New recruit – approval pending?

Starbuck collage

Kara Thrace. Now, there’s a girl who would fit right in with our crew!

 I’m a geek. A massive, unashamed sci-fi and fantasy geek. I love it and have done since childhood. I remember one of the first stories I ever wrote back when I was five (which I still have at home somewhere actually) was like a cross between The Wizard of Oz and Return of The Jedi. A real mash up of all the best bits of both. I got a gold star from my teacher and everything!

 I’ve not changed that much with age. My writing got more original, more refined and my characters a lot darker and more complex, but I still live with my head in the clouds. There s just something about exploring the extraordinary that appeals to me. 

 There wasn’t a shortage of books and TV shows for me to get my teeth in to, growing up. I’d eat it all up if it came my way. Some have stayed with me, some are long forgotten and some have left their mark on me forever.

 One of my favourite sci-fi TV shows growing up was Battlestar Galactica. I tuned in each week without fail, clad in my pyjamas and clutching a cup of lukwarm hot chocolate. The sight of Dirk Benedict’s, Starbuck and Richard Hatch’s, Apollo, blasting the snot out of the dreaded cyclons was literally the highlight of my week. The mighty, late Lorne Greene gave the proceedings a touch of class and brought a certain gravitas to the roll of Commander Adama. However, like a lot of things from my childhood, when I bought the DVD box set years later, it really wasn’t anywhere near as good as I remembered. In fact it wasn’t very good at all (should never have take those rose tinted glasses off).

Battle-of-the-starbucks-201011

 Fast forward a few years now. I’m not sure where I was (possibly a student union or pub), but I read somewhere that they were working on a reboot of the show and had rewritten Dirk Benedict’s role (a hard drinking, womaniser who just happened to be the best pilot in the fleet) in to a girl! WHAT!?!?

I immediately freaked out about both the reboot and the recast. Why would you remake something as fondly remembered as BSG? More importantly why would you recast Starbuck as a girl? Surely the whole nature of the character requires him to be a guy?

 As it turns out, my reservations were misplaced on both fronts. The show itself, at least for its first three seasons or so, was a revelation. A dark, multi layered, clever, ‘post 9/11’ piece of TV gold. It really blew my expectations out of the water within minutes of the opening scenes of the pilot. But what really blew my socks of was Katee Sackhoff’s take on Starbuck.

 Renamed Kara Thrace with a pilot’s call sign of Starbuck, she was a bit of a revelation. Whereas before Starbuck was essentially a Han Solo sort of character (who just happened to drink, smoke cigars and get laid), Sackhoff had turned the character in to one of the most complex and constantly evolving characters on TV… while remaining one who drank, smoked cigars and got laid!

 She played the character as a sort of tom boy, whose abilities and attitude made her a real treat to watch on screen. Horribly flawed, temperamental, chaotic, insubordinate, resourceful, loyal, honourable – all words that you could associate with her. There was literally never a dull moment when she was on screen.

 As such I think Kara Thrace would fit perfectly in to our crew, because I think we all share at least some of her traits. I certainly display many of them when online.  In fact, when I first logged on to GTA online, I actually tried to make my avatar look like her, even going so far as naming her Kara. Once I started playing however, I realised pretty quickly that I wasn’t really in her league in terms of being a badass and reverted to territory far more familiar to me ; ).

 I could see her excelling not only in death matches where she’d dispatch her enemies with a cocky swagger, but also in every race on land, sea and air.

 She’d be a hoot to have around, relishing the anarchy of free roam. I can imagine it now. We’d have to bail her out of jail after starting a fist fight with the cops outside Bahama Mamas. Or she’d turn up brutally hung-over but still totally ‘own’ everybody in a dog fight over Fort Zancudo.  Honestly, who wouldn’t want to have a kickass babe like her on their side?

Starbuck and Apollo

 Strong female characters in mainstream shows were few and far between for me growing up. Even now there aren’t too many to get excited about, so for me, she remains the bench mark for others to try and reach. She’s not perfect, but then who is? She constantly makes a mess of her own life, doing the wrong things even though she knows better. But despite all that, she will never let her friends down when the backs are against the wall. That for me in life is the mark of a good person. Someone who will always give everything for their family and friends no matter what. In a life filled with ups and downs, how you treat others is really how you should be judged.

I’d recommend the show to anyone. But most important I’d recommend watching it for her. She’s arguably the best character in the show and she’s a lot of fun to spend time with… just like me, ha-ha!

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3 thoughts on “New recruit – approval pending?

  1. Yes excellent post blondi. I too grew up with Sci-Fi and loved the likes of BSG, Buck Rogers and Battle of the planets. But I wholeheartedly agree that watching them years later was a big let down. The BSG reboot was utterly compelling and making Starbuck a strong female cigar smoking hard case was a stroke of genius.
    My vote for the original Pussi Riot girl however would have to be Emma Peel from The Avengers. A very strong yet feminine character who was as witty as she was vicious. Its a real shame they made a poor movie of it about a decade ago with a badly cast Uma Thurman playing the role that only Diana Rigg could ever play. You are right though there is a sad lack of strong female characters in fantasy fiction through the ages. Currently though I’m a huge fan of Michone from The Walking Dead and Daenerys from Game of Thrones. It’s a shame though that there wasn’t a super bitch in Breaking Bad which is now my all time fave show. Anyway sorry to prattle on so long but this post of yours really inspired me.

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