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The lights are on for sure...
...but baby the occupants have flown
A Discussion: Put on your Thinking Caps - Fic Prompt-a-thon 
19th-Mar-2012 09:51 am
(fandom)- bsg so say we all
I often find that I cannot have conversations with fanboys. I don't know why but their conversations tend towards bizarre nitpicking of the writing. Now I find that fangirls are critical too, but in different ways. I don't know, I'm not explaining it well.

Anyways, I spent this weekend mother's helping for a family with an autistic boy, but their son would have moments where he decided he was just done with human beings and would zone out with an iPad for an hour or so. So, I ended up having a lot of conversations with his father who used to be a science fiction editor and had written an episode of Deep Space 9.

One of the things we talked about is "Where BSG went wrong". Don't worry. This is not a discussion of that. Because gods only know how long we could go on about that one. No. I brought up my point that New Caprica was highly rushed and severely underutilized as a plot arc. BSG functioned so well as a show when it dealt with the legitimate issues of the end of the world, so why didn't it deal with the legitimate issues of settling on a brand new planet or the cylon invasion of the planet. One point he brought up was, when the cylons showed up, why didn't the humans scatter? It's not like they didn't have an entire planet to utilize. Or you know, a band around the equator where it was habitable.

Now here's where you come in. Let's prove that we are smarter and more thoughtful than the BSG writers (as you guys pretty much do on a regular basis) and come up with the unanswered questions that could have and should have been explored with a longer arc. Bonus cookies for anyone who writes a drabble or a fic based on the prompt.

Example:
They're on a new planet, with new vegetation, and presumably some kind of insect life at least to assist in the reproduction of that plant life. We also saw a swampy area on the planet where Athena met up with the resistance. Bugs carry disease. Why didn't se wee the actual biological impact of the humans meeting up with a virus they had never encountered before?

Now it's your turn. Thinky thoughts. GO!
Comments 
19th-Mar-2012 02:26 pm (UTC)
I think my big New Caprica thing is... why didn't the Cylons have more of a religious-conversion angle? I remember it was something a lot of people assumed would happen in fic/meta before season 3, that part of the whole occupation-of-peace-and-love thing is they'd want people paying lip service to the One God instead of their other gods.

But then it's canon in the webisodes that they did the opposite and were actually pretty respectful about the humans' religion until the resistance started operating out of there. But why is that exactly, except that it fits the Iraq analogy better? (Well that and it's smarter, but since when are Cylons 100% smart?) I WANT MY RELIGIOUS ZEALOT CYLONS BEING RELIGIOUSLY ZEALOUS.

Edited at 2012-03-19 02:28 pm (UTC)
19th-Mar-2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
Ooooh... me likey! ME WANT.
19th-Mar-2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
I WANT MY RELIGIOUS ZEALOT CYLONS BEING RELIGIOUSLY ZEALOUS.

This! At least some of them. I would have loved to have seen an overly nice and helpful movement in the cylon ranks, giving the human population the things they needed to be successful on the planet. Some offering religion and others wanting to force religion down the human's throats.

And I would have loved for some of the humans to want the help from the cylon simply because they wanted, knew they needed the help they were being offered. Then have a group that still completely opposes the cylons in any form.

Having both groups split would have been really interesting.
19th-Mar-2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
I just wrote something like this a day or two ago, you mind reader! :) Seriously:

They reached the edge of the city. There was no fence around it, which seemed a little odd, but New Caprica was not so rife with game and edible fruits that a person could survive on their own. People didn't run because there was no place to run to.

I think the simple answer is they were caught by surprise. (The humans, I mean.) I think that the resources on New Caprica were so scant enough that it made individual or small group survival- especially if you didn't know what you were doing- too difficult. It would have made sense in the short term, where perhaps the humans scattered to x number of locations, and Adama swooped in and pulled them out, but again, Cylons have superior numbers, which was always part of the problem.

I'd really, really, really love to see an AU where Helo and Athena were on the ground when the Cylons landed. I'd love to know what they would have done.

I'll have to think up other thoughts later. Most of mine are just explorations of things that were implied or possible- like the different relationships that could have been explored, or the fact I am still convinced that there was rape going on (nothing will ever convince me that that didn't happen to at least Seelix or Jean, if not both), or I'd love to see more of the PTSD!Six or stuff like that.
19th-Mar-2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
I am still convinced that there was rape going on

One of the idea I obsess over, a lot, is that Leoben crafted a "white knight" scenario for himself. I highly doubt Kara went straight to his dollhouse. I always imagined she was detained, possibly tortured, and Leoben "rescues" her from that, by taking her to his place.
19th-Mar-2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
*nods* I imagine that too, it's even how I set up the Lee/Six version of it.
19th-Mar-2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
Which is part of WHY I LOVED IT.
19th-Mar-2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
*blush*
19th-Mar-2012 03:54 pm (UTC)
Speaking just in regards to the show's failures AS A TV SHOW:

I don't love the New Cap arc for a lot of reasons, but mainly I think because...it's too much of a departure from the show's origins. I like my space family...in space. (And that's ironic considering I am not a SciFi geek in the slightest, and in theory, life on a planet should be more interesting to me.) So I think it lasted just as long as it should have and I would not have any interest in suddenly watching a show that turned into Little Space Family on the Prairie. So I don't think it was underutilized. I'd had quite enough of NC by the time they got the heck out of there.

And I think...it's like any other gimmick you introduce to a TV show with set parameters, if they'd dragged it on for a whole season, I bet they would've lost a lot of viewers (I have no idea when ratings started to nosedive or if there were financial reasons to have the NC arc last only a few eps.) Just like you can't introduce a Cousin Oliver and expect audiences to love it, you can't suddenly re-set your entire show's environs without a bumpy ride ensuing. People like what's familiar, they like to get what they signed up for, and they only like change in small doses usually (or sometimes they don't like it at all).

Now, from a storytelling point of view--Sure, there's tons of stories you could explore about settling on a new planet. Most of them seem very... plot-driven. You'd end up with a lot of Black Markets and Dirty Hands I think unless you were careful with the execution. Even the example you posted is very "Special Episode" --I could see that playing out very much like The Woman King except with bugs rather than racist doctors. Lol.

I much rather they skipped NC and made the reveal of the final five at the end of Season 2. And then you would have had another two whole seasons to explore WHAT IT ACTUALLY MEANT that five people who had been living among them the whole time and were majorly important (so yeah, I would've changed who those five were also) to our core of Bill, Laura, Lee and Kara were discovered to be cylons. In fact, I think I would've made one of those four (at least) a cylon--probably Starbuck since it makes the most sense narratively. I would've liked to see people REALLY dealing with what it meant that someone you loved was the enemy race. I would've liked them to actually dissect what the differences were -- physically, emotionally, etc.--between cylons and humans, rather than sweep it under the carpet with a simple "you just have to accept them and work together". I would've made the last two seasons be about mutiny and strife --and what happens when people discover there are these five cylon sleeper agents that have been in the fleet all along. And what does that mean? And who protects them? And how do they react? To my thinking--all of that got very very short shrift by cramming it into S4 (and actually they ignored it for half of S4 practically).

ETA: If they were going to show the logistics of settling on a planet, rather than that false New Caprica start--why not go whole hog and make them find Earth early too? (Although I'm not sure if prehistoric unpopulated earth would have been the answer there?)

Edited at 2012-03-19 03:59 pm (UTC)
19th-Mar-2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
MAN. You have so much thoughts I don't even know I can address them all...

As for space family... I mean, having people settling on New Cap, I think, doesn't HAVE to mean everyone leaves space. I just think it could lead to a more layered story and have simultaneous parallel stories of what's going on with the fleet and with NC. BUT I see your point.

And, as for the "very special episode" thing... I think those only became "very special episodes" because the show took a departure from the original format... because, dirty hands and the woman king were very much like... Water or Colonial Day or Bastille Day... pretty much all of the first season, and some of the second season (Captain's Hand, the Peggy arc even) were: here is a crisis, lets see how people deal with it. And S3 moved away from that, and then tried to recapture it poorly.
19th-Mar-2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Colonial Day or Captain's Hand were so character-driven though. I don't know I guess it just depends on execution.

I just think spending too much time on NC would've been a mistake. Even if there was an alternate storyline on the ships...whenever you split up your main cast it doesn't usually result in good things, I think. It feels less organic, like the show is straining somehow. I guess if they were going to do anything more with NC, I wish it was to focus on the INITIAL setup of the planet, the time between finding it and groundbreaking day.

I still much would have preferred them giving time and better execution and a less rushed treatment of the show's central mystery instead about who the last five cylons were and what that meant for humans and cylons. So poorly handled IMO.
19th-Mar-2012 04:33 pm (UTC)
I guess if they were going to do anything more with NC, I wish it was to focus on the INITIAL setup of the planet, the time between finding it and groundbreaking day.

Yeah, that's kind of what I was going for with this whole thing, sorry if that part wasn't clear. That skipping a year really did the show a major disservice.
19th-Mar-2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of moving up the revelation of the final five. And I definitely would have made Kara a cylon. For all the reason you mentioned. Fabulous!!!
19th-Mar-2012 11:28 pm (UTC)
That is seriously what I think was the show's biggest flaw of all (even more than pigeons and poofs, though it kinda pains me to say it) -- introducing that as the central mystery of the show and then sorta sweeping it under the rug and minimizing its importance entirely in a bunch of different ways. Sigh.
19th-Mar-2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
Totally! I have this whole theory about how the timing of the cylon revelations thus the road to the cylons and human working together to find Earth was off by about a season. (One day I should write it all out. hee.)
(Deleted comment)
19th-Mar-2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Bill and his guilt

I thought while I was watching Unfinished Business that that was why he was calling Chief into the ring, to punish him for professional mistakes the way Kara wanted Lee to punish her for personal mistakes. But then it weirdly turned into another "BILL IS ALWAYS RIGHT" object lesson where he beat up Chief for wanting to have a life (!). I mean I know ostensibly the answer was that "We've all gotten soft and I can't let that happen" which was sorta borne out of Bill's guilt, but...I didn't think beating Chief up for it was the answer. I guess it was supposed to be a symbol that the old man is made of stronger stuff than you think/it seems, but...eh. I thought that really didn't work so much.

Edited at 2012-03-19 11:29 pm (UTC)
19th-Mar-2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
I agree with most of what Tara said about it being uninteresting. I do think there could have been a bit more room to see what living there was actually like, but the show was about the cylon-human conflict and without the cylons bearing down on the humans, it is less interesting to me and the enormous pressure of "survival" is relieved to some extent. The show is predicated on RUNNING FOR YOUR LIVES! And on NC they were not running. ;P

I don't know why they made it a whole year. That's a lifetime for the people on NC who had probably just gotten comfortable and felt safe. And then they cobbled together the "aftermath" in the Fleet which was FIX YO'SELF citizens. It seems like less NC would have been better than more. IDK. I don't necessarily dislike NC as a concept (and I did explore some of what it would look like, although in some not-desperate ways), but IDK, it's not my favorite. I WANT SPACE BATTLES. :P
19th-Mar-2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
"I don't know why they made it a whole year. That's a lifetime for the people on NC who had probably just gotten comfortable and felt safe."

It also is a lifetime in comparison to the rest of the show. I mean all of season one is supposed to take 2-3 months!! and time passes pretty quickly in the other season too. Meh. DO NOT LIKE.
19th-Mar-2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
That short time line/intense action in the other parts of the show is as much a reason to stay out of NC - who wants to spend a year watching them get to know their fruits and vegetables? It's not that kind of show.

I like the NC arc well enough. I love the resistance and the Saul and Ellen storyline was aces and worth the whole thing. Other things about that arc, which are not under discussion here are harder to deal with.
19th-Mar-2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
Lol <3 <3 I didn't like my space family split up. :( and of course I didn't like my pilots split up. Ooh just had a really interesting k/L fic idea!! I've never seen it done...may have to give it a whirl!
19th-Mar-2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
FIC! ALWAYS FIC! WANT! I don't know what it is but I WANT.
19th-Mar-2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
I don't know how interesting the settling of New Caprica would have been but I definitely would have gone for a more nuances occupation as I described in my reply to nicole_anell. I do agree that splitting the action between the planet and the ships still in space, but I think with more time to tell the story and possibly with more story to tell that might have worked.

I definitely agree with everyone who said there should have been more follow up after the occupation and rescue. "Get over it" and move on is not terribly believable and made the story as it aired kind of even to me.
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