Blood and Chrome did a poor job setting up a TV series

blood and chrome william adama

‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome’ was originally intended to launch a series. After seeing the final product, I understand why SyFy wasn’t interested.

 

Ever since Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was officially announced back in October of 2010, I’ve been awaiting its premiere with a great deal of anticipation. I was a big fan of Ron Moore’s remake; it actually had a great deal to do with my involvement with CliqueClack in the first place. But like many other BSG fans out there, I was very disappointed when SyFy announced that B&C wouldn’t be taken to series. After watching the movie/show/webisode that wrapped up this past week, I’m not really surprised that we won’t be seeing more of young Bill Adama’s exploits.

I’m not really surprised that we won’t be seeing more of young Bill Adama’s exploits.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed Blood and Chrome a great deal. I thought that the story made for a great reintroduction to the BSG mythos. I’ve always thought it pretty difficult to tell an interesting prequel-esque story, and B&C ‘s setting between BSG and Caprica would make that an even more difficult task. Plus, Luke Pasqualino did a serviceable job as Adama, especially considering the rather massive boots he was trying to fill. But creating a good movie set in the BSG universe is one thing; creating one that sets up a series is an entirely different thing.

In this regard, it’s difficult to separate Blood and Chrome from the BSG mini-series; they were both serving the same general purpose. It might not be a fair comparison, but that’s kinda the point, no? The mini-series did a wonderful job at recreating a world for die-hard fans of the original series, as well as introduce things to fans like me, who had either a passing familiarity with the original, or none whatsoever. The plot served a great deal of that but, as Ron Moore was always wont to say, it was “the characters, (stupid)” that drove BSG even from the earliest moments.

Even before the finale, it was apparent that Blood and Chrome largely ignored that tradition. The finale solidified that problem. The story, from start to finish, only focused on three central characters: Adama, his ECO Coker Fasjovik, and Dr. Beka Kelly. The Galactica itself is barely seen in the story, as were all of the characters on The Bucket (or whatever the ship’s nickname was during the first Cylon War). When the story comes to an end, one of those three characters was dead – and not who we thought she was anyways (and for a couple of moments we are lead to believe Adama would be the only thing we’d be taking from B&C into a hypothetical series).

Hell, with the exception of Adama and Coker … and the Galactica crew – more on them in a moment – pretty much every character we spent any meaningful time with was dead by the time the credits rolled. Marine Tech Sgt. Toth? Gone. Other recognizable faces like Commander Ozar and her XO (Jill Teed and Ty Olsson, who played Sgt. Hadrian and Lt. Kelly in BSG)? Also dead. Jim Kirby and his incredibly wasted cool connection to the also-a-pilot character Sebastian Spence played on BSG (Narcho)? Dead, dead dead.

I would much rather the show have focused on introducing the characters that would actually show up in the series.

If your intention is to set up a new series, don’t you think you should introduce some characters that might actually be a part of it? The other pilots on the Galactica are the obvious candidates; the actors are all recognizable enough that they were probably intended to be brought on board the series: Mike Dupod (BSG, Stargate: Universe), Karen LeBlanc (Defying Gravity), Terry Chen (Combat Hospital) and Carmen Moore (Caprica, Artic Air). Plus the guy playing the Commander, Brian Markinson also appeared in Caprica … and if his IMDb page is to believed, pretty much everything ever. B&C might have had a pretty good story, but I would much rather the show have focused on introducing these (hopefully compelling) characters such that fans are demanding more of the series for a reason other than the fact that it’s Battlestar Galactica.

The way things are now, things don’t look particularly good for more Blood and Chrome. It will air on SyFy as a two-hour movie early next year, with a Blu-ray and DVD release following not far behind. As a dutiful fan, I’ll probably consume all that I can, watching on SyFy and picking up the Blu-ray on release date. Sadly, though, I’ll always look at Blood and Chrome as a let down. A solid effort at telling a great story set in the Battlestar Galactica universe, but a failure at launching a series.

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Photo Credit: Machinima Prime

29 Comments on “Blood and Chrome did a poor job setting up a TV series

  1. I strongly disagree. Battlestar fans want to see the war. This is why Caprica was pulled before it even finished up. One of the problems with shows like BSG, Deep Space Nine, and others is that the viewers know the stars of the show are going to make to the next episode. Blood and Chrome was a good departure from this. Yes, the Captain of the Osirus would have made a great character, as would have Coker’s friend. Their deaths demonstrated that B&C would have been willing to take risks. That it would have spared us meaningless exposition and showed us a really cool space war. Syfy is foolish not to bring this to series.

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    • Neil: I’m with you. Because of these web series episodes, I’m hooked waiting on the Feb 2013 movie, and easily give the webisodes a 7 out of 10. After the movie, I hope B&C becomes a TV series. I don’t expect it, but I can hope.

      Here are some of the things I really like about B&C.

      -> Though the young Adama looked almost too young to me at first, his drive, naiveté, recklessness, and obsession to kill Cylons helped me look past his youth. Looks aside, I can image that the old Adama was just like the young Adama in B&C.

      -> The Cylons are just now (in B&C) experimenting with (evolving into?) organic life forms. There’s lots of tension around that topic that the writers can really develop even more so than in BSG.

      -> The Colonies are already running out of time, resources, and morale, again establishing the dark and desperate mood that BSG had.

      -> And, in the finale, did you note the Cylon snapping Becca’s neck, just like Six did to the infant in the opening BSG episodes? I love the reference/tie-in. All this conveys how brutal/hostile the Cylons are at this early stage.

      -> I liked the special effects. They are not mind-blowing effects compared to other sci-fi movies, but that’s ok. I watch movies for the story, not for the effects. Too many times effects are cheesy or they are just arbitrarily inserted because the effects are “cool” and can detract from the storyline.

      -> Finally, I liked that religion was NOT brought into the storyline (so far). I thought religion was overused in BSG. I don’t have a problem with religion being in a sci-fi movie. I just have a problem with the degree it was used in BSG. If the Cylons are monotheists, that’s quite ok with me, even interesting. I just prefer not to schlep across the universe guided by vague prophecies based on getting the arrow of Apollo, etc, blah, blah …

      Tha’s all, folks.

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      • Tony: The webisodes ARE the movie. SyFy will just be re-broadcasting what we just finished watching.

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        • Ivey: I was hoping that wasn’t the case (The Webisodes are the movie), but not surprised.

          I’m depressed.

          Where’s the Valium?

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    • Neil: I guess my point wasn’t clear. I don’t disagree with fans that want to see the first Cylon war; I’m one of them.

      What I was trying to say was that in TV-Movie/Backdoor pilot like this, you want to introduce to audiences what the show will be like. Instead, they killed nearly every character of note that was introduced. The cast actors who we can assume would be part of the series, but they were barely seen. Blood and Chrome the movie did very little to let us know what Blood and Chrome the series would be like.

      Edit: Killing characters in a one-off TV movie is not taking risks.

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      • May be that what the show would be like, characters regularly killed off (like what would occurred in war), with Adama out living most of his friends and colleagues. An that him and coker become legions during the war, constantly out thinking and out fighting the Cylons and competing the mission. That certainly what the end pointed to. We can then presume the only two characters would be regular and guranteed to be alive by the end of the mission would be Adama and coker.

        An if I had my way, a bang up raptor that is being kept together with duck tape and chewing gum an a bit of luck.

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  2. I was under the impression that SyFy had totally passed on the project and there was no chance of it going to series. Also I wonder if SyFy passed before the entire pilot completed filming and if that might have impacted the direction they went with it.

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  3. I’m not convinced Lt. Kirby “SUNSHINE” is dead, his fly off with engine burning leaves enough lack of definition for his character to resurface later. Toth, the same way, Coker’s a not medic, it’s an ice planet, retrieval was just a phone call away, he need not have bled out anymore than Coker did.

    Reality of war is flashes of people you see and like and they’re gone, and then more faces come and go.

    Question is; is it getting hits online for SYFY and other studio execs to invest?
    2.5 Million hits on 1st installment

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    • sfTommy: I thought that about SUNSHINE too. I think he said, “I’m going home” after a Raider wounded his VIper. I took that to be a reference to dying.

      But, when I recall SUNSHINE’s reaction about his new son, I reconsidered. I figured he figured the mission was going to H3LL, but why should he, so he headed back to base.

      But if the Webisodes is the same as the upcoming movie, I guess it’s a moot point.

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  4. As an aged fan, I can just say that it was realy pity that Caprica didn’t succeed. It was different, less action, less fight, less Vipers and gaming battles, but imaginative, inspirative and strong. But, funs didn’t accept it. Now they have chrome. It was logical answer. Stereotype instead courage.

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  5. The vision of Moore and Eick was so utterly different than typical sci fi. It portrayed the realism of a diminished society at war with a depth previously unseen. Because of the balance in depicting the struggles of the people involved, (both in and out of the cockpit) there was a vast, previously largely untapped source of subject material which emanated directly from the characters as they fought to find meaning in life while they struggled to feed themselves, escape their pursuers, find agreement to implement strategy, manage their black market, constitute a political system, conserve their military resources, suppress paranoia, fight civilian discontent, argue the relevance of their cultural mythology, and find the relevance of their religion. There was a great balance to BSG. No wonder it was so good! Caprica tried to create most of the preceding regarding the Caprican society, but was missing the danger and tension of the Cylon spies and combat. In Blood and Chrome most of the aforementioned was missing, due to time, and because it’s story line was about an immediate danger and it’s resolution. The unanswered question remains: could the producers have woven into the action of the Cylon War some of the tapestry of Colonial life? With war as the primary focus, there was little danger of being tedious like Caprica- but with the caveat that the battles only have meaning and are exciting when they count for something; endless combat scenes which are gratuitous get boring because they have no context.
    In Blood and Chrome, the cliche of the cocky young pilot seemed old, but it did establish how so talented a pilot ended up flying a Raptor. Despite some shortcomings, Blood and Chrome was a very welcome and enjoyable re-immersion into the BSG universe which I have missed immensely, and I wish that SiFi would get their ass in gear and re-up to produce installments of their best and most successful effort to date.

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  6. One more thing: the hanger bay scenes in B and C were really great!! Far more developed than BSG, with a wider, more realistic field of vision which showed the complexity and size of that facility.

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  7. Back in March/April, I kicked out a small fanfilm promo for a BSG series that is not planned. I was surprised to see many of the same concepts used for B&C that I had found useful in culling BSG. That we both used Ty Olsson didn’t strike me until yesterday, but did make me smile.

    Anyway, I know it’s now canon, and maybe a little self-promoting but here it is, redid the ending so there are two version. Maybe syfy people will see it?
    Version 1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hE86o-kirkk
    Version 2
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=aafHWz6V0rs

    Apologies prehand to the die-hard fans who don’t like this sort of freedom taken.

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  8. What potential writers of future BSG installments need to realize is that further stories set in that universe (I guess they’d all have to be prequels at this point) need to not be afraid to focus a show on something other than the Battlestar Galactica and William Adama. Sure I guess I’d like to see the first Cylon war, but it’s going to have to be with a group of characters where all bets are off. One of the most interesting aspects of the reboot series came in the form of showing us how another ship operated. You start to really run the risk of too much coincidence for one vessel or one character when you try to tie everything together and center it around a small group of people. This was a major problem with the Star Trek universe (you’re going to honestly tell me the Feds had only one competent ship in it’s entire history that also happened to be the only ship that had anything interesting happen to it?). This was certainly one of the problems with Caprica

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  9. basically, if it’s low brow and doesn’t require any thought – sci fy seems to green light it. if it requires any thought, has a bit of drama, and isn’t a reality series on ghost hunting or doing tv make up –

    well guys, guess what – it’s passed up.

    i am so angry at that network that i don’t even bother anymore.
    they canceled caprica which i think could have gone somewhere, and i just finished watching blood and chrome – it had so much potiential. i am so sick of watching the same thing on every single channel. you have 200 channels of the same damn thing. i want real science fiction, with real characters and thought behind them. not reality tv. not ghost hunting. not more b grade movies. why is this so hard for sci fy to figure out?
    i understand it takes money, but if you look at what tv series we have airing currently that people actually watch and like – its all stuff with good writing, good drama, and world building, even if it is in our world, so to speak. most of it is on cable channels we all pay for. and at this point with the world feeling so bleak – a good sci fi series would, i think get a lot of views. look at how popular the walking dead is. you could totally get a cross over audience.

    but again,
    im asking too much.

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  10. I agree with the general premise:
    Blood and Chrome should have more characters for more possible relationships, drama and overall plot ventures to occur.
    That said, I disagree with you. Syfy could make this a series. That they only have this extended episode is disappointing. I want more, and I put my money where my mouth is. True, I am a fan, but we’ve been given enough to show that they can put together something interesting.
    Now that I’ve posted that, I realize that what you want is drama and character interactions in a grim future. You can never have that same story in the past of BSG folklore, there’s just not a context where it would make sense. So what I’m basically saying is that you want the improbable. Then again, asking SyFy to host the show is also improbable. The fans might need to petition another network or even NBC to take the reigns on this one.

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    • Truth is most Sf “fans” really don’t know what they want until they see it. Then when they determine they do like it, they want more of the same. Thus good shows eventually get milked for all their worth until there’s nothing left, or they continue way past the point where the creators have run out of ideas. Though Caprica had interesting premise behind it, finding out the origins of the cylons was as big a let down as actually seeing the clone wars in the Star Wars prequels.Some things are simply better left to the imagination. And some of us out here do still nurture a healthy imagination and don’t feel the need to have Hollywood reveal ever mystery in the universe.

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  11. We want to see a war not some lame ass story that blood and chrome offered. caprica was also shite and im glad that got canned.

    when i 1st heard they were revamping bsg i thought they would keep with the old format, but they had to spoil it with cgi and shit actors and they changed the story which was lame.

    the cylons from the original spoke and were robots. and were controlled by a light bulb with eyes called lucifer. if they brought that back i would be happy.

    then i thought all is not lost blood and chrome back to basics with adama but no its the same vipers that shoot bullets and fire missiles, the cylons look like shit and you can tell by the look on the actors faces that its not real.

    bring richard hatch’s version of bsg to the tv make that and get rid of the cgi shite.

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    • I partially agree with you. Moore’s BG stunk from the word go. And who’s idiotic idea was it to strip off half the weaponry and most of the outer hull of the Galactica…? CGI can be done well, but it’s no match for miniatures when it comes to realism. But, those kinds of effects are expensive and that cost, along with writers who should have been keel-hauled, were what eventually brought down the original BG. Again, religion and mysticism (Ship of Lights) killed it as well.. As for Lucifer. He was an “IL” class Cylon. Basically the IL Cylons are the ones which can be made into an Imperious Leader. They generally are the ones who command base ships and bases.Although using the voice of Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) from Lost in Space was extremely annoying and completely unbelievable. Using Patrick McNee’s voice for the Imperious Leader was a great choice, but then having him play Iblis was kind of creepy. If they had kept the original BG as a serious scifi series, and not gone off the deep end with plots like Starbuck’s Father, the Ship of Lights, and Loyd Bridges’ horrible Commander Cain portrayal, the how might have lasted longer. Making the Cylons a human invention was moronic as well. I stopped watching most of the new BG series about 4 episodes in. Bad special effects, and you’re right.. Bullets??? They can create a jump drive engine, but can’t create a laser that works in vacuum where bullets can be dangerous to those who fire them. The Physics of the shells and tracer rounds was wrong too. As for missiles, if you will remember the Pegasus had missiles in the first BG. They used them to take out those two basestars. Although the vipers flew more realistically, as did all of the spacecraft. But the new Galactica was just ugly.. Especially compared to her earlier self in B&C.

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  12. I disagree with this article on a few points. First off, I am a die hard fan of the old classic BG, which in my mind was far more imaginative than the Moore version. That being said, Blood and Chrome got back to some of the great old space opera that made the real (original) BG such a fan favorite. And it did it without getting into the pseudo-religious overtones of the Moore BSG series. It seems that whenever a writer or producer can’t come up with anything original, they just stick some religious fanaticism or cult in as an answer as to why something is happening. And I am sorry, but the idea of a bunch of machines going on a holy crusade really turned me off on the original series… But B&C managed to avoid all of that and present a believable and interesting action story. It also brought back some of the hardware from the original series with very few changes, which I found to be very cool indeed. And the Bill Adama from Blood and Chrome was done superbly and it was very easy to imagine him years later as the Commander from the Moore BG.

    Losing all of the other characters may have hurt it a bit, but they all went out in a believable manner. And yes, it would have been better to see more of the Galactica in the show, but that wasn’t what the show was about. It was about Adama’s first tour, and would have made a wonderful pilot if the nimrods at SyFy had been able to pull their brain cases out of their rearward facing orifi, long enough to do something right for a change. But I’m sure that instead of B&C, they will provide us with some real quality scifi, like WWE wrestling or maybe some more of those idiotic pseudo-reality shows.. Anyone for a cross of Ghost Hunters and Buck Rogers? Don’t laugh… well actually you probably should. Because we will probably be treated to something just as moronic in place of what could have been a very interesting action/Scifi show.

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    • Rich: We can jump all over SyFy for a variety of reasons (trust me, I do it often), but we’ve also got to recognize that this still the network that aired the new BSG in the first place, took a major risk of significantly changing the tone of a franchise with SGU (Which I think was just as good as BSG, if not better), and is putting a whole crapton of money in Defiance.

      Show’s don’t necessarily fail because of the network, they fail because they can’t get enough of an audience to pay the cost of purchasing the show. I personally liked Blood and Chrome despite my problems with using it as a launching point for a full series, but SyFy obviously found it wanting regarding a full pickup. I’m not sure that there’s a good metric to see how well the webisodes equate into real dollars, but we’ll get a better feel for when SyFy airs it in the coming months.

      I can almost promise though, that it won’t do particularly well.

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  13. To be brief, I would say that after watching blood and chrome webisodes, BSG tv show is still the best made show. I liked Caprica very much especially the last few episodes to air because of increased action but due to how short the series was, it could not beat BSG. What if the exact same production crew (I mean the same crew and the same amount of crew members) that was involved in making BSG made blood and chrome, especially the special effects and camera crew?

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  14. I have to agree with a lot of points Rich made, except that he doesn’t like some of the episodes that I probably liked best. It’s too bad Blood and Chrome is cancelled, I hope that they change their minds. Of the three pilots I might like this one the best, as it seems the most like the original show. I didn’t originally think the BSG mini series was bad (except maybe for cigar-smoking female Starbuck), just different, and somehow in places more like other things than Battlestar Galactica. Sort of reminded me of The Second Variety (Screamers). The Blood and Chrome special effects were not always the greatest (really looked like a video game in places) but at least all the ships looked like what they were supposed to. As for the pilot not spending much time on people who would actually be in the rest of the series, this might be a good thing. If they later decide to go ahead with the series, they’ll only have to re-hire two or three actors, and the rest would be replicable without really changing anything.

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  15. In all fairness to the movie, it was announced months before the broadcast that show would not be picked up as a series, it’s more than possible that the movie was edited to be just that, a movie, instead of a pilot episode to introduce characters for the long term. Syfy has not been doing the BSG saga any justice.

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  16. Interesting comments about BSG and its spin offs but it might be worth noting that the original Book of BSG (remember those?) had the Cylons as living beings not a machine species! They had their own sprawling space empire which they controlled with an iron hand until mankind entered the picture and stared telling planets under Cylon rule that freedom was the go and they should rebel against their dictatorial rulers!
    This set the Cylons on a collision path with Mankind who they “hated with every fiber of their being” making it impossible for the two races to ever settle their differences as the Cylons viewed it as a fight to the death.for what they stood for as a race.
    The whole construct of he Cylon race was better in the book than what was realized on the screen in either BSG series and did not contain the heavy handed religious overtones that seems to permeate the modern take on BSG
    The modern take of BSG has us confronting ourselves in the form of machines(techno children of humanity- see Caprica) who seem to becoming more human than us along with religious overtones just add water! This is the heart of the matter because the BSG story has been interpreted three different ways, once in print and twice on the small screen and each have their supporters and detractors.

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  17. I don’t spend a lot of time on Syfy these days given the cancelling of Stargate Universe in mid-series without much notice. That really bugged me.

    In any event, after reading the comments above, I want to add this. The old series with Loren Green suffered from being mired in its period, too many weak female characters, cheesy sets, Pollyannaish adult child relations, etc.

    The last BSG series seemed off the mark. It was more like a mini soap opera noire. There was too much fracking and family problems, too many double dealing agendas, and too many mind trips by Baltar and the rest of the naked female cast on the Base Stars (something of a porn quality drama). Also there was virtually no scale as to measure the plight of the crew, the odds of survival etc. In the movie, Starbuck complains about a pilot and then learns he was killed in action, along with 85 other vipers. I don’t recall seeing that many in CGI. In fact, the flight deck was practically empty and available for volleyball courts if wanted.

    The new Blood and Chrome is like wow. Lots of action, lots of set, lots of vipers, lots of people and machines on the flight deck, stacked sets with multiple ships along with escort vessels which were completely missing in the last BSG. You could have killed everyone in Blood and Chrome and replaced them with veterans from other units, crews, squadrons, command crews and they would have been believable.

    I loved the tricky little editing gimmicks to use machine or tool noise to dub over cursing. I enjoyed Ben Cotton’s character immensely. They could have had him actually caring out his threats to rip the flight deck officer for assigning him Husker, and the ordinance officer for short changing him on Archers. I can’t even figure out if Kelly was a traitor or heroine. Did she carryout a triple cross selling her misinformation to the Cylons, or was she carrying out a misguide double deal? I still can’t tell.

    I’d love to buy the DVD if they actually include some senses that were cut. Like when the commander of Osiris visited the admiral, who was the admiral, is there a cameo from past actors or actresses? What of the Sym sense in the opening sequence, that must have happened at the academy, not on a shuttle bound for Galatica. And the missing line about the Arceron by Corker. I’d love to see it. Also I think the viper pilot on the ice moon, actually jumped back to Caprica and could easily return, after all weren’t those brand new Marc III vipers.

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  18. I cannot fathom why you are so slanted against Blood and Chrome.

    I have just finished watching Blood and Chrome (“The Movie”), I am both awed and amazed by the plot quality and the special continuity of the story itself in terms of the theme’s placement in the First Cyclon War. Like many fans I have a romanticized version of the first war in my imagination, I have to say that The Movie hit all expections and then some.

    I suppose the fan base has spoken based on the above comments.

    I think people need to remember that like Ivey West, movie critics also blasted Star Wars when it was released. The iconic place that particular movie has in the eyes of its fans cannot be understated. It just goes to show us all that critics are like another part of human anatomy, we all have one and have to put up with it.

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  19. Ok, here’s what I don’t get: after BSG got some buzz, it spread like crazy…easily enough, be ause it was GOOD. It went from a guilty pleasure of those who wouldn’t normally watch a show that involved robots and spaceships to something-or The Thing that everyone talked about. Everyone. It was referenced and loved (or hated-but still talked about) across the spectrum. People have missed this universe, and though Caprica tried to break away from the style and did a nose-dive, a vehicle like B&C would seem (at least to my naive perspective) like an easy sell to SyFy. I just can’t believe that they wouldn’t want to climb back on that ship, because it seems inconceivable that they’re doing much more than paying the bills with wrestling (what?) and camp like Sharkogtor and Crocopus,or whatever those horrific cg monster flicks were called.
    I have been going about my life, not pining on a daily basis for Galactica’s return…until I saw B&C. Now I’m just craving MORE and feeling confused as to why this thing hasn’t generated a scramble to pick it up by multiple networks, let alone getting passed up by the network that gained so much clout from the franchise to begin with. You would think that with the certain intellect and sensibilities associated with sci-fi lovers, that the network waving that flag might make better calls. Maybe A&E will take a look at it…zombies and cylons? Sounds good.
    Cheers.

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