4.30.2009

The Question Remains

This one's for Leeann.

So on the one hand we have Jean-Luc Picard's warm friendly sometimes mentor-like take on command.


And on the other hand we have grisly Bill Adama, who's take on command is essentially making every crew member of the Galactica a surrogate son/daughter.

(I guess it's too soon or something because all of the BSG stuff on youtube is either a trailer or a creepy music video montage.)

Clearly, Picard and Adama faced wildly different situations. Picard captained the flagship of the Federation, primarily tasked with scientific surveys and diplomacy. And he was awesome at it. Plus he defeated the Borg. A lot. Even when they cheated (energy shields adjusting to bullets is so bullshit.) Adama commanded a decommissioned battlestar that became the last defense of the tens of thousands of humans who survived the Cylon holocaust. And he so completely rocked at it that half of the Cylons decided to throw their chips in with him.

So how to decide between them? Well one way is to try to figure out who I would rather serve under. On the surface that doesn't work out so well because in the Star Trek TNG universe I would totally want to serve under Picard, but in the Galactica universe I'd totally want to serve under Adama. But let's look a little deeper.

Adama was totally willing to risk a civil war amongst the tattered remnants of humanity to save the lives of two of his favorite surrogate sons. Which is all kinds of crazy and wonderful. The world ended and Bill Adama essentially saves the human race by being its dad. I don't think a captain who's casual enough with his crew to the point where the chief medical officer totally has creepy ghost sex in front of him could pull that off. But Adama is a soldier, not a diplomat and the Star Trek TNG universe never asks anyone to "roll the hard 6". Adama would kill Romulans and Borg like James Tiberius Kirk killed Klingons, but a lot of treaties would go unsigned and first contact situations would be...problematic.

So who's better? That's still tough. I know that I'd rather have an ascendant humanity over one on the verge of extinction and that a Star Trek future is a hell of a lot brighter than a BSG future. So if the choice was about picking fates, then Picard all the way. But if the choice is just about who I'd prefer to by my commanding officer in a universe that's neither Battlestar bleak or Federation florescent then my gut says Bill Adama. (And as a bonus Tigh's alcoholism caused the Galactica and her crew less trouble than Riker's sex drive caused the Enterprise and hers.)

2 comments:

leeann said...

Bravo! I'd have chosen Adama simply because Adama seems more human to me than Picard, although that might be the accent. PIcard alway seemed to me to be too good, too precise and proper. Adama- you could imagine him understanding you. Not letting you get away with a thing, but understanding nevertheless.
Very nifty comparison... where were you went I was looking for someone to write my papers for me? Probably in kindergarten, but still...
Thank you kindly. :)

toaster lover said...

Thanks. Glad you liked it.

Formulaic shows like Star Trek: TNG tend to go with glossy single layer archetypes instead gritty multi-layer ones.

So Jean-Luc is The Leader, and the glossy leader has flaws that aren't flaws. For instance his hatred of the Borg after his experience as Locutus and a few brief moments of self doubt. But for Star Trek: TNG the important things were what external forces were acting on the crew and how they could use their technology to defeat those forces that week.

Whereas BSG, which was emphatically non-formulaic, had Bill Adama as The Soldier, The Father, and The Leader just to name a few. Additionally, each of those archetypal roles was explored in a multifaceted manner; The Father was explored through his troubled relationship with Lee as well as through his assumed role of surrogate father for just about every person on Galactica. But BSG was telling a single story about people on personal level and a societal level.