Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Galactica 1980

TV has come a long way indeed. This is embarassing stuff!

The 10 episode Galactica 1980 essentially ATTEMPTS to bring some sense of closure to the original Battlestar Galactica. Boy oh boy, does it fail miserably.

The cast includes the returning grey-bearded Lorne Greene, Herbert Jefferson Jr. [Boomer], Kent McCord [Troy aka Boxey], Barry Van Dyke [Dylan] and a stupid creation called Dr.Z [played by the kid, Oliver, on The Brady Bunch for the first three riveting episodes].

Guests include none other than the late Robert Reed [Mr. Brady- "goodnight Mr. and Mrs. Brady" fame], William Daniels [the voice of KITT in Knight Rider], Wolfman Jack [WTF!] and appearances by the little girl from the newer episodes of Little House On The Prairie [Missy Francis].

This is a space opera disaster of epic proportions that takes place mostly on low-budgeted Earth. The premise for the whole thing becomes preposterous as all of these crazy ideas sort of get tossed together. It's like someone said "What would happen if he we made space motorbikes for the colonial warriors?". It's bloody CHiPs Galactica!

Glen A Larson has clearly lost his mind.

Episode Guide:
Galactica Discovers Earth [D]: The premiere is like one big bad 'Bad'lestar nightmare. The score of old has been supplanted by a kind of hodgepodge that sounds like intergalactic CHiPs noodling. Pure cheese. Where's Jon and Ponch when you need them? McCord and Van Dyke are sent on a mission to Earth from the Galactica. Commander Adama assesses the planet is not technologically advanced enough to defend itself against a cylon invasion if the Galactica is followed there. The boys are sent to find Reed, a nuclear physicist where they pick up the token female, reporter Jamie Hamilton, for the series. McCord and Van Dyke play the whole 'fish out of water' routine as aliens on Earth on and off throughout the series and the writing fails them miserably. Terrible! At times, it's like Galactica's answer to Starky and Hutch. The whole thing is preposterous.

Galactica Discovers Earth Part II [F] The Earthbound antics continue and McCord drives a police car wishing he was still in Adam-12. He may has well have been. He plays essentially the same one-note character. Adama determines he must send McCord, Van Dyke and token female back in time to help prepare Earth. There are some NEW swirly effects and some swooshing tail effects for the vipers but NO writing talent to be found in this black hole of a series. Most of the effects shots and cylons are found in the opening credits, images clearly lifted straight from the original series. McCord and Van Dyke travel back to 1944 Nazi Germany. The exposition feels like a forced history lesson. There's no fun in this. It's a completely bizarre and boring political statement. There are so many continuity holes and farfetched scenarios it makes The A-Team seem realistic. Galactica 1980 feels less like Battlestar Galactica, less an homage to 70s television and more like a collision of show ideas. Weird stuff.

Galactica Discovers Earth Part III [F] The enthralling conclusion to the show's 3 parter. NOT! Terrible crap this stuff. Who on Earth or Caprica for that matter would have ever imagined the Galactica would find Earth, travel back in time to 1944, tangle with the Nazis, liberate the Jews from concentration camps!? Science-fiction!? No doubt, but the absolute worst and incomprehensible kind. It's a certified disaster. It's not fun to watch. My wife and I laughed most of the time making fun of it like we were the characters in Mystery Science Theatre. There's loads of stock WWII footage because the creators had no budget! Back to the future and McCord and Van Dyke are taken by the military.

The Earthly "you gotta be freakin' kiddin' me" adventures continue....

The Super Scouts [F] Four episodes into the series and finally we see cylons and not the ones in the opening credits. These cylons don't say a damn thing! The cylons attack one of the fleet's ships. A fire in space. Perfect, cut to the action footage edited out of the original series' episode Fire In Space. Fake smoke is blown onto the video image. WTF! There isn't actually smoke in the new sequences. No one is coughing or sweating. It's hysterical. McCord and Van Dyke escape to Earth again [no special effects needed except for those flying motorbikes] this time with 12 super children. To blend, all dress as cubscouts and scout masters. The delinquent space kids come down with an illness thanks to a nearby chemical plant near the lake they have camped upon. Cue the ecological message episode! Once again the colonial warriors take time from their survival mission to teach us how to care for the environment. This is a solid entry in the series! NOT! Terrible again!

I found Jon and Ponch and that cheesy CHiPs and Galactica hybrid musical noodling! This is the epitome of Galactica meets CHiPs meets Starsky & Hutch fashion. I kid you not!

The Super Scouts Part II [F] The storyline was so good it needed 2 parts. WTF! This makes Earth 2 feel like quality science fiction. Really. The episode is filled with pursuit by the military, illness and kids jumping into and over trees like Six Million Dollar Babies or, ....ummm Super Scouts. Disgusted!

Spaceball [F] McCord and Van Dyke are adrift in space after being manipulated by one of their own who is essentially the Baltar of the series. Lucky for them they get to sit this one out. Jamie takes the 12 kids to a special needs campground to playout another terrible script. This is, by all accounts, the Bad News Bears riff. The formula is applied as they need to win a baseball game for the failing kids' camp. Yes folks, only the very best in science fiction for our Galactica fans.

The Night The Cylons Landed [F] This might be more aptly titled The Night 2 Cylons Landed. Yeah, a real invasion. Actually there were like 4-5 cylons but a few died in the landing. The on-board computers even warned them that survival was unlikely, but what the hell land anyway. This is the first glimpse at the idea of Cylon evolving [clearly not too smart]; one humanoid, one centurion. They even talk in this episode. The cylons crash in New York in the hopes of transmitting a signal to their brothers in space. Meanwhile, McCord and Van Dyke are aboard a hijacked plane enroute to intercepting the cylons. What really grates the nerves is Greene's character. Commander Adama is so out of character from the original series. He's like a wuss always leaning on the advice of this ill-conceived brain child prodigy Dr.Z. Any sense of leadership he had in the classic series is out the window. He's pathetic! For God's sake grow a pair of balls, you're fucking Commander Adama! What the hell was Glen A. Larson thinking with this entire series? He should be ashamed of himself writing such tripe. Not a shining moment.

The Night The Cylons Landed Part II [F] And now "the exciting conclusion"...well, that's what they would have you believe despite the fact excitement is exactly what they forgot to put into this thing. McCord and Van Dyke attempt to locate the cylons, but not before dancing on stage to the "Goodship Lollipop" in white tuxedos and saving a boy and dog from a raging blaze. WTF!? Meanwhile the cylons are passed off as costumed partygoers on Halloween. This is nothing more than a goofy, lame-ass piece of garbage. Just stupid.

Space Croppers [F] Believe me. I was praying I could root for just one episode. The Imperious Leader makes an appearance, but I think it's nothing more than borrowed footage from the original series complete with British accent. WTF again? The cylons attack the Galactica's food supply. McCord and Van Dyke are sent to Earth in the hopes of escaping this terrible show....I mean to try and establish a food source. This time the theme is prejudice and raciscm. They help some down-on-their-luck migrant Mexican farmers. The family even gets help spreading the seed from the Super Scouts. It just keeps getting better. The farm is saved. Everyone is one big happy family with food for all and the kids have found their new home away from the special needs baseball camp. Incredulous!

The Return Of Starbuck [?] The final episode.

I'm not exactly sure why I gave the first episode a 'D', perhaps I was blinded by my own fanboy excitement in seeing Lorne Green and the Galactica again. Maybe seeing a few roaming daggits gave me hope. In hindsight, I was generous. The best thing about Galactica 1980 is the box and sleeve the DVD contents are shipped in. It's pretty and clearly the special effects budget was spent on that box. The show looks amazing on that box, so don't expect to see it in the show.

So does The Return Of Starbuck, as some fans have touted as a throwback to the charms of the original, make it worthwhile to purchase this 10 episode 20 dollar mini-DVD Set of drivel? Can Dirk Benedict single-handedly save this disaster and return some sense of self-respect to all that was right with Battlestar Galactica?

Stay tuned for our exciting conclusion...

No comments: