Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome
The reboot of Battlestar Galactica in 2003, and the following series of 2004 to 2009, were an absolute hit. The critics as well as the viewers really appreciated the sci-fi epic regarding the survivors of the Cylon attack on the 12 colonies and their voyage to the long lost 13th colony (Earth) and it didn’t require a lot of intelligence to realise a sequel would be made. This came in the shape of the spin-off Caprica which would become a prequel to the original series and show how the Cylons came to be. The story, however, progressed way too slow (and BSG wasn’t a fast series to begin with) and viewers quickly lost interest. Result: Caprica stopped after one season, even though there was enough potential to make a success out of it. TV movies not counted that was the last we saw from Battlestar Galactica on DVD or BLU, but now there’s Blood & Chrome.
Here we follow a young William Adama who just graduated as pilot and gets stationed on the Galactica, ready to proceed on his first mission. However, despite being one of the best (if not thé best) pilots of his class he doesn’t get a Viper under his butt but has to do with a Raptor. Things get even worse when he gets to hear his orders: taking Dr. Beka Kelly on what seems to be a routine mission far away from all danger. As you can imagine Adama is all but happy with this, a sentiment that isn’t shared by his co-pilot Coker who prefers nothing more than ending his career alive so he can go live a simple life away from all the Cylon misery.
However, Adama gets his wish for action granted when it becomes clear that the “routine mission” gets quite a different turn when Dr. Kelly appears to have a completely different plan in mind than initially thought…
Blood & Chrome was initially set up as a series of online webisodes, and Syfy Channel clearly didn’t know all too well what to do with it. First there were some webisodes, then a pilot for a possible new series got the green light, and then finally the decision was made to go back to the webisode format. At the moment of writing Syfy Channel has no plans on making Blood & Chrome into a complete series and we have to do with this “unrated” direct-to-dvd movie version of these webisodes.
Is that sad? Yes and no. As such the idea for a series about a young Bill Adama has a good premise but the way Blood & Chrome is brought forward there’s quite some lacking of depth, the acting cannot be compared to that of the original (reboot) series, and also the plot has quite some holes that need filling. This movie is made by Battlestar-writers Michael Taylor and David Eick while Ronald D. Moore himself has nothing to do with it, a fact that gets noticed just a bit too much, and with the disappointing numbers for Caprica in the back of the mind it’s no surprise that Syfy Channel is holding off the boat to make a full season out of this.
The reboot show was made after an impressive mini-series, and it’s clear Blood & Chrome has a far more modest background. It looks like there’s been cost savings everywhere, and even though this release is fun for the die-hard fans, the larger audience will no doubt have problems with the rather simplistic story, the sometimes far too modest CGI-effects, and a general level that doesn’t rise much above that of the average Syfy Channel weekend movie.
The image of Blood & Chrome is as the makers intended so we can’t really complain about the transfer. That doesn’t mean we find it looking great. The budget with which the makers had to work with is obviously véry small and to keep the digital nature of the filming not too obvious in regards to the actors who are of flesh and blood the choice was made to use a ton of lens flares. This gets very obnoxious very fast, however, and at times you’re even wondering whether the cast is real or whether you’re watching an extended version of a cut-scene from a sci-fi videogame a la Halo. This is of course yet again a downpoint for Blood & Chrome that makes the difference with the BSG series all the bigger and will decrease the belief of Syfy Channel that a full spin-off is a possibility even more. Too bad as this way you know in advance this will be a deadborn baby.
Qua sound we luckily can’t complain. The DTS-HD 5.1 track does its work exactly how it should, the effects nicely come from all directions while dialogues remain well-centered and the music from (yet again- Bear McReary fills the living room just like it did with the series. Nice!
We get no less than 30 minutes of deleted scenes that are mostly unfinished and nicely show how much was done with green screens, and after that you can watch “Blood & Chrome: Visual Effects” for 23 minutes and not only see how the digital effects got made but also get some background on how the project moved from a videogame over webisodes to a pilot for Syfy Channel.