So anyway, my mate Martyn finally dropped round the Battlestar Galactica box sets (no, keep reading) he’d promised to lend me since before Xmas.
I’d ignored this series when it hit TV because I didn’t even like the original when I was kid. Then everyone started saying how totally different it was and how light years (sorry) ahead of every other TV drama series it was. And not just sad sci-fi nerds like Martyn.
So I started watching the (three hour!) pilot tonight and what struck me immediately was the influence of one of my favourite writers: Alan Moore. Maybe because I’d spent the whole weekend addictively consuming his gargantuan Jack the Ripper graphic novel, From Hell (cast all thoughts of that ridiculous movie from your mind though; it’s like Paul Verhoeven doing Finnegans Wake).
In From Hell, Moore has an uncanny skill of introducing characters from every walk of life in Victorian London and beyond (from the lowliest beggar to the big V herself) and making each and every one of them matter to you, and each one deftly brought to life in a short but poignant scene.
And there it was in Battlestar Galactica: the same technique. Twenty seconds into a scene with a new character you feel you know their life story. Every character matters and so does every word they utter.
Maybe that’s where it’s always gone wrong in the film versions of Moore’s work (and every one of them’s been a total dud): there’s just no time to do that in two hours. Only the long-running television drama series can do it justice