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January 25, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Problems


I never really liked the Battlestar Galactica reboot. I understand why it is very popular and what innovative things they have done. Plus many of the actors have good acting ability and several are very attractive. The technical quality of the show and its effects are top notch. The show and the series has had several quality moments.

I will try to avoid specific series spoilers In an update at the end I will be discussing something that is a spoiler. There is a bolded title about spoilers which appear after that title. If you have not watched the later seasons and do not want any hint of what they may be about then stop reading. If you have not watched even the series pilot or the original series then I am definitely talking about fundamental aspects of the series which are based on what happens in the pilot.

One of my big problems is that based on how the characters in the show are written I do not care about the fate of any of the humans or the cylons. If a bunch of Lemmings go off of a cliff by themselves I have difficulty caring. Especially when the lemmings that survive fight amongst themselves on the way to the next cliff. Similarly the people on Battlestar Galactica are all relentlessly self-destructive. I find that it difficult to care when there are less of them.



This site is about technology and the future. Battlestar Galactica just has faster than light drive (FTL) and human level artificial general intelligence robots and synthetic people and everything else is pretty much at the level of todays technology or worse. Much of this makes no technological sense. They also are not trying to use any rudimentary technical capability that any FTL capable aircraft carrier with several hundred FTL capable supporting ships would have to be able to accomplish.

They are looking for habital worlds but they are unable to identify them until they get into that solar system using faster than light travel. They built an aircraft carrier size spaceship but they cannot build large telescopes ? They could spin a large dish of mercury and create a large liquid mirror. There currently are proposals for large (100 meter) liquid mirrors on the moon.

Battlestar Galactica could make a larger than Hubble space telescope easily and then position it at optimal gravitational lensing points for the sun of any star system that they get near.

Gravitational lensing has been used to detect extrasolar planets.

They need to rebuild their population but they do not use artificial insemination or test tube babies or any pregnancy enhancing efforts.

It seems that there is nothing stopping a ship with FTL drive from using that drive to purposely appear inside another ship. They are able to FTL to precise position by moving many ships in precise formation. Thus a simple damaging battle technique would be to get an expendable craft with FTL to appear inside a Cylon battlestation.

They have a human population of a small town or a largish university (50,000 down to 35,000 which is less than UCLA). Yet they have the political structure of the United States. It should have something more like college radio, a university newspaper and similar governing structure of small town. The President is basically like a mayor.

Discussion with Specific Spoilers Follows

So this will reveal a plot element from the last season of Battlestar Galactica.

Turn away if you do not want to know.



Ready.


Spoiler is coming.


So they find Earth apparently and it has been lifeless since a massive nuclear conflict 2000 years previously. Yet this nuclear destruction was not thorough as there are still sections of walls and bridges that survive for 2000 years. A collection of ships like the Battlestar Galactica would easily be able to clean up and purify the ocean water which is visible and live on this 2000 year post nuclear world. Plus Mars has frozen water. They have sufficient power supplies and can build solar and other power sources. A nuclear devastation would not destroy all plants and insects. They could easily survive and have food, water and energy in this solar system even if the Earth was nuked. They even walked around the planet and there were some grasses and trees (although apparently most were supposed to be lifeless.) If there were no microbes then the atmosphere would have been very different. If the plants and trees were all supposed to be dead then they would not be in the condition of dead grasses. I am willing to say that they just got that wrong and earth is somehow a contaminated lifeless husk. This still leaves water available for purification and frozen water on Mars. Mars would be easily habitable with the resources available to the Galactica fleet. Plus those resources would ensure the survival of the fleet while they used telescopes to find something better or sent out scouting missions.

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