Following the cancellation of the Battlestar Galactica spinoff, Caprica, series alums Michael Taylor and David Eick began developing a "mequel" series - based on the first phase of humanity's war with the Cyclons. Unfortunately, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was not picked up by SyFy as a regular series - who decided to split up the 2-hour pilot episode into ten online web series installments as well as an eventual DVD and Blu-ray release.
Now, we've got our first look at Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome - as the first two episodes are available to watch online.
In spite of a complicated sci-fi premise, and plenty of philosophical rumination, Ronald D. Moore's re-imagined Battlestar Galactica managed to draw in a surprisingly diverse range of viewers. Similar to ABC's LOST (which also debuted in 2004), the core Battlestar Galactica storyline provided for plenty of "long con" mysteries (chiefly, which humans would turn out to be Cylons) - all the while grounded in rich character drama. Instead of focusing entirely on its overarching plot lines, Battlestar Galactica was often at its best when it examined the psychology of everyday space travelers in uncertain times.
Moore attempted a similar approach with Caprica, a character-focused drama series, and a prequel that detailed the creation of the Cylons as well as offered backstory that foreshadowed the "toaster" struggle for self-identity. Response to the series was mixed-to-negative, as the show did offer some interesting "origin" material that, for fans of the reimagined series, worked well enough as a guilty pleasure supplement. Instead, Caprica was too bogged down in melodrama to successfully serve as a true follow-up to Battlestar Galactica for less-passionate viewers and, despite a mishmash of good and downright bad episodes, SyFy scrapped the series - ending the nineteen episode plot with an on-the-nose connection to the larger reimagined canon.
In response to Caprica's failure, Taylor and Eick pitched a new project, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, that would begin ten years into the original Cylon war - and follow a young William Adama as he moved through the ranks in the Colonial fleet (an element that was covered with flashbacks in the 2004 series). A two hour pilot was produced but SyFy decided not to pick up the series for TV and, at this point, the show's future remains uncertain. It could continue in digital form (if viewer response is strong) but, aside from the aforementioned DVD and Blu-ray release, no further plans have been announced.
As a result, it's unclear how fans will react to Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome (which you can view below - courtesy of the Machinima YouTube channel). The episodes are intriguing enough with solid visuals and a competent introduction to the characters but it's hard to imagine a web series (which are much shorter than regular TV shows) with the ability to dig into the thought-provoking franchise concepts that made the 2004 series so special.
Nevertheless, judge for yourself by checking out episode 1 and 2 of Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome below, followed by a trailer for the series:
While most Battlestar Galactica fans are still scratching their heads over some of the ideas (or non-ideas) presented in the final season of the reimagined series, episode to episode the show was a very enjoyable endeavor - even if Moore and the writers failed to deliver satisfying answers to the series' various mysteries. However, the strength of Battlestar Galactica was in its ambition - tackling taboo subjects, blurring morality, and ruminating on some of the biggest philosophical (and theological) questions posed by man (or in this case machine): why am I here?
For that reason, it's hard to blame Taylor and Eick for wanting to return to the core human/Cylon conflict. Caprica fans often complained that too much time was spent on-world (as well as V-World) and there's no doubt that Blood and Chrome is a fun opportunity to reminisce about our time spent rocketing through space on the deck of Galactica. Unfortunately, considering the web series is really just a chopped-up pilot, it's unlikely that the narrative will provide anything more than new questions - instead of delivering worthwhile insights into the larger canon (at least for now).
If you enjoyed the episodes, make sure to tell other Battlestar Galactica fans - since, should the episodes succeed in drawing in a good amount of viewers, it's possible that SyFy might bankroll more Blood and Chrome episodes.
That said, if they do, our first suggestion would be to ditch the "dropped wrench" sound effect that masks expletives in the dialogue. Who the frak thought they could get away with that three frakking times?
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Battlestar Galactica as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.
New episodes of Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome air every Friday on Machinima or you can check out the uncut version on SyFy in February 2013 - followed by a DVD and Blu-ray release on February 19, 2013.