Thursday, January 12, 2006

Which Are You? Apollo or Starbuck?

I recently had a long conversation with a friend about Battlestar Galactica, and the reasons I enjoyed the series so much back when it aired in the late 1970s (when I was still very impressionable, and it had a great impact on me...) I could argue many explanations (including the inclusion of a mythological subtext; the sincere attempt at an alien lexicon; the great special effects; the cool Cylons, and on and on.)

But I realized, there was something very clever and canny going on in the construction of the characters in this Glen A. Larson series (and I'm talking old school Galactica here, not the Moore post 9/11 "re-imagination.") To wit, I think that everybody in the world can be narrowed down to one of two types. You're either a Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) or you are an Apollo (Richard Hatch).

These characters have fundamentally different approaches to life; and I think they mirror universal psychological types.

Starbuck is the adventurer, swashbuckler, party-guy. He's the one who can game the system, and attract the chicks by being a "bad boy." Starbuck is charming, given to vices (like his fumarellos and ambrosia and gambling...), but also extremely good at his narrow skill set: he's the best viper pilot in the fleet.

By contrast, Apollo is a responsible fellow, one who wears authority with a great deal of fairness and even-handedness. He sees responsibility not as a burden (like Starbuck) but as a duty to be fulfilled. He's a good son to Adama and a good father (to Boxey). Again, there's that responsibility that this character takes so seriously! This time: family And that's a buzz word for Apollo -- he's serious. But also, consider that Apollo probably has a wider skill-set than Starbuck. He's the Blue Squadron commander, which means he leads warriors into combat, and he bears the burden of command decisions. In many senses, his sense of intellect is more developed than his friend's too...

I imagine these guys as roommates in college. Apollo would always have his head in a book studying, while Starbuck would be pulling pranks and attending frat (not frak) parties.

Growing up I think I always wanted to be Starbuck (because he has a way with ladies like Cassiopiea and Athena), but in fact, I think I'm much more like Apollo. I take things very seriously.

So who are you? Starbuck or Apollo? And why so? Who would you prefer to be? (and don't say Muffit...)


  1. Gotta be Starbuck. He drank, he smoked, he gambled, he chased girls - and on top of all that, got to fly a cool starfighter. Could there ever be a better role model for a nine-year old boy?

  2. True. Starbuck is more dashing (and more free of responsibility...), but Apollo - like his namesake - is a great hero too. Right? A family man; a leader; a courageous warrior (going one-on-one with Count Iblis!) Anyone out there an Apollo?