Tech Ramblings…

By Dr. T

Of gods, cylons, and stars..


“There are those who believe… that life here… began out there. Far across the universe. With tribes of humans… who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians… or the Toltecs… or the Mayans… that they may have been the architects of the Great Pyramids… or the lost civilizations of Lemuria… or Atlantis… Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man… who even now fight to survive… somewhere beyond the heavens.”

Excerpts BattleStar Galactica Website

This is one heck of a show. It brings together some very scientific, mythical, religious, and historical beliefs that we as humans adhere to in a very thrilling and edge-of-the-seat entertainment. A very interesting concept brought forth. Questions such as where do we come from. Are we really an amnesiac race. Forgotting our technologically advanced past through all the wars fought over the past few millennia. Questions not directly shown in the show but one thinks about later on. Such as the building of Egyptian Pyramids, the myth of Atlantis, and the civilization of the Mayas. The artefacts these civilizations left…their purpose, their design, their significance wrt the cosmos and constellations, etc. I would like to talk more about the pyramids and their history but thats another lengthy post, so I’ll stack this idea somewhere for later and adhere to WHY I love this show.

To bring these questions to life, the authors have linked our age old mythical beliefs about our birth stars. The planets that humans are shown to inhabit, called colonies, are based in our constellations ie Planet Caprica in the Capricorn constellation, Planet Arron in aries, Planet Sagitton in Sagitarius etc. Smart analogy. Twelve colonies in total. Twelve human tribes. Spread across the cosmos. A thirteenth tribe is said to exist called Earth. Its location unknown. Its existence, a myth. The thirteenth tribe is shown as being us, humans on this planet. This is the thirteenth tribe that BSG is looking for throughout space….

Before going on further, a little synopsis of the show. The series kicks off showing how Cylons (robots built by humans) rebel against Man and destroy their 12 colonies in a single swift attack simulataneously. Literally wiping out all humans except a few who are on board few commercial space freighters and one decapitaed (and about to be decommissioned) Battlestar Galactica. Galactica is a floating aircraft carrier and hence has military significance in the show. This all hapens in the first episode so the audience is at the edge of their seats asking for information and background (which is provided throughout the show as brief flashbacks so that it doesnt get dull or boring). Now starts a story of human survival where the humans are looking for a thirteenth colony, mythically known as Earth to call home. With the cylons hot on their tail trying to wipe out the last remaining humans from the universe, this becomes a great tale of human survival instincts, will power and adamence.

To add more juice to the show, we see human lookalike cylon robots who have penetrated and live amongst the survivors on board galactica. Misleading them at times into traps and keeping the cylons informed of their activities. So all the time, we are left questioning everyones motives and everyones a suspect.

What follows is a story of a young energetic pilots trying to save the fleet. A ship commander torn between bringing life to normal amongst the surviving 33,000 humans. And a democratic process that elects a president showing that humans still beleive in their core values of ethics, democracy, representation, and will to survive. It becomes a story torn between military coup, distrust between survivors on the ship and the armed forces. All trying to live under one room while looking for a place called earth and staying alive. All this being done, while barely hanging to the concept of being human…

What is also noteworthy that unlike star wars or star trek, this show doesnt kick off by a couple of dozen centuries from now. Its very realistic since there are no protein synthesizers, people still have to look for frozen comets and barren planets for fuel and water, they’re still struggling with jet thrust, and the max sci fi they’ve gone is something called FTL (Faster than Light speed). Which I beleive is already in the process of being made in our present times.

What is more interesting is that the way fate is dealt in this show. We often do something that creates a ripple effect in our future. For better or for worse This show is filled with such events. Someone forgets to do something and four or five episodes later, it has a huge repercussion for the whole human race. This is what keeps the audience wishing that someone should have been more responsible and that some lives could have been saved. This is what gives this show a human touch. Also, unlike other sci fi shows, this series shows humans as they are. Instead of showing them as winners and acheiving all targets they set out to do, there are more incidents in which raptor (BSG’s space fighters) lose their lives and lose the overall mission and retreat, defeated from teh cylon robots. And they fail, because they are filled with envy, distrust, jealousy, etc.

This is one heck of a show. Stays true to its scifi meaning but also introduces concepts such as human emotions (envy, sloth, hate, distrust), questioning our mythical and religious beliefs, democracy for the people, military empowerment, free judiciary, and a lot of airforce and navy life packed into one space vessel. Typically shows like this are take technology to such a level that it becomes unbeleivable or indigestive. But dont be fooled by BSG. The storyline, and the cast bring so much more in the series than just sci fi. In addition, it touches some very mythical beliefs of humanity.

I cant wait for Oct and Season 3 for BSG to start. It would be interesting what direction the directors and producers take this show next….

–Tashfeen.

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September 9, 2006 - Posted by | Space, Technology Talk

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