Author Topic: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread  (Read 45459 times)

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Offline NGTM-1R

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
All these Stargate references have compelled me to get out my Stargate collection and watch them again to see how valid they are. So, let's examine one of its little-remembered action-heavy sequences: the combat sequence of the Daedalus Variations. (From Atlantis, because dogfights are thin on the ground in SG-1.)

It's not a particularly memorable episode. Nor is it a particularly memorable sequence, stacking Yet Another Failure For The Railgun Batteries To Do Anything with a reasonably long, but otherwise unmemorable, F-302 fight.

The team is trapped aboard a ship nearly out of power and the shields fail on the first pass from the enemy fighters; they come around for a second pass while the railguns Still Failing To Do Anything, creating some genuine tension; the Daedalus starts taking hits...

And then one of the alien fighters eats a missile. They turn into it and we get a nice shot of the merge as both sides fire on each other, mixing cannons from both sides and a couple 302's taking missile snapshots. We have a sequence of dogfight vignettes, first in open space, an alien chasing a 302 taking a missile shot from another; cannon fire from both sides mixed as both sides fighters fly through the frame. The 302s seem to be winning since none of them have been destroyed yet, but there's still a lot of alien fighters and they're still shooting. Then to remind of us of the stakes, we have alien fighters and 302s weaving around Daedalus' hull as both hunter and hunted in a couple sequences, finishing up with a 302 diving beneath Daedalus' cobra's hood being chased and shot at, breaking around Daedalus' stern as its pursuer is killed by cannons from another 302; by now the alien fighters are noticeably fewer in number and it's beyond dispute the 302s are winning. We get a final establishing shot of 302s swooping around the Daedalus and finishing off the last of the alien fighters. It ends with an off-boresight missile that the firing 302 doesn't even alter course to make, firmly establishing that the fight is in the bag, while other 302s form on Daedalus in the background.

It's total cheese. It's predictable. It's a purely feel-good asskicking. But it's a coherent narrative and it's got pacing you can follow and action you can believe really happened, so it works. (It's also about five minutes long, so don't tell me you can't do that in a 11 minute webisode.)

Blood and Chrome's combat sequences typically lack at least two, and sometimes all three of these positive attributes.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 03:04:24 am by NGTM-1R »
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Offline torc

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
i tried to give a chance to B&C...after this 2 episode i can say that's crap.
Is stupid, last action hero style and too much inconsistent with BSG.

In Diaspora development we all learned a big lession from BSG:
LESS IS BETTER.

Really a pity...seems that the BSG universe died with Razor (and the Plan,maybe)
indossare una divisa può avere un prezzo alto...ma a volte...è troppo alto!!! Bill Adama

 
Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
That is an awful lot of words in defense of a really bad TV show.
Most of it's about RS, and the rest involves acknowledgements of shoddy character development and terrible pacing. I don't think "It's not great, but it's hardly a Transformers movie," is much of a defense.

Part of why Razor was so bad was that it missed the most powerful part of the tension in Res Ship, the straightforward mimesis of the post-9/11 debate between deontology and utilitarian exigency. Cain is supposed to represent the exigent force, but if she appears incompetent or never gets any kind of results (even in the short term) the tension doesn't work.
That's actually one of the most shameful things about the post 9/11 mindset (it actually goes back further than that, with "soft on crime" rhetoric). The arguments against torture were always framed based on its effectiveness or lack thereof. The moral argument was ceded immediately, and it was purely a utilitarian case, because the anti-torture side feared that they would never get anywhere with the idea that moral purity was worth risking the lives of our people. That kind of I-can-be-run-through-without-blinking ideal was out of the question in those years. It's still out of the question now, at least as far as airport security is concerned.

Debates in fiction were limited to "works" versus "doesn't," as you acknowledge with the next line about torture creating more problems than it solves.

I - and hopefully most of the audience - want to see the deontological force win out, because we believe that 'evil' methods like torture create the very enemies we try to fight, but for the drama to be powerful the exigent force must have some claim. The very heart of BSG's interest as a theater for the examination of moral questions lies in the fact that it raises the stakes so high even very extreme exigent claims can be considered.

If you can cite something in the text that presents something Cain did as equally or more effective than Adama and Roslin's approach, I'd like to hear it. As I took it, Cain's "claim" came from her superior rank and greater military resources. She didn't require any kind of vindication to run roughshod over Adama and Roslin. Just as in the real world, "enhanced interrogation" was sanctioned from the very top, regardless of its actual efficacy.

Note to self, don't tell newman if I start experimenting with linear color space. ;)

You don't experiment with it you; you use it.

Carry on :)

If you saw how hit and miss my results had been so far, you'd know "experiment" is precisely the right word. :p

I suppose C&C isn't much better than saying it sucks but its the best I can muster.  Are there actually discussion topics you have to chew on in regards to B&C?

Those were good points, and I think the show would've benefited from less of a "this one goes to eleven" approach like the one you outline.

I have some thoughts about the world-building. I'm curious about the propaganda slogans painted on bulkheads.

And who's winning the war, anyway? On the one hand, Captain Mustache and Commander G-Man seem to think things are going pretty bad, but whatever draft there is doesn't seem to be very comprehensive judging by the fact that Coker doesn't expect to be stop-lossed, and that Adama's peripheral connection to the underworld could've gotten him out of harms way, and the Colonies can afford to have a dozen-odd ships in a secret reserve unit.

And seriously, what's a guy named "Ramirez" supposed to look like on Caprica?

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
Well up until the war the Twelve Colonies weren't united under a single banner right?  If not all the Colonies are under the same perceived threat at the moment, their commitment might not be as steadfast.  Personnel contributed to the war effort might not be under the same service contract depending on their homeworld.

I'd also wonder about the tactic of squirreling away warships being effective against the Toasters.  I'd wager the Cylons keep a much more accurate tally of the Colonial Order of Battle in the face of the fog of war than humans are capable.  I'd expect machines to not fall prey to the same human error that lead pilots throughout World War II to make incorrect claims about success and enemy losses.  If at the end of the battle all the Raider jockeys report splashing a cutter and a few cruisers and the Colonials report losing a Battlestar of the Line it would lead to questions.

Quote
And seriously, what's a guy named "Ramirez" supposed to look like on Caprica?

I'll put down for Asian ethnicity and Prussian accent.
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Offline YIIMM

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread

And seriously, what's a guy named "Ramirez" supposed to look like on Caprica?

Well, we've had Singhs, Hoshis and Chus that looked nothing like Indians, Japanese or Chinese respectively so any non-Hispanic ethnicity would be about right.

 
Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
I'll put down for Asian ethnicity and Prussian accent.
Not everyone can be an Andermani, unfortunately. :P
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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
Hi all, I've seen the first four episodes now and, well, not enjoying them that much sadly.

I think at the heart of it is a problem that keeps plaguing science fiction franchises, and that problem is fanservice. The most egregious form of this is of course the Star Wars prequels, which loudly beat the drum by stating that it would all be about Anakin becoming Vader and the Clone Wars. Fans went nuts, without realising that backstory almost always should remain simply backstory, as the alternative is a terrible lack of tension and horrible, clumsy, forced foreshadowing.

(In a little aside I thought of way the whole Anakin becomes Vader thing could work, but it was way more Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy meets I Claudius meets Bladerunner meets Tianemmen Square with the Jedi as well-meaning but oppressive 'peacekeepers' who can't understand why the galaxy's young are revolting against them. Clue: It's because they're boring conceited pricks who run things behind the scenes.)

The more fleshed out a sci-fi series becomes the more rigid the straight-jacket of storytelling expectations becomes. We pretty much knew everything about the first Cylon war from vanilla BSG, and there was nowhere thematically or characterwise it could have gone that would have been interesting. So perhaps there was some wisdom in trying to make it Top Gun in space, but sadly since BSG's original style is entirely realist sci-fi this kind of ends up feeling like fan-fiction. And not terribly good fan-fiction at that. So the producers start scratching their heads and trying to figure out what WE want to see, and that's never a good way to tell a story. You should always tell a story that YOU want to tell. This is why we have so many "Oh, wouldn't it be cool if...?" which mainly consists of finding an unconventional way of blowing up a cylon.

Every single time.

This frankly is uninteresting. There's only one guy who ever made the science fictional 'blow stuff up' ten minute thing work and that was Genndy Tartakovsky and his Samurai Jack / Clone Wars hurrah inducing goodness. I think maybe they should have dumped a load of money on him and shown us the war through his mighty fine stylised animation. Hell, Adama could have been drawn as a young Toshiro Mifune, or something.

I saw you guys mentioned the Resurrection Ship Battle earlier.  For me too it stands as the best sci-fi TV series space battle. The pure documentary feel. The stark simplicity of it all. The leisurely, creative framing. And the way it wraps character, plot and beauty and marries it perfectly with Bear's score. It's almost Kubrikian.

But there's so much action out there now in science fiction that it simply ceases to have appeal for me unless it is both unique and cleverly done. Throughout most of BSG the action was superb, I even enjoyed Lee's antics in Hand of God as it allowed his character to resolve a personal fear of inadequacy. Blood and Chrome just has stuff flying around and blowing up. It's not enough. There's a reason why the moment Baltar watches the unfolding attack on Caprica on the news in his villa is so much more chilling and memorable than seeing (the admittedly impressive) attack from the Cylon's orbital viewpoint in The Plan. We see a chair being knocked over and a bit of dust and wind and a guy shielding his eyes, and an adjoining screen go static. That's hellishly scary despite the effects costing only a few bucks. It makes us feel as vulnerable as Baltar, and the blast wave that rushes across the lake towards him is icing on the cake.

But we know Adama is going to overcome these toasters zipping about. And we know how the war pans out. So where's the interest?

And frankly, and I hate to say this, I just don't think it looks terribly good. Sure, there's the odd moment that looks fairly spectacular but I quickly realised that if the original show had all this film-flam it would have had a far worse a feel. The character work in the CiC between Adama, Roslin and Tigh would have been swallowed up by the glitzy CGI set. The old style hanger deck that Tyrol commanded allowed any number of dramatic scenes to be played out. I can't imagine the visual busy-work of Blood & Chrome's to have allowed any breathing space. (See Lucas's infinitely awful crime of adding element after element to a shot, disregarding rule 1 and 2 of photography - composition and the decisive moment.)

It stretches to the battle scenes. In my mind's eye I can remember the exact maneouvres in certain BSG scenes. They were simple and cool. The Zoic Battlestars looked terrifying, like giant gleaming prehistoric metal starfish drifting in space. All they needed to do was serenely drift there as Bear played and I was gripped. I also loved the less is more of Battlestar's design in BSG. Six main guns and that was the main armament sorted. They looked dwarfed on the ship but that added to the appeal. You knew each turret was as big as a very big house and that they fired car sized shells - and yet there they were comparatively tiny. It also added a strange imaginative realism. That with the speed and power of them that was all that could be carried on a Battlestar - and it was enough. It was enough to take on two baseships on a good day.

Compare with Blood & Chrome's designs - guns slapped on willy-nilly. It doesn't feel as real. It's distracting, it's gaudy, it's bloody fanservice.

The same stretches to the staging shots of the Colonial fleet. Masses of ships filling the screen. Sure, looks cool, but its like gorging on too many sweets. They become bland and tasteless. I loved the feeling of battles taking place all alone in infinite space in BSG. It was cold and dark and gripping. Even when there were nebula and such later on, it still worked as the story backed it up and the sense of emptiness was still there.

In Blood and Chrome you get the screen full of zipping about, lensflare, flak, pew-pew, nebula and reflections. It doesn't feel real.

I don't think the renders are anywhere near as good either. I haven't picked out mistakes or anything, but the way the ships move super-fast and jink around continously, the horrible smoke and flame everywhere, the cheesy neon glow on all things cylon and simply the roughly hewn look of the CGI... it's quantity rather than quality. And I know they're really trying, and I don't blame them for it personally, but it's flashy gimcrack work for the sake of it.

So, along with the folly of The Plan and the duff Cain bits of Razor, have they ruined BSG?

Don't be daft. Why feel that simply because something is created is canon, it must therefore exist and be muscling in on the beloved stuff you have in your headspace? For me, all four series of original BSG are great. True, the fourth falters a little - but I even very much liked and found fitting the ending. It's a great jewell of a sci-fi show and a fantastic story. I had been hoping for a nice desert (or, er, starter) in the form of Blood and Chrome, but disappointing as it is it hasn't spoilt the main.

Happily, the excellence of Diaspora means that I can get my graceful, stripped down, realist sci-fi battle fun when I want it. I fear I shall not be looking hard for it in future installments of Blood and Chrome.

Oh, final thing, finally: I really love your vision in Diaspora of how things look. The Sobek class is great, and about the upper ceiling of guns-per-tonnage I consider in a BSG universe. Please don't go all silly ala Blood and Chrome, and indeed feel free to 'refine' any design you take from it.

Thanks for reading me ramble, folks.


 

Offline torc

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
thanks to you.

Glad you like our work and the vision we had of the BSG universe. :)
indossare una divisa può avere un prezzo alto...ma a volte...è troppo alto!!! Bill Adama

 

Offline Dain

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
Wisdom

Yes.

I agree with everything you said.

(Although personally I think one of main failings of the SW prequels was failing to make the fall of the jedi a tragedy - it very much like "oh ****, we've given the viewer absolutely no reason to care about these characters, in fact we've done the opposite by making the head of the council a bit of a git. Quick, bring on the sad music and child killing!". I'd debate that elsewhere though)

I've been trying to think what I'd do if I were attempting to do Blood and Chrome..

I think the concept of Blood and Chrome as top-gun in space isn't entirely a bad one. I wouldn't expect it to deal with the same themes as BSG. I'd be quite happy with a war series, with the occasional bit of gung-ho action in it (although quite frankly there is no reason a ten year and seemingly futile war can't have a similar-ish bleak tone). The action would be similar to the action we saw in BSG, and be better for it.

Of course we'd be able to have a few cool and different things as we're no longer dealing with the last humans in existence running from an overwhelming enemy and all the conundrums that entails. Like throwing in a few more battlestars. And blowing them up. Or showing them kicking arse.

We'd be able to have some more fun original series inspired designs. We'd have the iconic mark 2s. Arriving in the hangar or CIC wouldn't be "look at how we knocked down the walls with CGI", it'd be "Look, it's the hangar and the CIC. Welcome back! It's been a few years since we had scenes here!" There are basically NO recognisable elements in the CGI CIC (what an acronym). What should have been old friends are completely strangers now.

And I'm not sure I'd deal with Adama. Or the Galactica. Well perhaps the Galactica, but not Adama. New characters, who we're not sure will survive. Galactica is trickier as it would be nice seeing the bucket in the prime of her life (by which I mean slightly shinier and a little different. Not filled with CGI excess). Having both cameo (get the young Adama from Razor please) would probably be the best option. A new battlestar would let you have a bit more jeopardy. Why, rather like the Theseus!

Quite frankly Diaspora is a better expansion to the BSG universe than this show. It keeps the feel while introducing new elements, telling a new story which still gives you the opportunity of having cool action while still hitting the right thematic beats. Well done Diaspora team.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 04:18:24 pm by Dain »

 
Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
tbh i don't know what the VFX team for B&C where thinking adding all those dam turrets to Galactica.

She had more than enough, if anything the only adition id be comfy with to her armament would be an adition 4 guns on the topside and on the bottom, set between the two sets of four already setup. not the mess we got.

as for her armor while im okay with the idea of extra armor im not okay with the amount that was added to her.

i always saw the extra armor on the galactica type ships to be unique to each ship. with galactica being one of the first ships built maybe getting less armor plating as materials where scarce at the start of the way with the cylons.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
If anything I would expect material scarcity to work the other way around, with it getting harder as the war went on.

The war ended because both sides were hurting after all, the Cylons wouldn't have put the Colonials to the ropes and let them sue for peace, and the Colonials wouldn't have let the Cylons start to lose and back out after the way the war started.
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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
I figured Galactica was newer than Columbia, and had a reduced amount of armor since the unprotected hull ended up being stronger than they expected, so they cut the over-plating down to places that really needed the extra protection (I'm sure it's a coincidence, but since it supports my argument, one of the most damaged parts of the Pegasus before her destruction was along the upper corner of the nose, one of the armored places on Galactica). That still fits with what we're seeing now. I don't think Galactica was stripped down to be cheaper, or because she was about to be decommissioned, but to be leaner. We saw two other battlestars that were identical to present-day Galactica in the present day, and both of them were apparently in service, so the idea that she looked like she did because she was on the edge of being decommissioned doesn't fit.

The all-over armor plating is found to be superfluous, so it's reduced, making the ship lighter and faster. New gun batteries are developed with a higher rate of fire (or greater reliability; anybody notice how everything keeps breaking in B&C?), allowing several emplacements to be removed while maintaining the same level of firepower (if the newer guns are remarkably better than the older ones, that might also contribute to the reduced armor plating, with a more robust flak wall picking up the defensive slack even with fewer batteries).

As for the Viper magazines, I imagine the Colonials eventually had a doctrinal shift to a quality-over-quantity approach (probably around the same time they started having battlestars ride around solo, making "Battlestar Group" a sad, confusing anachronism and retcon for a pre-production typo).  It's possible that the Pegasus had elevated storage space for Vipers (the scenes on her hangar deck were mostly shot to obscure the fact that the layout didn't match the exterior launch tubes, so who knows what was hiding in the nooks and crannies), and the idea of the Viper hot-stack does give an alternative to the Valkryie carrying fewer Vipers than I have fingers, even if larger ships just used floor space.

I really do like the higher ceiling in the hangar deck. It always rubbed me the wrong way that Galactica couldn't fit one of those giant shuttlecraft into the hangar.

Anyway, all things being equal (meaning, no Vipers), I suspect that Adama's Galactica could beat Nash's, despite being less threatening in appearance. Of course, either of them could beat the Pegasus easily so long as they stayed above and to the front of it, but that's an exciting batch of fanwank for another day.

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
To be honest the reworking of Galactica is personally probably one of the more Grrr Arrrgh things they did.  Because BSG Galactica is without heavy plate we have a good idea where her transverse frames are, by slapping on turrets every which way they created a conflict with her framing.  Those turrets are going to require massive barbettes and magazine space, literally where, as we know from BSG, her very skeleton is.

Besides nobody wants to talk about whether or not Toasters can be tricked by false ship losses?  I think they are less susceptible to the kind of hubris that allows military forces to be fooled by such tricks.  I'd consider it a pretty good master stroke if the show actually had that ploy fail.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 10:15:50 pm by StarSlayer »
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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
I think B&C so far is making SighFail look even dumber than I already knew they were.
They should have at least put it up on Hulu in better definition.
But I digress because Hulu has lots of restrictions on other countries.
Also, it lends to the better definition quality for later broadcasts and incentive to watch again.
I like it so far, it is different than the other series, and it is just developing.
I enjoy the action movement. For me it never gets dull.
Yeah similar plots as other series, hell we knew what the theme and history is supposed to be.
I still want to watch it all unfold.
I just don't want to see the sheer volume of advertising they are likely to ruin it with in broadcast.

 
Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
To be honest the reworking of Galactica is personally probably one of the more Grrr Arrrgh things they did.  Because BSG Galactica is without heavy plate we have a good idea where her transverse frames are, by slapping on turrets every which way they created a conflict with her framing.  Those turrets are going to require massive barbettes and magazine space, literally where, as we know from BSG, her very skeleton is.

I always assumed there was some functional reason for the ribbing to protrude outside of the hull (or even that they were exclusively outside of the hull, and not a major structural component). In any event, the ribs on the original design go right up to the turret mounts and are even just lowered slightly and not totally cut out to make room for the barrels (or machinery undernieth them), so if they were structural and went through the hull, they continued straight through the area around the gun mounts just as they would for the additional batteries. It doesn't seem like so much more of a major refit to patch up or install new framing to fill space previously blocked by weaponry, especially since they would've also installed an entirely new missile battery in place of one pair of guns, and who knows what else in the room freed up by the others. The continuous ribbing in places previously occupied by guns might only be skin deep.

Besides nobody wants to talk about whether or not Toasters can be tricked by false ship losses?  I think they are less susceptible to the kind of hubris that allows military forces to be fooled by such tricks.  I'd consider it a pretty good master stroke if the show actually had that ploy fail.
I'm not sure. The Cylons of this era may or may not have emotional responses that affect their reasoning (they were able to hate their human oppressors, after all, and to long for organic bodies), but punting that until the later segments when we get a better look at the Cylon base, I think they're as susceptible to bad intelligence as anyone. If they're last report from a battle before a basestar is destroyed is that the Valkyrie is adrift with fires spreading towards the magazines, and they stop seeing the Valkyrie show up in battles, it would be logical to assume it was unsalvageable. That also depends on the Cylon mindset, though. If they are more robotic in their thinking, they may not expect guile.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
Not to mention that unlike the skinjobs, Centurions don't download when they die. If they just report casualties from battles where they actually defeated the opposing force but claim to still have lost ships, then the secret is pretty safe.

They'd just need to make sure that the "survivors" are in the know.
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Offline Ace

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
One thing I don't think we can assume is that the Cylons are "robotic" in their thinking in the standard sci-fi emotionless sense. Even the Centurions seem to be curious, have anger, etc.

If anything them having that type of hubris is more thematically consistent with BSG, but... well I expect the next webisode to have them be like Data just to prove me wrong :p
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Offline StarSlayer

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Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
I had considered that they could have been siphoning them off in victories, still that would have required multiple battles where the Colonials had annihilated the Toasters. 
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 
Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
I had considered that they could have been siphoning them off in victories, still that would have required multiple battles where the Colonials had annihilated the Toasters.

Not necessarily, electronic warfare, jamming and the like can be used to confuse things when ships are firing at each other from who knows how far away.

 
Re: [Spoilers] Blood & Chrome - The Discussion Thread
One thing I don't think we can assume is that the Cylons are "robotic" in their thinking in the standard sci-fi emotionless sense. Even the Centurions seem to be curious, have anger, etc.

If anything them having that type of hubris is more thematically consistent with BSG, but... well I expect the next webisode to have them be like Data just to prove me wrong :p
This.
It seemed to me that the point of the Caprica series was that even the earliest Cylons had some bastardized form of emotion, which is what caused them to want to be human in the end, though I'm not sure how that works with the 13th colony plot-line, or centurions v2.0, or the (sigh) centuridiles.