way to go with the series is to assume that the Cylons are like the Japanese in WWII, strong striking force but incapable of keeping up rapid production. Make up some sort of applied techno-babble that says they can crank out raiders and centurions but the AI's in their basestars take ages to nurture and grow. So they could not take the humans in a stand-up fight, thus requiring the decapitation strike. They knew they could not get all of the human colonies at once, they tried to get the biggest ones and take out the bulk of the fleet, then would mop up the rest at their leisure. Also, if they spread the main colonies among several star systems with further splinter settlements, then there's some real drama. Assume the colonies are spread between four major star systems. Ok, the Cylon fleet is divided into four task groups, they use the trickery to get through the defenses. Galactica manages an escape. Info trickling in later shows that it was not just the one system that was hit, all four are gone. The crew goes from thinking they're going to meet up with fleet elements for a counter-attack to realizing they're most of what's left of the fleet. They then realize that the Cylons are going to begin a systematic sweep of the outer colonies, the ones founded after the big 12. So the first season is then about trying to get there before the Cylons, building up the rag-tag fleet. From there they can have the wangst about whether the Cylons are still shitfire hot about genocide, if they have second thoughts, etc etc.

      I have no idea where they're planning on ending the current series but I think making the Cylons human was a mistake. The whole feel of the original was fighting against an enemy so unfeeling, so remorseless that they may as well be a force of nature. Yeah, they forgot about that and went silly early on but that's still what I felt was the core of the show. You can get the soap opera relationship strife wangst anywhere. The emotional trauma I want to see is related to the premise of the show, how people are reacting and cracking under the pressure, not Melrose Space crap.
  • preachy shows (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday March 03, 2008 @05:49PM (#22628336)
    A lot of people complain about shows getting preachy and derailing the quality of the entertainment to make some sort of moral statement. Some people consider any amount of preaching derailment, no matter the quality. I don't mind preaching but I do hate it when that sort of thing knocks the show off the rails. Derailment comes in the form of making people out of character, contorting the internal logic of the show to bring the issue up, and knocking the flow of the overall series off the tracks.

    Galactica has been guilty of all of those. I gave up when they decided to do the whole Iraq occupation thing. For starters, settling on a planet makes no sense when your enemy is space-borne and can hunt you down. That violates sound military doctrine in the context of the show. Second, how do you apply terror tactics against an enemy who is effectively immortal? While somewhat cheesy and seemingly a wasted effort, suicide bomber Cylons make sense in that they are immortal and will come back after they die. It would still seem more sensible for them to conduct a larger sabotage given how far they've infiltrated into the Colonial military. But for humans to suicide attack Cylons? Again, it's one thing if you're talking about a Viper pilot pressing home an attack against a basestar. Losing a capital ship should hurt, they don't grow on trees, and such a move could provide the opening for the Galactica to escape a sticky situation. But strapping on a dynamite vest and walking into a Cylon bar? "Bugger, I got blown up. Well, let me crawl out of this tank, put on something slutty and we can resume at some other bar."

    None of that made any context within the confines of the show, the writers just wanted to do something they saw in the headlines. Yawn. Might as well throw in stem cell research, teen pregnancy, female genital mutilation, and rants about Vista.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Grishnakh (216268)
      Galactica has been guilty of all of those. I gave up when they decided to do the whole Iraq occupation thing. For starters, settling on a planet makes no sense when your enemy is space-borne and can hunt you down. That violates sound military doctrine in the context of the show.

      Oh, please. The humans weren't under military command, they had just elected a new civilian president, because he promised them he'd allow them to settle on this planet. They had been on the run for maybe 2 years at this point, and

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