Saturday, June 23, 2012

Galacton 2230

I was a big fan of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA when it was first-run. I remember when I first heard about the series, I thought, "What a terrible idea!" Did the 70's really need another downbeat, depressing, hopeless sci-fi show? Yet it surprised me by being populated by so many wonderful, likable characters, brought to life by so many terrific actors.  The writing could be dodgy at times, but good characters can go a long way.  

BG was Glen Larson's tribute to not only STAR WARS, but moreso, SPACE CRUISER YAMATO (known in the US as STAR BLAZERS), BONANZA, and, as I found out much later, The Book Of Mormon.  The format was originally designed to follow that of McCLOUD, which aired for 6 years as a series of 90-min. or 2-hour movies.  Network interference was virtually non-stop, however., ranging from censorship to insisting the show become a regular 1-hour weekly.

After 4 such episodes were cranked out in short order (and the drop in ambition and quality is unmistakable), the show regained its footing with the 2-hour story, "The Living Legend", which violated the TV series norm of the time by introducing a new regular character (Sheba) in mid-season.  The 2nd half of the season continued to be a surprise, as the "big story" actually continued to develop rather than stagnate as most "problem-based shows" tended to.  The format of the writing began to resemble that of Marvel Comics of the 70's more than most 70's TV adventure shows. I often thought that, if only they'd focused more on the characters and less on repetitive special effects, and turned the show more into a prime-time soap-opera, it could have been even better. As it turns out, prime-time shows which utilized large ensemble casts and soap-opera storytelling became a big thing in the 80's, starting with HILL STREET BLUES.

Due to increasingly-erractic behavior by TV execs of the late 70's, more and more TV shows were effectively sabotaged and cancelled before their time. In BG's case, it was actually cancelled despite high ratings, because it was considered "too expensive".  Gee, you'd think they would have realized that before they ever gave it the go-ahead in the first place.

Adding insult to injury, 6 months later, an attempt was made to bring the show back. But the attempt was so wrong-headed, so badly conceived, badly written, and abominably done on every single level, it actually gave me waking nightmares from watching it.  I knew I needed to do something to get that HORRIFIC mess out of my mind.

That something turned out to be... GALACTON 2230.

Episode I
It all started with a single-panel cartoon, inspired by the opening scene of a certain movie...

Episode II
It could have stopped there... but my best friend, Jim O'Donnell, full-time sci-fi and comics fanatic, part-time lunatic & self-styled con-man, suggested I do a tribute to one of our favorite STAR TREK episodes...
the one with Michael Ansara!

Episode III
I guess as an example of how personal tastes can change, I didn't care much for the character of "Athena" when the show started. Yet by the time I was doing my parody-tribute, I'd taken quite a shine to actress Maren Jensen, and decided to make up for her being sidelined more and more as the TV series had progressed. While I was at it, I somehow managed to find ways to feature cameos by just about every regular from the show
(including Tony Schwartz & Ed Begley Jr.).
Episode IV
As if the ensemble cast wasn't big enough... Robert Stack & Clint Eastwood both turn up in this one, along with a pair of aliens based on my self and my friend Jim, who briefly does a "Boris Badenov" impression before exiting.
Episode V
We begin with a game of "spot the spaceship". How many can you identify? Meanwhile, I wound up having FUN writing even Noah Hathaway's character (AND HIS DOG!). Re-watching the TV series recently, I was surprised to find he had only been written annoyingly in his first 2 stories. After that, he turned out to be a nice kid. (Definitely NOT the kind you'd ever see in a Spielberg movie.) And meanwhile again, 2 of the other "warriors" were based on Jim Henson & Frank Oz. No, really! (The 3rd one should be obvious.)
(Continued in Part 2)

Story & Art (C) HENRY KUJAWA
All prominent characters are Trademarks of HENRY KUJAWA

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