I like Caprica a lot more than I like (the re-imagined) Battlestar Galactica. I enjoyed BSG the first time I watched it. The suspense kept me watching – much like Lost, I wanted to see how it all resolved, despite the frequently turgid pacing.

I even enjoyed re-watching the 1st season after the series ended – that was fun. But that’s where BSG and I had to part ways because rewatching it past the 1st season was so frakking boring for me that I wanted to gouge my eyes out with a spork just to end the monotony. A spork, people. Do you understand how much torpor a show has to cause that the viewer becomes so lethargic that they can’t even get their ass off the couch to find a proper eye-gouging implement, like a spoon or perhaps a melon baller? A lot.

Luckily, I didn’t have a spork close at hand, so I still have two eyes. I also have a lot more room on our Netflix queue now that I’ve purged the rest of BSG. If you love BSG and want to watch it over and over, more power to you. I just can’t.

Nevetheless, I thought I’d give Caprica a go, if only out of morbid curiosity and because Eric Stoltz is kinda nerdy hot. Caprica is supposed to be about the creation of the Cylons and also about the relationship between Daniel Graystone (Stoltz) and Bill Adama’s father (Esai Morales, a talent that is seriously being wasted here so far). You’d think the story of Bill Adama’s formative years would be interesting. You’d be wrong. You’d be seriously frakking wrong.

The Young Bill Adama subplot, wherein the Sopranos, I mean, the Adamas, go about their daily lives is boring. We get it. The Taurans face prejudice and cultural stereotypes and some of them are involved in organized crime. We get it. We get it. We get it.

Do you hear me? Borrrrring.

It put me into such a stupor that I failed to even notice that a major(ish) character is played by James Marsters (aka Spike).

Do you even know who your audience is, dear writers? I made you a chart to help you out. This is a breakdown of the typical Caprica viewing audience:
capricaviewers

Now, let’s make with the rise of the genocidal robots already.

edited to add:
Sorry iphone users – the chart categories are:
-BSG fans
-People who think Eric Stoltz is kinda hot
-People who accidentally watched Caprica because they were too lazy to change the channel when they realized it was only Friday & they had to wait a whole ‘nother day for Dinocroc versus Megashark

We did it. We watched all 10 episodes of Galactica 1980. To celebrate, we started watching the original series. It’s also hokey and silly, but by comparison? It’s art.

No, actually, it’s not.

But it’s something closer to art than Galactica 1980. One could say that the final (completed) episode of 1980, “Return of Starbuck” has a certain Waiting for Godot je ne sais quoi. You’d have to be really really high to say that, but if you could get that high without suffering an aneurism, you could say it.

Probably.

200px-adama80

“Return of Starbuck” wasn’t intended to be the series finale and the scripts from the last episodes are available at the Galactica Wiki, I just haven’t bothered to read them.

I’ve mentioned Dr. Zee, the teenage super-genius who sits around on a lighted throne and foresees the future and stuff. In “Return of Starbuck,” Dr. Zee tells Commander Adama’s facial hair about a dream he had that reveals his true origins.

Turns out, Dr. Zee is the love child of an 8 and Helo.

Wait. No.

Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) was presumed dead after his Viper was destroyed. Turns out, he didn’t die. He crash landed on some planet. Or maybe he’s an angel. Who the hell knows? Or cares? Besides, Dr. Zee, that is.

Dr. Zee has a vivid dream about Starbuck yukking it up in the desert with his new best pal and wacky sidekick, a Centurian he names Cy. Starbuck and Cy play Pyramid. Starbuck and Cy bicker. Starbuck and Cy meet a pregnant woman, deliver her baby, and put it on a space ship and send it back to Galactica. The baby grows up to be Dr. Zee, who is magical or Starbuck’s love child or something.

Just don’t think about it.

The important thing is that this is the episode where Starbuck first uses the word “frak,” instead of the previously popular Galactica obscentity, “felgercarb.”

This may be the most important legacy of the Galactica 1980 series.

Until 2001, that is, when Special Times Just Right, a direct descendant of Adama’s facial hair, wins Best in Show at Westminster.

(This post was written March 9th)

Eight episodes down, 2 to go. Once we finish our Galactica 1980 marathon the judge has assured us that all of the conditions of our parole will have been met and we can rejoin society.

(explanation of the 4 different Battlestar Galactica series here)

So. Last night we watched The Night the Cylons Landed, part I and II (episodes 7 and 8). There are two important pieces of information to share about this opus.

1) Wolfman Jack appears as himself.
2) Cylons look like humans.

TV Tropes has a section on celebrity guest stars that offers this serviceable explanation:

An episode of a show which departs from its usual type of plot to make the best possible use of a celebrity or major star who happens to be available, regardless of plausibility, coherence, or continuity.

If the Celebrity Star is a musician or band, they often play themselves (or a thinly veiled facsimile thereof, as on The Facts Of Life) and usually have to play one of their hit songs.

Their list of examples is only so-so, but I suspect that anyone trying to compile a more comprehensive list of celebrity guest stars from 70s television would spontaneously combust.

Sidenote: the same year he appeared in Galactica 1980, Wolfman Jack also played Reverend Billy in the movie Motel Hell. This is worth mentioning if only because it enables me to not think about Galactica 1980 for a moment.

Husband and I were both startled that there were indeed cylons who looked like humans in the old series – we both thought that the idea for humanoid cylons was introduced in the latest series.

Dr. Zee gets a lengthy scene to explain how this came about. His explanation seems a bit long and ponderous until you realize he’s just spent 4 minutes explaining what the new series has taken 4 whole seasons to get around to. Huh.

This two part opus takes place on Halloween so there can be loads of hilarity as various characters comment on the amazing costume the Centurian is wearing. Also, Dr. Zee gets to bust out some hilarious computer graphics to explain the cylon evolution (a few of which must have taken an art director days to make with their Lite Brite). Also, Wolfman Jack.

So here we are, plodding through “Spaceball,” another fine Galactica 1980 episode. (Confused? See yesterday’s post for concise explication of the various Galactica series).

“Spaceball” is the personification of hell on earth, in that it’s a whole episode devoted to the premise that everyone loves precocious children playing baseball against a formidable opponent and winning at the last minute. In this case, it’s the Super-powered Galactica Children who need to win the big playoff game to save a baseball camp run by an earthling named William “Billy” Ayers.

The name of the team is the polecats.

Seriously.

Ayers is played by Paul Koslo, who has appeared in pretty much every cheesy 70s and 80s show ever made at least once. It’s impressive. You should click on that link and look for yourself. Go on, we’ll wait here, just be sure to come back!

Wasn’t that great? I love the fact that he even played Jesse James in that episode of the Dukes of Hazzard that’s presented as a flashback to the Old West while Uncle Jesse reads from an old a diary and all of the characters in the flashback are played by the actors who play the characters who are supposed to be those characters descendants.

See also: tropes that are only one step to the left of a full-on time travel episode.

See also: sweeps week stunts.

See also: we didn’t just jump the shark, we caught it, skinned it, ate it and wore it’s hide as a disguise so we could eat in the studio commissary without showing our faces.

So, back to Galactica 1980 – William Ayers only has one arm, it’s implied he chewed it off to escape the set of this show. Maybe I implied that. In the episode I think they explained how he lost his arm and why it ended his career, but I spaced out and missed the explanation.

Any episode with Starla and Moonstone and the other allegedly darling Galactica children makes my teeth itch.

And yet, this is also the best episode we’ve watched so far. The character of Xavier the time-traveling bad guy is being played by a different actor and he seems unclear what both his motivation and his ethnicity are supposed to be. You’ve got to watch the first 10 minutes of the episode on hulu to appreciate how hilariously bizarre this is. I swear at one point in that opening scene he seems to lapse into a Bela Lugosi impression.

We’ve learned important things from Galactica 1980, particularly this, which appears at the end of every episode:

Helpful information on the Galactica 1980 DVD

Just in case you had any questions, I guess.

Most importantly, we’ve decided that “William Ayers and the Polecats” would make an excellent band name.

1. This contains minor BSG (new series) spoilers, so be warned.
2. Yesterday’s post was so full of typos and grammatical errors I practically had to rewrite it last night. sorry.

My posts about Galactica 1980 are causing confusion. To clear things up, here’s a primer.

There are 4 Battlestar Galactica series, including the forthcoming Caprica.

The show that is currently on SciFi and wrapping up it’s 4th and final season is Battlestar Galactica. It is also known as “the reimagined series” because creator Glen Larson already produced a show with the same name.

That first show was called Battlestar Galactica. Also known as “the original series.” It aired from 1978-79. It won a bunch of Emmys and got nominated for Golden Globes and all, but was very expensive and it got canned after one season.

Then, there was Galactica 1980. Also now known as “what the fuck were they thinking?” It only lasted 10 episodes and aired in 1980.

In 2010, SciFi will debut Caprica, which is described as taking place 50 years before the events of the re-imagined series. The plot, according to the SciFi website, involves the creation of the original Cylons. This makes no sense, since the new series would have us believe Cyclons inhabited the Earth 2000 years ago and nuked it. Does this mean we’re going to get time travel subplots? Please. No.

We realized people have Oscars-watching parties because it’s the only way to make the damned things entertaining. Poor Hugh Jackman. He tried so hard, but he was doomed by the dreadful material he had to work with. We were embarrassed for him during that opening number.

Husband and I decided it was time, time to begin the long-promised Galactica 1980 marathon.

We’d already watched 4 episodes, but that was a long time ago. Figuring we’d repressed most of what we’d seen, we broke out the DVDs and began at the beginning. We watched the first 3 episodes and then tuned back in to the Oscars to catch the last hour of awards. Compared to Galactica 1980…the awards were still dull.

Things went off the rails quickly the last time I vowed to do this whole Galactica 1980 marathon thing – you can bring yourself up to date here.

This time, with God(s of Cobol) as my witness, I will watch the whole series. And blog about it. This week. I guarantee it, or we’ll give you a full refund.

Oh – here’s some obligatory Oscars content: The best Oscars-related opinion writing was in yesterday’s Washington Post. Robin Givhan made a sensible case for dumping the ridiculous custom of letting stars hold the fashion industry hostage for alleged “good publicity.” (“Designers in the Red: The System’s Wearing Thin”)

It’s the final season of Battlestar Galactica and SciFi is scrambling to monetize every last moment.

“Buy artifacts from Earth!” they keep cajoling. Er, no thanks, I have plenty.

In addition to all of the prop and costume auctions, SciFi and Kentucky Fried Chicken are apparently running a sweepstakes. I hadn’t paid any attention to it – living in a time-shifted viewing universe I generally ignore the commercials. One of my knitting buddies was over today to catch up on this season and I failed to fast-forward through one of the commercial breaks in the first episode. Our jaws all dropped when we saw the commercial.

I just hit the SciFi channel website to see if they’re still running the promotion. I see that they’re now calling it the “Can’t say that word on tv” sweepstakes. I’d like to imagine that the Battlestar Galactica writers laughed so hard they ruptured their spleens when the SciFi marketing braintrust rolled out what they originally called the “frak pak”.

Now, obviously, you can say the word on television, because they do. That’s the point of the word. SciFi is basic cable, so having characters utter the word fuck every 6 seconds on a 42 minute program would break the bank. On the other hand, I don’t know if I’m willing to give SciFi enough credit to believe that they rolled this out on purpose so that they could then change the name with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge bit of viral publicity.

Husband suggested I embed this video for those who don’t know the show. Here’s a montage of BSG characters using the word Frak. (It’s pretty amusing, anyway).



So why don’t I think this was a calculated plan on the part of SciFi and KFC?

For starters, I don’t think KFC is that cutting edge in their thinking, nor do I think their shareholders would probably dig that plan.

Secondly, SciFi is the channel that killed the clever, witty and original Dresden Files in favor of Sanctuary. I rest my case.

Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my inner 13 year old found this frakkin hysterical. It’s really a miracle I’m able to get through this post without pointing out to KFC that they missed the boat with this one, because they do allegedly sell chicken at their establishment and the phrase “box of cocks” rhymes as nicely as “frak pak” and could be a cross-promotional bonanza.

Maybe that’s not as funny as I think it is – I proposed it to Husband and he just stared at me while I laughed hysterically.

I think I ate too many cookies today.

If you so desire, you can learn about how the FCC determines if the usage of a word is profane or obscene by reading the Golden Globes Award Order, which was the result of the legal wrangling after Bono used what the FCC refers to officially as the “F-word” (in quotation marks) during the Golden Globes. Or, you can just say “frak pak” a lot and giggle hysterically, which is what I’ve been doing.

It may at last be time to face my arch-nemesis. No, not Wolf Blitzer. Galactica 1980.

I’m about to go totally meta here, and quote from that previous post about why you don’t want to try this at home:

Here are the original posts from that first little (mis)adventure, to help newer readers understand why they shouldn’t try this [watching Galactica 1980] at home. Not without first undertaking a rigorous training regimen. And possibly lobotomizing themselves with a number 2 pencil.

Remember people, I watch so you don’t have to. I am a trained media professional and this is the big time. You should not, I repeat, not, try this at home.

And if you do, I’m not responsible for the psychological carnage. Nor will I come to your home and scrape the fetid remnants of your anguished soul off of your rug.

1) galactica 1980 marathon, part I (caution: new series spoilers)

2) Cousin Oliver gets kicked to the curb; or, Galactica 1980 marathon, part 2

3) Mormons, or, Galactica 1980 marathon, part 3

4) Galactica 1980 marathon, part 4, wherein I talk about Knight Rider instead because I still haven’t been able to bring myself to finish watching episode 5

5) Galactica 1980 post part 5; I only wish the 6th episode starred Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce

6) And, if you got through all that, a bonus post, at no extra charge: The Big Score, and a minor Battlestar Galactica (new series) spoiler

(Original post here).

The DVDs are standing by. If anyone wants to undertake this mission with me, drop me a line. Be warned that you aren’t getting your mitts on one of the lollipops and you’re going to need to know me fairly well to be allowed to babysit.

The category index for Galactica 1980 is here.