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Old December 14th, 2003, 08:29 AM   #1
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Default The missing theme

The people against the mini have said that it is not BSG because it is missing the important themes. What is odd is that the central theme in Saga of a Star World that is missing in the mini hasn't actually been discussed much (if at all). It is the interplay between the military and civilians, and their different outlook on life.

In TOS the situation was simple. Adama was right and the civilian leadership was wrong. The civilians were even worse than being merely wrong. Their "peace at any price" policy blinded them to the reality that they existed in. Even after that policy led to the total destruction of the colonies and the fleet the new civilian leadership wanted to do it all again. The only two leaders who had a grasp on reality in the show were Adama and the Imperious Leader.

Aside from being totally wrong the civilian leadership was also trecherous and manulipitive. They were basically all vice and no virtue. Even those who were not personally corrupt lived in that dreamland totally divorced from their reality.

The mini did not follow this theme for very good reasons. First, it is idiotic. I thought so as a child when I watched TOS, and I think so now. Second, in the wake of 9/11 that theme is pubicly idiotic. The idea of "peace at any price" is so totally divorced from our reality that no one would accept it. Third, people have moved away from the simple (and always wrong) view of "military = virtous, purity of spirit" and "civilian = helpless, corrupt, decadent". People are far more complex than that and TOS didn't really capture that complexity. BTW I think that is why people really liked Starbuck in TOS. He was easily the most complex (ie real human) character in the story.

I think that Moore did the right thing, but taking out that theme does drastically change things. The cylon attack has to be done totally differently, and the casino planet part has to go away. Remove that theme and suddenly all of the characters have to become three dimensional. A realistic theme cannot be supported by one or two dimensional characters. Baltar could have been done the same, but he would have been ineffective with his trechery. Everyone else had to become more real.

That went longer than I expected. To sum up I agree that probably the major theme of TOS (the military/civilian conflict) in its original form is missing from the mini. However, given the reality of the world we live in today any show that tries to bring back that conflict in that way will totally fail. That is why I don't like the DeSanto project. From what I've read (from the CA website) he would bring back that theme in total. I would not be able to suspend disbelief at that point.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 08:41 AM   #2
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If I can ask a simple question:

Why does Earth-like realism need to be portrayed in a show that is supposed to be about people that are not from HERE?
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Old December 14th, 2003, 09:12 AM   #3
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"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest -- for a shining planet known as Earth." -- Adama

The core theme of TOS was hope.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 09:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Starbuck
"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest -- for a shining planet known as Earth." -- Adama

The core theme of TOS was hope.
Very true, that was the theme of the original series, but really didn't seem to be the theme of the mini.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 09:17 AM   #5
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"Why does Earth-like realism need to be portrayed in a show that is supposed to be about people that are not from HERE?"

The question may be simple, but the answer won't be. The easiest answer is that people are people. The TOS and the mini both share the same belief that everyone shares the same beginnings (the colonists and us from Earth). Everyone is human, and therefore they act like humans. Their society would be recognizable to us. The specifics would undoubtably be very different, but it would not be totally alien.

Another reason for the Earth-like realism is that it is almost impossible to accurately portray a truly alien society for any length of time. The reason is that writers have a very hard time creating truly alien societies ( I think that you can count on one hand the number of times it has been done extremely well). In the case of furtuistic human societies usually the best that someone can come up with is the "we have evolved beyond violence" garbage. This is clearly not the case in BSG (either version).

It comes down to suspension of disbelief. In any fiction the fewest number of times that an author has to tell the audience "accept it just because" the better the story will work. In Sci-Fi it is the nature of the genre that the audience has to accept one big "just because" right at the beginning (the whole tech issue). By having people act like people, and a culture that follows that, then the writer drastically cuts down on the number of following 'just becauses".

A last point. By having Earth-like realism it is possible to subtly insert social issue plotlines in the show. If you are going to say anything against social commentary I would remind that Star Trek and TNG were both full of social commentary regarding the issues of the day. There is nothing wrong with Sci-Fi being used to address the major issues of our reality.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 09:24 AM   #6
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I have asked the same thing BST, it has been done for years in sci-fi, I believe this is why it is called sci-fi. If they were from future that would be different
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Old December 14th, 2003, 09:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Starbuck
"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest -- for a shining planet known as Earth." -- Adama

The core theme of TOS was hope.
I don't believe that the mini was mising hope. Nor do I believe (having just seen Saga) that hope was a central theme of that show. In the mini everyone has hope, just not the same hope. Adama and Roslin have hope for the survival of the human race. Everyone else have hope in their survival and in Earth. If it goes to series Adama may even come to have hope in Earth if they start finding clues to its existence.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 09:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by beeker
Nor do I believe (having just seen Saga) that hope was a central theme of that show.
Your opinion of course. We'll have to agree to disagree.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 09:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Starbuck
Your opinion of course. We'll have to agree to disagree.
I can live with that.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 04:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
A last point. By having Earth-like realism it is possible to subtly insert social issue plotlines in the show. If you are going to say anything against social commentary I would remind that Star Trek and TNG were both full of social commentary regarding the issues of the day. There is nothing wrong with Sci-Fi being used to address the major issues of our reality.
No disagreement here, regarding social commentary. I would remind you, however, that in the ST universe, Earth IS a member of the United Federation of Planets. In fact, TBOMK, Earth is the Headquarters for the Federation.

It is much easier to write stories with a "local flavor" when you are a member of the community. Granted, in the BSG universe, Earth and the Colonies share a mutual birthplace but, in the BSG storyline, Earth is not involved at all, except as a destination.

My thoughts regarding BSG are that the Colonials are an advanced species, unlike the Earth-bound viewer (us). With that in mind, I accepted the fact that their culture may have and probably did rise above, for the most part, the "petty differences" which plague the real planet Earth, today. With a "sci-fi mindset", I look at BSG and ST, for that matter, as societies which have developed a level of existence that we can aspire to.

I guess I am an eternal optimist, still looking at the glass as being half-full and really getting sick and tired of hearing that it's half-empty.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh as I am enjoying this conversation. I just had to relate a few personal feelings.



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Old December 14th, 2003, 04:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by jonahlee
Very true, that was the theme of the original series, but really didn't seem to be the theme of the mini.
I think that in time as a series, Hope would have been a major theme. There was so much more that obviously could have been done if they had more time.

I won't bother going on about it, because I think Beeker has given excellent responses that I agree with.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 10:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by BST
I look at BSG and ST, for that matter, as societies which have developed a level of existence that we can aspire to.

I guess I am an eternal optimist, still looking at the glass as being half-full and really getting sick and tired of hearing that it's half-empty.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh as I am enjoying this conversation. I just had to relate a few personal feelings.



BST
I have to say that I have pretty much the same desires, but speaking as a history major I look at it in a different way. I don't see a futuristic society that has problems necessarily as a glass half-empty. Take our society today for example. One can get depressed thinking about all of the problems that plague us, but bring a person from just a few hundred years ago and he would likely be struck with wonder. We still have disease, but we have gotten rid of smallpox (which was probably the biggest killer in history). We have poverty, but as a percentage of population it is tiny compared to the past. The list goes on.

Yes we have problems, and yes the BSG colonies have problems; however, I think that what is important is what we have done toward solving them. I can see the city scenes, and because I'm given the feeling that this could be a real society I can imange the problems that that society has solved.

Contrast that with a standard Trek society. Trek is big on Utopias. The problem is that a Utopia is so unrealistic to me I am never able to really see it as something that is possible. A perfect society is something great in the abstract, something to strive to. However, if someone tries to realize it on screne it simply falls apart for me. I cannot get beyond the practical problems involved.

I suppose that I can look at the BSG society with all of its problems and see the glass more than half full. I look at a Trek society and I can't even see a glass at all.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 10:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by beeker I suppose that I can look at the BSG society with all of its problems and see the glass more than half full. I look at a Trek society and I can't even see a glass at all. [/B]
The problem with Treks Utopia is that if even ONE HUMAN has greed, the concept of no material wealth doesn't make sense.
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Old December 14th, 2003, 11:25 PM   #14
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I like my scifi on the realistic side of things. If it's not, I call it fantasy and watch anyways
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Old December 15th, 2003, 06:55 PM   #15
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I think, if this goes to series, hope would become a major player. Especially for the citizens and lower ranking military officers.
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Old December 15th, 2003, 07:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by callsignfalcon
I think, if this goes to series, hope would become a major player. Especially for the citizens and lower ranking military officers.
Shouldn't "hope" have already been a major player? Otherwise, why bothering leaving the Colonies?
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Old December 15th, 2003, 09:19 PM   #17
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What the freck ... I gotta say it ...

My rationalization of the HUMAN elements (the Earth-like realizm) in both BSG78 & BSG2003 was that all humankind ... the colonies ... and Earth share a history. It just makes sense that the depth of the story ... whether it be the classic story of BSG ... or the "re-imagined" BSG would strike an interest to us. The classic was built on a tremendous amount of real ideas and beliefs from our culture (circa1978) and the mini did the same circa2003.

So ... while they are 2 very different stories ... they both contained the realizm I've heard many complain about in the mini ... or at least I thought ... lol

I'll step of the soapbox ... before someone kicks it
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Old December 15th, 2003, 09:29 PM   #18
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"Shouldn't "hope" have already been a major player? Otherwise, why bothering leaving the Colonies?"

Yes and No. One of humanitys basic instincts (as well as most other creatures) is survival.

If your being attacked you don't necissarily atomatically see hope, you just look for a way to survive. I think Hope is built during that look to survive, especially after you manage to get part the initial problems and see that you are alive for now and try to figure out whats next.

It seemed to me that the mini showed that transition well... everyone was just out to survive even if they didn't have any view of a good future in sight.... and at the end they got that spark of hope. If it does go to a series I bet that spark of hope will grow and be a major part of the series!

did that make sense? O.o
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Old December 19th, 2003, 08:54 PM   #19
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did it make sense? o.O I'd really like to know.....
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Old December 19th, 2003, 09:21 PM   #20
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Default different flavors of hope.

I seems that personal tastes rule this debate.
I find the gritty,dark,earth-like personas offer hope.And hope that I can relate to,as the world I live in is often a dark place.
I understand that the brighter "white hat" heroes also offer a more pure,idealistic kind of hope,and a more pure role model of heroes.
These are in the end,just stories,there are no limits on the number and types of hope and heroes we can have.
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