Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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Life is Fleeting: The BSG Colonial Fleet

In a wibble session a while back, taiji_jian made the point that the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series would have been more intriguing if Ronald D. Moore had stuck to his miniseries and Season 1 pattern of delving into the "transition to fleet life". The difficulties of moving from terrestrial life to a refugee generational fleet should have been tremendous. You can see how every loss impacts the food production capacity of the fleet, from the sublight botanical ship that Roslin has to leave behind in the miniseries to the luxury liners they show in "33" and "Colonial Day". There is a nice level of tension surrounding the needs for everyday resources from the Colonies: water, energy, Vipers. Then an ice planet is found... then a tylium planet... and then Tyrol holds DIY Viper class, after which every pilot apparently gets to take one home.

At some point, RDM decided that this was too minute and boring, and soon we've got just periodic allusions to how the food situation is getting tense again. (Again? A year on New Caprica should have let them at least restock, not keep depleting resources at levels that would have made the fleet inviable during the first three years.) The next chronic time their food shortage is even mentioned is in "The Passage", with the planet of Milk and Algae coming to the rescue. What's next, praying for manna to the Lords of Kobol? Open the ramscoop and get a boatload of quail?

Oh, and let's revisit Laura "Let's Start Making Babies" Roslin for just a second. Repopulation of the human species is all well and good, but I guess Caprica's version of Malthus was too busy lusting after Cylon babes to lay out one of the most fundamental theories of sustainability known to us of the Thirteenth Colony (or Zeroth, as the case may be).

Does this strike anyone else as jarring? I find myself in full agreement with taiji_jian and others who said that this could have been a serious dramatic element for a lost-in-space series, not just a chore as it seems to have become for BSG. On the other hand, making it a whimsical exercise in diplomacy and scavenger hunting as the Star Trek: Voyager writers did is not too smart either, in retrospect.

The bottom line: I think that if you find yourself stranded in space with nowhere to even touch foot to earth, you should feel it within the length of a normal space trip. That is, if you are a culture that already has generational ships, it should be like the Boomers of Star Trek: Enterprise - nothing should faze you. If, OTOH, the longest you spend in space is a week, you should be pretty well and truly frakked. That could make for very poignant and profound drama if a series creator lets it, but it takes a little imagination and courage. What say you?

Tags: battlestar galactica, science fiction, space, television

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