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History of The Nerd Part I #16: Battlestarbotech

Thursday 26th March 2009 by HongConnerChe

Last Friday (for those who didn’t just TiVO it) we witnessed the semi-satisfactory conclusion to one of the best science fiction series ever to grace the small screen. Many have already deconstructed the final episode –- this will not be one of those articles. I will not bring up the fact that Head Baltar and Head Six are angels and that Starbuck is apparently Jesus Christ who died for Caprica’s sins…no I want to bring up what happened before. This is History of the Nerd. There is a phrase that Head Six once told Gias Baltar, “All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again” and when it did happened before it was in 1985 and it was called Robotech. Holy shit, did I just blow your fucking mind? Maybe? No? A little? Everyone knows that Battlestar Galactica is a remake of an old and beloved TV show but it is much more of a live action version of the seminal anime series, Robotech than a remake of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica and the following is why…

The Characters

Admiral Adama + Captain Gloval:

Humanity’s last hope for survival sat directly on the shoulders of one man. He is the leader of the fleet and the military charged him with fighting off the enemy. He’s Admiral Adama or Captain Gloval. You could really just take your pick. They are both father figures to their wayward crew, both gruff, but lovable and both vaguely ethnic. If you stuck a Navy Captain’s hat on Edward James Olmos, they’d look like twins! I dare you to tell them apart, I mean look at them!

Helo and Athena + Max Sterling and Miriya Parina:

Sure, Helo can’t pull off the blue hair like Max does, but how many of us can? They are, however, huge bad asses. Helo single handedly took on Cylon Centurions on occupied Caprica with nothing but a handgun and moxie while Max is an alien killing machine fighter pilot. They both had the very kinky need for exotic poon so much that they went looking outside of their species. Athena and Miriya both started their journey as evil characters hell bent on the destruction of man and the preservation of their own species, but then became more and more human. They both masqueraded as humans when they first appeared to their significant others; though they had different intentions. Miriya wanted to kill Max while Athena just needed Helo’s man juice. Regardless, both characters fall in love and start knocking boots. All this boot knocking leads to an alien/cylon hybrid daughter -a symbol of peace between two warring factions.


Lee Adama  + Rick Hunter:

These two share the path of being young idealists trying fill the large space cast by the shadow of their father figures; and they are also both fighter pilots. Lee began as a boy who reluctantly followed in the path of his father Admiral Adama, though he only fully became a man when he chose his own path in politics. Even though he tried his hand in a suit and tie, by the end he still needed to grab a gun and shoot. Rick only wanted to be a pilot and hated the military until he was called to action by the need to live up to his big brother and father figure, Roy Fokker. He becomes a man when he finally fills the role his brother held, leader of the Skull Squadron. They both took different paths than their fathers/the military wanted them to and they both had the coming of age role in their respective sagas.


Anastasia “Dee” Dualla+ Claudia Grant:

They are not there just because they are black. They are there because they are black and work at the command deck as communications officers. Come to think of it, so was Uhura on Star Trek. No matter what Sci Fi universe you exist in, if you are black and female you are going to have your ear strapped to a communications device. Also, they both went jungle fever with white fighter pilots (not Uhura, though she did make out with Kirk in the episode titled Plato’s Stepchildren).

Cavil + Khyron:

They both start as fairly insignificant characters that the viewer loves to hate. They then grow to control all of the remaining enemy forces by the end of their stories. Then (spoiler alert) they die.

Cylons + Zentradi:

Synthic beings created to be a slave race who just so happen to look exactly human. They are so alike even their blood matches humans.
Galactica + SDF-1:

Yes they are both battleships, but they are also the heart of their shows. They are majestic symbols of what the human race can aspire to. They also functioned as space fairing aircraft carriers. They even look alike.

Plot Points

Cylons/ Aliens attack! Without warning!:

At the beginning of Battlestar and Robotech the characters were in the middle of a celebration in regards to their battleships when the enemy started blowing shit up. The Galactica was being decommissioned while the SDF-1 was being commissioned. Let’s face it, births and funerals are pretty similar –- they both have their equal share of crying. Earth doesn’t get nuked like Caprica does, but it comes pretty damn close.

Edge of your seat action!:

The dog fighting action looks so much alike I’m sure the special effects supervisor of Battlestar loved some Robotech. Check out the following videos.  


Cylons/Aliens sent to infiltrate the humans!

Robotech did that too. Zentradi command sent in three shrunk down soldiers to spy on the humans. Unintended was that being close to humans and human culture affected the soldier in ways that were never intended. Sounds familiar?

Hybrid Baby!

Ok I already mentioned this one, but the hybrid baby storyline is pretty damn close to Robotech.

Cylons/Aliens try to live with the humans!

In Robotech, Earth was eventually turned into a nuclear wasteland just like Caprica was. The humans and Zentradi tried their hand at living together on Earth, a planet that can barely sustain life but their alliance quickly turned to shit. In Battlestar they found New Caprica, a planet that’s bearly habitable and then cylons showed up only to lend a helping hand with the government — then things turned to shit, of course.

Cylons/Aliens, wait they’re on our side now?!

Cylons secede from their forces and join the humans in a final stand against their own kind to the secure preservation of their existence. Zentradi exposed to human culture are sick of war and turn on their own kind for a chance at peace.
Galactica uses the Daedalus Maneuver!

The final episode of Battlestar had this intense moment where they ram the very H.R. Gigger (German artist who won an Academy award for designing the alien in Alien) looking Cylon Colony. Marines jumped out of the front of the ship ready to kick ass. During this moment I screamed, “Holy shit they’re using the Daedalus Maneuver!” The
SDF-1 in Robotech transformed into giant robot (of course) and the right arm was a battle ship called the Daedalus, which was rammed into gigantic alien mother ships. The bay doors on the Daedalus would open up unleashing an army of robots and hell.

I’m not saying that Battlestar Galactica ripped off Robotech. They are very different shows, but the similarities are uncanny. I’m sure there was more than one anime fan in the writing room. Robotech is a classic and an amazing show and I can’t blame anyone for wanting to use some of the better elements and discarding the rest. Thank God there wasn’t an annoying pop star with a high pitched voice on Battlestar. There are major differences in both shows as well, though. Battlestar Galactica had an underlining spritual angle that Robotech lacked, while Robotech had a much better ending. (Don’t deny it. You think I’m right!) Robotech has lived on in the hearts of nerds everywhere, and now, so does Battlestar Galactica. I just can’t wait for the next show that does the same thing because, as you all know, all of this will happen again.