Battlestar Galactica #27: Spaceball

"Go out there and lose."
SO SAY WE ALL: The Super Scouts play baseball.

REVIEW: I guess I didn't give Galactica 1980 enough credit. I thought for sure the Galaltican kids would disappear without explanation, but they don't. In the next episode, Jamie takes the role of main protagonist and has to find a home for them. On the one hand, I'm not against the serialized nature of the show; on the other, seeing the trailer in which the kids used super-powers to win a baseball game filled me with dread. Now if I can only stop perking up when I see Patrick Stewart's name in the credits... It's Patrick STUART, the new Dr. Zee. Still startling, then deflating. One of the problems with all these precocious brainiacs, super-strength or no, is that it makes the Galacticans more alien than they should be. We saw NONE of this in the original series, where we could believe they were our cousins, that we were all part of the same HUMANITY. 1980 treats them as the OTHER, and benign or not, they are not like us. A similar thing happens when the villainous Xaviar returns, recast, and the explanation (which is somehow supposed to cover Dr. Zee's recasting as well) is that Galacticans have epidermal transformation technology that can make them look like anyone. Something Xaviar was able to do without returning to the fleet, mind you. Or did he? Because he has a two-seat Viper with him, which wasn't his old craft. If he has allies in the fleet, neither Zee nor Adama worry about it. But that's the show at this point. We're getting rough drafts put to the screen.

Not that everything is the script's fault. The actor playing the new Xaviar (having borrowed a Viper pilot's face) has this odd Eastern European accent and a real sneer that would make it impossible to take him as anything but a villain. It's a real drag even if the script didn't make a hash of his plan. I also question the effects, in particular the dead Viper in space, a nasty trap set by Xaviar. They should it as a still of an oncoming Viper, and it looks like a still. When we cut to the interior, the stars are moving. When the guys get out of the craft to fix it, there's a good wide shot of the Viper in space. Why not just use that, without the astronauts, instead? It boggles the mind. But then, this is a show that's used the credit "Direcetd by" (sic) a couple times now, and hasn't noticed.

I will admit there's some fun to be had with the baseball game once the kids cut loose. Super-powered sports will always amuse me. And Jamie does her best to outwit both Xaviar and the Air Force who come looking for the kids. Some of the "fast talk" they give her could never be convincing no matter the actor, but Robyn Douglass shines compared to the over the top NuXaviar and the sad sack former baseball player with his thoroughly fake amputated arm. Otherwise, well, you've got a tiring back and forth between "lose the game" and "win the game" to resolve the cliched "save the camp from financial ruin" plot. You've got the Viper that can't be fixed without tools they don't have, but then they fix it anyway. You've got Dillon's weird smile when he hears Colonel Sydell of the UFO tracking task force will recover from getting zapped by Xaviar. You've got the now expected lame joke to end the episode on, and it's really not clear what happens to the kids now given that their superhuman performance was recorded. Oh and a word about the Colonials' names. Nash is already questionable, but a kid called Wellington? I don't think that respects the naming conventions of Galactica AT ALL!

VERSIONS: The original script included a subplot in which the dead Viper is detected by a spy satellite. Also, Xaviar gets in with Billy's camp by first sabotaging, then fixing its bus.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - I'm as roused as anyone by a super-powered baseball game, but Galactica 1980 seems incapable of producing a proper script.



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