Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome - Webisodes Review (Spoilers)
Sunday, December 09, 2012
A sequel to the far too short-lived Caprica and prequel to the epic Battlestar Galactica (re-imaged), Blood and Chrome gets off to a mighty start!
The first webisode introduces us the rookie William (Bill) not quite “Husker” Adama (Luke Pasqualino) after finishing up a level 6 simulation of flying a viper, where we see him take some rather implausible risks.
Through out the first 2 webisodes, he comes off as a typical eager beaver, where older and more establish members of the Galactica, such as Jenna (Karen LaBlank) and Coker Fasjovic (Ben Cotton) come off as disillusioned soldiers who some what outcast the young enthusiastic Adama. But it becomes clearer after meeting Galactica's First Cylon War Era CO, Commander Salis Nash (Brian Markison), that Galactica heads did take notice of Adama's high ranking flight scores, as frustrated Adama is assigned to a Raptor with Coker, instead of a viper, is actually not making “a milk run” after all, but going on a dangerous covert operation where they are to take their cargo, a civilian Dr. Becca Kelly (Lili Borda'n), to another ship, the Archeron.
Unfortunately they arrive to find the Archeron completely dismantled, seemingly by the cylons, as they suddenly come under attack, only to barely escape and find many long thought gone fleet of battleships that take them to the next part of their journey. A journey that tests new friendships, truths about war, and making hard decisions.
The 9 part wepisodes climatically play out and reveal brand new truths behind the First Cylon War. Seeing many ghost ships being used for special operations, to taking Dr. Kelly to a dangerous cylon infested ice moon-Djerba (where she completely lies about her purpose there), to viewing Adama's first mission judgments (and early relationships reminiscent of later ones), and a possible indicator that the Final Five may have been involved in the First Cylon War, all bring intriguing promise to Blood and Chrome.
Besides the more obvious nostalgia of seeing Galactic again, or vipers & raptors for that matter, is that you can see elements from the new characters that remind you of both Battlestar and Caprica characters.
I was also initially skeptical of Luke Pasqualino's portrayal of young Adama after being SO found of Nico Cortez's performance in the Razor film flashbacks, but I am delighted and intrigued with how the writers, producers (Michael Taylor, David Eick, Bradley Thomson, and David Weddle), and director (Jonas Pate) handled Adama here, as he comes off as an ever ready confident, but not yet physically the strongest or toughest looking guy, but rather a some what naive young adult stepping into a new world. Pasqualino's performance is good and believable, as is Ben Cotton's and Lili Borda'n's. (Ben Cotton's Coker has got to be my favorite!)
For me, Coker reminds me of both of Saul Tigh, but also Samuel T. Anders. He has a disgruntle drinking-a lot and say-it-like-it-is edge to him, but yet you see a level headed genuine guy, who's a real survivor. Dr. Becca Kelly obviously makes you think of Battlestar's and Caprica's prominent scientists, Daniel Greystone and Gaius Baltar, but additionally her hair style and love interest aspect is also is reminiscent of Laura Roslin, as really Laura and Daniel are more alike in that they are both characters with strong constitutions and strong unwavering beliefs, which is something Baltar didn't have. -His life and faith was continuously shaken and broken apart, but also Balter tended to have an eccentric and animated disposition which also sets him apart from almost all other characters in both series. But like Balter, and even Daniel Greystone, Kelly is able to see the humanity and feel for the cylons. Other characters are only lightly familiar of Admiral Kain, Cally, "Helo", Dee, and even young Adama gives us a little balance of Lee and Kara.
One of the things I think Blood and Chrome has going for it, that Caprica initially didn't, is that it doesn't seem to be shying away at all from it's mythological roots. I felt the writers tried too hard to make Caprica it's own entity in which the first few episodes don't really remind you that Battlestar, or it's amazing mythology, had ever existed until we got to those fantastic final five episodes! I think there is way to write a other parts of an expanded universes that doesn't need the viewer to know every detail of other series, but also write one that does have winks and subtext back to those other things for the die hard fans without alienating either kind of viewer. I find Blood and Chrome delivers!
Something Caprica did have going for it however, was it's introspective look on the possibilities of how any cylon could be created at any time in the Battlestar mythos, technologically wise. On the exterior Blood and Chrome feels and looks more like Battlestar Galactica, but on a closer look it continues to share a technological examination of the evolution of the cylons much like Caprica and really serves to the beginnings of a great bridge, expanding on it's over all mythology and history.
Like I mentioned briefly above, there seems to be great possibility that The Final Five are ghosting around. In “No Exit” Ellen explains how the final five had stopped the First Cylon War by promising the Caprican-Era Centurions they would help them in their evolutionary advancement, which the aftermath was the creation of the “8” skin job models presented in Battlestar, but as we see, towards the end of Blood and Chrome, a skinless “6” approaches and kills Becca Kelly! (Tricia Helfer had hinted at her return in an interview last May)
Caprica producers had revealed their plans for season 2, should have Caprica not been canceled. They included an appearance of the Final Five, specifically Zoe-A meeting Galen Tyrol fishing at a beach in V-World. Obviously, Caprica's ending also game changed the previous cannon too, by revealing that there was at least one more skin-job, before the 8 appeared, as Zoe-A was given a better body.
Additionally, being a Battlestar fan that went out and bought a few of the tie-in comics, parts of the Final Five comic series tell a tale of The Final Five coming back to their ancestral Kobol and meeting The Guardians (The Centurians from Razar). The comics also explain Ellen and John Cavil's relationship origins, as an original Cavil from Kobol helped and went along with the 13th tribe to Earth (1), where he fell in love with a elder women near his own age named Ellen, but she died along the way. Somehow he seemed to have found a way to resurrect her as a younger version that he calls his daughter, Ellen. On Earth (1) Cavil is at war with Saul's father over repeating Kobol issues of immortality, war, and apotheosis. Cavil dies as a result, as the Final Five are able to leave Earth (1) after nuclear exposition, but Ellen with the help of the others, is very close to creating a new version of her father, who after the help of the Guardians, allegedly on the condition they stop the war, creates her sons, The Cavils and the other 7 models...But having “6” appear in this way may suggest that there is an in between period before we get to the final negotiations point in ending the war, (and before the Cavils' turn their backs on all the others.)
The Battlestar Origins comic series also features back stories of William Adama that tell a tale of being on a covert mission during the First Cylon War.
It's unclear just how cannon the comics or even Caprica's alleged plans will ever turn out to be, depending on if there will be any more Blood and Chrome or Battlestar related film material, but it does seem like they are following general guidelines of some of those ideas presented.
Visually Blood and Chrome is a feast primarily made up of CGI and saved Battlestar digital sets. It might seem over the top when you compare it to Battlestar, but considering Bear McCreary's viberant variations and rearrangements of his previous scores, and the fact that this series is about offensively coming face to face with cylons in the middle of war, while also representing a bridge, game changer, and turning point in shaping a young man we come to see in Battlestar as an enduring stoic enigma, it's action packed and dramatic glitzy feel is perfect for a time of grand scaled epicness in the Battlestar universe.
Ultimately, Blood and Chrome is great because even beyond it's appearance, good introductory story, nice cast, or hints in advances of undiscovered mythology, it continues in the vein of both series that came before it, in which Blood and Chrome greatly relates by still being a very compelling drama exploring rather dark sociopolitical aspects of humanity grappling with honor, duty, belief, purpose, and loyalty in name of evolutionary creation or progress.
It was nice after SO long being able to step back into a world much missed and be re-submersed into one of the best serialized science fiction works of our time. I give these first 9 webisodes an A+
All 9 wepisodes are available on YOUTUBE on the MACHINIMA PRIME's Channel! -And be sure to check out the "Unrated Version" airing on the SYFY Channel in Februrary along with DVD and Blu-ray February releases. Pre-Order available on Amazon.com
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