The Horror Honeys: Cylons, Theology, & the Mother of All Women-Warriors

Cylons, Theology, & the Mother of All Women-Warriors

Ugh, even the PROMO pictures are orgasmic!

A Tandem Honey Love Affair with Battlestar Galactica 
Featuring: Sci-Fi Honey Jen and Revenge Honey

The Revenge Honey Perspective

I suppose the time has come for me to finally admit it; I am really REALLY picky about science fiction. I am not what you could call a convention-attending, Shatner-worshipping, light saber-collecting fangirl. I enjoy the original three Star Wars movies, but would rather watch a romantic comedy than the prequels. I love the campy awesomeness of the original Star Trek series, but have never managed to stay awake through more than one of the Shatner-starring films. I am absolutely crazy about Firefly and would willingly give Joss Whedon my right arm if it was necessary for a ritual to get the show back on the air, but would not do the same for Dollhouse. However, one thing is true...

I adore the ever-loving shit out of Battlestar Galactica.

"l'll be back. And back. And back. And back."

After being pestered for over a year to watch it by a "Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica" shirt-owning friend, I finally agreed to binge-watch BSG one summer. And essentially, I spent a month, holed up in my apartment, getting really pasty and screaming at anyone who called, "NOT NOW ASSHOLE! CAN'T YOU SEE THE CYLONS ARE ATTACKING?!?"

I'm not going to go crazy explaining plot because I'm going to assume if you took the time to read a piece on BSG, you probably have a vague concept of the story. But basically, in the future, humans are at war with a race of sentient beings they created called Cylons. Cylons have destroyed the human's home planet and the majority of the human race, thus leaving the survival of the species in the hands of those who were off planet at the time of the attack. The series focuses mainly on the crew of the Battlestar Galactica, and it is here that we meet our ragtag cast of characters.

A trio of badass babes... What more can you ask for?
I immediately fell in love in with these people, especially Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas), Samuel Anders (Michael Trucco), Captain/Major Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) and his father Commander/Admiral Bill Adama (Edward James Olmos), and of course none more so than Lt./Cpt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) *More on her later though dears.

What is most amazing about the characterization of BSG is that even the Cylons, embodied in human actors who portray multiple versions of the same model, become sympathetic beings. The writing on this series was so utterly remarkable that while you could DESPISE one version of the Number Six model of Cylon, another version of Number Six could be tugging on your heart strings in the same scene. It was an epic mind fuck, a true testament to the writers, and specifically actresses Tricia Helfer and Grace Park.

All this has happened before and all this will happen again.

And SO much delicious revenge! The whole series is crafted as an allegory for the conflict of religious persecution and the hostility that arises when two cultures war over those conflicts. BSG is a beautiful four season metaphor for children rebelling against the religion of their parents and seeking revenge for their parent's mistakes. It is equally evocative of the wars in Middle East that resulted from religious fundamentalism, something that is expressed through the Cylon's single-minded obsession with monotheism versus the human's long-standing belief in polytheism. Cycles of conflict and revenge continue to perpetuate because of both sides's refusal to bend on their beliefs.

I'm rarely one for theology, but BSG approached it in such a way that it mushed together epic space battles, enthralling love triangles, and stories of deception and chaos so brilliant, I pitied those who watched the series live and had to wait a week in between episodes. For a revenge junkie and science fiction snob like me, Battlestar Galactica was about as close to television heaven as a series could get.

Why the Revenge Honey Loves Starbuck

I would have SO much heteroflexible sex
with her.  ~RH
When I say that I love Kara Thrace, this may be an understatement as huge as Gaeta's betrayal of the human race (SICK BURN!) From the first episode, when Starbuck (her fighter pilot call sign) came sauntering onto the bridge like she owned that shit, I knew that this was a woman to look up to. She was strong, self-assured, and took no crap from anyone: qualities that all women should actively embody. More than that, she never let herself get distracted from her goals. Even when she fell in love, she knew what was important to her, and prioritized. To see such a remarkable woman in a show NOT written by Joss Whedon was a revelation.

Full disclosure here: I have a raging, heteroflexible girlcrush on Katee Sackhoff, the actress who so remarkably embodies Starbuck. It is without question Sackhoff's performance that makes Kara such an idol to so many women and young girls (and I may or may not have considered visiting Nashville when I heard from my cousin that she was there filming a movie. You know. Just to say... hi.) Every little girl would be lucky to have a character like Starbuck to look up to and I know that one day when I have a daughter, she will be watching BSG to see what a true heroine looks like.

*Revenge Honey Note: I will not be addressing Kara's Lone Ranger, riding off into the sunset, lack-of-an-ending ending, because I'm pretty sure on my deathbed, my final words will be but a hushed whisper...

"But what happened to Starbuck?"

SciFi Honey Jen's Perspective

I fracking love Science Fiction. Love it. Not all of it of course – in the traditional Star Trek vs Star Wars battle I have generally fallen on the side of Star Wars, although right now Chris Pine has me wavering toward Star Trek, as did the effing awesome Sir Patrick Stewart.  This wavering also wasn’t helped by George Lucas releasing The Three Movie Travesties That Shall Not Be Named. Star Wars is still a trilogy to me, unless Episode 7 makes me think otherwise.  

It was totally meant to be. Nobody cares what you think!
But I digress.

What I definitely effing LOVE though, is Battlestar Galactica. I watched that series with a fervor generally reserved for anything with Joss Whedon involved in it, even Dollhouse and Angel (RIP).  I watched the original Battlestar Galactica series on TV when I was a kid in 1978-79, so when I saw that they were re-making BSG I was skeptical, especially when I heard that they were casting a woman in the role of Starbuck. Starbuck was played by Dirk Benedict in the original series, and I had a huge crush on him when I was 8, even more than I liked Rick Springfield, who was also on the original BSG (yes, “Jessie’s Girl” Rick Springfield).  So the BSG remake had some big shoes to fill, and at first I refused to watch it, no doubt out of left-over loyalty to the first Starbuck, and also because the new BSG didn’t have Daggits on it.

However, my friend Ross badgered me into watching it, much like he had with Firefly (thanks Roscoe), and with the same result: I fucking loved it. It looked great, sounded great, the acting was generally first rate, and I almost had a coronary about every five minutes while watching it, for most of its run. 

Don't try to blend in Gaius. You know what you did!
And the writing… oh the writing. It was nominated for an Emmy for a reason. This series wasn’t afraid to address huge issues, intelligently and in relatively subtle but incredibly complex ways that made you actually understand the other side of a contentious issue. For example, when President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) banned abortion after pressure by the Geminese, saying that the colony needed all the babies it could get, you understood why the pregnant teenage runaway wanted an abortion and should have one, but also why the colony would want babies when humans were looking like they’d be extinct in 18 years. Or how about on New Caprica, when the cylons held the humans in camps and the humans became suicide bombers? It was fascinating as a viewer to look at the screen and yell “YEAH BLOW THE TOASTERS UP, THE FUCKERS, THAT’S WHAT I’D DO!” and then look at the news afterward, where Iraqis were doing the same thing to the Americans. Very powerful. Very intelligent. And pretty ballsy in my opinion.

See what happens when you think with your
dick? You wipe out the human race.
For those that missed my review of Riddick, I was pissed off on a number of different levels, generally stemming from or related to the character Dahl played by Katee Sackhoff, who played Starbuck in the Battlestar remake.  The makers of Riddick treated her character incredibly disrespectfully and stupidly and wastefully. Sackhoff’s character was basically used for breasts and sexual assault/harassment bait, as well as a lesbian conversion candidate. On Battlestar Galactica, her character Kara Thrace - Starbuck -was extremely strong but still vulnerable and flawed, a bit of a dink, a great pilot and leader, and she was treated with the same respect that her male counterparts were. And this took place on a military ship during wartime, a ship full of men with guns just like the ships on Riddick were.  But unlike Riddick, Battlestar elected to make her character a heroine, not a source of nipple jokes.

Riddick could also have used the movie as a chance to draw attention to the issue of rape during wartime, a timely issue right now, and not as a five second drama plot point. Lots of movies deal with big issues and are still vastly entertaining. Riddick was lazy, stupid filmmaking. Battlestar Galactica is everything that Riddick wasn’t.  And that’s why BSG will be watched and loved for a long time to come, while Riddick will reside in the Internet version of $0.99 cent DVD bins at the video store.  Morons.

Don't trust that bitch. Or do. Wait... Shit!
Quality, people.  Battlestar has it. Battlestar was one of the first TV series to prove that great filmmaking didn’t have to reside only in feature films, that TV could deliver engaging, intelligent, moving stories with kick ass effects and great production values. It helped propel Science Fiction into the mainstream, and pulled the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy, nice name change pinheads) out of obscurity. It scared the crap out of me, made me hyperventilate and cry and yell at the screen and obsessively count down the time until the next episode and above all, it made me think.  

And that’s why I fucking love Battlestar Galactica.

Why the SciFi Honey Loves Starbuck 

She will kick your ass with a smile on her face.
And that is why she's awesome.
I wanted to BE Kara Thrace. I wanted to put on the flight suit, and fly the effing Viper, and shoot down Cylon Raiders. Don’t get me wrong, Starbuck had some issues. She occasionally drank way too much, was a hothead, punched people… She needed some therapy, no question.  She also had a lot of self-confidence, wasn’t afraid to question authority, was a great leader, and was great under pressure. She figured out how to pilot a Cylon Raider all by herself on the fly (no pun intended) to escape a deserted planet. But I think her strongest scene of the series was after she was held captive on New Caprica by Leoben for a year, in an apartment made to look like hers on Caprica. She was emotionally blackmailed by Leoben with a child he claimed was theirs, to prevent her escaping and killing him, as she did periodically (she killed him several times). She returned for the child during the evacuation, and when he used the child to force her to say she loved him and kiss him, she stabbed him to death while kissing him.  

That pretty much illustrates why I love Starbuck. She showed vulnerability and love for a child she wasn’t even positive was hers, returned to what was basically her prison cell for that child when she could have kept on going, and killed her captor for the sixth time. Fucking amazing.  

Starbuck was a strong, capable leader who was flawed, but who did the right thing. She commanded respect, and it was given to her because she earned it.  Katee Sackhoff took the role which had previously been played by a man, and it wasn’t a popular move - she received a death threat when it was announced she’d be playing Starbuck, and was booed at Comic Con. And she nailed it.  

How can you not admire that?