In a perfect world, “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” wouldn’t have languished in limbo for nearly a year as Syfy struggled to figure out what to do with it. The network has always seemed surprised that the attempt to turn the “Battlestar Galactica” prequel series, “Caprica” into a soap opera-like family drama with killer robots failed to catch on.
The answer is simple. The 2004 “Battlestar Galactica” reboot had surprisingly sharp writing and great acting performances. But on some level, fans also love the space battles and epic clashes with the Cylons.
“Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” takes place a few decades before the reboot series, roughly ten years into the first Cylon war. Ideally, I’d wait until the entirety of “Blood & Chrome” was released before writing a review for it. But since Syfy has elected to release “Blood & Chrome” as a web series on Machinima, this is how it will be judged.
And the early verdict is that it’s pretty good. I had some concerns about using CG to create the majority of the sets, but I honestly didn’t notice it much during my first viewing of the initial episodes. I was more focused on the characters and the world. “Blood & Chrome” felt like home and it was good to be back.
The young William Adama (Luke Pasqualino) of this story is more like Starbuck than any member of the Adama family that we’ve seen. However, I can see that explaining why Adama liked Kara Thrace so much. She was the brash young upstart Viper pilot who was a little too arrogant about her skills… and Adama was basically the same way before he grew out of it.
Having managed to sit through all of the “Caprica” episodes, I actually did appreciate the references to Adama’s family and the Graystones. Nothing could ever make me watch that show again, but I always love continuity shout outs.
While Pasqualino’s Adama seems deeply removed from Edward James Olmos’ older Adama, he’s got a lot of charm. Certainly more than his commanding officer, Coker Fasjovik (Ben Cotton). Coker’s motivation is straightforward enough. He’s nearly served his mandatory two tours of duty and he can’t wait to escape the Cylon War with his life. Whereas Adama can’t wait to get in on the action, so he’s given a milk run with Coker to curb his enthusiasm.
There’s nothing really wrong with Cotton’s performance as Coker, but I just don’t care about him yet. The third lead of our cast is the mysterious Dr. Beka Kelly (Lili Bordain); who reveals that she has new orders for Coker and Adama to transport her to a more dangerous location on the edge of Cylon controlled space.
For what little time they have together on screen, Adama’s infatuation with Beka comes quickly. However, Adama becomes noticeably colder towards Beka once he learns more about who she is and where she came from. Needless to say, the mission does not go as smoothly as hoped and their lives are endangered by the end of the second installment.
The cliffhangers for “Blood & Chrome” episodes 1 & 2 were strong and each installment was well paced. The highlights were easily the action sequences, particularly the intense Viper vs Cylon ship space battle that opens the first episode. The special effects were worthy of the “BSG” TV series and it was legitimately exciting to watch.
Less successful was the co-ed shower scene which seems to be designed to entice people to buy the unrated “Blood & Chrome” DVD next year in the hopes of seeing Lili Bordain’s breasts or perhaps some of the other female (or possibly male) performers in the nude. That was a very “Spartacus” meets Starship Troopers moment that seemed oddly out of place in “Battlestar Galactica.” The basic cable dramas seem to get away with showing a lot more skin these days. But very few people watch “BSG” just to see some exposed flesh.
Getting back to my point, the cute meet of Beka and Adama didn’t play very well and the rest of the dialogue in that scene between Adama, Coker and the other crew members was pretty on the nose and uninteresting. Those were the only moments that felt like the writers were dragging their feet.
On the whole, the first two parts of “Blood & Chrome” were impressive, if not quite perfect. However, this project definitely belonged on TV with a real chance to become a weekly series. I don’t know what it will take for Syfy to realize that, but I’ll enjoy this while it lasts.