“Battlestar Galactica” Returns in Internet Prequel Series

by Jessica

Three years after the end of Battlestar Galactica and two years after the ill-fated run of Caprica, fans can finally get their Cylon fix again with the new prequel series Blood and Chrome. The series consists of 10 webisodes and is being distributed on the web in conjunction with Machinima.com. The 10 installments will air as a film on the SyFy Channel in February of 2013. Beware—spoilers ahead! I’m not going to reveal too many plot points, but if you are planning on watching the series and want to know absolutely nothing, stop reading now!

Blood and Chrome follows the young William Adama after he is first assigned to serve as a pilot on the Galactica. Unsurprisingly, he’s a hot-shot rookie with a thirst to prove himself. Also unsurprisingly, he’s paired with a cantankerous older co-pilot who’s constantly berating Adama’s foolhardy nature and fierce belief in the righteousness of the Cylon War. The six episodes that have been released so far are also full of all of my favorite BSG traits: space fighting, mandatory hot, smart, bad-ass girl who is ethically ambiguous, death-defying flight stunts, surprise plot twists, and more space fighting.

I’m the type of person who gets very attached to characters in shows I watch, so I’m a big fan of getting to see things like Adama’s early years. Prequels are pure candy for me to watch—they don’t effect the outcome of the characters you know and love (there’s no risk—unlike in sequels, where one wrong turn can mar your view of a character forever), but you still get to have more of the fictional worlds and characters you love (since I don’t have enough TV eating up my free time already).

Thus, I’m enjoying B&C a lot, because much of the work of establishing the world and attachment to characters has already been accomplished in BSG. If I actually think about it, not that much has been done to create a real characterization of any of the figures on the show—just quick sketches of personality and hints of intriguing backgrounds—but this is a limitation of having such a short space to work with (the six-episodes out now still come in at under an hour of viewing time). Still, even somewhat weak characterization doesn’t take away from the show, I think because B&C does an excellent job of conveying a sense that even if the viewer doesn’t totally understand each character’s motives, the motives are definitely there, just outside the scope of what is actually being shown.

I was also surprised to find B&C managed to tug on my heartstrings in such a short amount of time. A major theme running through each episode is that of sacrifice and loss—what must be given up by individuals fighting in the war, whether it’s their lives, their families, or even just their happiness. There are moments woven throughout that manage to be very moving just on their own, and I found myself feeling furthered saddened because I knew the future held reams more terrible things for humans to go through in terms of Cylon interaction.

I’ll admit that I have yet to get around to watching Caprica, so I can’t speak to how B&C compares to it, but the mini-series seems right in line with the BSG I know and love. It immediately put me back into that world again, and I had no trouble engaging with the plot and new characters. Further, even though the show is airing on the web, production values are generally very high, and watching it on my laptop wasn’t significantly different from watching an episode of BSG, although the difference might be more noticeable on a higher definition screen. It’s a great way to re-immerse yourself in the world if you’re a fan—I got a little chill when Adama looked out the window and saw the Galactica hull for the first time—but is also totally accessible to newcomers (As my BSG-n00b boyfriend said: “I’d probably watch the rest of that.”).

What did you think, dear readers? Is Blood and Chrome a hit or miss? Do you wish there were more episodes? Let your dulcet tones be heard in the comments below!