The response to my article on the Social Justice Warrior origins of the Battlestar Galactica reboot was immense and awesome, and whether you agreed or disagreed, I was glad to hear from you.
In fact, so many good points were raised that I need an entire column to address them – and to offer additional clarity on the points I was making.
But before I begin, I also want to add a note of caution. It’s great that people disagree, but when you pepper your remarks with lazy SJW insults like “sexist,” understand that you’re actually making my case for me.
The SJW philosophy relies on a hierarchy of ever-changing victimhood and when you invoke it, you open yourself up to an easy counterattack. This is particularly the case with Battlestar Galactica, since the reboot virtually eliminated African American actors from the show.
I previously noted this inconsistency, but I did not say: “Everyone who likes the reboot is obviously a racist,” because that’s a bullying tactic designed to shut people up, and I want to facilitate a discussion.
If you must hurl insults, at least make them interesting ones.
Now back to our regularly-scheduled rant.
The Death of Creativity
Telling a story using a given background in no way requires the annihilation of previous narratives and/or its characters. The various editions can happily exist side by side. They can even compliment one another or honor what came before.
The Star Trek franchise did this for decades and in the process created new and iconic characters in their own unique settings. Whether you liked all of them or not, there’s no question that geek culture was enriched by each incarnation.
Battlestar Galactica could easily gone the same route.
If you really like Katee Sackoff’s Kara Thrace, you should agree with me that she deserved to be a new and fully-realized character, not the modification of an existing male one.
It is the mark of Hollywood’s decline that this approach is increasingly being abandoned, even by Star Trek.
Remember, the whole point of doing a remake is that you have an existing fan base which provides you with a built-in audience. To then mangle the characters and the basic premise risks destroying this advantage, so why do it?
The Rise of the Punitive Remakes
The hallmark of the SJW method is not to create anything new for its own sake, but rather pervert or destroy what’s already there. (see also Itchy Bacca’s thesis on this here.)
This is why Kara Thrace cannot simply be added to the to the show with her own original call sign. She must necessarily replace the male Starbuck. And if you liked the original Starbuck, you’re a bad person and the producers hate you.
The term that best describes this process is the punitive remake. Quality entertainment is purely incidental, because the real goal is to wreck cultural icons the SJWs don’t like. Battlestar Galactica was the prototype for Lady Ghostbusters and “the Force is female.”
Fifteen years later, we’ve now reached the point in punitive reboots where the producers themselves are openly deriving malicious glee from the hate they are generating in their potential audience.
To repeat: this is not something you do if you want to make money. Maybe this is why the in development film feature is based on a reimagining of the original and not the 2004 remake.
Returning to the Source Material
If you haven’t seen it in a while, give the 1978 version another look. I think you’ll be surprised not only with how well it’s aged, but how it addresses thorny issues in a very nuanced way.
It’s also really dark for a show that ran on Sunday night after The Wonderful World of Disney. I’m watching it with a friend who’s never seen it before and he’s shocked at how bleak it is at times.
Five episodes in and we’ve already watched Apollo’s brother, mother and wife get killed. When his fighter is overdue and his adopted son asks when he’ll be back, the looks the bridge staff give each other are like a gut punch. Feminist boogeyman Starbuck of all people hastily distracts the kid by telling him he can hang out with the pilots and play cards.
Again, this is a family-friendly show, but it’s all about death and danger. The instability of the cast means that you literally have no idea who’s going to die next.
And yes, this instability undercut what could have been a prominent female role – Serina. Alas, Jane Seymour didn’t stick with the show and it wasn’t until mid-season that they were able to get Anne Lockhart to fill that niche.
But to return to my theme, if your idea of good entertainment requires you to use quotas and sort people into categories irrespective of the storyline, then the one show you must hate is the reboot, because it whitewashed a diverse cast.
So don’t be a racist. Watch the original Battlestar Galactica.