Let The Hating Begin…

Any time a sci-fi series receives the amount of positive press that Battlestar Galactica has received since its explosive season four premiere earlier this month, it draws out the haters. And whether they're the "I don't see what's so great about it" type or the "I could've done it better" crowd, they're always around to ride the publicity wave.

Maybe he missed his coffee yesterday morning -- or maybe he discovered that his tax refund isn't going to be as large as he'd hoped -- but Jonathan Toomey over at TV Squad penned a major bit of smack yesterday titled (very creatively) "Battlestar Galactica should be called Ga-suck-tica." His take:

"I don't see what the big deal is.

"To be completely honest, I'm a little bored. For the most part, the acting is stale and rigid, it's chock full of sci-fi cliches, endless good vs. evil rotes, and I'm not really sure that I care if the humans lose to the Cylons."

Of course, he does offer this caveat:

"To be fair, I suppoose I should preface all of this by saying that I've never been a huge sci-fi fan. The genre never really 'took off' for me? Get it? That's a rocket ship pun!"

But since he has gone to all the trouble of being honest and fair, maybe we should give him a read. Here's the short list of what he has to say about the series, having seen only the first nine episodes of season one:

  1. The Cylons don't seem all that smart.
  2. The humans don't seem all that smart either.
  3. He doesn't buy the Cylon technology.
  4. Baltar is a tool.
  5. The whole fleet will flip out now that they know Cylons look human.

I'll leave you to go and check out his specific complaints, though I do have one request: please don't email or comment on TV Squad to bash this guy. There are already plenty of people taking care of that, and frankly I think it's below GWCers.

So why did I write about this? I want to remind fans to see this type of article for what it is. It's not a commentary on the show, but rather a purposeful attempt to draw fire (and page views) by pissing in the Wheaties of those who've found enjoyment from the series.

There's good news, though: Haters are a sign of success. Based on what we've seen of season four already, we'll see more haters soon.

Battlestar Galactica Should Be Called Ga-Suck-tica [TV Squad]

15 Responses to "Let The Hating Begin…"
  1. Dave says:

    ok…only seen a few episodes..not a sci-fi fan….this gives him credentials to review the show because…????

    Here’s the thing..if you don;t liek the show, or are not a sci-fi fan or just don’t like Eddie Olmos for some unfathomable reason…don’t…watch…the..FRAKKIN..show. And sure as hell don’t review it.

    But you bring up a good point…this is to draw fire and nothing more. Tho being in the internet business myself, I’m at a loss as to why any site would say to themselves..”hmm y’know what we need more of? Flames!! Let’s irk some folks.” Ah well.

  2. Robin says:

    Could be worse, could be the review in The Guardian where the reviewer said “I don’t like sci-fi, I’ve not watched *any* of BSG before, but I’m going to review the first episode of S4.”

    But then yes it’s definitely a sign of success, and haters are a sign also of something that’s strong enough to draw passionate support from those who love it. I’ve met few people who “kinda like” BSG, and passion can strike conflicting passion in other people. Hell, I hate Firefly a lot, but I don’t think I’d hate it so much if everyone hadn’t spent ages going on about how wonderful it was. I try to keep my BSG fanboy stuff to myself and other lovers of the programme, in case I provoke someone!

  3. Armando says:

    You know what? Not liking sci-fi is besides the point. Other than Star Wars I’m not much of a fan of the genre (and one could argue that Star Wars is not really sci-fi anyway). I had liked the original Battlestar Galactica as a kid in the 70s, mostly because it reminded me of Star Wars. When I caught a few episodes once I was older I noticed that the original, well, sucked out loud so when I heard there was to be a remake of it I avoided it, wondering why anyone would want to do such a thing.

    Then I happened to catch a few episodes of season one while on a business trip. Boy did my tune change!

    BSG is a show that works, for me and a lot of other people (Stephen King has gone on record as one of them), IN SPITE of it being sci-fi. It works because, to borrow King’s expression, “it’s science fiction that doesn’t know it’s science fiction,” meaning that the sci-fi tropes that Mr. Toomey cites, are not the most important aspect of the show, are often taken for granted or downright ignored. The meat of this show is its religious, philosophical and political commentary and, most importantly, the characters at the center of that commentary and its framing story. What drew me, initially, to this show, was, in fact, Kara Thrace’s character arc in “Act of Contrition” and “You Can’t Go Home Again.” That night in 2005 in Eugene, Oregon when I had nothing to do and sat down to watch a BSG mini-marathon I fully expected to be amused at a bad retread of a cheesy 1970’s rip-off. By the time “You Can’t Go Home Again” hit its second act break or so I was surprised by how much I cared for Kara Thrace’s fate and was hooked.

    Mr. Toomey’s remark that he doesn’t like sci-fi and that perhaps that’s why he doesn’t care for this show because of that strikes me, therefore, as a bit hollow.

  4. GalaxyRanger says:

    “it’s science fiction that doesn’t know it’s science fiction,”

    That is exactly what people always say about Star Trek, that it’s at its best when the scifi element is the mere backdrop for the unfolding of an interesting story.

  5. Audra says:

    I still am amazed at the way science fiction itself is treated like the leper of fiction genres. “It’s so good, you wouldn’t even know it’s sci-fi.” “It’s good despite being sci-fi.” and so on.

    I guess I’m one of those people who says, maybe it is good because of the drama and politics and mythology and religion, and maybe it’s ALSO good because it’s got kickass robots and exploding ships and FTL travel. Not in spite of. Because of. So there! 😉

  6. Armando says:

    Audra, my point is that those things, cool as they are–and let’s not forget the good looking people of both genres; they’re good eye candy too, y’know–were not my initial attraction to the show. I, like a lot of other people (you know us as pretentious wannabes), don’t get attracted to a movie or TV show primarily because of cool eye-candy. It helps that BSG’s eye candy, sfx and otherwise, is particularly strong, but it’s not the main reason.

    It’s funny, though: I was just reading a chapter in a book called simply “25 Screenplays” detailing the creative process behind 25 unlikely hit films. Charlie Kaufmann is interviewed about “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and how it, like Being John Malkovich, is considered science fiction. Only it isn’t, at least not by the mainstream, because it doesn’t fall under the “space opera” rubric that most filmgoers and filmmakers think of when they think of “science fiction.” As a reader of science fiction, you know better. As someone who thought the same thing until he saw BSG three years ago and then started giving literary science fiction a chance, I now know better too (although to be fair, I read Frank Herbert’s “Dune” a full year or two before BSG thanks to SciFi channel’s miniseries adaptation. So there you go).

  7. Armando says:

    By the way, funny thing: I kinda miss this format now that I don’t use it as often. Weird!

  8. DawnAZ says:

    I think the fact that Chuck posted this info on GWC says much about the intelligence of our community than the dude who’s trying to stir it up. I agree that lighting a fire gets people to take notice and this article will bring the show even more fans.

    I don’t like the “not bad for sci-fi” labels either, but they are effective at drawing those apprehensive folks to the table. And we all know what a feast they’ll get from BSG.

  9. JonathanT says:

    I like Wheaties. The piss would be a bit too salty for me, though.

  10. Stroogie says:

    You know, as juvenile as I found most of the article, I have to agree with at least a couple of his points:

    1) The Cylons don’t seem that smart.
    If he’s only partway thru season one, wait till he gets as far as the rest of us, still wondering what exactly the Cylon plan was (Pike, do you still have that video posted of your “And They Have a Plan” parody?).

    2) Baltar is a tool.
    Well, duh. Though the reviewer makes the mistake of thinking we’re supposed to root for Baltar, which I think shows that he doesn’t get the inherent moral ambiguity that runs through BSG as a major theme. We aren’t supposed to like Baltar as a person, but the fact that he’s still alive and kicking shows us a world where not everything works out the way it should all the time. His comment that it’s full of rote good vs. evil tropes makes me further sure that he’s not paying attention to the right things. That, and he says the acting is wooden. I don’t care if you don’t like sci-fi, or you think the plots are silly, but if you miss the raw emotions these actors are displaying, what show are you watching?

  11. Stroogie says:

    P.S. I agree with Armando. I miss the old ways. Kudos to Chuck and all the rest for posting so often on the blog lately.

  12. Stroogie says:

    THANK YOU!

  13. Cymbeline says:

    I don’t think the fellow who wrote this article is a trollish hater. Read the article again and think about that kid in high school who never could understand what the “in” crowd was all about. He sees what the “in” crowd is into, he tries to do what the “in” crowd is doing, doesn’t “get it”, he’s lost, he’s confused, he’s annoyed; then he either shrugs his shoulders or he justifies his existence by developing a hatred of everything the “in” crowd stands for. Read the first paragraph again:

    “I finally caved. After all the hype and all the buzz, I gave in. I’m sick of ”avoiding headlines on blogs and it’s frustrating to hear everyone chatting ”away about “Cylons this…” and “Caprica that…” while I stand by mute and ”clueless. I’ve finally started to watch Battlestar Galactica.

    At least he’s honest. Hates sci-fi, watched sci-fi, still hates sci-fi. Fair enough.

    What this article is really saying is that Battlestar Galactica has entered the cultural lexicon and developed such buzz that even sci-fi haters have taken notice. What else would drive a sci-fi hater to watch a sci-fi show?

    So, I’m not worried about it. As you imply, it is better to have a few negative articles than to be ignored. Not everyone is going to love Battlestar Galactica and while I don’t agree with it, I think the article is a negative but fair review.

  14. docthanatos says:

    Let’s just face it people. There are those out there who look down on us b/c we embrace sci-fi. These are the people who keep Surviver and American Idol and the 14 different versions of CSI and Law and Order at the top of the ratings. CSI and Law and Order tell the same two stories over and over again. Surviver is basically torture porn and American Idol usually kicks off the best talent in weeks 9-3 and keeps who is cutest.

    BSG is the most dynamic show to be on TV since the the first seasons of Westwing or ER. There is no other show that has even come close to being able to integrate the current relegio/politic world into dramatic terms.

    When these idiots review the show who have a predeposition to hate it, we must remember that half the people in the world are below average so just by fact of statistics half of reviewers must be below average. I would like to inform Mr. Toomey that he can still buy episodes of “Fear Factor” on DVD. Enjoy.

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