UPDATE: Wow, I just found out that this essay that was presented as new content yesterday on Breitbart’s Big Hollywood blog is in fact from a 2004 posting on Dirk Benedict’s own website. I guess the people at Breitbart are big advocates of recycling and misrepresentation. Sorry to pass this on as something new, which it appeared to be.
You remember "Battlestar Galactica," the original television show? It was dismissed by many as a "Star Wars" knockoff and it had a creepy orange robot dog called a Daggit but it was a lot of fun and nobody got hurt. The stars were the late Lorne Greene and Richard Hatch (who has been great as a competely different character in the new, re-imagined series) and, of course, my fave at the time, Dirk Benedict, whose Starbuck was a sort of Han Solo rascal who gave the show a lot of comic relief (he would go on to portray the con-man commando Face in the "The A-Team").
Well, it turns out that Benedict has watched the revival of the show, which has been hailed far and wide as a dark and sophisticated masterpiece, and silently seethed. Why? Well, let him tell you in a grouchy rant from the Big Hollywood blog:
There was a time, I know I was there, when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke. But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result.
Witness the "re-imagined" "Battlestar Galactica," bleak, miserable, despairing, angry and confused. Which is to say, it reflects in microcosm the complete change in the politics and morality of today’s world, as opposed to the world of yesterday. The world of Lorne Greene (Adama), Fred Astaire (Starbuck’s Poppa) and Dirk Benedict (Starbuck). I would guess Lorne is glad he’s in that Big Bonanza in the sky and well out of it. Starbuck, alas, has not been so lucky. He’s not been left to pass quietly into that trivial world of cancelled TV characters.
‘Re-imagining,’ they call it. ‘Un-imagining’ is more accurate. To take what once was and twist it into what never was intended. So that a television show based on hope, spiritual faith and family is un-imagined and regurgitated as a show of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction. To better reflect the times of ambiguous morality in which we live, one would assume. A show in which the aliens (Cylons) are justified in their desire to destroy human civilization, one would assume. Indeed, let us not say who the good guys are and who the bad are. That is being ‘judgmental,’ taking sides, and that kind of (simplistic) thinking went out with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Kathryn Hepburn and John Wayne and, well, the original ‘Battlestar Galactica.’
Wow. Really? The show with the orange robot dog is a prized symbol of lost American integrity? Didn’t see that coming. But wait, there’s more …
More from the Starbuck rant…
In the bleak and miserable "re-imagined" world of "Battlestar Galactica," things are never that simple. Maybe the Cylons are not evil and alien but in fact enlightened and evolved? Let us not judge them so harshly. Maybe it is they who deserve to live and Adama and his human ilk who deserve to die? And what a way to go! For the re-imagined terrorists (Cylons) are not mechanical robots void of soul, of sexuality, but rather humanoid six foot tall former lingerie models who f**k you to death. (Poor old Starbuck, you were imagined too early. Think of the fun you could have had ‘fighting’ with these thong-clad aliens!) In the spirit of such soft-core, sci-fi porn I think a more re-imaginative title would have been "F****ed by A Cylon." (Apologies to "Touched by an Angel.")
One thing is certain. In the new un-imagined, re-imagined world of "Battlestar Galactica" everything is female driven. The male characters, from Adama on down, are confused, weak and wracked with indecision, while the female characters are decisive, bold, angry as hell, puffing cigars (gasp!) and not about to take it any more.
One can quickly surmise what a problem the original Starbuck created for the re-imaginators. Starbuck was all charm and humor and flirting without an angry bone in his womanizing body. Yes, he was definitely ‘female driven,’ but not in the politically correct ways of Re-imagined Television. What to do, wondered the Re-imaginators? Keep him as he was, with a twinkle in his eye, a stogie in his mouth and a girl in every galaxy? This could not be. He would stick out like, well, like a jock strap in a drawer of thongs. Starbuck refused to be re-imagined. It became the Great Dilemma. How to have your Starbuck and delete him too?
The best minds in the world of un-imagination doubled their intake of Double Soy Latte’s as they gathered in their smoke-free offices to curse the day that this chauvinistic Viper Pilot was allowed to be. But never under-estimate the power of the un-imaginative mind when it encounters an obstacle (character) it subconsciously loathes. "Re-inspiration" struck. Starbuck would go the way of most men in today’s society. Starbuck would become "Stardoe." What the Suits of yesteryear had been incapable of doing to Starbuck 25 years ago was accomplished quicker than you can say orchiectomy. Much quicker, as in, "Frak! Gonads Gone!"
This is just dizzying in its greatness. The funny thing is, the new Starbuck has a bigger pair than the Benedict’s fey version ever had. I can’t wait to see what happens when Sandra Bullock gets the role of Face in the "A-Team" remake …
– Geoff Boucher
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CREDITS: Images from original "Battlestar Galactica" from the Los Angeles Times archives. The photo of the new cast courtesy of Sci Fi/NBC/Universal