Top positive review
A Much-Needed Defense Of Battlestar Galactica
on August 5, 1999
John Kenneth Muir has authored a superb analysis of the Battlestar Galactica TV series, noting the show's many critics, its strong audience pull, and so forth. He analyzes all 17 of the show's episodes, explores some of the behind-the-scenes production problems, and offers the strengths and weaknesses of the overall show and individual episodes.
Muir's theme is that Galactica, warts and all, was nonetheless an entertaining and thought-provoking series that didn't deserve the kind of criticisms it got from the likes of sci-fi author David Gerrold and horror author Stephen King - Muir reprints blasts by those two and others against the show, blasts that display the ever-indefensible strain of elitist snobbery distressingly common to sci-fi.
Muir's strongest insight lies in his analysis of the show's hawkish view of war-and-piece issues. Sci-fi tends to be drearily pacifistic, based not on any realworld context but on sheer myth. Battlestar Galactica was different, and remains such even today. The show's hawkish philosophy is based on what has happened in the real world, not on the dreams of pacifists. Galactica's viewpoint has been repeatedly verified throughout history; where, for instance, can the one-world pacific viewpoint of Star Trek be verified in the real world?
There are naturally areas where one can disagree with Mr. Muir - his analyses of the episodes Lost Planet Of The Gods and Gun On Ice Planet Zero are overly harsh; in GOIPZ he repeats the valid but misunderstood criticism that the Fleet could have simply bypassed the Cylon-armed planetoid, never realizing that the Fleet is in effect surrounded by Cylon base stars and cannot do such an end-run - and he overanalyzes cliches within the show, such as the court-martial cliche used in Murder On The Rising Star.
Muir's overall analysis, though, is spot-on. He recognizes Battlestar Galactica as an enjoyable and thought-provoking series, and includes a list of ten recomended changes should the series be revived, some of which can serve as rules to be applied to any film genre - the bad-guys-who-can't-shoot-straight cliche has GOT to go - and most of which have been employed in the Maximum Press and Realm Press versions of Galactica and in Richard Hatch and Chris Golden's novels.