When Battlestar Galactica ended in 2008 I think a lot of people wanted to see more. Caprica was a good place to start but it failed to grip audiences immediately and ended after its first season. After its cancellation Blood and Chrome’s future looked uncertain; what was originally pitched as a television series detailing the first Cylon war attracted interest from viewers but concern from studios. For a long time it was pondered among the fans whether Blood or Chrome would get made at all.
That wait is now over…
From the outset the quality and effort put into this show are astounding; the CGI and effects are outstanding – given that this show ended up as a webseries I was expecting cardboard sets and spaceships on strings. Instead, the animation is flawless. Better even than some major motion pictures.
Episode one begins with a voiceover, espousing the importance of serving your people despite personal or family reservations (a theme carried forward from the original series) and signs off with the introduction of our narrator, the young cadet Adama. There’s almost no filler here, the voiceover is used to give a visual representation of the technological advancement of the Cylons and then we’re straight into the action – a vicious dogfight between Adama and several raiders. It’s an impressive sequence but I feel it’s let down by the very point it tries to make – Adama is an absolutely terrifyingly capable pilot… and he knows it. How does this let the scene down? It’s almost cliché in how cocky and self-confident a pilot he is in that he takes a hit to his Raptor, blows the cockpit cover to regain visibility then shoots down a Cylon raider with his sidearm because his Raptor’s guns are damaged.
Now, I understand that the producers wanted us to know from the outset that this man is a hero, but by going that far in the first few minutes they leave themselves trapped – how do you top that for heroics? Well, they do it in a way that both reinforces our knowledge Adama’s self-confidence, and undermines the whole effort; they show it was all just a VR simulation, a test that he shouldn’t have been able to pass but one he did because he’s Bill freaking Adama.
From here the show starts to get going; there’s more cliché though; the other characters are genre-savvy, seeing Adama for the know-it-all-never-seen-combat ace that he is, his co-pilot is the weary sick-of-serving-alcoholic with a heart of gold, and true to form the C/O assigns him not to combat but to a ‘milk run’ that you know isn’t going to be as easy as it sounds.
Despite this, there are some great moments; Coker’s response to being asked where his old pilot is is great, Adama’s pointing out of the hip flask is a terrifically subtle comedic moment. The production team also manage to introduce plenty of characters that will likely become important later, making sure each is fleshed out just enough yet without seeming to take you away from the unfolding story.
The episode ends with a glimpse of episode two where things are not going as intended and features possibly my favourite selection of lines from the episode.
“This is unbelievable.”
“Must have been an ambush.”
“Nobody could have survived this”
*Beep beep* *Beep beep* *Beep beep*
“I’ve got three enemy contacts… INCOMING!”
Once we get into episode two, Blood and Chrome starts to roll a lot more naturally. The mini-series was originally planned as a two hour TV movie, similar to the original three part series prior to Battlestar Galactica’s launch but due to network decisions was broken into 10 parts. I think the producers have done well to make it work in an episodic form though and each chunk is relatively self-contained.
In this episodes Adama and Coker are formally introduced to their cargo on the ‘milk run’, Dr Becca Kelly. It turns out that instead of collecting spares and ammunition, the crew are actually to carry out secret orders for the admiralty and carry Dr Kelly to the Colonial fleet’s heavy cruiser Archeron – what is her purpose there? We don’t know yet, but we do know from the end of episode one that there’s going to be trouble along the way…
The episode mainly revolves around setting up Dr Kelly as a prominent Cylon technologist and the crew’s discovery that the Archeron has been destroyed before Adama gets his first taste of real, non-simulated combat with a raider closing in on him from behind before it’s fade to black time.
Overall I think the show has great potential; the actors suit their roles and it doesn’t suffer from the same problem that many pilots/opening episodes do – the characters aren’t stiff, the haircuts aren’t fresh (except where they’re supposed to be), and the dialogue is believable. The production team have done well to give us a story and a universe that would appear to have existed for some time even though we weren’t there to see it – and from the team who created the original series I’d expect nothing less. If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend you catch Blood and Chrome on YouTube. You won’t regret it.
Blood and Chrome will be aired as a 10 part mini-series of 7 to 12 minute chunks making up a total of two hours, episode 1 and 2 aired on Friday and another two episodes will air each week. Let us know what you think of the series in the comments.