Saturday, April 22, 2006

Star Trek Returns!

Okay. Have y'all seen this news from Daily Variety and writer Dave McNary?

Paramount is breathing life into its "Star Trek" franchise by setting "Mission: Impossible III" helmer J.J. Abrams to produce and direct the 11th "Trek" feature, aiming for a 2008 release.

Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk, Abrams' producing team from "Lost," also will produce the yet-to-be-titled feature.

Project, to be penned by Abrams and "MI3" scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, will center on the early days of seminal "Trek" characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer space mission.

I know there are reasons to fear, but I'm extremely bullish on this idea. I believe that of all the Star Trek generations, this first is still the best. The characters of Kirk, Spock, Scotty, McCoy, Uhura and Sulu are still, in my opinion, the finest. What would absolutely seal the deal for me right now is if I heard news that Shatner and Nimoy were cast to provide book-end appearances for the film, thus bringing it into established continuity and not making this another BSG-style re-imagination (Spock's a lady! Uhura's a white alcoholic! Sulu's gay..erh, oops...)

What do you think? Honestly, I'd rather see the return of characters that I enjoy so much, rather than be introduced to a fifth starship crew. Enterprise proved, I think, that the "other crew" well was running pretty dry. At least for a while. It's just a shame Paramount couldn't get its act together sooner and be providing this movie in September, Star Trek's fortieth anniversary...


"Album" (directed by Bob Lally and written by Dick Morgan) is the seventh episode of Land of the Lost's first season (which aired thirty-two years ago, in 1974). This story finds a strange, hypnotic wind passing through the land, mysteriously drawing Holly and Will to a grotto in the lost city of the Sleestak.

There, in what appears to be a misty time door (beyond a matrix table), Holly and Will spy their dead Mother, as she beckons them. "Come home..." the beautiful, long-haired woman says. "Come tomorrow, don't tell..."

Will and Holly do return - almost against their will - but the whole enterprise is a lure by the Sleestak to capture the Marshalls. Rick finally figures it out, right before the kids can be sacrificed to the God of the Pit...

Several years back, I had the honor of interviewing director Bob Lally, and we discussed "Album" a little, particularly the importance of featuring Holly and Will's mother...a character who had passed away long before the family was thrown into this pocket universe.

Here's what Mr. Lally recalled about shooting this episode and the emotional scene:

We were doing a show ("Album") that involved Will and Holly walking into a grotto and seeing their dead mother. They were supposed to have gone to this strange world and they miss her mother, and since they're children, they're supposed to be very emotional. We shot it once and it wasn't working. So we decided to play a little game with them. We worked really fast in those days, and I didn't have time to do a lot of fancy internalizing and so forth, but I took the two of them aside, behind the set, and we talked for quite a while.

What I said to Kathy, who was really having trouble with it, was 'You have to think of something in your past that was a very sad thing. Ever have a dog or a cat?' She said she did, so I asked her to visualize the animal being struck by a car.

As you can imagine, Kathy was quite upset, but I assured her the pet was fine. Then I said I wanted her to understand how she felt when I told her about her cat dying. Then I told her that when she walked into that room, that was the emotion I wanted to see on her face. Well, we went back inside, everyone was quiet, and I called action. The take was absolutely brilliant, on both of their parts. When we finished shooting, we went behind the set and hugged each other..."

I rather enjoyed this episode of Land of the Lost, though I didn't quite buy the Sleestak plan. After all, why not just take each Marshall one-at-a-time, rather than trying to get them all together? Still, the story works better as a mood piece. It's eerie, strange and has a melancholy, almost depressing aura. There's a very ominous atmosphere here, and I don't know how many kid shows, frankly, would feature an episode dealing with a dead parent. "It can't be real. Mom's dead," Holly notes at one point. "She wasn't always," Will reminds her, and this a rather blunt conversation for a Saturday morning series. But I guess that's why Land of the Lost holds up despite the aged special effects and occasionally childish acting: there were things for adults to latch onto.

Finally, I enjoyed how this episode skillfully tackled the idea of contrasting "traps." At home in the cave, Holly attempts to trap an unwanted pest who's been getting into the Marshalls' food by night; Of course, Holly and Will are walking into a Sleestak trap too. That's a nice little dramatic trick, and handled with enough subtlety to admire.

Link of the Week:

I wanted to draw your attention this week to, especially if you're a fan of the 1970s series, Space:1999. This is a site chock full of interviews, news and images from the classic Gerry & Sylvia Anderson series. There's even an interview with me there, from 2003, regarding my original novel, The Forsaken!

I've had this site as a link on the blog for a while, but I wanted to point it out this week because there was a major announcement from the site runner, my friend Michael. To wit, the site has launched a new series of Space:1999 fan-fiction books. Here are the details:

Welcome to's non-commercial eBook publishing imprint!

Launched April 18, 2006, the imprint offers quality electronic books (eBooks) for free download!

...You may download as many eBooks titles as you like! offers free eBooks via our own imprint and imprint partnerships, such as the " & imprint," among others.

Authors may also submit their works
for consideration as future eBook releases from our imprints!

We strongly encourage all fans of Space: 1999 to support the efforts of Powys Media, the officially licensed publisher of new Space: 1999 books.

I applaud for launching this fascinating fan fiction venue, and I think it makes the perfect book-end fto Powys' literary efforts. So head on over there if you can, and read a book or two! Congratulations, Michael!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

CULT MOVIE REVIEW: The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (1980)

The Sex Pistols movie that "incriminates its audience" is punk rock's flip-you-the-bird answer to the naive Beatles film milieu, a rash, stylish overturning of elements from A Hard Day's Night and even Yellow Submarine. Starring The Sex Pistols (though not Johnny Rotten, who is seen only in existing footage...), The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle kicks off the 1980s in cynical, angry fashion and consists of a series of loosely connected vignettes (offered as a kind of rock industry Ten Commandments). Some are animated, some are shot on 8mm, others include archival documentary footage and some "skits" were shot specifically for the film with cooperating (and surviving...) Sex Pistols.

In all cases, the helter-skelter presentation hangs together through its "ten lessons" about how to pull off the swindle of the title. The ostensible plot involves a detective played by Steve Jones attempting to track down the shady manager of the band, Malcolm McLaren, who provides raspy voice-over throughout and hides under a creepy black mask.

The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle's anarchic form reflects its sense of chaotic content, and there's no sense of formal movie decorum here. What might be a harmless pie-in-the-face joke in A Hard Day' Night transforms, with the ultra violent Sid Vicious on hand, into a virtual assault with a cake. A harmless animated high-seas adventure Yellow Submarine-style becomes shark-infested waters with record companies (like Virgin..) serving as the man-eaters, over the film's end credits. Some footage shot for the film is so grainy that clarity disintegrates and reality is de-constructed. When a random zoom does catch a relevant action, it's just as likely to be a shot of the drummer picking his nose as it is a shot of a band member accomplishing a particularly skilled riff. (Which, let's face it, doesn't happen...Ever.)

There are ten lessons in the film, a production which reports that The Sex Pistols made more than a million dollars off gullible record companies. Some of these covenants include "How to Manufacture Your Group," which establishes the Sex Pistols as a historical force at the 1780 Gordon Riots while a London mob hangs the group in Effigy...then burns the band.

The second lesson advises prospective rockers to "establish the name," and "prevent competition" by playing at unconventional venues such as strip clubs and prisons. (Hey, it worked for Johnny Cash!) "Forget about music," the narrator suggests "and concentrate" on creating "generation gaps." In other words: appeal to the youthful sense of rebellion and anti-authority hatred.

In fact, one such lesson suggests "Cultivate Hatred; It is your greatest asset." In this regard, The Sex Pistols not only created a cult following, but a coterie of critics tailor-made to hate them in very public forums (thus generating publicity). "Most of these groups would be improved by sudden death," one stodgy commentator states in the film. The band is also referred to as "nauseating," "disgusting" and "a walking abortion." Based on my blog this week, I'm clearly working on this lesson, myself...

The Great Rock'N'Roll Swindle has been attacked as representing McLaren (the group's manager) and his perspective more than the band itself, and many have seen Temple's 2000 documentary The Filth and the Fury as an antidote. Yet, whether intentionally or not, this film perfectly captures the self-obsessed, nihilist world of late 1970s punk rock. A band that can't play well and can't be bothered to learn to play well, goes on a mad spree through the world, noses bloodied (on stage...), but never beaten. They spit on their fans (literally), and in Sid Vicious's iconic, marble-mouthed rendition of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" (also featured in Sid & Nancy [1986]), he actually blows away audience members in a bloody massacre. It's rock as protest; rock as rebellion, and rock, indeed, as swindle. But it speaks as cogently (and stylishly) to its time as the Beatles did to theirs. The only difference is that these times, clearly, are much darker, more pessimistic. The film features Nazi imagery, some graphic nudity, a bit of blood, and anything else the makers can imagine to offend mainstream audiences, but the self-reflexive production (which incorporates criticism of the band right into its genetic make-up) indeed convinces one that the Sex Pistols, at least for a time, had the last laugh: earning devoted fans who rave about their "deep" lyrics and songs, when, in fact, the band's main struggle has been not to play at all, but rather have gigs cancelled.

The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle ends, appropriately on a downer; with a gaggle of headlines about Sid Vicious's death. Maybe the swindle, the joke, was carried just a little too far in this case. "His way," his philosophy of life, didn't seem to bring Vicious much joy or happiness in the end, and I guess the swindle had to end some time. One thing that Gary Oldman was not able to transmit in his otherwise brilliant portrayal of Vicious in Sid & Nancy - but which comes across here in spades - is Vicious's total and utter youth. This guy, folks, was a friggin' kid; a skinny kid. I won't say his death is tragic, given his life-hating proclivities, but certainly his life was.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

RETRO TOY FLASHBACK # 37: the GAF View-Master

In 2006, it's sort of funny to remember the lengths that kids in the 1970s had to go to in order to enjoy some of their favorite film and TV entertainments. Since the VHS wasn't yet around (or more accurately, not yet affordable...) and since DVD was a long way off, we kids of the disco decade had to combine a patchwork of toys, model-kits, books and comic-books to re-live King Kong (1976), Star Wars (1977), Star Trek (1966-1968) or the Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978).

I've written here about colorforms, photonovels, storybooks and some of the other ancillary products that made it possible to return to big-screen and small screen adventures alike in those far off days of my childhood, but today I wanted to focus on another: the G.A.F. View Master. In particular, I'm going to focus on the model I still own: The Lighted Stereo Viewer. Here's what the instructions packet had to say about it:

"There's a new viewing thrill in store for you and your family with this handsome VIEW-MASTER Lighted Stereo Viewer. Modern advancements in design have been built into this fine instrument to provide easier and more convenient stereo viewing. Your VIEW-MASTER pictures have more brilliance, more beauty more "come-to-life" realism. "

This toy is equipped with a "convenient light lever," a "handy scene change lever" "more brilliance," "larger picture" and "superb styling." For those who don't remember how to use the handy ole View-Master, you just insert your View-Master reel into the "slot on the top of the viewer" and proceed from still-to-still, just like you're watching a movie...kind of.

For a price of just 2.99 each, you could watch the "Talking" packets and for $1.75 each, you could get the standard three-reel packets. And what a selection GAF provided. In terms of movies you could see James Bond in Live and Let Die, The Poseidon Adventure, and King Kong, to name three. In terms of TV shows, you could enjoy Adam 12, Batman, Bonanza, The Brady Bunch, Emergency, Flipper, Gunsmoke, Kung Fu, Star Trek, Space:1999, Happy Days, Land of the Lost, Island at the Top of the World (anyone remember that one?), The Six Million Dollar Man, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Run, Joe, Run and Planet of the Apes. Why, there was even a packet for The Waltons. Good night, John-Boy.

If cartoons were more your speed, GAF offered reel packets of Peanuts, Popeye, Scooby Doo, The Flintstone, Bugs Bunny and Mighty Mouse. There were literally hundreds of reels to choose from. many of an educational bent. As the promotion material declared: "there are VIEW-MASTER subjects to delight anyone, any age, any interest." No porn, though...

As for me, I remember for some holiday or another getting the gift of a "Theater in the Round," a big cylindrical container with a projector inside as well as several reels of entertainment. I recall, in particular, watching the pack from the Dino De Laurentiis King Kong. Of course, we're used to DVD today, but I'll never forget how cool it was to project images of Kong on my basement wall and study the scenes in detail. If I'm not mistaken, the GAF View-Master is still around today, but I wonder if kids still enjoy 'em so much. My guess is that it would be hard to explain to a five-year old why he or she should watch a series of stills when they can just whip out a portable DVD player and actually watch a movie instead...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I had intended and hoped to blog about the new Doctor Who series from the very beginning. But don't you know, the day the series first premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel was also the day a loved one underwent life-threatening surgery? It's been that kind of year for me, but that's beside the point. I missed the first several episodes of Doctor Who and am only now catching up on the series. Overall, I like what I see.

My first thought is about the look and design of the program. It's absolutely state-of-the-art...for 1995. The CGI effects are quite terrible in the two episodes I watched, "Rose" and "Dalek," and the series appears to have been shot on not-very-high-definition video. Also, the acting is almost universally hysterical. By that I don't mean funny...I mean literally hysterical. Characters run around screaming insanely in a constant state of crisis and angst, snapping silly lines at one another in staccato, machine gun fashion.

But - let's be blunt - Doctor Who was never really about special effects or about acting, either (anyone remember Colin Baker? Peter Davison? Sylvester McCoy?) Although this new series is set after a mysterious "Time War" it actually plays as a full-throated continuation of the low-budget BBC show that lasted for twenty-six years and was cancelled in 1989 (when Sylvester McCoy played the Time Lord). The TARDIS exterior is the same, as are the dematerialization effects, and the Daleks also look very similar to their BBC ancestors.

Some changes have been made for the better, of course. The new TARDIS control room doesn't look as though it's constructed of cardboard and Styrofoam, and furthermore boasts a genuinely alien feel. And the menacing Daleks can now hover up and down staircases, though they still screech "EX-TER-MI-NAAAAAATE!" in annoying electronic voice. Also, the Dalek toilet-plunger arms are now capable of literally "sucking face" and the metal suits open to reveal the yucky little beasties inside. And that's all fun. Also, I can't deny that shivers of pure joy and nostalgia careened through me as I first heard the modified (but faithful) series theme music.

Until I heard that theme music, I hadn't realized how much I'd missed Doctor Who. It was always one of my favorite shows (at least the Hartnell, Troughton, Tom Baker eras...) and I soon realized watching "Rose" and "Dalek" that the producers and writers have taken special care to give us the same Doctor Who...only cheekier and giddier than before. These episodes seem to run on pure adrenaline and momentum, and have a low-budget energy and zeal that I find appealing in the buttoned-down age of CG and green screen. The humor is tongue-in-cheek, and even if the stories I saw were pretty damn weak (another Earth invasion story...jeez!), this new incarnation has already provided the franchise with a classic character: Billie Piper's: Rose. Quite simply, how can you not fall in love with her? She's adorable and sweet and very, human.

I admired how "Rose" began, with several views of modern human life (in London) moving at fast-motion, as Rose endures her hectic but repetitive life (signified by the close-up shots of the alarm clock clicking over to 7:30 pm). Then, once Rose is on the job, time seems to slow down and can't move fast enough. I think this is how many of us feel about our existence: that we're always rushing to and fro, but once we get where we're going, life feels as slow as molasses. We're especially susceptible to this feeling, I'd say, in our late teens and early twenties, and that's precisely where Rose is as this episode commences.

Since Doctor Who plays with the concept of time, it's only appropriate that the series begin thusly, by gazing at time as relative: sometimes slow, sometimes fast. No wonder that the Doctor calls us "blundering apes." Unlike humans, he can stand still - and, in "Rose's" best scene - feel the gravity of the Earth spinning around the sun. He's not so susceptible to vicissitudes and deceptions of time and space, I guess, and this was a bold and interesting interpretation of the long-lived character.

In the two episodes I saw, I found Christopher Eccleston's Doctor to be a little busy, a little silly, but again that's par for the course, I guess. People could have said the same thing of Tom Baker thirty years ago. There are scenes in each episode that could go either way, into horror or comedy. For instance, the scene in "Rose" in which the Doctor was forced to wrestle with an Auton's severed arm played like comedic homage to Evil Dead 2. But was it supposed to be comedy, or anxiety-provoking, or both? Later, a scene with Rose's boyfriend and an ambulatory garbage bin played only as comedy...and pretty stupid comedy at that.

The new Doctor Who views its titular character as an immortal legend whose "constant companion" is "death" and it establishes Eccleston's incarnation at the Kennedy Assassination, near the Titanic in dock, and at Krakatoa before the massive volcanic eruption. I liked all this historical material, especially because Rose tracked it down by using the instrument that wasn't really around back in 1989. But, I would have enjoyed seeing references to the Doctor in his other previous incarnations. But maybe that would have been too much for "new" fans to absorb.

After two episodes, I began to get into the helter-skelter vibe and over-the-top rhythm of this shamelessly exuberant Doctor Who and found the experience was pleasant. Although the material has been updated and rendered more humorous, I don't feel that every change in the format was designed as a poke in the eye (see: Battlestar Galactica) to established fandom. On the contrary, this show - down to its tacky special effects - feels like a love letter to all the Whovians who miss their favorite time travel. Watching the new show, one senses not that creator Russell T. Davies dislikes and is embarrassed by the original material (like Ron Moore?) but rather that he is amused by it for all the same reasons we are.

I look forward to future episodes.

Re-casting versus Re-Imagination

Well, my brief comments regarding the new Battlestar Galactica apparently roiled some readers around the blogosphere yesterday, particularly over at Lee Goldberg's terrific blog and at the popular TV Squad, both of which picked up snippets of my post (which was meant to be congratulatory to the new series...).

I didn't mean to stir the pot, but I do believe that my primary point was overlooked in some places and in some reader comments. I wasn't advocating that Battlestar Galactica (or James Bond, for that matter) shouldn't be re-cast. Unfortunately, we're all mortal and no actor lives forever (Lorne Greene and John Colicos R.I.P.). Re-casting is a necessity if we want our pop-culture legends to survive. Frankly, I would rather see a re-cast Star Trek with a new Kirk and Spock than meet another 22nd or 24th century starship crew. But that's a debate for another day...

However, in terms of Battlestar Galactica, the changes are much more dramatic in the new series than simple re-casting. Characters, races and themes have been altered, and that's why I recommended Battlestar Galactica should have been named something different. (Maybe something like Space: Above and Beyond...)

Here are just a few of the changes:

On the original Battlestar Galactica, Starbuck was a happy-go-lucky womanizer and scoundrel, but one heck of a pilot. In the new show, the piloting skills have been retained, but Starbuck is now a female, and one with anger-management issues. Again, I'm not saying which character is "better," just that they are very different. Re-casting isn't the issue; the two characters really share only their job description and name. Oh, and they gamble.

On the original Battlestar Galactica, Apollo was the adopted father of Boxey and loyal son of Adama. These characteristics are important, because the original Battlestar Galactica was actually a series about how families cope and stick together in a time of crisis. Apollo's sister, Athena, also played an important role. Family was so important on the original series that many critics compared it to Greene's Bonanza. On the new series, Apollo is not a father himself; does not have a sister on the bridge; and is perennially at odds with his father, Adama. Once more: I'm not saying that one idea or concept is superior than the other, only that the character concept has changed dramatically.

Colonel Tigh on the original Battlestar Galactica was a highly-competent officer, a loyal friend of Adama, and a man suspicious of "politics" (in the person of the Quorum of The Twelve). He had an acerbic sense of humor and a bit of fatalism in his personality. On the new series, he is a bald white man and an alcoholic who has a personal grudge against Starbuck.

On and on it goes. Boomer is now an Asian woman instead of a Black man; Baltar is a sex-addict instead of a two-dimensional Judas. The Cylons are now humanoid "sleepers" for the most part (and ones with religion) rather than centurions built by a dead race. The point is that casting doesn't really matter a lick, but the core character concepts have changed so that the "people" of the Galactica are not recognizable in terms of the original series. Sure, I accept Roger Moore as James Bond, in part because there was an attempt at continuity (anyone remember him visiting his wife's grave at the beginning of For Your Eyes Only? Or clamming up over XXX's comment about his one-time marriage in The Spy Who Loved Me?) Also, his character remained pretty much the same in each film: 007 was a guy dedicated to saving the world, and who loved the ladies and a good bon mot. Imagine, instead, if the producers of the James Bond series had given the character a long-term wife and four kids at a home in the suburbs, made him American, and then also changed Bond into a hippie pacifist. See, that's the difference between re-casting and re-imagining...

Also, to state that the new Battlestar Galactica is better than the old one is just fine. That's a matter of opinion and critical judgment and many, many folks will agree with the assessment. However, to state that the new show is actually more popular than the original is not borne out by the numbers. When the original Battlestar Galactica premiered in 1978, it drew a whopping sixty-five million viewers. When the original series aired throughout the year and 1979, it remained in the top twenty-five slots of the Nielsen ratings. It was cancelled by ABC because it was expensive, not because of ratings. I hasten to add that the original Battlestar Galactica was so successful that a re-edited version of the three-hour opener was cut to two hours and released as a movie in territories such as Canada and Japan...places where it outgrossed such motion picture hits of the day as Grease (1978) and Jaws II (1978).

By contrast, the new Battlestar Galactica draws between two and three million viewers to the tube every week. Today, of course, viewership is fragmented in a way it wasn't in 1978, and the series is considered "a hit" on cable. Great for Galactica. Great for the Sci-Fi Channel. But it is clearly a niche hit. If it aired even on the WB, it would have been axed already.

Why would one "pine" for the old Battlestar Galactica? Well, why would one pine for the original Star Trek? The 1968 Planet of the Apes? The 1980 version of The Fog? The 1977 Hills Have Eyes? The 1933 King Kong? The Toho Godzilla? The Lugosi Dracula? Perhaps because each of those productions spoke to their original historical context and the cultural Zeitgeist in an interesting, unique manner and captured a generation of young admirers. I n its day (and I was nine when I first saw it...), the original Battlestar Galactica had the best special effects money could buy, a very likeable cast, a fascinating "Chariots of the Gods" sub-text and some wacky (but fun...) Biblical and Greek Mythology underpinnings. It also helped pass the time between Star Wars films. Sure it was goofy and imperfect, and now it's dated, but that doesn't mean it was or is worthless. Why else appropriate the franchise name in 2003?

And frankly, there's one way that the original Battlestar Galactica is genuinely superior to its usurper. The original show attempted through production design (like the Viper helmets and uniforms) and through language, particularly the Colonial Lexicon, to suggest that the people of the Colonies are brothers of Earth men...far out in the stars. These Colonials measured time differently ("microns," "centons" "yahrens") had different names for dogs (daggits), etc. On the new show, few such distinctions exist. The Galactica has phones with cords, people wear contemporary business suits, ties and eyeglasses, decorate their rooms with props from Pier 1 and refer to Earth movies like Top Gun ("I feel the need, the need for speed," Starbuck stated in one episode).

In other words, there is no attempt in the new series to suggest that these characters actually come from another time and place. They are simply and purely post-September 11th Americans in space. And - come on - aren't these guys supposed to be aliens? How do they know to quote Patton or Top Gun? Why do they refer to cigars as stogies? Why do they mention lemonade? Imagine if the aliens on Star Trek, the Vulcans for instance, began to quote Top Gun? Or said, out of the blue, that they like to drink "iced tea" (Vulcan is hot, after all...) What would the fans say about that? Or if the Jedi started quoting The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo or The Seven Samurai in Star Wars movies? My point is that the new Galactica lacks a critical verisimilitude in terms of production design and universe believability, but that its fans overlook that because they choose to. Just like fans of the old show choose to overlook its flaws: the western pastiches, the flaky science, etc. We're all the victims of our own biases, folks.

So while there is much to love in Battlestar Galactica the re-imagination and I encourage everybody to enjoy it, it's clear that there was a whole lot more changed in the franchise than simply "re-casting." The characters are totally different, though they bear the same names. The Cylons are different too (and I'm not saying they aren't better...), and the focus has shifted from the family unit to a blatantly reminiscent political context. Again -- good for the show for making a statement about the times we live in. But if you change the theme, the universe, the look and the characters of a production, why name it after that production? Isn't the comparison a hindrance? Thus my original thesis: this show shouldn't have been called Battlestar Galactica. The vehicle is the same, but the tires have been changed, the engine has been replaced, and the interior design is totally different.

I'm delighted that the new Battlestar Galactica is well-written, atmospheric and nail-biting week-in and week-out. I'm glad it's a good show. But I wonder - can those who love it so deeply today imagine how they will feel in 20 years when this incarnation of Battlestar Galactica is totally "re-imagined" and everything they like about it is altered? When the shoe's on the other foot. When critics of that future day say things like the new one is better in every way shape and form and more popular than the one that you grew up with? Watch out, cuz karma can be a bitch...