Wednesday, 19 November 2014

So Say We All

I’m breaking with the title traditions of SC 2.0 to go back to 1.0’s quotation titles for today. For today, I reflect upon my favourite television show, Battlestar Galactica, in light of the sad passing of the show’s original creator, Glen A. Larson.

A retrospective on what Galactica means to me has been something I’ve been contemplating doing for a long time. Dribs and drabs of information have been coming through for a while now – a couple of weeks ago I talked about the show’s score and Bear McCreary’s unrelenting musical genius. At the start of this year, my retrospective on 2013 featured photographic evidence of my Galactica-related tattoo and the vague origins of why it came to be. But I haven’t gone into a lot of depth of my history with the show.

It all starts with the BBC and the original 1979 Battlestar Galactica. BBC2, to be as precise as my dim recollection of those childhood days will allow. I was in my extremely early teens and every now and again, I would catch this random show on BBC2. It had evil robots, gallant fighter pilots, wise commanders but most importantly, it had big frakkin’ spaceships! I’d say I was hooked, but back then the only show I was religiously hooked on was The Simpsons. It would be a couple of years before I would start getting into things properly (such as Farscape, again BBC2 coming to the rescue there) and by then Galactica only appeared occasionally.

Now my family never owned Sky and the friends that did lived too far away, so in 2003 when the re-imagined Galactica mini-series hit the screens, I was only vaguely aware of what was going on. In 2004, when the full series came around, I was more aware from catching sight of it in the TV guide and thinking “Hey, that show” but thought little more of it. It would 2010 before Galactica truly came back into my life.

Through geekiness I shared with one of my university lecturers (who, through her wisdom in introducing me to Galactica has received the call sign “Athena”), I was lent the 2003 mini-series. A hostage-exchange of sorts, given that I had loaned Athena one of the seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Almost immediately I fell in love with the show. In the time that it was in my possession, I watched it over and over. When it came time to arrange the handover of prisoners, I received season one and proceeded to blitz through it. Then season two. Unable to contain myself, I bought seasons three and the final season (erroneously believing that it was both halves of season four. Upon realising my error, I ordered season four) and powering through them. On 25th August 2010, the day I went to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for the first time, I also watched the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica. I won’t lie, I got a little choked up. I didn’t want it to end. And there’s something the Tigh and Adama discuss in an episode just before the grand finale that REALLY got me choked up.

The show’s legacy in my life is something that I know baffles and sometimes irritates people (especially my colleagues at work because they have to listen to it all the frakkin’ time). I have incorporated the term “frak” into my everyday vocabulary. There’s the tattoo and my tradition of assigning my friends ranks and call signs. It may utterly baffle, confound and irritate people with how deeply Galactica has been integrated into my life, but it is simply my favourite TV show ever. Once a crown claimed by Firefly, I had to pass it on. While I love Firefly, it’s not the best to me. Sure, it has spaceships, but it doesn’t have space battles. Or Bear McCreary’s score. Or the cast of Galactica, who are downright amazing. I want to give special kudos hear to one of the United Kingdom’s own, James Callis. His portrayal of Doctor Gaius “The Spineless” Baltar (“The Spineless” is a moniker I apply personally) is outstanding. Baltar’s character has a depth and complexity that make him incredibly compelling to watch. And this is just one of the many characters I love (or love to hate, in the case of Gaius frakkin’ Baltar).

I could go on and on, but I don’t think the point needs too much hammering home. Maybe just one final reflection. Given that this post was inspired by tragic passing of Galactica’s creator, it should be noted that without Glen A. Larson, none of this would have happened. Ronald D. Moore and David Eick wouldn’t have had  a series to re-imagine, I wouldn’t have fallen madly in love with it. I wouldn’t have had one of my earliest sci-fi influences. So here’s to you, Glen A. Larson. Thank you for having the idea and realising it. You will be missed.

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