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The Science of Battlestar Galactica 465

Posted by samzenpus
from the set-phasers-on-unrealistic dept.
gearystwatcher writes "TV science adviser Kevin Grazier talks about getting rid of the Trek babble in Battlestar Galactica. From the article: "Grazier's job was to help keep the technology and science real and credible — even when there were some massive leaps. Grazier didn't just make sure that there was a reason for what we saw — bullets instead of lasers — but also that when the science bit did break into the open, it was more mind-blowing than the writers could have conceived — such as when the humans discover their mechanical Cylon persecutors have evolved to look human.'"
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The Science of Battlestar Galactica

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:21PM (#34119066)

    The networks keep canceling all good TV shows and instead keep crap like American Idol and 90210 alive.

    • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:24PM (#34119100) Journal

      Someone still hasn't gotten over the cancellation of Caprica.

      • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:44PM (#34119248) Homepage Journal

        He's right though. It's not just about Caprica, it's about TV shows which require a minimum of brain cells to watch.

        Reaper (CW), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox), Better Off Ted (ABC), Heroes (NBC), Caprica (SyFy)... I've heard rumors about Stargate Universe being cancelled too.

        Reaper was a lot funnier than Chuck. The guy doing the devil was hilarious and hated at the same time. I hope he gets a devil role in a future movie.

        Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles may have not had a lot of fans, but those who followed the story really want a proper ending/tie-in with the movies storylines.

        Better Off Ted had a lot of good nerdy jokes and references in its first season but went a bit too mainstream for its second season, that's why ratings went down. You can see it happen with the fake Veridian commercials. The first ones are clever (friendship: it's like stealing), the last ones are just stupid.

        Heroes... why did they cancel that? Is there not enough viewers that can follow a story told in a few years instead of a few minutes?

        Caprica... we know what happened, the story was about filling in the details, which we'll never know. It sure didn't get cancelled because of the decors, special effects or actors IMHO.

        Stargate Universe was slow to start (hey, the damn ship was falling apart), too bad too many viewers stopped watching. Their loss may end up being everyone's loss.

        And those are just from memory, I'm sure a lot more good shows have been cancelled in the last decade.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:59PM (#34119366)

          Re: Heroes

          Because, after a truly phenomenal first season, the last season or two was quite dreadful. It seemed clear that they didn't have a story to tell - you seem to assume they were really building towards something of note - like the end of the first season, opening of the second. It sure didn't feel like that to me.

          As a fan that watched every single episode, I thought it was ready to be cancelled.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Spoiler warning, I guess:

            Indeed. After the first season and especially in the third season I got a bit tired of the "Ooh Sylar is bad!", "Ooh now Sylar is in a suit and Bennetts partner!", "Ooh now Sylar is bad again!", "Ooh the Petrellis are Sylars parents!", "Ooh no they lied!". Bennett is bad, good, bad, good, bad, good. It was all a bit World Wrestling Federation. Then the powers. Peter has all the powers. Then Peter has no powers. Then Peter can change powers but just one at a time. Hiro has a power
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by drinkypoo (153816)

              If they weren't making it up as they went along they sure did a good job of covering that up.

              Heroes was a TV series made to be like a comic book by fans of comic books. Looked at the world of comic books lately? I believe that at least one major publisher is now on their third universal reset, because they ran out of plots and want to go revisit the old good ones and you can't do that if he's already done it! Heroes thus became a sort of accidental meta-parody of comic books...

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Cytotoxic (245301)

                I may be wrong, but I blamed this on the "Lost" phenomenon. With everyone and his brother pretending that inserting something random into the story was deep and insightful, they thought that it would work for them. The "there's a deeper conspiracy" idea works well, but you have to actually have a deeper conspiracy in mind at the start and stick with it. The good series know the ending before they start. The bad ones just have a single cool idea and then flail around once they've given you the single coo

        • by NoSig (1919688) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @09:17PM (#34119512)
          Heroes devolved from a series about a super hero showdown to high school drama at an actual high school with the plot seemingly generated at random. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was the best TV in a long time, unfortunately the whole setup reeks of some half-effort crap that's just there to sell a movie - until you actually watch a few episodes to prove that wrong. It's a bit how Batman: Arkham Asylum was a tremendous game, but it might easily have been passed over because most movie tie-in games suck. I enjoyed Caprica, but I can easily see how many other people wouldn't. It was too all over the place - while much better than Heroes, it shared that flaw.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Junta (36770)

          I wouldn't say any of those represents shows that 'require a minimum of brain cells to watch. I don't see the mark of intellectualism really applying to any of those.

          Reaper was funny and the Devil really carried it, but it did kinda go in circles in fairly short order. Easily forgivable though, since it was funny and going around in circles isn't such a horrible thing when a series doesn't take itself seriously.

          Terminator was somewhat interesting, but spread what they had too thin. It's the mark of many

        • by visualight (468005) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @09:48PM (#34119710) Homepage

          Farscape and Firefly

        • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @10:00PM (#34119792) Journal

          Not sure I agree on Universe. The last couple of episodes make me suspect the writers have lost their way. Look we don't really need the girl having an alien hiding inside. There are lots of other loose plot threads on which they could move forward without having to add yet another that they'll abandon anyway in a few more episodes.

          And let's face it, it's not reasonable for Rush to be able to keep the control room secret for this long. The others have *seen* the control room in the gate ship. They *know* what a control room looks like and probably the most likely location. It's contrived and totally out of character for Young to not have Rush followed either physically or electronically at all times at this point.

          SGU is becoming uninteresting because they're taking small plot points and obsessing over them in episode after episode after episode. I'm still watching for now, but if something doesn't happen in another couple of episodes, I'll drop it, just as I dropped Caprica. Which, incidentally, had all the good parts in the pilot and then was excruciatingly boring afterwards.

          This is not about a show being intelligent. It's about a show having too much dead time and too many contrived conflicts designed to fill same. It's about writers who (a) don't have a story arc and are just wandering, or (b) have a story arc, but are trying to stretch one season of story to three seasons to guarantee income from reruns.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by teh kurisu (701097)

            My problem with SGU was that it started with the premise of this population of people isolated and having to survive on their own, and then instantly killed it with the communication stones bringing them into regular contact with Earth. That, and SGU was meant to be a big break from the previous Stargate series', but that didn't last long either because for the season 1 finale they brought in the Lucian Alliance for a rather disastrous story arc.

            Also, why is it suddenly fashionable to split seasons into tw

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Korin43 (881732)

          Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles seemed to run out of ideas halfway through the first season. Another season would've just prolonged its death. I bet they only did the last season they way they did because they knew they wouldn't have to figure out the next episode.

          Stargate Universe was a bad idea from the beginning, but I admit it's getting better. I hope whoever thought we needed a series of Stargate: Relationship Drama and No Action got fired. Not to mention that the plot of almost every episode i

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nedlohs (1335013)

          Heroes went downhill pretty fast after season 1 (though season 1 was so good that it would have been really hard not to). I watched every episode and would watch more, but it ran its course and the writers seemed to run out of ideas.

          Caprica never really grabbed me, though I watched it hoping it would get interesting.

          Stargate Universe also never grabbed me, though I never watched any of the other Stargate shows so that's probably just my taste...

    • by QuantumBeep (748940) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:36PM (#34119172)

      The series ran until the story ended, then it ended. May god grant that happens more often.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by plover (150551) *

        The series ran until the story ended, then it ended. May god grant that happens more often.

        Amen, brother!

        Too many people are still overwrought about cancellations of great shows, like Firefly. The thing is, if they kept riding that horse, it'd just have ended up becoming another Star Trek Voyager.

        Could they have filmed another season's worth of episodes? I'm pretty sure they could have written some really excellent ones. But there likely would have been a few stinker episodes. Season 3? Not so much. By season 4, it'd still be a good show, but showing wear around the edges.

        As it was, they we

        • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @10:03PM (#34119814)

          This comic [cracked.com] illustrates the subject well, I believe. I rarely see a series that goes for more than 3 or 4 seasons and is very good.

          There's nothing wrong with the short form! If you write out a series to be 3 seasons, you shouldn't hurriedly try to make a fourth because the producers wanted to drop a ton of money in your pocket. Finish the three seasons and leave it at that. Hey, you could always follow up with a movie!

          On the flip side, I think maybe I would rather see a good series go long and have a lot of mediocre episodes than a series go short and not be able to resolve any of its major plotlines.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CAIMLAS (41445)

          Too many people are still overwrought about cancellations of great shows, like Firefly. The thing is, if they kept riding that horse, it'd just have ended up becoming another Star Trek Voyager.

          Interestingly, the better seasons in Voyager were the later ones (IIRC). People didn't like them because they 'broke convention', which IMO, means it's a good story. :)

          As for Firefly, there was at least another full season of content there. Supposedly, there were 2 full seasons of plot and character advancement already developed. They had to rush it and cram it into the movie to give it some sort of 'closure', but at the same time, it fell short.

      • by RsG (809189) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:55PM (#34119332)

        I think it ended rather poorly, but hey, that's just my opinion.

        In the science department: No, BSG wasn't as bad as star trek, but neither was it good enough to deserve acclaim. It was, by the end, about B5/Firefly level, maybe a little better in some areas and worse in a few others. To wit:

        1. Unobtainium. I realize Tylium was a holdover from the original 70's BSG. But they displayed it having a range of properties that completely exclude it from being any real life element or compound. It would have been trivial to give Tylium the properties of either Deuterium or Helium-3, and simply work from the assumption that the protagonists have different words than us for the elements. Hell, "frak" already established that the writers were ready to sub in one word for another.

        2. Magic. B5 and star trek have been guilty of this too. Is it too much to ask that a sci-fi series stick to a rational universe? Or at least leave sufficient ambiguity that the few supernatural events might have been natural ones instead?

        3. Space combat. This one is kinda a case of rule of cool. Realistic space combat wouldn't look like much. But really, the ranges involved in BSG are much too short, both for weapons fire and for targeting/detection.

        4. Living ships. Seriously, this one's been done by every major soft science fiction series in the last 15 years, and has got to stop. Living tissue has no place in spacecraft design, except the warm meatbags who fly the damn things (and possibly as part of their life support).

        Other than those 4 things, the series wasn't bad, science-wise. I'll give free passes on FTL and generated gravity, as those are virtually prerequisites for the type of setting involved. It may have been the first soft sci-fi series to employ concepts like mind uploading as major plot elements. Concepts like the Galactica being minimally automated made sense in context. They actually addressed realistic details like the number of survivors dwindling and running out of resources.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by khallow (566160)

          4. Living ships. Seriously, this one's been done by every major soft science fiction series in the last 15 years, and has got to stop. Living tissue has no place in spacecraft design, except the warm meatbags who fly the damn things (and possibly as part of their life support).

          Once you give ships self-repair capability or a good deal of intelligence, "living" ships are a natural extension. It may be cliched beyond redemption, but it's not that great a stretch.

          My personal peeve is using boat physics in space. There's a natural "up" direction, ships bank when they turn, and ships top out at a maximum speed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by RsG (809189)

            Once you give ships self-repair capability or a good deal of intelligence, "living" ships are a natural extension. It may be cliched beyond redemption, but it's not that great a stretch.

            Except that's not what's being addressed here.

            I will grant that a ship with sophisticated self-repair, artificial intelligence and the ability to communicate is very much like a "living ship". It also won't bleed if you shoot it, nor does it have a spongy mass of brain tissue at the controls.

            The kind of living ships you're talking about, where repair nano-tech and advanced computing are invoked, is more often found in written science fiction. And is just fine as far as hard science goes.

            What BSG, B5, Fars

            • by Rakishi (759894) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @10:03PM (#34119812)

              It also won't bleed if you shoot it,

              Sure it might, likely has all sorts of fluids in it. Cooling, material transfer, hydraulics and so on. Just because it's a "living ship" does not mean it's made from the same material as life on Earth.

              nor does it have a spongy mass of brain tissue at the controls.

              That's a design decision, if the easiest way to make an AI is to grow one from brain tissue than why not just make that part of the ship?

              It's like the writers somehow got the idea in their heads that flesh can be engineered to extreme levels of durability and regeneration, or without the limitations of conservation of matter and energy.

              No, they simply don't have your limited imagination and understand that just because life on earth is made out of something that doesn't mean all life must be made of that. Plenty of great hard science fiction covering that area I should add.

              It ties into a fundamental misunderstanding about the capabilities and limitations of evolution and life in general.

              Life has no limitations, anything that grows and reproduces is alive. It can be made of nuetronium and eat stars. Or be made of metal and nano-machines (technically proteins are nano-machines anyway). Or maybe it breather methane. Living ships in general are described as being engineered rather than naturally evolving so I'm not sure why you even mentioned that.

              Want to see a ship made or organic matter? Wooden sailboat. You'll note we make our warships out of steel, and would continue to do so even if we could make a wooden boat that healed.

              Why are you imposing the arbitrary restriction of it having to be made of Earth style organic material? Life is not limited to being carbon based. Hell, even life on Earth isn't as stupid as you apparently think it is. That calcium which makes up your bones isn't particularly organic.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by RsG (809189)

                Sure it might, likely has all sorts of fluids in it. Cooling, material transfer, hydraulics and so on. Just because it's a "living ship" does not mean it's made from the same material as life on Earth.

                You're reaching. Recall we're talking about BSG here (and the other series that had this cliche).

                The Cylon Raider brain bled actual blood. Not coolant, hydraulic fluid or any such material.

                That's a design decision, if the easiest way to make an AI is to grow one from brain tissue than why not just make that part of the ship?

                A brain the size of a large dog? That can be outflown by a human pilot? In a setting where they have truly mechanical AI (in the form of Cylon Centurions)? Right, that's clearly a more efficient design.

                No, they simply don't have your limited imagination and understand that just because life on earth is made out of something that doesn't mean all life must be made of that. Plenty of great hard science fiction covering that area I should add... ...Why are you imposing the arbitrary restriction of it having to be made of Earth style organic material?

                Because, in series like BSG/B5/Farscape/etc, the carbon based, amino acid derived nature of the living ships is cano

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Rakishi (759894)

                  You're reaching. Recall we're talking about BSG here (and the other series that had this cliche).
                  The Cylon Raider brain bled actual blood. Not coolant, hydraulic fluid or any such material.

                  Because it's a human derived body shoved into a regular ship.

                  A brain the size of a large dog? That can be outflown by a human pilot? In a setting where they have truly mechanical AI (in the form of Cylon Centurions)? Right, that's clearly a more efficient design.

                  The Centurions are shown as limited in many ways and were not trusted by the humanoid Cylons. The biological Raiders were shown to be able to regenerate (thus learn perpetually) and some could out fly humans.

                  Because, in series like BSG/B5/Farscape/etc, the carbon based, amino acid derived nature of the living ships is canon, meaning this isn't a question of me imposing my own "limited imagination". This is a case of the writers failing to do the research. And copying each others ideas without checking whether the copied idea made any sense in the first place.

                  Okay, where do they say the ships in B5 and Farscape are carbon based? In BSG the ships are perfectly mechanical aside from the pilot. In Farscape and B5 the ships are made of horribly alien materials and it's generally noted many times how ab

      • by peragrin (659227)

        true but there were so many pauses in the series that many stopped watching.

        Seasons 4 was separated by what 9 months? more.

        TV shows that are popular but the networks don't like get all sorts of random stupid things, night changes, forced show changes, etc.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Considering the ridiculous ending that they came up with, I rather wish The One True God had aborted this series a season early.

        • by WCLPeter (202497) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @10:30PM (#34119994) Homepage

          Actually Battlestar: The Remake stopped being good around the middle of Season Two, right around the time they found "New Caprica". After that it got ploddingly slow, even more so than it already had been, and simply became infuriating to watch; I fell asleep numerous times due to boredom and found myself constantly having to rewind to watch what I'd missed. It was only because I'd already invested two years of my life into the show, and my fervent hope they would somehow manage to go back to the exceptional quality of the mini-series and first season, that even got me to watch the final two seasons.

          I shouldn't have bothered. Seeing Ron Moore turn the once scary genocidal killing machines with a plan into inept whiny melodramatic losers who couldn't plan themselves out of a paper bag, they were too busy standing around talking about their feelings for hours on end with not only themselves but also the people they wanted to kill, made it really hard to enjoy the show. It also became apparent, very quickly, that Ron Moore had no idea what the hell to do with the show after a while. Incomprehensible story lines, the large portions of cannon that were completely retconned, the bordering on incredibly stupid waits between episodes, the almost Soap Operaesque story lines all made for a show that only got worse as time went on but, like a train wreck in slow motion, really really slow motion, it was just too hard to turn away. And don't even get me started on the completely pointless 3 hour "Lord of the Rings" ending that really only had about 35-40 minutes worth of value in it.

          The show was so bad it soured me on all things Battlestar: The Remake that I couldn't even stomach the idea of watching Battlestar: The Prequel (Craprica). Of course if they wait a few years and give Richard Hatch the go ahead to produce his Battlestar: The Second Coming series to continue the story of the original, I'd be all over that in a heartbeat.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Belial6 (794905)
            Funny, I thought it stopped being good just about the time they introduced a female Starbuck who in the first scene smokes cigars, plays poker, drinks hard liqueur, and punches out a man twice her size so that they could attempt to establish that she could fill the original Starbucks shoes.

            Honestly, I could have taken the show way more seriously if they had not called it Battlestar Galactica. By calling it that, they set a high bar too meet, and unfortunately, they ended up being way too cheeseball to c
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)

            turn the once scary genocidal killing machines with a plan into inept whiny melodramatic losers who couldn't plan themselves out of a paper bag

            The problem with the show is that the premise basically requires this. The Cylons are machines. Unlike humans, they don't need over a decade to go from being created to being effective, they can go into the fight straight off the production line. As they spread out, their production capacity increases. When they left human space before the start of the first episode, they would have spread out and their production capacity would have increased in proportion to the number of star systems they colonised.

    • there is some good stuff on showtime and HBO but we need more channels like that for shows not the same movie over and over 100 times a month at a lower cost then HBO.

    • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @09:10PM (#34119444)
      Can we please talk about the "the networks cancel the good stuff and keep the crap" spiel that I see every single time Slashdot or Reddit or whatever starts talking about television?

      Networks are businesses: they exist to make money. Network executives are not evil men who... well, OK, they are evil, but not in the way you think: they don't say to themselves, "This show is much too intelligent, it might awaken our viewers out of their drunken stupor, cause them to realize that corporations like us are the reason for their miserable lives, and spark a revolution! Away with it!". No, what they do is say, "This show is losing money, not enough people are watching it. Away with it." That's their job.

      And don't talk to me about how the Nielsen ratings don't accurately reflect viewership, and how Firefly was actually this smash hit being watched by gobs of people around the country that Fox somehow overlooked. You know how Serenity did at the box office, the movie that all the fans were supposed to go see multiple times to convince Fox to bring the show back? It didn't break even [boxofficemojo.com], even when you factor in DVD sales. You're not as numerous as you think.

      If you want to complain about bad television being the norm, you need to go find people and convince them to watch your favorite show instead of { watching crap like American Idol, pirating the show off the Internet, doing intellectually-stimulating or otherwise rewarding activities besides TV }. Lousy television is their fault, not the networks', the latter is just giving people what they want.

      Lord knows I don't want to sound like I'm sticking up for TV executives, but it pains me to see this same crap appear in the comments every single time, when people could actually fix the problem if they were willing to make the effort.

      Frothing rant over now.
      • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @09:44PM (#34119688)
        Regarding firefly and serenity: I didn't see all of the firefly episodes on tv because of the unannounced schedule changes. I didn't see serenity in theaters because it was in the theaters in my (medium sized) city for only one week. I didn't get a chance to see it because of a mix of time constraints and theater stupidity. Even the dollar theaters didn't play it afterward. So I bought serenity on DVD just like I bought firefly. But if they would have been "straight to DVD" productions, I probably would have not bought either.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:28PM (#34119136)

    it's just not the same

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:29PM (#34119140)

    Grazier didn't just make sure that there was a reason for what we saw - bullets instead of lasers - but also that when the science bit did break into the open, it was more mind-blowing than the writers could have conceived - such as when the humans discover their mechanical Cylon persecutors have evolved to look human.

    Yes, that is one sentence.

    But I don't think "evolved" is applicable in this situation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by camperdave (969942)
      Evolved simply means changed. It doesn't mean "biologically improved by a process of natural selection". A model of car evolves from one year to the next.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But I don't think "evolved" is applicable in this situation.

      Correct - the term they are looking for is "robo-evolved".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by plover (150551) *

        But I don't think "evolved" is applicable in this situation.

        Correct - the term they are looking for is "robo-evolved".

        Nonsense. Robots were created, not evolved!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by EveLibertine (847955)
          I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
        • But I don't think "evolved" is applicable in this situation.

          Correct - the term they are looking for is "robo-evolved".

          No, the term "evolve" fits quite nicely. The presumption that the world only applies to living organisms is incorrect.

          Nonsense. Robots were created, not evolved!

          So? According to some people, all living creatures on this planet were created, but we still evolve. If the robots are sentient and capable of modifying and or improving themselves, then they are capable of evolving as well, regardless of what point in that evolution they were "created." Even if they are not sentient, but capable of altering their own structure in response to external stimul

        • I don't want to live on this planet any more.
    • I think it would be appropriate. Each subsequent generation corrected faults found in previous generations, for future generations. More of, favorable traits were maintained, and unfavorable traits were discarded.

          Or the appropriate definitions [reference.com]

      evolution

      -noun

      1. any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

      2. a product of such development; something evolved: The exploration of space is the evolution of decades of research. ...

      4. a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions. ...

      --Synonyms
      1. unfolding, change, progression, metamorphosis.

      • by BitHive (578094)

        Except the root claim is that BSG is somehow more scientifically accurate, which means we are talking about biological evolution, which has nothing to do with the process you describe as "evolution", which is more akin to the kind of "evolution" that takes place in manufacturing.

        BSG is no more scientifically plausible than Star Trek, they just use words like "evolution" instead of "warp drive"

        • by RsG (809189)

          BSG is no more scientifically plausible than Star Trek, they just use words like "evolution" instead of "warp drive"

          I'd put the two series on par with each other, as far as bad biology and misunderstanding evolution go. Recall that Star Trek produced such unscientific crap as "Threshold", that TNG episode where they start devolving into animals and that Enterprise episode with the one species limiting the evolution of the other. BSG was similarly bad about abusing life sciences for fun and profit.

          But then again, I'd challenge anyone to name a soft science fiction series that paid any mind to realistic biology, natural

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DeadDecoy (877617)

      Clearly they were intelligently designed.

      • by khasim (1285)

        Although if you stick to the mythology of the series ... there may not be much difference between the two. Re-watch the final episode if you need it clarified.

  • mind blowing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:30PM (#34119146) Journal

    Ok, let's get one thing straight -- the Cylons "evolving" into human form was not "mind blowing". It just wasn't.

    It looked like a shameless ploy to reduce production costs, (which it probably was) and to have a bunch of scenes with James Callis dry-humping Tricia Helfer (which got tiresome after the second or fifth time).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TFAFalcon (1839122)

      Well half the series was based on the fact they the humans couldn't identify the Cylons living among them. That would be pretty hard to pull of if the Cylons were all 3m tinmen.

      It might have reduced production cost, but it also gave the series most of its subject matter.

      • The storylines would have been virtually unchanged if the human looking cylons had been actual human traitors and fanatic cylon sympathisers instead.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The storylines would have been virtually unchanged if the human looking cylons had been actual human traitors and fanatic cylon sympathisers instead.

          Are you kidding? Cylon sympathizers know who they are. They don't think they're humans fighting the good fight against the machines until they find out they aren't. They don't have to make a choice between what they really are and what they always thought they were. It would have been a totally different show.

          • It would have been a totally different show.

            Yes, and arguably a better one.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Also, less allegory would have been had about the torture of faceless, godless enemies, and the realization that they're just the same as us, etc. etc.

              It would have been a totally different show, and for the millions who enjoyed the show thoroughly (especially when discounting the ending), it would therefore have been worse.

              You get +1 troll.

          • Are you kidding? Cylon sympathizers know who they are. They don't think they're humans fighting the good fight against the machines until they find out they aren't. They don't have to make a choice between what they really are and what they always thought they were. It would have been a totally different show.

            You're actually describing religious or racial extremists. Imagine some people who thinks they're "chosen people" for most of their life, and then one day discover that there was a mistake

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      [...]dry-humping Tricia Helfer (which got tiresome after the second or fifth time).

      It most certainly did not! :P

    • by Jartan (219704)

      This is the kind of comment that deserves to go past 5. I realize a lot of people love the show but at least accept the "human" psylons were an attempt to move AWAY from sci fi and keep production costs down. The fact that it let them add a bunch more drama was just a bonus.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:37PM (#34119184)
    I was confused there for a centon.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by plover (150551) *

      I was confused there for a centon.

      You still remember that show? It didn't even last a yarin.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) *

        I was confused there for a centon.

        You still remember that show? It didn't even last a yarin.

        Too much feldergarb. Oh frak, where did my mouse pointer go?

  • Beets....Bears....Battlestar Galactica
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:41PM (#34119218)

    I liked BSG because they don't bother with all the techno-babble. How does an FTL drive work? They don't tell you and it doesn't matter. It just makes the spaceship go and uses up some fuel. Quite refreshing from Star Trek and their neutrino flux combobulator matrices and anti-gluon snark fields.

    • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @09:40PM (#34119660)

      I liked BSG because they don't bother with all the techno-babble. How does an FTL drive work? They don't tell you and it doesn't matter. It just makes the spaceship go and uses up some fuel. Quite refreshing from Star Trek and their neutrino flux combobulator matrices and anti-gluon snark fields.

      Spoken like a true Joss Whedon fan (and yes, Firefly was one of my favorite TV shows but not for the science, because there wasn't any.)

      The problem with your perspective is that if you remove the actual science from a work of science-fiction, at best you have a fantasy. Nothing wrong with that, except that for the minority like me who grew up on books by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, George O. Harrison and other masters of hard sci-fi, well, we tend to resent fantasies falsely represented as science fiction. More to the point, it's the how and the why that makes the story interesting. If the only reason you watched Battlestar Galactica was for the (ahem!) "human" element, you might as well just watch re-runs of Wagon Train, or maybe a good soap opera. BSG (and Stargate, and Atlantis, and hell, Star Wars for that matter) are all fantasies with technological trappings, and the lack of any supporting foundation for all the critical technologies depicted simply detracts from the believability of the storyline, so far as I'm concerned. Complain about Star Trek's technobabble if you wish, but the original series, in particular, was about as much of a true sci-fi as the studio heads would allow: Roddenberry used scripts from some of the best science fiction writers of the time, and much of what they wrote was a legitimate projection of existing scientific knowledge (not all, but they tried.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sockatume (732728)

        Star Trek's technobabble wasn't science fiction. The words they used were tangentally related to science which was tangentally related to the events onscreen, but it may as well have been luminiferous ether for all it was coupled to the plot. Star Trek rarely dealt with issues of science*, it was very much a "space show".

        *When it did, it was often excellent

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by master_p (608214)

        Please mod parent up.

        Technobabble is not bad if it has legitimate reasons to exist. It's only bad if it covers the weaknesses of the script writers. In the Star Trek series, Technobabble got ridiculous in the last seasons of TNG, but largely in Voyager. It is no coincidence that this happened just after Rodenberry died.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:46PM (#34119270) Homepage Journal
    So you mean in the future really hot female asian robots will be feasible? Well I now have reason to live as long as possible.
  • by gerddie (173963) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:51PM (#34119300)

    The result: BSG was barely science fiction - at least to purists.

    I risk to differ: Good science fiction can and should also refer to social sciences by putting people into extreme situations that are probably easier to conceive in a fictional setting then in a setting of the current world. When doing that kind of science fiction it will most likely tell you more about the time when it was created then about a possible future and IMO that is a good thing, because the future is not foreseeable anyway and the fiction should reflect and influence the now. I think BSG did an excellent job at that.

    • Good science fiction can and should also refer to social sciences by putting people into extreme situations that are probably easier to conceive in a fictional setting then in a setting of the current world.

      That's just fiction, not science fiction. Real science fiction should have a large science component. That's what it's primarily about. Stories about people who use science to overcome difficulties, or who struggle in worlds ruled by scientific principles, etc. Think of it as fiction based on the

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) *

        Good science fiction can and should also refer to social sciences by putting people into extreme situations that are probably easier to conceive in a fictional setting then in a setting of the current world.

        That's just fiction, not science fiction. Real science fiction should have a large science component. That's what it's primarily about. Stories about people who use science to overcome difficulties, or who struggle in worlds ruled by scientific principles, etc. Think of it as fiction based on the core principles of the Age of Enlightenment.

        And if you are going to create a universe that is technologically and scientifically more advanced than we are (but not so advanced that their technology might as well be supernatural) then you must project their developments in light of current scientific knowledge. That's why it is science fiction and not fantasy.

      • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @10:10PM (#34119862)

        Good science fiction can and should also refer to social sciences by putting people into extreme situations that are probably easier to conceive in a fictional setting then in a setting of the current world.

        That's just fiction, not science fiction. Real science fiction should have a large science component. That's what it's primarily about. Stories about people who use science to overcome difficulties, or who struggle in worlds ruled by scientific principles, etc. Think of it as fiction based on the core principles of the Age of Enlightenment.

        Someone at syfy is reading your comment and writing a newton/leibniz buddy comedy.
        "Don't be derivative!" - gottfried's catchphrase

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by s-whs (959229)

      The result: BSG was barely science fiction - at least to purists.

      I risk to differ: Good science fiction can and should also refer to social sciences by putting people into extreme situations that are probably easier to conceive in a fictional setting then in a setting of the current world. When doing that kind of science fiction it will most likely tell you more about the time when it was created then about a possible future and IMO that is a good thing, because the future is not foreseeable anyway and t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Junta (36770)

      But science fiction (purist definition) refers to posing questions about things that are explicitly raised by advanced science concepts. BSG is good space opera. A story told against an aesthetically interesting backdrop defined in terms of futuristic aspects, but a story that could replace it all with fantasy or even current day elements and still preserve the essence of the story.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @08:59PM (#34119364)

    Don't get me wrong. I drooled over BSG, and it was a welcome change from Star Trek (victory for modernized scifi). But the part where Starbuck dies, then miraculously appears alive, and ends up stumbling over her dead previous body... culminating in her literally vanishing into a puff of smoke -- it made me facepalm IRL. I think some of the original appeal of BSG was what it could have become; the hope that, as you're watching it, all the crap religion and character idiocy will be tossed out in the later episodes. Unfortunately it only got worse. If BSG accomplished one thing, it was in showing a version of humanity even stupider than our own -- surely a remarkable feat.

    • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @10:12PM (#34119880)
      You mean you don't know who Starbuck was?! Guess I can understand why you would be pissed off and confused.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Wait... what are you saying? Who was Starbuck?

        Now I'm supremely confused. I thought she was just another "human" who served an allegorical role in the show. Was she something more?

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @10:38PM (#34120060) Journal

      Yeah.... I'm glad you mentioned that, because that was my "bone to pick" with the whole BSG series too. It was an *excellent* series, all in all - but that religious stuff near the end deflated my interested in it almost immediately!

      One of my friends pointed out that the main scriptwriter was a devout Mormon though, so he was probably trying to interject his beliefs into the story-line.

      I mean, it's one, valid way to tell the story -- but it just wasn't at all satisfying one for me. I had a similar problem with "The Matrix" sequels, where they went from an initially really cool story-line to some sort of religious thing with Morpheus as a prophet, etc. etc. I know plenty of people who thought The Matrix would have been far better if they didn't bother doing a part 2 or 3....

  • The whole series was great and all, but the story also very depressing. Talk about slitting your wrists. Damn.

  • The new BSG was basically a soap opera for the women and a sexy show for the men. It had a dash of pseudo spirituality, and a game where cylons were slowly revealed. The basic premise was slaves trying to destroy the former owners, and former owners feeling guilty about killing the former slaves, but they had no choice. The reason the techno-babble was minimal was because the whole technology thing was irrelevent. The show was purposely designed to not alienate viewers with the science fiction angle.

    O

  • Offtopic, sort of. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jiteo (964572) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @09:21PM (#34119536)
    I'm still angry at BSG for ending with "You know all of those cool questions we left unanswered? Yeah, those. Yeah, God did it."
  • Years later I still recall watching the pilot / mini-series and being impressed with the physics of the vipers - When we saw Starbuck push the viper's stick forward we also saw a reaction thruster fire to push the nose down. It was at that moment that I realized, "Hey, this show could be alright." (...and I was correct, except for the last 10 minutes of the series finale.)

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