June 23, 2012
The original Battlestar Galactica is one of those great tragedies in Hollywood...a series with great promise and ambition let down by hasty network decisions and executive meddling. The first season is arguably one of the best series of anything attempted at television, the scope is grand, the characters likeable, the stakes are high...to think all of that goes wasted on Galactica 1980 commands so much negative emotion from fans old and young alike, and tarnishes the memory of this endearing series.
But never count out the imagination and ambition of the show's fandom community. David Kerin's edits here are one such example. I first stumbled upon his work on Youtube a few years ago. A large part of my fanediting career now was influenced by the work he had put into his BSG edits. I contacted David and he was kind enough to supply me with these final two episodes in his collection.
These are very much Star Wars Special Editions done right, they give the series a fresh coat of paint, different effects, alternative outcomes, all while retaining the core essence of what the show is and what motivates each character.
Judgement Day is a great outing for Dirk Benedict, who chews up the scenery courtesy of an electric double-act with his Cylon co-star, it's a story that is a pure delight, and it works so much better here as a part of the original BSG line-up. While I think the closing moments of the episode need a little more work, it's also not the fault of the editor as he was essentially conjuring up a new epilogue from scratch...it's also a lot more satisfying to see Starbuck come home at the end rather than be left on the planet alone, not knowing if rescue will come, which is the sombre note we concluded the original Galactica on.
It's with the last episode, "The Promised Land", that Kern shows that he was a master of mixing and matching footage however. Presented in widescreen fofmat to best accomedate the use of movie footage ranging from Independence Day to Starship Troopers, Kern is able to put together the story all fans wanted to see but were denied...the Galactica discovering Earth and bringing the full might of their enemies down on it's doors. The action is fenetic, fast, furious and leaves no time for the Galactica 1980 cast to bore you to tears. Adama takes centre stage and has a proper character arc that transforms him back into the tried and true warrior he was. Dr. Zee has an arc too, one that ties him even closer to the show's vast mythology and provides a logical conclusion. The ending, which I won't spoil, is also the kind of climax we as fans deserve of the show, something that gives us closure on one journey and assures us the story is not over and never will be, the future is just beginning to form.
While it doesn't quite give you everything, and the "new" effects have aged slightly, don't let that deter you, Legacy's End is a fascinating insight into the creative process of fanediting, and how a lot of effort and even luck can result in editors achieving limitless potential with their projects. Galactica's fanbase have a near unrivaled and underestimated passion, and that passion leads them to achievements like this. Never rule them out.
Now, if only something could be done with the footage of Galactica The Second Coming....