Review: Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

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The cylons are back. By your command. Image: NBCUniversal

I always thought that even at its weakest, Battlestar Galactica was still great and incredibly engrossing television.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, serialized online in 10 episodes last fall, brings the BSG torch back to TV with its Syfy broadcast premiere this Sunday.

A standalone prequel set in the early years of humanity’s war with the Cylons, Blood & Chrome strikes a decent balance between the overwrought origin stories of Caprica and the convoluted character and mythology arcs of BSG itself. I’ve seen the complaints that this production is a lightweight that doesn’t belong alongside either of those two series, but really, that’s not a fair comparison. Blood & Chrome functions as designed: Two hours of straightforward storytelling centered on just a few characters and bearing the right amount of emotional resonance for this particular tale.

Luke Pasqualino as William Adama. Image: NBCUniversal

Luke Pasqualino plays the young William Adama, who’s freshly assigned to the Galactica, and eager to start knocking some toasters out of the sky. His attitude gets him assigned instead to a “milk run,” flying a cargo transport with Coker Fasjovik (Ben Cotton), who’s close to ending his military tour. Only instead of cargo, they’re supposed to deliver a former Graystone Industries software engineer (Dr. Beka Kelly, played by Lili Bordán) to another battlestar. Of course, they’re absolutely not supposed to engage any Cylons. And of course, action and intrigue ensue.

I was a kid when the original Battlestar was on TV, and I’ve always loved the reimagined version’s occasional nod to that series. Seeing the Blood & Chrome basestars and cylon raiders built in the visual style of that era but created with today’s special effects technology just blew me away.

Focused as it is on a small cast and a linear plot, Blood & Chrome doesn’t reach the gut-punching and adrenaline-rushing moments that Battlestar hit when it was at its best, but it still manages an entertaining mix of full-on action, character development, and a good story that links the different BSG eras without straining to pull every single loose end together.

A DVD/Blu-Ray/digital copy combo pack of Blood & Chrome is set for a Feb. 19 release.

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