Will Battlestar Galactica fans be missing out on much if Blood & Chrome isn’t made into a series?
The Economic Recession ™ killed more than our hopes and dreams, it also killed the starship captain – a staple of television since the original Star Trek series. Ever since Syfy decided that it wasn’t really into the business of science fiction and cancelled Stargate Universe so that it can show even more wrestling shows, there hasn’t been a single space-bound SF show despite all the talk of anything from a Space 1999 reboot to who knows what.
Since then, science fiction television has been earthbound, much like our expectations and dreams. Now that Fringe is over, horror /fantasy in the guise of Supernatural rip-offs and Twilight wannabes rule pretty much supreme on the boob tube in the same way bookshelves are groaning under the weight of endless “urban fantasy” tomes in which writers do their damnedest to inject vampires into typical Mills & Boon plotlines.
Yup, the space TV show is dead – even though the biggest movie hit all time is set on an alien planet (Avatar).
Take the history of Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.
It began life in October 2010 when it was announced as a two-hour pilot episode for a possible Battlestar Galactica spinoff series. As time progressed, it kept on being downgraded until it was “broadcast” as 10 webisodes on the Internet. This week it was finally premiered as a standalone movie on Syfy with a DVD & Blu-ray release to follow next week.
All talk of a TV series seems to have disappeared along the way. Sure, a Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome TV series might still get made and I sincerely hope that it does, but it seems increasingly unlikely.
So if Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome is never turned into a series, will fans have missed anything? Well, space shows are a bit like what Woody Allen said of sex: that bad sex is after all better than no sex at all.
Like the doomed Caprica show, Blood & Chrome is yet another prequel. Here’s the official plot summary:
[It] takes place in the midst of the first Cylon war. As the battle between humans and their creation, the sentient robotic Cylons, rages across the 12 colonial worlds, a young, talented fighter pilot, William Adama, finds himself assigned to one of the most powerful battlestars in the Colonial fleet: the Galactica. Though Adama quickly finds himself at odds with his co-pilot, the battle weary officer Coker (Ben Cotton, Alcatraz), the two men must set their differences aside when a routine escort mission with an enigmatic passenger (Lili Bordán, Silent Witness) turns dangerous and becomes a pivotal one for the desperate fleet.
Yup, it’s the adventures of Young Bill Adama (guess which character can never buy it?). The show is closer in tone to Battlestar Galactica than Caprica, which was an entirely different kettle of Cylon fish altogether. There are loads of space battles and fast-paced action. It half-heartedly tries to mimic some of the original show’s depth, but comes across as a more dim-witted cousin of the original show. It’s like they took the original series (by which we of course mean the 2000s show, but the ‘Seventies one) and cut out all the philosophical and drama bits that made it such compelling viewing in favor of more action. In that way, it is similar to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek movie which jettisoned characterization and SF elements to make place for breakneck action, dumbing it down so that Star Trek is more like Star Wars. (Blood & Chrome also boasts a lot of lens flares – make of that what you will.)
At times, the action is too hectic and the editing too frantic – as if the filmmakers are afraid to lose the attention of the same audiences who tune into Syfy for some wrestling. The special effects – backgrounds are all computer generated – are decent but visually busy and cluttered. Bloated eye candy as one Amazon.com reviewer puts it. One cherishes the quieter moments when the frame is filled with only one or two characters instead of banks of machinery with flashing lights or endless streams of extras milling about in the background.
As a prequel it ain’t the equal, but fans of things getting blown up real good will appreciate it and, yes, which sci-fi fan’s pulse doesn’t quicken at the sight of giant spaceships blowing each other up? Blood & Chrome may be dumbed-down Battlestar Galactica, but it sure as heck beats no Battlestar Galactica at all!