Newest Review: ... The opening scene of the mini series is quite startling. It's easy for viewers to follow the story arc as the basic history is explain... more
I'm not a sci-fi fan but....
Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series (DVD)
Member Name: cerys82
Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series (DVD)
Advantages: Intriguing, intelligent
Disadvantages: The extras are insubstantial, but this is a minor gripe
This DVD refers to the remake of the original 1970's Battlestar Galactica series which began again in 2004. I had heard really good things about this series; particularly as when I dismissed it as 'I don't like Sci-fi', people have fallen over themselves to tell me that whilst I might think that, this might change my mind.
So when it was announced that along with series such as The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, BG would be shown from the beginning on new channel Sky Atlantic, I was really intrigued. However, when we came to sit and watch the aforementioned 'first' episode from the number stored on our Sky + box (Sky Atlantic are currently showing 2 episodes a week which means that they mount up really quickly!), we were a bit surprised and confused. Firstly, there were "Previously on BG" clips and when the action actually started we could not understand what was going on.
On further research, (thank you Wikipedia), we discovered that Series 1 started with a 3 hour miniseries/pilot, which for some reason Sky had decided not to show in advance of the rerun (as far as we were aware). And so, we had to track down just this miniseries, which fortunately is available for around £3.99 from sites like Amazon, exclusive of the pricier whole series boxsets.
Please note that whilst you there is a certain amount of flexibility for scene selection with this disc, it is meant to be played like a 3 hour episode - all in one go. Although the transfer to DVD has not edited out some slightly annoying 'fade to black' moments where there was obviously a commercial break in the transmitted version.
There is also a 20 minute mini documentary under 'bonus' where the premise is set up and views are given by the cast. This is inoffensive enough but does not really go into any depth, forming more of a fluff piece to be honest.
The premise is this - some years previous to the advent of the city, humans had embraced Artificial Intelligence in such a way that they created a robot race named the Cylons to serve them. However, these became so advanced that in time they turned on their human creators leading to all-out war between the two 'species.' Eventually, an armistice was called between the two sides and the Cylons disappeared to create their own worlds elsewhere.
Nothing had been heard from the Cylons until now 40 years later when a sudden and brutal attack takes place on the human home planet of Caprica all but destroying all but a few of its population. Simultaneously, the last remaining fighter space station from the war or 'Battlestar' Galactica is floating around in the ether somewhere above Caprica. As the 40th anniversary of this end of the battle is met it is decided that Battlestar Galactica will be decommissioned and is on its way to its home planet when it receives news of the attack.
The ship quickly decides to fight fire with fire, whilst rescuing and saving as many people as it can. However, it quickly becomes apparently that the Cylons have spent their time away evolving into an almost infinitely more complex species and are a far more formidable opponent than they have been previously.
Throw into this some intriguing characters, including a seemingly sociopathic vixen who presents as a human but acts like something else entirely, a playboy scientist and well respected academic who has made some fatal decisions, culpable amounts of sexual and family tension amongst the Battlestar crew and you have the premise for an intriguing story.
Like I said previously, I am not a Sci-fi fan and find some of the concepts that are created in this genre hard to grasp, so excuse me if you are familiar with the show and my synopsis is perhaps not as it should be. However, I did find it relatively straightforward to follow without it being simple or basic.
It is pretty much done with a straight face and is not as campy as some sci-fi shows and films I have seen in the past, with the exclusion of the character of the aforementioned scientist. The special effects are also really good, largely CGI of course but they feel totally appropriate in their context without taking away from the main story.
Sustaining the premise over a three hour period is quite tricky but it is managed surprisingly well - weaving just the right amount of action and story and character development to get you engaged. By taking its time over it, you do not feel hurried and can see things develop more naturally than if they were desperately trying to shove it all into a one hour pilot to keep you tuned in for the next episode.
It also has a surprisingly adult tone to it, with some quite brutal violence and some surprisingly raunchy sexual moments (which I think are actually a bit explicit for the 12 certificate this particular DVD has been given.)
In conclusion, i think that this mini-series is very entertaining and has certainly got me intrigued for starting to watch the series good and proper. I am really interested to see how the story and characters develop and already feel as though I have something invested in it. So despite my earlier grumbles, I think having this 3 hour introduction has been a good thing, as it has forced me to concentrate and perhaps have a little more concentration on what is within it in order to embrace it as enjoyable entertainment in a genre that I am not overly familiar with or have any great affection for.
Summary: A gripping beginning to the BG series
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