Battlestar Galactica #28: The Night the Cylons Landed Part 1

"Would you prefer smoking or non-smoking?" "Which way does the plane run best?"
SO SAY WE ALL: The Cylons come to Earth, and one of them looks like us.

REVIEW: Finally! Real Cylon action. Their new ship, in relation to the Vipers, is huge, but more importantly, this is the first appearance of human-looking Cylons, something that will become the paradigm in the new show. They are more mechanical than the modern series', but it still begins here. For fun, their space helmets are pointy, evoking the Lucifer model's head. Points off for a Centurion saying "As you will" instead of "By your command", though it returns to the proper catchphrase one line later. I thought they'd forgotten their own branding for a moment there. The ship crashes in upstate New York, leaving only two Cylons alive - the humanish Andromus and his stubborn bodyguard Centuri - and oh, the times they'll have on Earth. Gotta feel for the old models, in a way. They're stronger and tougher, but Andromus says their chances of surviving the crash are almost zero (and touchingly, they look around, like, whut?), and there's a weird "battle of wills" scene where Andromus seems to think he needs to go all "I am the Master and you will obey me" on his already zealously loyal buddy. The indignity.

Oh, I know, it's because the script is terrible. I'm not even clear as to why their ship needs to crash (other than advance the plot). Vipers are no match for it, so how much damage did it sustain that it suddenly drifts into Earth orbit and crashes, slowly, over the span of 24 hours? Well wait, if it's so tough, why doesn't it destroy the Vipers, but instead leaves the pilots alive so they can debrief the Galactica (not that it makes ANY difference that Adama and Zee know what's going on). Shots of the ship arriving at Earth belie everyone's contention that it's been mistaken for a falling satellite by Earth authorities (unless it's a probe returning from another planet in the Solar System?). And what about that comedy cliffhanger? Will the Cylons be able to digest Arnie's meatballs and fend off his sister's advances? Tune in next week! Way to deflate any sense of danger, guys.

But that's nothing compared to what's going on with the boys. Glad to see they're still with the Super Scouts - the attempt at serialization doesn't go unnoticed - but there's a LOT of padding built into the script to make this two episodes. Instead of taking their Vipers and bikes, they take a 747 from L.A. to New York, then a cab from Kennedy to somewhere up North. It takes FOREVER. Along the way, we get some lame "fish-out-of-water" jokes (the weakest part of any episode), and a whole bit about a hijacking - because the airport employee mentions hijackings, so of course, one has to happen on their flight - where they become the heroes even if they deny having anything to do with the hijackers' sudden passing out. Bringing attention to it, the boys wonder why ANYONE would try to hijack an aircraft - weird place, Earth - which is just the dumbest statement ever seeing as people tried to hijack a ship in the fleet several times when Troy was a boy (y'know, on the series that was actually good). When Troy reminds Dillon that the Cylons are in over their heads because, hey, remember when WE first came to Earth? He seems not to realize that they STILL can't operate on Earth like normal people. After the hijacking stuff, dumb cops try to arrest them. Take a drink.

Like the kids, I think I'd rather watch more of This Island Earth. Or see a lost episode of the original series where they go to the planet Gorkon that somehow uses the same alien.

DISCO/1980: Wolfman Jack appears (or will appear, he's just a voice on the radio here) at the height of his popularity (his peak was through the 70s and into the early to mid 80s). He plays Disco Inferno on Halloween night. Airplane hijackings to Cube became a common affair in the 1950s and were most prevalent in the 70s. The most recent from air date would have been the June 12th 1979 incident (the program takes place on October 31st, after a September 13th incident, but aired in April). Dated references department: Norman the Clown compares Arnie's meatballs in the digestive tract to baseball player Vida Blue's involvement with the San Francisco Giants: a stopper.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Cylons can now appear in human form, even if they aren't as convincing as those of the modern series.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Almost Medium, but only from a historical stand-point. First human Cylon, sure, but the rest of the script is just wretched.

2 comments:

Charles Izemie said...

I've often read your reviews, but this must be the first time we're in sync – I've yet to see Part II myself!

This really is a dismal show, isn't it? And I've seen The Powers of Matthew Star, Manimal, Misfits of Science, Automan and Voyagers! Just in the previous episode we saw Jeremy Brett giving perhaps the worst performance of his career – why the snarl and the accent? At that stage he was specialising in smooth, oily English charmers, who unsurprisingly turned out to be villains in the end – and this time even the fun of seeing two Dark Shadows actors together doesn't get us very far. Does the programme have some sort of a reverse magic touch when it comes to everyone concerned? Because Roger Davis and Lara Parker weren't that bad in the soap even when their eyes darted wildly for a teleprompter.

Out of curiosity, will you be moving immediately to the modern BSG after this or making a detour with Buck Rogers? Just asking, because I seem to recall you mentioning that it might be fun to review those, and the second season is at least tangentially connected to the Galactica universe.

Anyway, I'm enjoying these reviews much better than the actual show.

Siskoid said...

Larson's OTHER show does reuse a lot of props and vehicles from Galactica, but no, I wasn't planning on reviewing Buck Rogers at this point in time. I think I need a break from the 80s after this ;). But down the line, sure.

 

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