Styles that last: elements from the original BSG that are still cool

As I wait for the DVD of the mini-series that launched the new BSG, I checked out an episode of the original series on my DVR. The episode was called Fire in Space, I believe. The story was what I remembered: cheesy 70's greatness that I loved as a five-year old. However, there were some stylistic elements to the original series that really stood out to me as I watched almost 30 years later. There are many elements of the original Battlestar Galactica that may be dated, but are still very cool.
  • The opening theme: Decades later it still gets me going.
  • The clothes: I know, I know. The outfits are really straight out of the 70's. But, there is a sense of style to those clothes that I think is really cool. I love the pilot's brown outfits and the officers blue outfits. While they are products of a very specific time, there is something about them that I think still works. When I watch the original Star Wars trilogy, I get a similar feeling. The hairstyles and costumes in those films are often very dated, but still very cool. I feel the same way about the original BSG.
  • The Cylons: They still look incredibly cool and menacing. And those voices are some of the best designed villain voices ever. And the word "Cylon" is awesome as well. As Star Wars proved, a hero is only as cool as the villain he fights. The Cylons were outstanding.
  • The starfighter design: I really dig the Galactica's starfighters. That long-nosed design is still cool.
  • The launch tubes for the starfighters: I had forgotten about this until I was watching this episode. The turbo acceleration down those launch tubes is so very cool. I loved that as a kid.
  • Daggits: As a kid, I wanted my own half-dog, half-robot creation. It looked cool and I loved how it sounded as it moved. Watching it now, it's still a cool concept. When I was five, I wanted a daggit and Tweeky from Buck Rogers.
Those are just a few things that really jumped out to me in rewatching this episode of the original series. While it is certainly a dated show, I think it stands up quite well to a second look.


jkthunder said...

hey rj! interesting notes. i don't know how much you know about the new series, but i'll just tell you that a lot of the older elements have changed, but are very cool in their own way now IMO.

i agree with you on a lot of this, although i think the daggits can go ahead and stay in the 70s :D

i really feel compelled to watch the old series - even though i have seen much of it as a child, i really don't remember much of it, and really, for me it was just a surrogate for SW after the original movie came out and we didn't know that TESB was on it's way. BSG never really hit me anywhere nearly as hard as SW as a child, again mostly because it was more like a fill in for something i really truely yearned for - more SW.

i did pick up a DVD of the old BSG movie last night though! i'm hesitant to watch it until i do see the original series first. truthfully, i am just as much hesitant to watch the OS as i am extremely curious. i really enjoy the new series so much, i don't want my perspective to get marred.

i do know that the new series stands alone as unique an original in many respects from the old, but with most of the people i've come across to try and encourage the new show who still have a clear memory of the old show, it seems like a hard change-over with a lot of skepticism and comparison to the OS.

LOL - i think hansgirl (and i think rex0) can attest to the fact that they really had to unlearn and unthink everything already in their head about BSG from the old show, in order to really appreciate the new show in it's own right.

RJ said...

I know enough about the new series to know that it's a 'reimagining' in the grandest sense. And that excites me. I loved the original as a 5-year old, but it's definitely not a holy entity or anything for me.

If and when you do watch the original, be prepared for cheese. It's very campy and 70's. Don't expect greatness at all, especially if you don't have the childhood nostalgia like I do.

From the very little bit of the new series that I saw online, I'm very excited about how they've taken the basic concepts of the original and taken it in a darker more interesting direction. I've read rumors of the new Star Trek movie being a 'reimagining', which I think the franchise could use. Frankly, I still think before I die someone will be doing a 'reimagining' of Star Wars, as heretical as that sounds.

jkthunder said...

ha! it does seem destined for a reimagining of SW, since this is the age of sequels and remakes. on the other hand, SW is so strong and unique in itself, and Lucas himself is often "remaking" it with things like the special editions, and even the new ideas going into the TV shows. SW is being kept pretty fresh and vibrant, even though in the past it had indeed had some dormant stretches. SW is also constantly being reimagined through fanfic and fanfilms, etc.

it doesn't really seem that there is much room for a valid reimagining that would stand out on its own like the new BSG. the old BSG just wasnt anywhere near the same caliber or magnitude as SW ever was at any point in time.

SW is a different kind of story. it seems to have less flexibility than a lot of the other sci-fi stories and concepts. it really is the story of a few specific characters, which perhaps the backstory could be built upon in some respects. but the concepts the SW universe is built upon are so unique and strong in of itself, its just harder to "change" with much success - any time soon that is.

it's really interesting about star trek though. but really, isn't ST always reimagining itself as well? every new "generation" of the series is a major upgrade in both concept and cinematic style. that sort of goes for the movies too, although a big chunk of the ST flicks came out in a steady progression, so most of them remain pretty similar. lol - i can't really speak much for ST though, since i really dont follow it and eat it for breakfast (like you and SW rj ;) like i do with SW prmarily, and now the new BSG.

anyway - thanx for the disclaimer for the old BSG. i have been warned before. i do have some memory of it, but it's more like some weird dream i had as a kid. definitely not as vivid as my SW memories. :D