This was a comment by Greg on an old post of mine, Battlestar Galactica : Old vs New – it is so epic in nature and I enjoyed reading it so much (infact I read it 3 times) that I just had to post it here.
To me Battlestar Galactica showed science fiction what not to do when you pick up a well established name. You don’t cover over what people loved. You don’t try to wipe out or re-imagine something that is dear to people. We got to see with this show what happens. A loyal fanbase gets defensive of a show that they had been entrenched with for 20 years (yarhens) and then you get the old vs. new happening. Yes, the new Battlestar tipped its hat many times to the original series. The series itself from what I gathered rebuilds the whole timeline of the original series told in one and a quarter seasons and expands the story to four seasons.
For one, I wished the Battlestar Pegasus has stayed around longer than two episodes. In the new series you get that. The new series also fills in a lot of “what if’s” that were asked with the original series. I’ve heard a lot of this. My friends sifted out a lot of the good of the series for me out of the quagmire of seemingly aimless writing that happened around the third season.
But like I mentioned earlier, Battlestar Galactica showed what NOT to do. Don’t try to tell fans something they loved never happened. The first thing the fans will say is “F*** you, I know it happened and you can’t deny it.” (see also “The Star Wars Holiday Special” and George Lucas.)
Thanks to Battlestar Galactica, when Doctor Who continued on, they might have been tempted to say the previous years and regenerations never happened, but instead, they fully embraced the past, (even including the American movie). And now Doctor Who, while always a popular show in Britian, is probably more popular throughout the world. Doctor Who is no longer for geeks (as I remembered in the 80?s), but also of many many hot girls and women throughout the world!! (I certainly don’t remember THAT happening in the 80?s, but it is certainly the case now.)
When the Star Trek movies came out, they wanted to go in new directions. They establish in the movie that Spock prime came from a alternate timeline. Bravo!! Now they have said that BOTH will be cannon. You have the Trek we used to know with the Trek we will come to know. Both are legit. Very well played. And now the new Trek is loved quite a lot by old and new fans.
And speaking of the “… that we used to know…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJlbPXZEpRE
…Star Wars made a very similar mistake that Battlestar made, only on a much much smaller scale. You have George Lucas claiming that there was no Holiday Special, that Greedo shot first, and as the song above said, that the first three movies were inferior. This alone led to some ill feelings, and those are only minor changes.
In time the books and comics would establish that there was a re-imagined and classic Battlestar universe. This made me happy. Basically what Star Trek was able to say in its own cannon to fans that as Battlestar fans we had to figure out on our own. At conventions I have talked to Herb Jefferson Jr (Boomer) who didn’t seem overly impressed with the new series, but seemed to have a attitude that they will do what they want to do with it. Talking to Anne Lockhart (Sheba) (a real sweethart) said she just hadn’t seen the new show last I talked to her. We all know what Dirk Benedict thought of the new show (at least as of 2007 and 2011). And in truth I can agree with Dirk on what a lot of what he says.
However, on the times I’ve come across Richard Hatch (at conventions), who was at first avidly against the new series, he has had some interesting things to say. Basically said he liked working with the new series. And the reasons given were very good ones. Basically said there seemed to be more thought and planning put into the new series, along with resources. And it is true, ABC gave Battlestar more and more limited support as the show fought to stay on the air. By the time “Galactica 1980? rolled around, the budget was cut in half and the story was severly limited to limited acts of violence since it was during family prime time hours. The new show would have all the support and leeway and time needed to tell their story. Ultimately, I am glad that Richard Hatch found working with the new crew to be a enjoyable experience.
As for me, I have read articles like this, talked to friends, talked to cast members. I salute the new series but remain in the classic universe.
I would have actively watched the new series if it had been called something else. I would have loved the show too I’m pretty sure. I might have said (as I said with Space Above and Beyond) “this show is a lot LIKE Battlestar Galactica… kinda a rip off, but I like it!!” But now I won’t watch it simply because they went about presenting this new story, as I perceive, the wrong way.