Castrating Galactica - why Faceman needs to can it
Earlier this year Dirk Benedict wrote an article for Big Hollywood about Ronald D. Moore's reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. Benedict has a unique perspective here having played Starbuck in Glen A. Larson's 1978 original and he is plainly not digging the new breed. He makes a lot of assertions about the franchise that are plainly horseshit. Motherfuckers need to get off that shit.
"'Battlestar Galactica, reflects in microcosm the complete change in the politics and morality of today’s world, as opposed to the world of yesterday'. Yes, because 1978 was a real moral and political utopia. Get tae fuck"
In what, to be fair, is a pretty well-written piece, Benedict starts off talking about his own experience playing Starbuck, the womanising Viper pilot the suits couldn't stand because he was just TOO REAL. Women all over the world loved Starbuck but jealous suits turned down the chance to make themselves millionaires off the back of his popularity and viciously cancelled the show. That's very nearly unbelievable, Dirk, but if you say it so then it happened.
But it still rankles with Benedict and he takes it out on the new Galactica. "the “re-imagined” “Battlestar Galactica,” bleak, miserable, despairing, angry and confused... reflects in microcosm the complete change in the politics and morality of today’s world, as opposed to the world of yesterday"
"Should we give a tuppenny fuck that Larson did not intend Galactica to stare into the universe's void as unflinchingly as it does? Hell, naw."
Yes, because 1978 was a real moral and political utopia. Get tae fuck. 1
He continues: “Un-imagining” is more accurate. To take what once was and twist it into what never was intended."
Not only does that not seem wrong it seems like the only working justification for a remake. Are we to be forever subject to the tyranny of authorial intent? Should we give a tuppenny fuck that Larson did not intend Galactica to stare into the universe's void as unflinchingly as it does? Hell, naw
Apparently eager to make a virtue of missing the point, he says "a television show based on hope, spiritual faith and family is un-imagined and regurgitated as a show of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction."
"Original BSG is based on platitude, hokum and sentiment. Nouveau BSG is based on hope, spiritual faith and family in the face of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction."
Not even close. Original BSG is based on platitude, hokum and sentiment. Nouveau BSG is based on hope, spiritual faith and family in the face of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction. Motherfucker, they find Earth. Cylon and human kick off homo sapiens. The slave centurions are free, free at last. Keep up.
He bemoans how the new show must "reflect the times of ambiguous morality in which we live, one would assume. A show in which the aliens (Cylons) are justified in their desire to destroy human civilization, one would assume."
"And cut out that 'one would assume' shit. This whole piece is one big unwarranted assumption."
Moral relativism didn't just arrive in 2004. Get your head around this, Dirk: simplistic morality makes for bad drama - stock characters saying and doing the obvious thing in every situation develops nothing and takes us nowhere. And cut out that "one would assume" shit. This whole piece is one big unwarranted assumption.
Unsurprisingly, he's not crazy about the female characters in BSG. "The male characters, from Adama on down, are confused, weak and wracked with indecision, while the female characters are decisive, bold, angry as hell"
This is balls on so many different levels. In what galaxy is Adama weak? Is this the same Adama who survived the Holocaust, assassination attempts, knocked lumps out of Chief Tyrol, threw the love of his life in the brig, ordered a nuclear strike on The Temple of Five? And while Galactica does have strong female characters they are as prone to vulnerability, fuck-ups and despair as the rest. How can characters as memorable as Kara Thrace, Laura Roslin and Caprica 6 be a bad thing? The suspicion that Benedict likes his female characters barefoot and pregnant is not easily shifted.
"In what Galaxy is Adama weak? Is this the same Adama who survived the Holocaust, knocked lumps out of Chief Tyrol, threw the love of his life in the brig, and ordered a nuclear strike on The Temple of Five? "
Now he really loses the plot. "The best minds in the world of un-imagination doubled their intake of Double Soy Latte’s as they gathered in their smoke-free offices"
This is one of those bad observational comedy one-liners you see from time to time lifted from a half remembered stand up routine 15 years previous, popular among people who think that the middle classes give their kids names like Jocasta; people who will still be using the word chav five decades after it ceases to be relevant. Reimagining the team behind Battlestar Galactica as soulless Hollywood operators is just pathetic but it's where we get to the heart of his argument.
"The creative artists have lost and the Suits have won. Suits. Administrators. Technocrats. Metro-sexual money-men (and women), who create ever more efficient formulas to guarantee profit margins."
"It takes some balls to frame the antiseptic Star Wars bandwagon jumping Waltons in space potboiler Battlestar Galactica as the wild eyed outsider labour of love of the creative artist."
I have to give him credit here. It takes some balls to frame the antiseptic Star Wars bandwagon jumping Waltons-in-space potboiler Battlestar Galactica 1978 as the wild eyed outsider labour of love of the creative artist and the dark, brilliant, twisted Battlestar Galactica 2004 as the brainchild of the money men. But still, fuck him for coming out with this despicable lie.
Developing the idiocy further, he says "Harvard Business School Technocrats run Hollywood and what Technocrats know is what must be removed from all business is Risk."
Please. Battlestar Galactica is about nothing but risk. It makes the audience work like hell for every ounce of understanding they gain. Alienating the audience is in its DNA; it's very obtuseness defines it. One actress playing six different characters; extended theological debate between machines; good Boomer, bad Boomer; Human Anders, Cylon Anders, hybrid Anders; Human suicide bombers post-9/11. You want to talk about risk, motherfucker? This is the Russian roulette of remakes.
"Original BSG didn't get cancelled after one season because it was too edgy for the suits. It got cancelled after one season because nobody cared about it. People couldn't even be bothered to hate it"
The whole thing is a shitty attempt to downgrade a great and brave work of art. "Health and safety zealots ban original BSG" is the article he really wants to be writing. The politically correct brigade have banned Christmas, renamed black pudding and ruined the beloved and lauded Battlestar Galactica.
Give me a break. Original BSG didn't get cancelled after one season because it was too edgy for the suits. It got cancelled after one season because nobody cared about it. People couldn't even be bothered to hate it. That is its legacy. The only way reimagined BSG could work is to make it as different from the original as possible. The only good things about the original - the story templates and character archetypes taken from the Bible - are the only things that remained.
"He's mad that the world has passed him by, mad that Shilpa didn't fuck him, mad that Katee Sackhoff's Starbuck has bigger balls."
It seems to irk Dirk that the show was superseded by such a massively superior piece of work, particularly when it took all the risks that the original didn't in the name of artistic integrity. He's mad that the world has passed him by, mad that Shilpa didn't fuck him, mad that Katee Sackhoff's Starbuck has bigger balls than his. He's fooling no one with this nonsense and just looks a graceless chump.
Don't fall for any of this revisionist cant - original Galactica sucked balls, was rightly culled before it could inflict any more damage on our culture and everyone involved with it should be eternally grateful to be even loosely associated with the magnificent second coming that Ronald D. Moore brought into being. Dirk Benedict can fuck right off.
Watch, recognize and laud the new improved BSG. Better in every conceivable way than the original.
1 There is of course the joke about 1978 being a great year for Glasgow Rangers. - two popes died and Danny McGrain broke his leg
Imagined: Friday, December 18, 2009
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© James Donaghy 2003-2013