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Galactica: A double standard.
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Senmut
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Joined: 15 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:21 am    Post subject: Galactica: A double standard. Reply with quote

Okay, it's like this. We're all familiar with the burbling of the critics. They slammed the show on any number of levels, and most of these have been discussed ad infinitum. But I have a couple of points, which I don't think have ever been made, and I'd like your take on them.

First, I'm sure that most of you on here are old enough to remember when Erich von Daniken came out with his Chariots Of The Gods?, positing the idea that Earth vas visited by aliens in the distant past, and that the development of Man and his civilization was altered, by design of these visitors. There was even a film of the same name, and several follow-up books. It was all roundly slammed by critics, in and out of the sciences, as utter dreck. Now, I'm not here to discuss the merits of van Daniken's ideas, good or bad. That belongs to another thread. BUT...
You will have, of course, noted the basic premise of BSG: Earth was at some point visited and at least in part settled by people from another star system. In the show, Kobol, and her thirteen tribes are the basis of all Human civilization. The show was lambasted by "critics" for it's use of "von Danikenism" as a central premise. They dismissed the entire series as junk, for this, among many other reasons. HOWEVER...
If you will recall, a few years earlier, another SciFi offering came out, 2001: A Space Odyssey. (In my humble opinion, a dippy title.) Now, how does this film, written by a highly regarded scientist and author start?
By aliens coming to Earth, fooling around with our ancestors, and thus affecting the development of Man and civilization. Sound familiar? (With the addition that the apes don't begin the long march to Humanity until after they are taught by the aliens how to kill. Each other!) But, unlike BSG, this was praised, lionized, and is celebrated to this day as a "masterpiece", and all that. My point is, reduced to basics, the idea is the same. Aliens+Earth+Primitive Man=Us. So, why is one regarded almost as a holy icon, and the other like used turbo-flush paper?
Secondly, you will recall the destruction of Carillon. Things get too hot, and the planet goes poof. Like the above, this was also derided as "unscientific". HOWEVER...
Some on here will have no doubt seen the film Forbidden Planet. A true cinematic triumph, the film ends with the obliteration of the planet Altair IV. Like in BSG, Altair IV is blown to bits by a chain reaction deep within the planet, this being brought about by letting the power reactors of the long-dead inhabitants run wild, and go supercritical, rather than a volitile chemical compound left to burn uncontrolled, until it too produced an unstoppable chain reaction. Exit Carillon.
Now, my point is, why is it that FP is praised, despite this, and BSG is excoriated, for a nearly identical plot point? Don't misunderstand, Forbidden Planet is a truly great film, far and away above 2001, IMNSHO. So, why the very obvious anti-Galactica double standard?
Your take, folks?
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epaddon



Joined: 12 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think in a nutshell, Galactica's negative press stems from (1) the George Lucas lawsuit which stigmitized the show from the beginning and (2) the criticism from the self-proclaimed sci-fi gurus like Harlan Ellison and company who must give their royal seal of approval to just about anything that can be deemed worthy of being regarded as "great science fiction."

Indeed, I think the reason why Star Trek has gotten so many free passes from its obvious flaws, has to do with the perception that if the likes of Ellison, Sturgeon, Matheson wrote for it, then therefore it is great and any show that did not have a sci-fi guru write for them must be dismissed as "junk".

Of course the only problem with that, is that most of Trek's concepts were done not by sci-fi nuts but by "journeymen" TV writers who had to write for other genres, and too often most of the beloved sci-fi gurus were people who really didn't know how to write well for TV in the first place!
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Dawg



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sen, I responded to this very interesting question when you posed it over at LauretteSpang.com.

As I said there, in the first instance I don't think you're exactly comparing apples to apples. (The rest of you are more than welcome to pop over there - www.laurettespang.com/forums - to see my full response.)

Wink

Eric, I can't disagree with your premise, but I would also add the unfortunately ill-informed Time Magazine review (by someone who had not seen any BSG footage) that called it a rip-off of Star Wars. It was that review, more than the lawsuit, that cast that particular shadow over BSG in the public perception.

Star Trek was a special situation, I think. It kind of plodded along during its first run, but really became a cultural phenomenon when the re-runs started on local stations all over the country (and world). BSG never had the same chance.

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Dawg
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epaddon



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, that most of Trek's apple polished reputation came afterwards when it took off in syndication, and NBC became unfairly IMO villified for having cancelled the show when the evidence shows NBC gave it more chances than it was really entitled to based on the numbers it was drawing. NBC certainly showed more respect for Trek than ABC ever did for Galactica!

The irony to me is how so many of the people who put a halo around Trek because of the guru participation also by extension then use that as a way for ripping the writing caliber of those who took part on Galactica. The thing I find amusing about that though, is just ask yourself how many successful TV shows were Glen Larson and Don Bellisario involved with, and you end up with quite a few. Now on the other hand, name any successful TV show in which Gene Roddenberry or D.C. Fontana took part in after Trek that was successful (and more importantly, was NOT a Trek related property) and you won't use up all the digits on one hand (you won't even use one digit!).
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Senmut
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dawg wrote:
Sen, I responded to this very interesting question when you posed it over at LauretteSpang.com.

As I said there, in the first instance I don't think you're exactly comparing apples to apples. (The rest of you are more than welcome to pop over there - www.laurettespang.com/forums - to see my full response.)

Wink



Well, to disrespectfully disagree Wink Wink , I do see it as "apples and apples". While no analogies or comparisons are precise, I deem them sufficiently at parity to beg the question. And while EP has a valid point, about the number of successes that Larson et al have racked up, as over against Roddenberry and Co., the fact remains that BSG, even at it best, is largely treated like, well, mong, when other, certainly less deserving works, many of them quite over-rated IMNSHO, are treated like some sort of sacred writings. I believe the reason for this goes much deeper than what most people have perceived. hence my post...what perceptions on the topic do our postes have?
Come on, posters. POST!
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LZaza



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry lads, too deep for me. Never thought much about the injustices. I just thought the guys were cute, the action excellent, the ships cool, Oh, and the guys were cute . . . Laughing

Unfortunately, the elevated heart rate of a ten year old kid didn't count for much with the network.
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Senmut
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, Zaz. You got it all wrong. It's the girls that were cute!

Rolling Eyes
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"The dull mind rises to Truth through that which is material." -Suger

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Last edited by Senmut on Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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LZaza



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really? You too, Sen? Who was your favourite? Starbuck or Apollo?
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Senmut
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there is Athena.
And Miriam.
And Noday.
And...
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"The dull mind rises to Truth through that which is material." -Suger

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LZaza



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got to love a guy who spreads his admiration around. Laughing
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Senmut
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Buckers is a model for us all...
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LZaza



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh heh. I see you went back and edited you earlier post. Too bad. Was much funnier before. Laughing Got to love typos.
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Senmut
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why?
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LZaza



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Senmut wrote:
No, Zaz. You got it all wrong. It's the guys that were cute!

Rolling Eyes


Because this is how it used to read!!!!!!
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Senmut
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There you Kanuckerthals go again! Adding "u"s to everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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