I just finished watching the remake of Battlestar Galactica which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel from 2004 to 2009. In hindsight, it is easily the most impressive series of its genre. I regret missing the show while it was on television.
In the BSG universe, the human species lives on the Twelve Colonies of Kobol in a distant part of the galaxy. Many years ago, humans created a race of machines called the Cylons who rebelled against human rule. A brutal war was fought against them but an armistice was eventually signed. The Cylons then disappeared for over forty years.
Battlestar Galactica kicks off when the Cylons return (some now in human form) and launch a devastating 9/11-style sneak nuclear attack on the Twelve Colonies. The human race is nearly wiped out. The Battlestar Galactica, one of the obsolete ships in the Colonial fleet, survives the attack and leads a fleet of 50,000 survivors into uncharted space. The show revolves around the search for the legendary thirteenth colony of Kobol, Earth.
Racially speaking, there isn’t much in the show to comment on. There are two interracial relationships (Helo/Athena and Apollo/Dee), but they are never used as a source of social commentary. Instead, humans in Battlestar Galactica are divided by class, religion, and national origin. The Cylons are monotheists whereas the humans are polytheists. Much is made out of this. In one memorable episode (“The Woman King”), a White doctor is accused of being a racist by a White soldier for killing White patients from Sagittaron, one of the poorer colonies.
Edward James Olmos (who plays Admiral Adama) is a well known Hispanic activist. You would never know this though from watching BSG. His ethnicity is never mentioned. In contrast, there were multiple episodes in Star Trek: Voyager devoted to Chakotay’s cheesy exploration of his Native American heritage. There isn’t a single moment in Battlestar Galactica comparable to, say, Captain Archer’s highminded paeans to diversity in Star Trek: Enterprise.
The main reason that I found BSG so refreshing is precisely because it wasn’t Star Trek. For example, in “A Measure of Salvation,” President Roslin endorses the use of genocide to end the Cylon threat once and for all. By comparison, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Commander Sisko and friends fight a shady organization called Section 31 to find a cure for the Starfleet engineered disease that is killing off the Founders.
In Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway comes across as a haughty Yankee schoolmarm in space forcing her humanistic morals on recalcitrant alien cultures. She constantly put her ship and crew at risk to demonstrate her liberal pieties. In Battlestar Galactica, Colonel Tigh ordered suicide bombings, Cylon prisoners were regularly executed, and democratic demagogues are presented as a threat to the security of the fleet. Individual rights are sacrificed for the greater good.
Unfortunately, the show was far from perfect. I thought BSG had a real sloppy ending. There are moments in the fourth season where the storyline becomes unglued. I disliked President Roslin’s character from the beginning. I also hated Starbuck’s transformation from saucy heroine to messiah figure. Gaius Baltar’s character was mishandled in the last season. Finally, it was never really clear exactly what the Cylons were up to. This loose end had to be tied up in a made-for-tv movie that aired last weekend.
Certain aspects of BSG will strongly appeal to White Nationalists: the theme of dispossession, the search for a homeland, the illiberal treatment of subjects like terrorism and abortion, an insidious alien enemy that mimics our appearance, fighting for blood and soil, sleeper cells and so on. I found it to be an improvement upon other science fiction series. It left me wondering what White Nationalists could do with the medium.
Note: If you have already seen Battlestar Galactica, don’t miss the premiere of the new prequel series, Caprica, which is set to launch on SyFy on January 22.