With confinement, we had to find a few distractions, so Dad and Grandpa started looking for series on the internet. As at that time I was reading Science Fiction books (well, it’s always the case! ^^ ‘), they wanted to make me discover old series in the same genre, yes Grandpa is definitely a geek (I am proud of him). So I discovered Cosmos 1999, Flash Gordon, Roy Rodgers and others … Wanting to introduce me to Galactica, a 1978 series, they came across its remake version of 2004.
At home we all loved it, even Grandma. We woke up in the morning, a shower and we slumped on the sofa with our cereal bowls, at noon on the TV set and in the evening we were real zombies when we went to bed.
By talking about it with my friends, I learned that it was a must-see cult series, but I admit I have never heard of it. I tell myself that I must not be the only one so I’m going to try to make you want to see this little gem of science fiction from the small screen.
Of course I would be absolutely not objective, you must start to know me now, but above all I will try not to spoil anything so that you can discover it serenely.
History of its creation :
Let’s go back 40 years. Indeed, it is at the beginning of the Sixties that Glen A. Larson, the producer of the series, develops the concept of what was initially called “Adam’s Ark”, taking up the story of the Exodus of Moses and of the Jewish people in search of the promised land, all transposed into a space saga with the Space Opera sauce.
Besides, there is a biblical reference in the name of the commander of the Battlestar Galactica who is called Adama (Adam, Adama you have it?).
Anyway, the Galactica project remained in development for a long time, without ever finding a taker for production, until the unexpected success of a film now almost forgotten by the name of Star Wars in 1977.
Little mind blow : Star Wars => Battlestar …
That’s when Universal Studio pulled Galactica out of the closet in which it had been buried for 17 years, to delight the public in search of new space sagas to discover.
Galactica was born and will give birth 20 years later to Battlestar Galactica.
The speech :
We are talking about a space fleet in search of a new planet to colonize following the destruction of their star system by the Cylons, machines created by a disappeared reptilian people.
It is true that Science Fiction is timeless, but some questions must still be brought up to date, depending on the time and context.
It is for this reason that in 2003, during the remake proposed by Ronald D. Moore, the producer and scriptwriter of this series, many changes were made.
The themes addressed by the remake :
At first, although the concept of space saga is kept within the series, it only becomes a pretext and setting in order to focus on the evolution of the characters and the issues facing them.
What Moore calls “naturalist science fiction” allows juxtaposing smaller dramas within the framework of Space Opera, while borrowing a lot from the military science fiction of the original series.
Our heroes are no longer flawless men, but characters fighting against their own nature. Thus the series makes it possible to tackle themes like addiction (to drugs, alcohol, sex, …), conflicting family relationships, the notion of necessary evil, or even to explore the question of terrorism, highlighting the ethical and moral problems linked to the fight against it.
Besides, this is a theme that we find both on the Cylon side and on the human side, translating in my opinion the consequences left by the September 11 attacks which took place less than two years before the creation of the new series.
In a second step, in order to vectorize the fears linked to many scientific developments, notably biological and computer, Moore held that the Cylons become a very creation of the human being.
The machines rebelled, went into exile, and mutated to become humanoid robots, resembling us in every way, down to the cellular level. These models therefore become inseparable from the humans who initially created them. Thus this new point of view allows us to introduce the very interesting problematic of transhumanism, by repeatedly asking the existential question of the differentiation between humans and machines once the latter are endowed with emotions and experience feelings.
Another interesting change in my opinion is the change of Starbuck into a female character, allowing us to talk about the female condition in such a masculine environment.
The series does not hesitate to refer to History with a capital H. The events of the pilot episode made me think of the flash nomination of Lyndon B. Johnson follows the disappearance of Kennedy in 1963.
But in my opinion what is most interesting is the roundabout way the series takes, under the guise of science fiction, to portray us the development of the political situation in the USA after the September 11 attacks.
I believe that all the worries of this time pass there: from the paranoia of the sleeping terrorist cells, to the fear of the attack of civil liberties, to the suicide attacks, through the use of torture, thus evoking the hidden side of the war against terrorism.
A suspense that keeps us in suspense until the end :
To stick the spectator on his screen until the end, the screenwriters had the brilliant idea of sprinkling the quest of our dear friends with punctual revelation as to the identity of the infiltrated Cylons. What must have been as big a spoiler call at the time as the dead of Game of Thrones!
The qualities presented in this little article, which are not exhaustive, as well as the thinking that surrounds them, have contributed to making Battlestar Galactica an absolute must see for any serious Science Fiction fan. It is a cult work for many enthusiasts, of which I am a part if you still doubt it.
In the current context where flourish remake reboot, rearrangement and other nouns starting with “re”, it feels good to discover a work taking the form of its original material, while digging the background and embellishing it with a point of modern view not devoid of meaning and important philosophical questions.
BSG seems to me to be the perfect counter-example to the famous phrase “it was better before”, in the sense that this remake knew how to develop its own story in a borrowed universe. And if you didn’t already understand it during my last occurrences, watch this series quickly, because after all:
« So say we all !»