Forward Unto Dawn, a pleasant surprise; Blood and Chrome, a foreboding disappointment
There are two things you need to know about me before reading this article. One: I’m not ashamed to say that I am in a love affair with Battlestar Galactica. It started when I was a Freshman in high school and has been ongoing. I am ashamed to say that I’ve never attempted the original series and my love is given completely to its younger sibling. And two: I have never actually played Halo, my closest encounters were with my best friend’s siblings in a button smashing frenzy that ended with me in last place.
It’s also no secret, to those that know me, that I love a good story. This applies to video games and television as well as books and movies. I love RPGs and character development and lovely heartbreaking stories. So, with my first impression of Halo as a life less first person shooter, I was promptly set off the path of ever playing the series. I hadn’t planned on it, nor would I ever. On the other end of the spectrum, I have been psyched for Blood and Chrome ever since the first trailers came out of it. I religiously analyze and watch Battlestar Galactica and mourned it’s ending when it did end. That being said, when I watched Forward Unto Dawn and Blood and Chrome, I discovered a harrowing truth, I preferred the former to the latter. Now, granted, Blood and Chrome has not ended, and it has just started to get good, but initially? Along side FUD? It pales in comparison.
Not saying much about the plot or the characters, the general aesthetic and production value of the two are very different. BaC is very shimmery and reminiscent of BSG. The special effects and graphics are high quality for a production set to air on YouTube, but it is nothing like FUD. FUD brings a very modern form of filming into the scene. The creators use a very modern approach and it wins over audiences. FUD sucks the audience in with its combat style and praise worthy acting. I found myself getting incredibly attached to the students of the military academy and praying for their safety. Tom Green played a risk-taking, order-breaking Thomas Laskey and the lovely Anna Popplewell (who we all know as Susan Pevensie from the Narnia series) displays her acting chops as a straight laced but passionate Chyler Silva. The series as a whole has incredibly strong acting, and wonderfully strong female characters as well as male. I found myself disappointed that there were only five episodes in the series, and at the end, I was looking up prices for Halo 4 on Amazon. I confess I saw the trailer for this series at Comic Con this summer, and it had piqued my interest back then as well. It is an action packed series that doesn’t lack in intelligence and emotion.
BaC has not delivered the same results. So far, I find myself unable to connect with any of the characters. Luke Pasqualino (known primarily for his role as Freddie in UK Skins) plays a cocky and self-assured Bill Adama. Husker, as he is known as, brings to mind a character from the reimagined series, and it’s not his future son, but Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. That was something that I felt they did really well. It isn’t hard to see why Bill sees Starbuck as a favorite, she reminds him of himself. Husker is a reckless pilot, but one who has received top marks after graduating. He is, of course, given a simple and boring job to cool down his hubris and laments the orders greatly. Ben Cotton plays Coker, his Raptor ECO who brusquely rebuffs any attempt at friendship by Bill and indadvertedly gives him his call sign of Husker in an backhanded insult. It could be the lack of deep character development between and within the two characters or the archaic style of shooting that seems to bring a lackluster performance. Blood and Chrome, it seems, is stuck in a rut and needs to advance in order to advance.
Overall, I would say, whether or not you are a Halo fan, watch Forward Unto Dawn. I know very little about the universe and I managed to leave it with a good understanding of the message. If you’re confused, it’s nothing a little wikipedia can’t help. But if you are not a fan of the reimagined series of Battlestar Galactica it’s probably best to skip Blood and Chrome or set it aside and wait until it comes out on Syfy to judge for yourself. I haven’t yet seen this week’s installment of BaC, but rest assured I’ll be back to give this series a once-over when it is complete.