Tag Archive: Battlestar Galactica


On Saturday evening, Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar premiered outside the San Diego Comic-Con.  This fan film was founded via Kickstarter and is a prequel (of sorts) to the primary project, Star Trek: Axanar.

Prelude to Axanar

The story involves a History Channel-like show that is giving the set-up to the famed Battle of Axanar.  During the first major war the United Federation of Planets fought, they were losing.  The Klingon Empire, both threatened and unimpressed with the Federation, had decided to launch an invasion.  After more than a year of success, the Federation, reeling from continued losses, changed tact.  Aside from shake-ups in the command structure, more daring strategies were combined with an arms races with between the galactic powers.  Due to Admiral Samuel TravisKlingon’s arrogance, their gains were reversed- though they were not beaten nor dissuaded.  The film ends with the premise of forcing a battle that would end the war, one way or the other.

 

The cast for Prelude is small- only a handful of characters were relaying their stories to the historical production. However, the pedigree of these actors, especially for what is essentially a fan-film, is quite stellar. The cast includes: Tony Todd (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Candyman) as Marcus Ramirez, Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica, Falcon Crest) as Sonya Alexander, Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica, The Streets of San Francisco) as General Kharn, J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Zorro) as Samuel Travis, Gary Graham (Star Trek: Enterprise, Alien Nation) Kharnreprising his role from Enterprise as Ambassador Soval & Alec Peters as Garth of Izar.  The experience of the casting shows through as well- this feels much closer to an independent film, or even a smaller studio production, than a fan film- though to be fair, the crew made a lot of this happen as well.

 

Of special notes are the special effects- vignettes of starships, both traveling and fighting, shown during the interviews to punctuate what the characters are relating.  The quality of the CGI and the overall feel of the space shots reminds Trek fans of the motion pictures, (not the new JJ Abrams one, but the Prime Timeline movies).  However, the fights felt a bit sedated- though this review believes that is due to only showing the exteriors of the fights, without inside the ship shots to show how Cygnus IIIthe crew was reacting.  It is presumed this missing element will be shown in the movie proper- but for a history show, (fictional or otherwise), it worked.

 

Other elements of the background worked as well.  The script, while fairly bare bones, portrayed each character as a distinct personality; Captain Alexander is not interchangeable with Captain Travis, nor were Kharn and Rameriz mirror images.  Further, the framing device of the history show felt mostly right- if I were to nitpick, the footage was a little too clean for material captured during a battle, even in the 22nd Century.  The music was also understated, lending to an educational feel.  Lastly, the lighting for the two interview rooms gave them a distinctly different feel, suiting the different affiliations and their settings quite well.

 

This reviewer does hope that the Axanar movie proper will address how the Federation could be beaten back so easily by the Klingons after a founding member, Earth, succeeded alone against another galactic power in the Earth-Romulan Wars.  There seem to be four possibilities: 1) the ERW exhausted Earth and the Federation spent significant resources rebuilding the Terran infrastructure, Ares Constructionleaving the Federation weakened; 2) the ERW was fought in a vastly significant way tactically, with Starfleet busy fighting the last war while the Klingons were not; 3) the Klingon Empire is simply vastly superior militarily to the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, or 4) the ERW was a border war, and this was the first all-out interstellar war Earth and the Federation fought, whereas the Klingons fought them frequently.  Without addressing this, (especially in the context of a historical look back), it will seem odd that the Four-Year War went so badly for the Federation, after a founding member held off another Star Empire independently.

 

(One minor detail that breaks from the Prime Timeline canon is the importance of Axanar: the movie concludes with Garth’s plan, using Axanar as bait.  Part of the reason for this is the temptation of destroying the Federation’s newest ships, the Consitution-class starships, in construction over Axanar.  Most notably, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) was shown among them- however, canonically, the Enterprise was constructed over Earth in the San Francisco Yards.  But, if tiny details like this are your main problem, that’s pretty good.  (And quite frankly, show a level of care and concern far above the recent Star Trek reboot movies.))

 

Lastly, there are some Easter Eggs included.  I will leave them for you to find, save for this one: eagle-eyed Battlestar Galactica fans, was the first Federation ship shown and destroyed- the USS Triton, NCC-1439; (the Battlestar Triton, destroyed in the Colonial Holocaust, was designated BSG-39).

 

Overall, Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar is an impressive short film.  Despite being an entirely independent project, it feels like it would easily have come out of the Paramount lot.  And even though the entire film is essentially a framing device for the Axanar movie proper, it does its jobs and whets the appetite for more.

 

 

If you’re looking for the TL:DR version, if you are a Star Trek fan or enjoy good science fiction, definitely give Prelude to Axanar a watch once it become available to the general public at the end of July- you won’t regret it.

 

The Kickstarter for the main project, Star Trek: Axanar, went online this weekend and is, at this moment, over 90% funded.  Given what they did for Prelude, I see the funding being reached- and the final product should be glorious…  You can check it out Kickstarter- Star Trek: Axanar.  In the meantime, while waiting for Prelude to Axanar to release, here is the preview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Trek- Prelude to Axanar on IMDb

 

Advertisements

The first season of “Falling Skies” introduced us to the world six months after an alien invasion.  Skitters roam the land with Mech (robots) and Beamers (airships), slaughtering adults while capturing and harnessing children.  90% of humanity has been wiped out, with all major governments and cities devastated or destroyed.  Surviving Americans had organized into groups of fighters and civilians based on their location- the focus of “Falling Skies” is the 2d Massachusetts Regiment.  (You can read more about the <a href=>first season here</a>.)  The finale had the second in command, Tom Mason, played by Noah Wyle (“ER”, “Pirates of Silicon Valley”), walking onto an alien ship with a Slender, the alien overseers, after a successful attack on the Boston mothership.

Season two begins three months later, with the 2d Mass leading a Skitter and Mech unit into an ambush.  During the skirmish, Tom reappears only to be accidentally shot by Ben, (Connor Jessup (“The Saddle Club”, “King”)), his formerly harnessed son.  The first episode, “Worlds Apart”, is divided between Tom’s flashbacks in surgery and the group preparing to leave their temporary shelter which is in danger of being overrun.  The second premiere episode, “Shall We Gather at the River”, has a wounded and possibly compromised Tom coming to grips with the changes in the survivors, especially his three sons, as the 2d Mass tries to escape across the last bridge across the Housatonic River.  We conclude with a successful retreat as Red-Eye, a Skitter who has been prominent in both episodes, observing them move out.

The first season felt leaden, with interpersonal morass and without any of the action one would expect of a science fiction military drama.  Season two changes this with a heavy dose of action, more natural dialogue and an enhancement of the special effects.  The invaders feel like a threat, both individually and as a whole.  The 2d Mass looks more ragged and on edge, having lost their home base and taken has been casualties.  We see new members of the group and hear about the Battle of Fitchburg, which was a pyrrhic victory at best.  The group has also been much more aggressive, attacking and setting frequent ambushes- despite having lost their Applied Phlebotinum.  All of this leads to a much crisper drama with characters you vest in and a show you want to watch.

A significant slice of the show’s improvement can be attributed to the new blood, much of it having a Battlestar Galactica pedigree.  Remi Aubuchon, (“Caprica”, “24”) took over as showrunner for the season.  The writing duo of Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Battlestar Galactica”), also joined the show, penning the second episode.  A great example of their snappier writing in the movement across the bridge long shot, which introduced Crazy Lee, played by Luciana Carro (“The L Word”, “Battlestar Galactica”).  The first season veterans stepped up as well- David Weddle stated, “You can thank (Steven) Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”) for the special effects.  He said, ‘I want them better- especially the aliens.’”  The thanks would be well deserved as the Skitters look more realistic, the Mech more formidable, the Slenders much more menacing, and the series overall feels significantly grittier- all of which are welcome changes.

If the first two episodes are representative of what is in store with season two, “Falling Skies” will be a great addition to the science fiction canon.  Both episodes grew the characters while delivering impressive action- a delightful blend I am looking forward to seeing more of.

 

TL;DR?

The Season two opener of Falling Skies has a much stronger punch than season one combined…

12-12-12 12:12

Ah, it is now one of those fleeting moments, when all the numbers of date and time line up- we get them only in the beginning of ever century, so this is the last one for most of us…

And, as people who knew me from the Green House days in Ypsi, Twelve has always been one of my favorite numbers.  So, for this moment, I thought I would have a quick list of the 12s- after all, it seems to be a favored number for numerological and narrative purposes as well:

*  There are 12 constellations in the ecliptic (or Signs of the Zodiac).

*  There are twelve ‘ Jyotirlingas’ (epitome of God Shiva) in Hindu Shaivism. The shaivites (orthodox devotees of God Shiva) treat them with great respect and these are visited by almost every pious Hindu at least once in a lifetime. The number 12 is very important in many religions, mainly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and also found in some older religions and belief systems.

*  In Antiquity there are numerous magical/religious uses of twelves. Ancient Greek religion, the Twelve Olympians were the principal gods of the pantheon. The chief Norse god, Odin, had 12 sons. Several sets of twelve cities are identified in history as a dodecapolis, the most familiar being the Etruscan League. In the King Arthur Legend, Arthur is said to have subdued 12 rebel princes and to have won 12 great battles against Saxon invaders.

* There are 12 ounces in a troy pound (used for precious metals).

* In English, twelve is the number of greatest magnitude that has just one syllable.

*  The importance of 12 in Judaism and Christianity can be found in the Bible. The biblical Jacob had 12 sons, who were the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, while the New Testament describes twelve apostles of Jesus; when Judas Iscariot was disgraced, a meeting was held (Acts) to add Matthias to complete the number twelve once more. (Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)

* King Arthur’s round table had 12 knights plus King Arthur himself.

*  Twelve people have walked on Earth’s moon.

* 12 face cards in a card deck.

*  The Book of Jude contains much numerical symbolism, and a lot of the numbers mentioned have 12 as a divisor. 12:1 mentions a woman — interpreted as the people of Israel, the Church or the Virgin Mary — wearing a crown of twelve stars (representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel). Furthermore, there are 12,000 people sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, making a total of 144,000 (which is the square of 12 multiplied by a thousand).

*  In Hinduism, the sun god Surya has 12 names. Also, there are 12 Petals in Anahata (Heart Chakra.)

*  The Twelve Labours of Hercules

*  The Colonies of Man and the Cylon Models in (both and the new, respectively) Battlestar Galactica both number twelve.

*  12 inches in a foot.

*  In Orthodox Judaism, 12 signifies the age a girl matures (bat mitzvah)

*  Imāmah (Arabic: إمامة) is the Shī‘ah doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shī‘ah believe that the A’immah (“Imams”) are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and Twelver and Ismā‘īlī Shī‘ah further that Imams are possessed of supernatural knowledge, authority, and infallibility (‘Iṣmah) as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of Muhammad. Both beliefs distinguish the Shī‘ah from Sunnis.

* The Twelve Tables or Lex Duodecim Tabularum, more informally simply Duodecim Tabulae was the ancient legislation underlying Roman law.

* In the United States, twelve people are appointed to sit on a jury for felony trials in all but four states, and in federal and Washington, D.C. courts. The number of jurors gave the title to the play (and subsequent films) Twelve Angry Men.

* The United States of America is divided into twelve Federal Reserve Districts (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco); American paper currency has serial numbers beginning with one of twelve different letters, A through L, representing the Federal Reserve Bank from which the currency originated.

* Alcoholics Anonymous has 12 steps, 12 traditions and 12 concepts for world service.

* There are normally twelve pairs of ribs in the human body.

*  There are 12 days of Christmas. The song Twelve Days of Christmas came from the traditional practice of extending Yuletide celebrations over the twelve days from Christmas day to the eve of Epiphany; the period of thirteen days including Epiphany is sometimes known as Christmastide. Thus Twelfth Night is another name for the twelfth day of Christmas or January 5 (the eve of Epiphany). Similarly, Eastern Orthodoxy observes 12 Great Feasts.

*  In Twelver Shi’a Islam, there are twelve Imams, legitimate successors of the prophet Muhammad. These twelve early leaders of Islam are—Ali, Hasan, Husayn, and nine of Husayn’s descendants.

*  In Quran, the Sura number 12 is Sura Yusuf (Joseph), and it is located in Juz’a (Arabic : الجزء) number 12. This Sura narrates the story of Prophet Yusuf and his 12 brothers.

So, how else can you write “12”?

١٢ Arabic
ԺԲ Armenian
১২ Bangla
ΔΙΙ Attic Greek
יב Hebrew
१२ Indian (Devanāgarī)
十二 Chinese and Japanese
௧௨ Tamil
Ⅻ Roman and Etruscan
๑๒ Thai
IIX Chuvash
١٢ Urdu
ιβʹ Ionian Greek
൧൨ Malayalam

For an endpoint, the beginning of the Wiki on 12- for some info on the word itself:

12 is the natural number following 11 and preceding 13. It is the twelviest of number of all.
The word “twelve” is the largest number with a single-morpheme name in English. Etymology suggests that “twelve” arises from the Germanic compound twalif “two-leftover”, so a literal translation would yield “two remaining [after having ten taken]”. This compound meaning may have been transparent to speakers of Old English, but the modern form “twelve” is quite opaque. Only the remaining tw- hints that twelve and two are related.
A group of twelve things is called a duodecad. The ordinal adjective is duodenary, twelfth. The adjective referring to a group consisting of twelve things is duodecuple.
The number twelve is often used as a sales unit in trade, and is often referred to as a dozen. Twelve dozen are known as a gross.



...  Maybe I'll do something on thirteen at a random point in the future...

(Yes, working on it a bit- time kinda caught up to me- irony....)