Edit : Having written this up at 1am in the morning, I made some silly mistakes. Have corrected.
What follows is a pretty spoiler-heavy look at the new “Battlestar Galactica” prequel series that will air on SyFy sometime next year.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
“Blood and Chrome” is set in the 10th year of the first Cylon War, which – unfortunately for our gung-ho hero – looks like it’s about to come an end. .
Not only am I lucky enough to know some of the folks working on the series but I’ve been fortunate enough to have read the pilot script. And let me say right off the bat, if you like Ron Moore’s “Galactica” reboot, and to an extent J.J Abrams’ “Star Trek”, you’re gonna love “Battlestar Galactica : Blood & Chrome”. It’s Frakkin’ Excellent.
Obviously inspired by Orci and Kurtzman’s “Trek” reboot script (and to some extent, “Top Gun” – don’t let that frighten you), the “Blood and Chrome” pilot paints our hero – young William Adama as opposed to young James T.Kirk – as a confident, slightly conceited and highly-skilled rookie who, though finishing the top of his class, has a hard time convincing some of his colleagues that he’s the right man to be leading the charge against the Cylons.
The pilot, of course, starts off with young Adama completing his final graduate piece at the Academy. Once we’re convinced he’s ‘the man’ it’s onto well… you know where.
Rather swiftly, the hot-shot ladies man finds himself on military transport (described as “like a space-going version of a C-17”), alongside other graduates (like Lt. Jaycie McGavin; she’s not a big part of the pilot but guessing she’ll turn up later on – Adama hits on her on the carrier), headed for his new place of employ.
“Let me guess”, says Raptor pilot McGavin to Adama, “you’re fresh out of the Academy; been itching to fly Vipers since you were in short pants, and your only worry now is that the war will be over before you get a chance to prove what a bonafide ace you are”.
“You got me pegged”, replies Adama, “‘cept for the worrying part”.
Adama’s been assigned to the Galactica, a broken-down old vessel run by the equally as weary Silas Nash. His first mission? Fly a ‘Raptor’ – yes, a frakkin’ ‘Raptor’ – into battle. The mission? prevent some things from going BOOM! (Cylons have peppered the rocks with explosives).
Adama, of course, is a Viper pilot so only wants to fly a Viper.
The Caprican approaches his Raptor – ‘Wild Weasel’ painted across the fuselage – the same one Coker, his new co-pilot and ECO, has been cleaning the guts of a former pilot out of. Coker’s not there when Adama crawls into the disgustingly dirty guts of the ship (should make for an amusing scene) but turns up just as the young ‘rook’ is pushing some of the inside gunk onto the hanger floor. Needless to say, having finished cleaning up the thing, Coker’s none too happy… so already Adama’s in the bad books.
Coker’s not a bad guy though. He’s hard, and he’s got a tough shell, but seems only a pain in the arse because he cares about the wellbeing of his co-pilots – and hates losing people. He’s also not too sure about having a youngster like Adama, essentially straight out of school, as his wingman – especially when he’s only 45 days away from being discharged. Alas, they have to put their differences aside – only takes most of the episode; they argue consistently throughout the pilot and near come to physical blows at one point – and get on with the job.
(Their relationship actually reminds me a lot of Riggs’ and Martaugh’s in “Lethal Weapon” where, following some really heavy war stories they’ll end up sharing, they bury the hatchet – over a drink.)
Adama quickly earns a nickname, Husker – named so because of those that couldn’t steer their tractors right back on flask-carrying Coker’s home planet, Aerilon. The former hates it. Too late.
We quickly learn that Coker comes from a farming community, originally; Adama, however, has spent most of his life in the city – Caprica city. Again, just the writers way of telling us ‘these guys are from different places but will ultimately be the best darn unit out there’.
The assignment that makes up the guts of the pilot has to do with Adama and Coker transporting a young Doctor Dr.Beka Kelly to Scorpian. It’s a routine mission that both pilots envision will be a relaxing cruise alongside the stars for two days (it’s described as a ‘milk run’ by Adama).
Shortly after takeoff Dr.Kelly hands Adama and Coker their ‘new orders’ – straight from the Admiralty. It indicates that they’re not to go to Scoprion but to rendezvous with the ship Archeron which is, we’re informed, “right on the edge of Cylon-controlled space”. Though reluctant, Adama and Coker are told they’re not allowed to make contact with Galactica until Archeron.
We learn on the trip that Dr. Kelly worked for Graystone Industries, helping design the last version of the MCP chips – their brain; the part of them that made them smarter and better killers – for the Cylons.
“If you’re asking, do I feel guilt. Well I do”, Dr. Kelly questions Adama, “But not for the reasons you’d understand”.
Adama and Beka form a bit of a bond on the ship – she feeling so guilty for helping perfect the Cylons and all – and LATER,… have sex! Yep, Adama gets jiggy with it!
(It’s said to be “dark” sex, as if Beka’s both f*cking and fighting Adama at the same time.)
The rendezvous with Archeron doesn’t go as planned – I’ll leave it at that. Oh, and, well, naturally, it’d seem the War will not be coming to an end anytime soon.
As I said, it’s very Abrams’ “Star Trek” (there’s even a sequence set on an Ice Planet that Adama and Coker crash on) but mostly, it’s the “Battlestar Galactica” you know and love – what with it’s cool-ass spacely dogfights, twists and turns, treachery… I think this will be a huge hit.