Would You Adama Eve It: BSG Online

By Alec Meer on June 18th, 2010 at 10:08 pm.

I'm far more proud of that headline than I should be, even if it does only make sense to cockneys

OK, let’s do some catching up. PC news at E3 got pretty swamped by the various console hardware announcements and a rather nasty case of multiplatform sequelitis. But with the bulk of the shouting out the way, I can cheerfully mix my metaphors and wade through the dying embers of this oncoming storm where angels fear to tread.

By which I mean “here are the trailers you should probably watch.” To start off, here’s Battlestar Galactica Online…

That’s pretty much your classic “we’re not going to tell you anything about the game” trailer, but I’d be lying if it didn’t press a few fanboy buttons in me. The Battlestar remake’s low-down’n’dirty sci-fi was enormously pleasing, so the idea of something that revisits that and ignores all the God Did It nonsense the show later propped itself up with is rather appealing.

While the trailer’s not terribly illuminating, a quick scour turns up these facts:
– Browser-based!
– Free to play with premium (or, to use human language, “paid”) content!
– Ship-based combat only, initially at least!
– Free flying!
– Unity engine!
– An economy, including mining!
– Play as human or cylon!
– Set around season 2 of the show, so not too much prophecy crap!
– Norwegian MMO studio Artplant!
– “Coming soon” – the E3 briefings showed tech demos!

Tantalising, certainly. Much depends on how the paid content thing works, but a sort of baby Eve based upon an adored sci-fi lore isn’t such a bad idea. Definitely looking forward to trying, and the whole full-blown 3D MMO in a browser element is rather compelling too.

There are no details here, but it’s probably a URL you want to keep an eye on in case sign-ups open up.

I’m particularly hoping that the top-level human ability will be “plunge dramatically through atmosphere in a ball of fire, rescue the entirety of humanity then FTL-jump to orbit.”

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100 Comments »

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  1. Vinraith says:

    Play as human or cylon!

    Can I play as one of those toy robots from the finale? Those things were really threatening.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Eat it, toaster.

    • Collic says:

      The first two seasons of BSG were absolutely brilliant. It remained good up until after the new caprica stuff at the start of season 3, then lost its way horribly for pretty much the rest of the season. Even the finale was pretty unwhelming.

      They pulled it back somewhat in season 4, but imo they’d written themselves into so many boneheaded holes, it never really got as good as it was in those first two seasons. The conclusion to the series was a hell of a lot better than the entertainment balck hole that most of season 3 was though.

    • Collic says:

      Reply fail. this should be in the thread directly below.

    • Tuco says:

      Stopping at the end of second season? Are you joking, right? The 4×10-4×14 story arc was the absolute pinnacle in the whole saga.

    • Beanbee says:

      Season 3 was smack-bang in the middle of the writers strike. Its shows.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      The writer’s strike fell halfway through Season 4. The last thing they wrote and filmed before the strike was ‘Sometimes a Great Notion’, one of the very best episodes of the show. What came after was rushed and, indeed, seriously mentally retarded.

      I like to think of the ‘Revelations’/’Sometimes’ two-parter as the series finale if I’m feeling very generous and ‘Exodus Part 2′ if I’m not. I know we have to lose the mutiny two-parter which has some great stuff, but even that ended in a manner that didn’t make sense at all, so I think we have to roll the hard six with that one.

  2. Daniel Rivas says:

    Hmm. I have seen up to the end of season 2, I think. Should I bother watching the rest? I’m told it gets terrible.

    Also, I want to be in those dogfights so bad. Also! Can there be a power which lets you set off a load of fire from a Battlestar’s turrets, all at once?

    Please?

    • Vinraith says:

      That’s a pretty good place to stop. I wish I’d stopped there.

    • Dolphan says:

      The ending is terrible but a lot of the stuff up to it remains fantastic, if patchier than the excellent running start they got off to (there’s an episode based around a trial, in particular, that is utterly brilliant). It’s definitely worth watching the rest, although if you want to stop before the disappointing end the ‘break’ halfway through season 4 would probably be the place to do it.

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      Vandelay says:

      It doesn’t get terrible. It stays very good all the way through. Some people just got unnecessarily angry about it for no real reason. I only watched the show for the first time at the start of this year, via the boxset given to me as a Christmas present, and found it to be one of the most intelligent sci-fi shows I had seen in a long time (in fact, probably one of the most intelligent shows full stop.) When I reached the finale, I was expecting something that was actually offensive in someway, the hatred for it was so great, but it was still a great ride and the emotion was pitch perfect throughout, even if the odd element was not satisfactorily handled. The last season did get a little wrapped up in its own mythology and it was quite clear that things were made up on the fly, but I was still anticipating each and every episode. It is also pretty clear that a lot of the threads that were left open are obviously going to be looked at more in Caprica (another great series,) so any worries about things being left up in the air aren’t really valid. It certainly isn’t anywhere near a drop in quality as The X-Files’s later seasons or as frustrating as Lost (at least the season 1/2 – I’ve not seen beyond bits of season 2.)

    • the wiseass says:

      I wouldn’t bother watching the rest, except if you are either:

      a) religious
      b) a fan of LOST

    • HarbourMaster says:

      Speaking from someone who fell for the stony-faced, gravel-voiced, booted looks of BSG and then got punched in the face repeatedly by a fucking literal Deus Ex Machina plot on horseshit-derived steroids. (Only Terry Cavanagh has been hit in the face harder for his VVVVVV crimes against humanity.)

      The storyline at the start of S3 that carries on from the S2 cliffhanger is still awesome. It’s after this that BSG starts to lose its marbles, but there are still some great reasons to watch, it is still littered with set pieces that harken back to its gritty beginnings – late in S4 there is a particularly strong two-parter that almost shines as brightly as the S2 Pegasus storyline.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Series 3 is by far the best series. The end isn’t terrible, people just hate everything.

    • Tei says:

      BSG is one of the latest good scifi series. With Farscape, Lexx and Babylon 5 is the best of the best of what TV can deliver. Very long archs, great characters that are explored is great detail. (note: YMMV).
      I say .. watch every minute of it, … yea, even the religious ending. Who cares, is delicious TV.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      I watched the rest, enjoyed it, and am neither of those two things.

      Even though I’m an atheist, I don’t really mind broad “God exists, and he’s doing X” proclamations in science fiction / fantasy settings, because, obviously, it’s science fiction / fantasy. There’s FTL travel, and intelligent robots in this world, and there aren’t in the real world, if you catch my drift.

      I also don’t think it nearly gets to LOST’s level of silliness. It doesn’t get that caught up teasing mysteries, and yeah, it’s mythology can weigh it down at times, but overall it remains a pretty good ride. There are still stand-out episodes and plot lines in the later seasons, and I really don’t understand the vitriol for the ending. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s a really rare season finale that is.

      In any case, I’d recommend going through the whole series. It does lose some of it’s quality later on, and there’s a few really rough episodes, but remains very watchable throughout.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      The prophecy and the God Did It ending were taints in the otherwise clear cool waters of BSG.

      One of the best shows on TV, seasons 3 and 4 included, though they could of been better.
      When Gaius went all wish washy, is when it took its worst turn.
      The most chaotic and interesting character just kind of… stopped.

    • beatoangelico says:

      The supposed dip in quality in season 3-4 is a myth, usually made up by the delusional people who only wanted the plot and the “endgame” and don’t accept that BSG is about the characters. That’s all.

    • Gap Gen says:

      (I’ll try to do this without spoilers, but if you want to watch it then this is probably a very mild SPOILER).

      I think if the writers had any idea of what they were doing rather than bodging things along the way, it would have been ace. As it is, the series is really exciting and tense in the first half, then the drop the ball completely. Down a ravine. Which is full of broken glass and mountain lions.

      For example, the Cylons are rubbish. They really are. I guess it’s interesting, but it completely shits on what they did with the first two series that worked so well.

    • jalf says:

      I don’t think it gets terrible. But it does change character somewhat. Most of season 3 revolves more around humans being pissed off at humans (because everyone felt they had it worse than everyone else during the New Caprica colonization/occupation stuff), and there’s definitely more “people stuff” with politics and infighting, and less human vs cylon combat.

      To be honest, a lot of season 3 just felt depressing to me. But looking back on it, as part of the overarching story, I don’t think it was bad. Towards the end of the season it finally starts turning away from the human vs cylon thing entirely. Season 3 was really about everything going down the crapper for both sides, and yes that’s depressing to watch, but it’s a pretty important part of the story, and it sets the stage for season 4.

      Season 4 was interesting. A lot happened, with Earth, with human/cylon relations, with Galactica, with their religion and prophecies and visions. It had a lot of loose ends to tie up, and plot-wise it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It was very different from the first season, but again, I think that’s one of the strengths of the show. It didn’t just reset the universe after each episode. They were on a journey in a lot of ways, and it affected them.
      It was a story with a beginning and an end, and towards the end, people just weren’t the same as they were at the beginning.

      About the “God did it” ending, I think it worked fairly well. It’d been clear throughout the series, even from season 1, that there was more at play than *just* humans and cylons. Even season 1 had plenty of prophecies and legends coming true, and prayers actually affecting events. What I did like about the ending was that it provided a twist on this. It *wasn’t* just the “old gods” as the early parts of the series implied. it wasn’t even just the cylon “one true god”, as was implied later on.

      In a way, it was a big “fuck you” to established religion *in general*.

      It implied that yes, there is something out there, but it’s sure as hell not a god such as those worshipped by either human or cylon.

      So yeah, I think it’s worth watching the series in its entirety. Not every episode is equally entertaining or appealing (and yes, there were some I didn’t like much, but taken as a whole, I think it made up a very good story, and looking back on it, I think one of BSG’s main strengths is precisely that its character changed so much. If the ending had been like the beginning, I’d have felt I could just leave out an episode or a season and it wouldn’t really matter. Seasons 3 and 4 were interesting and worth watching precisely because they weren’t just “humans getting chased by cylons, vipers shooting a lot of raiders, combat landings, jump fleet, rinse and repeat”.
      If that’s what I want to watch, I can just put season 1 on again.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      So, I hear God did it. About this I am ambivalent. I think that’s probably unnecessary, and the baby-jesus-sun-of-gaius thing made me frown. But hey, it might work.

      Re: Plot vs Character, I understand Battlestar is meant to be All About The Characters, but in the two seasons I have seen, the characterisation was all a bit shit and certainly hackneyed. Apart from the the President (Mary McDonnell was fantastic), everyone felt like Characters – big “C” – as opposed to people. Which is fine, but I didn’t think it really meshed with the rest of the show. Also, the dialogue was frequently clunkalicious.

      So if it moves from a functional, mobile plot to a lot of pontificating from caricatures, I’m not really interested.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Oh, jesus christ. Son of Gaius. SON.

      It is late and I cannot spell and augh.

      (I can still rock a captcha though.)

    • The Innocent says:

      Being religious doesn’t mean you’ll like the stuff at the end. More likely it means you’ll likely see through the jargon to the theology-lite that people are blathering about that amount to little more than nothing. As a religious person, it was the religious stuff in the series that annoyed me the most.

      That said, the religious overtones were present throughout the whole series and really didn’t come as a shock unless you’re completely obtuse.

    • jalf says:

      So if it moves from a functional, mobile plot to a lot of pontificating from caricatures, I’m not really interested.

      I’d say the opposite is true.

      In the first two seasons, you’re right, most of the characters are pretty simple/shallow/stereotypical.
      The second half of the show is really where the characters are developed, I feel. That’s where they really change from “characters” to “people”, as you put it.

      At the beginning, most of the characters are pretty stereotypical. The hard-drinking superpilot with anger issues, the slick young unproven leader, the old affectionate father figure and so on. After season 2, that really starts changing. At the end of season 3 and throughout 4, I think they felt much more like people than they did early on. They were forced to deal with situations far outside their “stereotypes”. In the first two seasons, you practically never see Starbuck unless she’s 1) flying a viper, 2) drinking and playing cards, or 3) having sex.

      In the second half of the show, she is put through the wringer in a lot of ways, and comes out as a much deeper and nuanced person. And the same is true for most of the rest of the cast.

      I think it’s clear that opinions on the second half of the show are pretty mixed, and I certainly don’t know if you’d like it. But I think that the specific things you criticize were weaknesses in the first half, but those specific elements got a lot stronger in the second half. (at the cost of fewer action sequences)

      So, I hear God did it

      Well, it’s obviously not that simple, but it’s a nice summary: It doesn’t give away too much to people who haven’t seen the ending, and those who have know what you’re talking about.

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      Chaz says:

      Well good job we’ll never get all that “God did it” nonsense in Stargate Universe. Hurrah for Stargate!

    • Cyrenic says:

      At least watch season 3 until the end of season 2 gets resolved, as it features probably some of the best moments in the entire series (for me at least :) ). The show really started to go downhill mid way through season 3.

    • Tuco says:

      Stopping at the end of second season? Are you joking, right? The 4×10-4×14 story arc was the absolute pinnacle in the whole saga.

    • Xercies says:

      I only liked season 3 first few episodes and the last few episodes everything in between you can skip because they went for standalone episodes and it got really boring because nothing really was happenning. I mean they had a whole episode on Boxing. BOXING!

      Also i didn’t like the finale, things just seemed a bit anticlimatic really, and i still want to know what happened to Starbuck they annoyed me so much it really did. But soem episodes in season 4 was great, especially the revolution story arc.

    • Tei says:

      Re: standalones

      I think a writter can use a standalone episode to explore a single character pecularities. If a character has problems with alcohol, or has to fight with everybody… the author can do a episode where that is explored in deep. After that, if the writter is skilled, we will love the character more, and the writter will be able to deploy very interesting nuances with small details. Since he already have built some facts about these characters. Also, if the episode is well written, he!.
      The thing we all hate is filler for the sake of filling.

      Re: religious ending

      Is a classic “Deus Ex Machina”, know here in the western world from the day One theater was invented. And is how a lazy writter end something that he himself have no idea how to finish. Is a clear sign of lazy and poor writting.

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      Flimgoblin says:

      It fits better in my head if I just consider the “angels” to just be particularly malevolent higher-order aliens. 150,000 years of growing a civilization just to blow it all up again?

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      Don’t stop with the Season 2 finale. The first four epsiodes of Season 3 which resolve the S2 cliffhanger are excellent. ‘Exodus Part 2′ (Season 3, Ep 4) features several of the best moments in the entire series, including the legendary, “All hands, brace for TURBULENCE,” moment. The problem is that they went insanely over-budget in those four episodes and spent the rest of Season 3 paying for it, resulting in lots of rubbish bottle episodes which didn’t make much sense. The S3 finale was interesting at the time but in retrospect makes no sense whatsoever.

      “The 4×10-4×14 story arc was the absolute pinnacle in the whole saga.”

      ‘Revelations’ and ‘Sometimes a Great Notion’ (410-411) are brilliant and the mutiny arc (413-414) are pretty good. ‘No Exit’ (415) is seriously lame. Want to explain the deep backstory of the biggest mysteries behind the entire series? Do you:

      1) Use extensive flashbacks developing character and revealing motivation as well as backstory.

      or

      2) Have some character knocked on the head and start spouting gibberish on his sickbed that reveals the backplot?

      BSG went for 2), revealing in that moment that the writers didn’t have a clue WTF was going on.

  3. SpinalJack says:

    Will they have a chat filter that changes all your swears into sci-fi swears?

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I want everyone to spout out AI dialogue whenever anything happens, a la Battlefield Bad Company 2.

    • bleeters says:

      I’ve actually been using ‘frakking’ in conversation for a while now :(

    • DrazharLn says:

      I persuaded some of my friends (who had not watched firefly) to use the word shiny in lieu of “cool” or similar words.

    • Bret says:

      Well, 大象爆炸式的拉肚子・大象爆炸式的拉肚子.

  4. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    I liked the show up to maybe the middle of the second season, and then the Baltar quotient began outweighing the explosions quotient. God Baltar was annoying. An effective character, but too effective. Even the hot chick he was always hallucinating couldn’t compensate for it.

    This definitely sounds interesting, especially since the Baltar quotient should be very low.

    Eat it, toasters

    • user@example.com says:

      Baltar is amazing.

      The religious themes are much stronger on a second run through the series, too – most people ignore them as random sci-fi background wankery and then complain when the strong religious aspects actually turn out to be strong religious aspects, rather than being shoved aside for more splodey.

    • Grunt says:

      Exactly. It narks me no end how people whine about the ‘religious ending’ when religion was running through the show right from the very start. Head Six was CLEARLY a supernatural being, but no-one seems to have noticed her casually predicting the future several times in season two, nor do people seem to habve noticed that practically every character has some connection to the gods.

      I mean, c’mon: Apollo, Athena etc???

      Starbuck’s departure and the ‘god did it’ ending were absolutely in keeping with the hints and threads that had run through the show since the frakking pilot. Were the ending perfectly executed? No. But to dismiss it as a mere “Deus Ex Machina” shows very little understanding of several years of excellent writing.

    • Alec Meer says:

      The end of the pilot goes to great and arresting lengths to demonstrate that this is a universe not, in fact, governed by mythology and prophecy, despite the various beliefs of the characters.

      The series later decides to reverse that in order to provide more storyline options and posit the endless unanswered questions that almost all serialised science-fiction now seems to depend on..

    • Urthman says:

      I love the way Baltar is always saving the day, always doing the right thing, always giving the right advice, but always for the wrong, hidden, selfish reason.

    • jalf says:

      @Alec: I don’t think there’s a contradiction. The ending stays true to that. The prophecy of finding Earth did technically come true, but certainly not in the manner they expected or hoped. The gods actually worshiped throughout the series, did turn out to be utterly irrelevant. Either they never existed, they’re impotent, or they just weren’t worth following.

      The supernatural entity that does guide them at the end had nothing to do with either mythology or prophecy. It’s pretty clear that this is neither Zeus and his gang, nor the Cylon “one true god”. It is some entity that doesn’t even like the label “god”. Apparently, it is someone or something that’s not interested in prayer, mythology, religion or worship. For a series where religion and prophecy had been pretty strong themes throughout, I think it made for a pretty elegant way out.

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      Dr. Evanzan says:

      @grunt,

      I think the overall religious overtones worked well with ‘head Six’ and ‘head Baltar’ and that certainly was there throughout. Starbuck’s role in the finale was textbook ‘Deus Ex Machina’ though and seemed pretty inconsistent to me when compared to ‘head Six/Baltar’. Granted, they get points in my book for making it such a blatant ‘Deus Ex Machina’ but it still was a disappointing ending.

      This is my problem with the BSG finale, while it was a good ending in some ways (and for some characters), for others it was unsatisfying (in an overall narrative way) and the overall story just didn’t come together for me. Given the strength of the series throughout, this all made the ending a disappointing affair as you expected it to build to something more.

      For me it’s important for everything to come together in the ending in a satisfactory way. To compare it to Lost (and open another can of worms) while the ‘flash-sideways universe’ was a disappointing resolution the rest of it at least came together with a nice symmetry that created a sense of completeness to the overall story arc.

    • HarbourMaster says:

      @ Dr. Evanzan: if you’re talking Deus Ex Machina then how about “random floating rock + dead hand + nukes”

    • Sonic Goo says:

      “It is some entity that doesn’t even like the label “god”. Apparently, it is someone or something that’s not interested in prayer, mythology, religion or worship.”

      A writer desperately looking for a way to end his series?

  5. Rosti says:

    Consider my appetite whet – just hearing all the crackling radio and orders makes me tingle a little more than I should admit. Wonder how the game will handle having a population larger than the surviviors of the 12 colonies, assuming we get that far.

    First one to bag the name Gaius Frakking Baltar wins!

    (Also, hats off for the title work, Messr Meer.)

  6. RawTheory says:

    I loved the whole BGS series. I’m non-religious but have an affinity for meta-physics and occult symbology and BGS has incredible stuff for people like me. If you have the presence of mind to not allow implied religious sour our appreciation for a piece of art then I say go for it.

    • Vinraith says:

      The symbolism, the foreshadowing, the metaphysics, these were all good things. That they had no idea where they were going with any of them, and thus ultimately went nowhere with them, that’s my problem with the show. So much wasted potential.

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      Vandelay says:

      I’m in the same position as you, in that I’m not in least bit religious (would actually say I was Athiest, rather than simply Agnostic,) and found the religious element of the show to be handled fine. In fact, I don’t really know why people complain about the final season for being too religious when religion was a central theme that ran all the way through the programme.

    • tekDragon says:

      I think Vin has it just about right. The last half of the series was far too contrived for my tastes. It was clear that they were writing without a map and leaving loose ends to give themselves “outs” later. That being said I still imensely enjoyed the flavour and attempt at a grittier darker sci-fi, but the way they handled the actual plot (if you can call it that) leaves me completely uninterested in Caprica.

    • HarbourMaster says:

      I’m just fed up of visions and mysterious fateful coincidences in place of actual plot. The pilot of Caprica avoided this although I’m not convinced they’ll stay off the deus-ex-machina-meth.

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    innokenti says:

    That is the best/worst pun headline. Ever.

  8. FrakingToaster says:

    Browser based eh? Well, Adama can go frak himself and so can the fraking browser games. Fraking frakers, fraking up fraking downloadable gaming.

    – Frak

    • jalf says:

      Browser based, but running in Unity.

      Browser based, just like Off-road Raptor Safari. If we’re going to have browser-based games, that doesn’t seem to be such a bad way to do it.

    • seras says:

      yup, i was interested till i read browser-based

      too bad it’s not a real game

  9. Cvnk says:

    If I choose Human as my race is there a chance I could still be Cylon without knowing it?

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      This would make this game so great.
      Of course, im siding with the machines straight off. Unless im taking orders from Cabal.

    • Bret says:

      I’m going Red Stripe.

      Red stripe cylons were the best.

  10. Colin says:

    Only if you start hearing a bad cover of All Along the Watchtower…

  11. Navagon says:

    Personally I’m holding out for Battlecruiser Online. Derek Smart is promising so much that it can’t possibly go wrong!

  12. Thelonious says:

    This game sounds great in principle, but will I have to network my computer in order to play it? The old man would never stand for it.

  13. geldonyetich says:

    I can’t draw much from the trailer; looks like a pre-rendered cut scene to me. I suppose it’s possible the game genuinely looks that good… but I’m not holding my breath.

  14. snv says:

    Until now bigpoint only made crappy browser grinds.

    Maybe with unity it will look nicer, but i expect no good gameplay.
    Would love to be be proven wrong here, though.

  15. jalf says:

    Apart from all this, the BSG board game is bloody brilliant. Anyone else played it?

  16. MadMatty says:

    Allright, allright… i´ll watch the rest of it , i got it lying around- got as far as where Starbbuck finds the arrow, at which point it was a bit meh.
    The first part, like season 1-2 were actually some of the finer parts of mainstream sci-fi for the last three decades- hope Seasons 3-4 seem less like threading water.

    • jalf says:

      Yeah, it’s hard to say, it definitely has its ups and downs, and there were several sequences where I more or less lost interest. I think it helps a lot when you have all the episodes on dvd or on your pc so you can watch it when you feel like it, and can fast forward a bit when you get to something uninteresting.
      (I found a transcript of all the episodes online, which I sometimes read just to get through specific episodes quickly)

      There are several points where the plot slows down for an episode or three, but it always picks up again a few episodes later, so I don’t think seasons 3-4 are treading water. As you can see from the comments here, not everyone likes where they went with the story, but it absolutely didn’t stand still. It just went in a direction that not everyone is happy about. ;)

      I agree with you though, the part where Starbuck goes back to fetch the arrow, and the Kobol bit afterwards did drag out a bit (as did the season 2 finale).

      I watched it fairly recently for the first time, and I think if you’re in it for the long haul, it’s worth it. On a per-episode basis, there are definitely episodes that aren’t really worth it, but they still contribute to the overall story, and it just wouldn’t have been the same without those episodes.

    • MadMatty says:

      Yeah thats about what i figured, but cheers dude ;)
      was about to watch it… but then i started playing “Spelunky” – small find there for me LOL

  17. Kadayi says:

    Much much love for BSG, but JFC, that final season was turgid to the point that I haven’t even had the desire to watch Caprica (despite the good word) because I lost that much faith in RDM.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      As much as I hate the ending to BSG, I have to admit CAPRICA was pretty good. It works MUCH better if you watch the 10 episodes over a few days, however (and it might be advisable to do the same for the second half of Season 1 when it returns in September). Halfway through the season when the show adopts its own identity and starts going all steampunk is seriously excellent.

  18. JonSmith says:

    The show was good from start to finish – save that horrid episode where Starbuck climbs into the Cylon fighter, ugh – and I include the last season and the God bit. When Apollo turns back to Starbuck in that final shot, it gave me chills. Also the last scene with Adama. Beautiful. And if you don’t watch all of it, you will miss so much that’s great. Roslin’s courage, Adama’s treatment of Tigh, the scenes with Romo Lampkin…so much.
    As for the Deus Ex Machina…so what? Their craft was so superior, the needle was painless going in.

    Yeah. Watch it. I doubt you’ll regret your choice.

    • Bascule42 says:

      That episode with Starbuck in the Cylon fighter was a remake from the original series. A nod was made when approaching the Galactica with Starbuck “waggling the wings”. A reference to Terry Carter’s Col Tigh spotting Dirk Benedicts Starbuck using the waggling of wings in the hope that he wouldn’t be shot down in his captured Clyon raider, (Tigh had mentioned US WW2 pilots doing this in the old days). As opoosed to writing “Starbuck” across the body.

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      Vandelay says:

      I agree with everything you say about the finale. Those final scenes between Adama and Roslin were beautifully done and I also really loved the flashbacks with Apollo and Starbuck, which really summed up their relationship through the entire programme. As for the role Starbuck was playing during the final season, that moment was well handled, but I did find it to be the only real bit left unsatisfactorily concluded. Having said that, Caprica is obviously going to explore it some more (i.e. Amanda Greystone seeing her dead brother.)

      As for the ‘God did it’, I much prefer that to ‘aliens did it.’ That would certainly have been out of place. Whereas the question over whether it was a/many supernatural being/beings was something that was present throughout the whole programme. The fact that neither side was truly correct I found to be a fairly satisfying conclusion.

      As someone else mentioned though, I think having watched the programme on DVD over the course of a couple of months rather than as it aired over four years probably allowed me to enjoy it much more.

  19. Clayton says:

    What beatoangelico said.

  20. Vinraith says:

    @Daniel

    If you think the characters were hackneyed before, you almost need to watch the later seasons to see how bad it gets. “Inconsistent” and “uneven” really don’t describe it, when Moore declared it was “all about the characters” at the end of the show’s run (to cover his total inability to conclude the plot or tie off any of the mysteries he’d set up in a remotely satisfying way) my wife and I turned to each other and just started laughing. What characters? No, seriously?

    • Kadayi says:

      I think the other major problem is the fact that by the series end RDM had pretty much killed off all of the secondary human characters (Dualla, Gaeta) or flipped them into Cylons (Tyrol, Anders, Tigh..which is hilarious given the beginning of season 3) which robbed the show of a lot of meaning imo.

    • Dracogeno says:

      In fact, what threw me off BSG was not the religious stuff, tough it proved irritating. It was the characters, behaving in the most irrational manner and breaking things just to conceal the main plot with stupid sex or stupid fights (and mostly both at the same time)
      I just wanted Starbuck to die in the next stupid tantrum so the series could move on without having to follow her petty deeds.
      You can understand why I decided to stop watching in mid season 4. Never looked back.
      I just don’t understand why “is about the characters” means “our characters are stupid an promiscuous”

  21. Fergus says:

    “Browser based” is the part of that which sounds dodgy. I don’t find browser-based games “compelling” as much as I find them worrying in terms of game quality.

    What I really long for is a space-combat game which utilises free-flying joystick gameplay. Freespace 2 and I-War 2 were the last games I played that did this. There’s something satisfying about flying around in space with a joystick; it feels right.

  22. bill says:

    I was about to post the usual rant about it being an MMO, but I just realised it’s a free browser based game. That means I can fly around and blast stuff in a viper? That’ll do.

    Sounds like stopping watching the show after 2 seasons was a good idea.

  23. Sunjammer says:

    I worked with Artplant around 2003 on another attempted browser-based Flash MMO, and those guys have mad talent. The games they’ve done though, to my knowledge, have been horse-riding games (got that market cornered) and some child friendly tv tie-ins. To make the leap to full on BSG MMO mode seems pretty spectacular for them. Excited to see how it works out!

  24. kyynis says:

    People didn’t like religious aspects in Galactica? I’m starting to get this image that I might be mentally retarded, what with this and me being only one in my circle of friends who didn’t loathe Avatar.

  25. stahlwerk says:

    I don’t know, but I rather liked the series for basically saying that Bob Dylan is god.

  26. Ezhar says:

    Can I at some point kill Balthar? I’d buy the game just for that.

  27. bananaphone says:

    Just because the characters in the show had religious beliefs and there were things that occurred that seemed magical, doesn’t mean that God did it. Remember that classic Arthur C. Clarke quote “any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology”.

    I believe the creators said early on that they didn’t want to introduce aliens, but they dropped several hints throughout that suggested the involvement of an advanced race. The ship Starbuck was chasing on the gas planet did not look like a normal Cylon craft, and later on one of her paintings shows something that very much resembles the ‘Ship of Light’ from the original BSG. Those were the craft of the Seraph, a mysterious alien race that had special powers and appeared as glowing beings in white (remember the glowing figures Xena sees in the temple?)

    The ending was left deliberately ambiguous, but my feeling was that what the characters called God(s) was meddling aliens (or advanced humans…).

    And people saying to stop watching after series 2 or 3 are fools. It was great throughout bar a few filler episodes, far superior to other SF shows and a lot of other stuff on TV.

    • Tim Ward says:

      People don’t hate the “God did it” ending because they don’t like religion, they hate it because it’s bad story telling. Replacing God with “rogue AI” or “advanced aliens” doesn’t help. The finale might have worked from a character perspective, but it as a story it made little to no sense.

    • jalf says:

      @Tim: didn’t it? How would you have ended the story instead?

      God had to do it, because god had done it ever since season 1. Why did prophecies come true, why did things happen when Baltar prayed, why did so many things obviously point to there is someone watching over you guys, if god didn’t do it?

      Saying “even though it obviously seemed like god did it throughout the series, it was all just a coincidence” would’ve been bad storytelling.

    • Tim Ward says:

      I think it’s possible a lot of people in this comments thread perhaps don’t understand that when people say ‘God did it’ they are making a reference to this this expression – it’s not the fact that it was done by God, it’s the fact that God Did It is the entirety of the explanation.

      As for the question of whether or not it makes sense then no it plainly doesn’t. A lot of the various mysteries and supernatural events which are explained at the end with “God did it” make little or no sense in light of God’s plan, or are a highly convoluted way of achieving what it apparently wanted. This problem can only be resolved by explaining that “god moves in mysterious ways” – hardly a satisfactory answer for anyone with a functional brain!

      What was bad story telling was not just the ending, but the habit of littering the show with various supernatural events and mysteries, without knowing how they were going to resolve them. I realize the show wasn’t planned in advance. Not every sci-fi series is Babylon 5, and not every sci-fi series has to be Babylon 5 – however, if you’re not going to be Babylon 5 (that is, plan out the entire story arc from the beginning), they don’t write as if you are. Don’t fill the series with Arc Words if you don’t know what they mean, don’t have characters give meaningless cryptic prophecies and don’t fill the show with so many mysterious happenings and supernatural events that they can only be explained in the end by either a passing wizard with a sense of mischief or an almost literal Deus Ex Machina.

      As for how I would have ended the series, I maintain that most most supernatural occurrences were in fact caused by someone feeding chamalla into the Galatica’s air supply.

    • Tim Ward says:

      Oh, I meant to add: Battlestar Galactica and it’s transition from “naturalistic science fiction” to mystical woo-woo bullshit and its unsatisfying ending is a case study in why mysticism in science fiction is a bad thing: it provides a crutch for the writers, and frees them (in their own mind) from having to write stories that make sense. Many writers, especially hollywood writers, do not like having to write stories which make sense: they instead seem to view the story as a vehicle for putting a variety of cool scenes, motifs and characters in front of the viewer. The stories are usually more or less logically coherent because if they were otherwise it would shatter suspension of disbelief to an unacceptable level. One you add magic, gods or Clarktech to the equation, then the temptation is to just show whatever they think is cool and explain whatever logical disconnects arise from that with ‘a wizard did it’ , ‘it was part of god’s plan’ or ‘quantum’.

      This may be superficially logical if the rules of your story say that there is something out there which is unknown, unknowable and is pulling the strings for it’s own (unknowable) reasons, but it doesn’t make a for a very satisfying story: all mysteries are false (the answer will just be ‘god did it for unknown reasons’), all drama is cheapened because all events shown are in fact a result not of conflict between characters, their motives or anything else but because of divine intervention and all tension is gone because God has already preordaned everything because it’s part of his plan.

      Take, for example, the pair of episodes in Season 1 where Kara is stranded on the moon. Kara is stranded on a moon, and Adama won’t leave because of his history which Starbuck. Since Kara is, for some reason, the Chosen One (did God pick names out of a hat or what?) what it actually means is that God was stopping him from leaving, since it needed Kara for its plan. Boomer’s struggle to overcome her programming and tell everyone she’d found water? God. Survival of the Pegasus? God (needed Gina, on Pegasus, to trigger the nuke to get the cylons to find New Caprica and eventually get the fleet moving towards Earth again – even though it also caused them to stop at New Caprica by manipulating Baltar into running for the presidency – mysterious ways, apprantly). Adama struggling with the decision of whether or not to run or continue the fight in the miniseries? Was it Roslyn, plus Dualla and Billy that prompted this change of heart? Nope. God. What caused Boomer to non-fatally shoot Adama? Remenants of her human idenity? No. God. Why did Apollo bring the Pegasus to save the Galactica and the human exodus from New Caprica? God.

      If your idea of a great story is ‘a bunch of things happen because God wanted them to happen, but it’s impossible to say why he wanted them to happen because he’s God” which is really just “a bunch of stuff happens” then… well, good luck to you, I guess?

    • jalf says:

      I think it’s possible a lot of people in this comments thread perhaps don’t understand that when people say ‘God did it’ they are making a reference to this this expression – it’s not the fact that it was done by God, it’s the fact that God Did It is the entirety of the explanation.

      or it is possible that the people who said “God did it” in this thread were not referring to that.

      Let’s be clear, when I say “God did it”, I’m the one who decides what I meant. You might have a completely different reference in mind, but that doesn’t change the meaning of what I said. It just changes your understanding of it. So no, when “people” say “God did it”, they mean exactly what they meant. Not necessarily what I think they meant, and not necessarily what you think they meant.

      As for how I would have ended the series, I maintain that most most supernatural occurrences were in fact caused by someone feeding chamalla into the Galatica’s air supply.

      How is that any better? It’s still not any explanation. How does chamalla let people see visions that have an uncanny ability to convey just the information people need to make the right decisions, if a god is *not* involved?

      That is *at least* as nonsensical, about on par with “and he woke up, and it was all a dream”. It is even more of a deus ex machina than the God ending. It doesn’t just say “god wanted it”, but simply “that’s how it is, kay? Just don’t ask. Somehow, this plant extract just knows the future and that’s why so many strange things happened.” I can believe a god creating a supernova, but I have a hard time imagining that hallucinogenic plant extracts in the air supply could pull it off. Or help people identify the planet they found as Kobol. Or any of the dozens other events that just weren’t random.

      Take, for example, the pair of episodes in Season 1 where Kara is stranded on the moon. Kara is stranded on a moon, and Adama won’t leave because of his history which Starbuck. Since Kara is, for some reason, the Chosen One (did God pick names out of a hat or what?) what it actually means is that God was stopping him from leaving

      Not really. The series also shows pretty clearly that this “God” thing is not quite omnipotent (or just not willing to get too involved).

      This god-entity has let the human/cylon cycle of violence continue for an eternity, it has let humans mess around with their silly polytheistic ideas. If they had given any indication of an omnipotent God controlling everything, I would have agreed with you.

      But instead, the “god” that eventually saves the day isn’t really portrayed as a traditional god. It doesn’t like the label “god”, it’s not too interested in being worshipped, it doesn’t really seem to have any particular connection to humanity. It might just be helping them out of curiosity, or to give them a chance.

      But we also see that it does not influence people directly. In the case of Baltar and Caprica Six, it sends an agent to talk directly to them. Adama had no such “angel” convincing him to stay and search for Starbuck. We have no indication that god was involved in that decision. When Starbuck comes back as an “angel” or whatever, we again see that this god cannot just tell people what to think. it can send an agent to push things in the right direction, but it either cannot or will not take full control of events and actively steer everyone towards the desired outcome. Every decision made by any human throughout the series (except for Baltar) is still their own, and the ending gave no indication that god had had that much control. Even in the present-day scene at the very end, god’s own agents, the imaginary Baltar and Six discuss whether “all of this will happen again”. They don’t *know*. God has given things a prod just this once, but he hasn’t taken full control.

      I think it is telling that those who actually worshipped gods, whether humans with their polytheistic beliefs, or cylons with their “one true God” got it wrong. In other words, someone or something does exist, but it’s not a god, and the impression I got was that it certainly didn’t have too much of a stake in human affairs. That it wouldn’t really be a disaster if the humans and cylons took another round trip of destroying each others. That it’s less of a god than a force, or “a spark of inspiration” I think was the phrase Baltar used at one point.

      I know you said that it’s not just because you don’t like religion, but reading your argument, that is really the impression you give.

      You want to replace one deus ex machina with another, even less meaningful one, and the moment you hear the word “god” invoked, you immediately jump to the conclusion that it controlled everyone and everything all the time.

      I agree that the God ending did leave a lot of questions unanswered, and in particular, it doesn’t explicitly rule out that “God was always 100% in charge of every single event”, and it does leave a lot up to interpretation. I just don’t think you’re putting up a convincing argument for any of the possible alternatives.

    • Tim Ward says:

      But we also see that it does not influence people directly.

      Unless, of course, it’s Starbuck, with her compulsions to kill herself and, later, to find earth. Or the final five, drawing them to the room in the Season 3 finale where they discover they were cylons, or compelling them all to go and check out the Viper so the find the first Earth.

      Or there was the thing where Gaeta finds evidence of forgery in the video used to “frame” Baltar after he repented, or the whole issue of the destruction of the Olympic carrier. Or, for that matter, the episode Hand of God – God directly influences Baltar to select the right location for the colonial strike. “He doesn’t always speak in words.”

      Or there was the whole raid on the colony, which was necessary to recreate the opera house scene. He’d have had to put that idea into Adama’s head, and influenced the tactical flow of the battle, including putting Hera, Six and Roslyn in the right places – otherwise the Opera scene it’d been working towards for four season wouldn’t have happened. Also necessary was Anders getting shot. Did it cause that? Anders being in the fleet in the first place – how much of that was God’s doing? Did it send Kara to Caprica the first time, or just the second?

      Or getting Hera to paint the co-ordinates of Earth in musical form (for some strange reason).

      It arranged not just the super nova at the Algae planet, but the meeting of the two factions there and caused Chief Tyrol to go running up the hillside to find the thing in the first place.

      You see the problem. He doesn’t direct influence people directly, except when he does.

      This is the problem with using God to resolve the plot. He’s not a character, he’s a device the writers use to move the plot in the direction they want it to go, transparently so.

      He doesn’t have coherent motives – what was the purpose of New Caprica? It was directly caused by Head 6’s manipulation of Baltar, both his running for president and giving the nuke to Gina. Why does god give Gaius the method for building the cylon detector, then cause him to hide the results by having Head 6 scare into keeping quiet?

  28. Tim Ward says:

    Another thing I meant to add: the above might be the intellectual reason why concluding stories with “God did it” is basically just “and it was all a dream”, but the reason it doesn’t work even if you don’t think about that stuff is that it just doesn’t feel right. It stops being a story where things happen because they progress, logically, from other things that have already happened and starts being a story where things happen just because the writer want them to happen, using the mystical as post facto explanations.

    That’s why, for me, Collaborators is the last really good episode. The rest were very much on the right side of ‘watchable’ and there are some gems in amongst the last two seasons (mostly season 4, season 3 was pretty weak except for the first five episodes), but the magic of the first two seasons was gone after the New Caprica story was concluded.

    That really is everything, I promise :o

    • Kadayi says:

      Well put Tim. I also think you are spot on with your assessment of where it all started to unravel.

  29. Kieron Gillen says:

    Is there a lot of crying in the game?

    KG

  30. jalf says:

    On a completely unrelated note, am I the only one who thinks BSG could actually make for a great game if they dropped the persistent/massive part?

    Think of it like L4D: A group of humans trying to fight off overwhelming forces of cylons and trying to travel a certain number of jumps before getting destroyed.

  31. Bowlby says:

    I recently watched all four seasons again, and season three, while a bit weak, isn’t as bad as some make it out to be. Season four, again, is pretty good, but the problem that arises is just how unbalanced the two feel when put together. In season three there doesn’t seem to be much going on, in terms of overarching plot, while in season four there’s just too much for you to take in.

    The worst part of this, I think, is reflected in the scene where Anders is recovering after his operation, and he basically spews out, like, half a season’s worth of back-story. You’re just left struggling to catch up. It is so bad beyond belief, the way it’s handled.

    Anyway, the browser game could be okay, and since I’m not willing to pay for an MMO these days, I’m up for the freemium model. Thing is, without the religious stuff, social and political wranglings, it won’t feel very much like BSG.

  32. Scundoo says:

    HOLY FRACK!

    What have you done RPS?! You unleashed the sci-fi nerds!!!!!

    Might as well chip in though:

    The series had one-dimensional characters played by poor actors, and was plagued with the god-garbage since episode one.

    Still, the fighting scenes and music that accompanied them was excellent. The shake-cam zooming on the scylon capital ships is enough of a reason for making a game out of this. Hopefully with mp, and capital ships that can be upgraded and customized, with real players manning vipers and the rest of the fighter craft.