If there’s one thing that unites those of us who grew up in the ‘80s — aside from having way better kids movies — it’s the sweet rush of nostalgia when we hear some chirpy 8-bit composition that takes us back to the hours spent in front of a Nintendo trying to navigate a chubby Italian plumber through a series of incorrect castles. There’s just something about hearing a tune stripped down and piped through a woefully inadequate sound system that puts a smile on my face, and makes me want to go download an NES emulator.
Yet another San Diego Comic-Con packed in crowds last week, giving genre fans the opportunity to meet their idols and see exclusive new footage from upcoming films and television. It also allows fans to come together and celebrate beloved but older properties. Science fiction TV writer and producer Ronald D. Moore was making the rounds to promote his new Syfy series Helix, but he also reminisced about the mysteries of his critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica reboot. While questions about the final moments of Kara “Starbuck” Thrace remained unanswered, Moore did shed some light on why the new BSG gave the Cylons a humanoid makeover.
While the original Battlestar Galactica also featured Cylons, they were the iconic, shiny-chrome robots we all know and love, whereas as the reboot made many large and small changes to the Cylons and their relationship with their creators. Affectionately called “Skinjobs,” some of the new-and-proved Cylons took human form, and the implication that anybody could be an undercover Cylon served as the basis for many plot points as the seasons rolled on. Moore explained why his reboot went in this direction, and it wasn’t just because he was trying to make a philosophical statement about mankind and existence. It certainly took the story in interesting directions, but the initial decision came down simply to budget: namely, not having enough of it. Moore told the Comic-Con crowd:
In 2009, the final episodes of the popular TV reboot of Battlestar Galactica were airing on Syfy. It was the end of a four-year run that was the height of science fiction on television at the time (sorry Lost, but I think BSG got the better of you). While the first half of season four was a bit shaky, the series finale was received with an equally mixed reaction from fans and television critics alike. The finale, entitled “Daybreak,” left some questions unanswered, while some of the questions that were answered were seen as lackluster and unsatisfying. Chief among these was the fate of of Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. How controversial was it? People are still asking the show’s creators about it, even all these years later.
SPOILERS FOR THE BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SERIES FINALE BELOW (IF THERE’S ANYBODY WHO STILL HASN’T WATCHED IT)
I’m in the wrong profession. Why didn’t anyone tell me I could achieve fortune and glory by rapping about the geeky TV shows I love? My first one would have to be about John Sheridan, commander of Babylon 5. I’ve had a crush on him for almost a decade — rapping about him just might make him forget about annoying Delenn for a few minutes.
…but back to raps that actually exist.
Adam Warrock (or should I say WarRock?), infamous masher-upper of pop culture, geekdom, and “overly enthusiastic” hip hop, has rapped about a lot of his favorite things over the years. He’s currently running a donation drive on his website, where he’s recently uploaded his Battlestar Galactica-themed Mixtape EP “Feel Human” and released a video for the EP’s title track, “Galactica.”
Science fiction hasn’t always gotten its due. In the past it’s been dismissed as “kid stuff” or somehow less worthy and noble than mainstream fiction. Thankfully we know better than that. At its best, science fiction can examine who we are by exploring who we were, or who we will become. Thankfully, SF has long since proven that it has the potential to tell stories just as exciting and insightful as those of any other genre, but franchises such as Star Trek has proven it can be big business as well. For the purposes of this story, however, we’re not concerned with crass commercialism, but rather the writing quality of some of the genre’s best TV outings.
The Writers Guild of America recently shared their picks for the “101 Best Written TV Series” of all time, and wouldn’t you know it, several iconic science fiction shows were included on the list. Granted, they only occupy six slots out of 101, so I’m thinking there are some serious oversights, but that’s a topic for another day. For now, let’s examine the SF shows the WGA folks did deem worthy or recognition.
Battlestar Galactica LARPers In Sweden Borrow A Retired Naval Destroyer For Massive Make-Believe Session
LARPing, short for “Live Action Role-Playing,” is one of those fandom subcultures that inevitably pops up at any decently sized convention. They’re the people dressed like vampires lurking in the hotel bar. They’re the folks with foam weaponry sprinting across the park yelling “Fireball!” But for any LARPers out there who think your organized make-believe events are without equal, I’m afraid some folks in Sweden just raised the bar in a serious way. How high, you ask? We’re talking three weekends, a $160,000 budget, and a retired naval destroyer. Go big or go home.
The massive LARP event unfolded this part March, during which the destroyer in question stood in for the Monitor Celestra, a ship referenced but never actually seen onscreen in Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica reboot. The event’s writers — yes, it had writers — came up with 140 new characters and a twisty storyline involving military boarding parties and that old BSG standard, undercover Cylons! They even had networked computers simulating BSG’s “DRADIS” sensors and other futuristic shipboard functions.