Why I Hate Battlestar Galactica: It’s Just Like The Walking Dead (Also, I Have No Heart)

Hour long television dramas are great. I settle into my chair, turn on Netflix, and enjoy the unfolding relationships of characters onscreen. I’ve done this for Lost, Doctor Who, Breaking Bad, House, and Dexter. Its fun. I look into people’s lives and enjoy their struggles to reach their goals. Villains will inevitably appear, impeding the journey of our protagonists. Even if the antagonists succeed in the downfall of our beloved characters, I will still happily watch: such is life, everything doesn’t always go the way we want it to. This is how I used to watch television. This is how I watched television before Battlestar Galactica.

Space!

Battlestar has a fascinating premise. As it explains in the opening titles of every episode:

The Cylons were created by Man
They rebelled
They evolved
They look and feel human
Some are programmed to think they are human
There are many copies
And they have a plan

Man, thats so cool! Yeah, so theres these robots who look totally human (and sexy humans at that) and they want to destroy all of mankind. The series starts out with a (literal) boom when the Cylons blow the crap out of all colonies of mankind. The only survivors are those who were in space at the time (most of whom were on the titular Battlestar Galactica [an aged war vessel]) and some gritty survivors on the planets. In total, about 40 thousand people are left. The series documents the lives of various crew members on the Battlestar and their attempt to escape Cylon attacks, find which of the crew are Cylon, the survival of mankind, and  the relationships between the crew. The show is brilliantly shot. The visual effects are really darn good for being on the SciFi Channel Original, and the cast is filled with great actors who are all extremely attractive.

"Oh you guys are in space... too? That's crazy, I was actually studying astrophysics before the planet got destroyed. Maybe we could talk about it over drinks? Oh... you were the ones that destroyed the planet? That's cool, I was kind of sick of it anyways. So how about that drink?"

The four main protagonists of the show are: Bill Adama, commander of the fleet of ships; Laura Roslin, President of the Twelve Colonies; Kara Thrace, pilot and all-around badass; Gaius Baltar, brilliant scientist and part-time president of the colonies who frequently has conversations with an imaginary Cylon.

So thats the show. On paper, it sounds awesome. It is awesome! Except that I completely hate it because I have no heart.

Let me to explain: with every other television drama that I watch, I can get wrapped up in people’s lives and worry about what happens to them. I cannot watch Battlestar Galactica like that because the fate of human civilization depends on the success of this group of people. I have no idea why I have adopted such a Machiavellian view of a show, but I view all characters other than Adama, Roselin, and the ship crew as completely dispensable. When you compare the crew romances, friendships, and betrayal with the extinction of humanity, everything looks pretty fucking trivial. Everyone looks at Battlestar Galactica as an action-drama series but for some reason only I see the truth that it is really a series about post-apocalyptic survival.

If half the characters in this photo would have died in the first episode and I'd be happier. Stop screwing up the fate of humanity, guys!

That’s it! Battlestar Galactica isn’t about relationships and all that boring stuff, it’s about zombies in space. Think about it, Cylons are the space version of zombies. You can never be safe them them, all they care about is the extinction of humans, and even you can be one. Cylons are just zombies that are smart and organized (well they can’t exactly turn people into other Cylons, but get off my back dude).

Over the last few months, everyone on the internet has consistently been shitting all over The Walking Dead. Their criticisms are totally valid for why The Walking Dead isn’t as great as it can be, and they completely apply to Battlestar Galactica.

1. Characters randomly assume that they’re in a safe location that totally isn’t safe

With the knowledge that the Cylons are actively looking for New Caprica, the humans just go ahead and live on New Caprica because… I guess they missed being able to farm? In the entire Universe, with faster than light drives, I’m sure that they could find a place other than where the creatures who wanted them dead also wanted to live.
Sound familiar? Oh yeah, that’s because Rick and his crew in The Walking Dead move to a farmhouse with literally no security because… I guess they really wanted to be able to farm? It’s probably one of the worst locations to withstand a zombie attack. Shoulder high wooden fences around a house probably a hundred years old… I’m sure that will do great against the walkers.

Surprised?

2. Romantic subplots are a lot less interesting than actually surviving the apocalypse

Both The Walking Dead and Battlestar Galactica constantly have characters fucking and breaking up. I know it’s cheaper to film a love story than a battle sequence, but I really got the feeling that both series use it simply as a way to pad the running time to episodes. I get that Laurie is upset that her baby might be Shane’s, and Starbuck maybe wants to be with Lee, but there is a legion of monsters out there that want you dead. Read the first half of that last sentence again, it sounds like I’m summarizing a soap opera.

These couplings are getting a little weird...

3. Anyone not directly helping the group is a threat to the survival of humanity.

I’m talking about you: Laurie, Shane, Carl, Carol, Sophia, Tigh’s wife, Gaius, Roslin, and literally all the civilians. Get your shit together and start being helpful to your group. No more complaining, this is a goddam war. Why can’t the characters that actually know the gravity of the completely-fucked situation tell these punks to step up? When will they lay down the law and convince Carl to stay in the goddam house, IT’S SURROUNDED BY ZOMBIES!

"Hey where's Carl? I wanted to tell him to stay inside the house today. I know we tell him it everyday, but I just want to make sure he knows. I mean, remember what happened last time he went walking in the woods? Yeah, he got shot in the chest. It's seriously a miracle he's alive now. He should know to stay inside, right?"
Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Why I Hate Battlestar Galactica: It’s Just Like The Walking Dead (Also, I Have No Heart)

  1. Cheers to this blog! I’ve almost finished season 1 of BSG and I already know there is no way I can justify wasting the time to watch the following 3 seasons. I know this is a post apocalyptic sci-fi drama and to keep it dramatic the writers must keep humanity one step away from becoming extinct but it is ridiculous how stupid some of these characters are (just like The Walking Dead ss you said) and I cannot suspend my being critical of what is fantasy because I cannot believe these characters are supposed to he humanity’s saviors. I guess I’ll finish out the season but that’s all the time I’m wasting on this horrible showm

  2. Ummm, you do know that BSG came out before The Walking Dead right? Sooooo essentially, The Walking Dead is a Zombie version of Battlestar Galactica. In fact, the writers of The Walking Dead were huge fans of BSG, and I beleive one of them had co-written some BSG episodes.

  3. Just like to say that I love battle star galactica, I’ve never thought if it as a zombi thing because that’s kind of insulting to the writers of the show who have put a lot of detail into it, having said that I’ve found some plot holes in the franchise and if you think about it it’s like terminator in space with a bit of Star Wars, never the less its a good show but I know what you mean about the whole survival thing.

  4. Edward James Olmos’ character is the most depressing character ever created for television no matter what the reason for his negativity. I am fond of every sci-fi show on television except for the convoluted confusing plots and characters on BSG. If I don’t like a show, I simply do not watch it, but every time I try to give BSG a chance, I hate it even more

  5. I love both BSG and The Walking Dead. They’re probabaly 2 of my favorite television shows currently. I do, however, agree with you. You spend most of your time annoyed with nearly all the characters wondering just when they are going to get their heads out of their asses. At the same time I feel it is an acurate reflection of humanity. We’re all so wrapped up in our own drama that we forget the bigger picture all the time. Heck, why do you think so many people don’t vote? It’s because they think someone else will so they can just carry on in their own little self obsessed world.
    And yes, I also love both the shows music. Bear McCreary is a talented individual.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s