Forget The Murder Mystery, Who Ruined Astro Quest?

The fans who are horrified at the "dark, gritty" reimagining of the cheesy old show Astro Quest include Battlestar Galactica's Grace Park... and BSG reinventor Ronald D. Moore, in this clip from last night's CSI.


Last night's science-fiction-themed CSI started off feeling more like Galaxy Quest, spoofing the ridiculous trappings of 1960s Star Trek. We even got the line "He's dead, Jim," when actor Jonathan Danson got murdered. But then the episode, scripted by BSG/Deep Space Nine veterans Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, took a swerve towards satirizing their own penchant for dark reinventions. And of course, when we met Kate Vernon (Ellen Tigh) as a catty media studies professor who loves to quote Derrida, the solution to the mystery started to seem obvious.

This isn't the first time CSI has visited a convention, of course. That was 2007's comic Dying In The Gutters, where a host of comic-book writers were suspects in the murder of gossip-monger Rich Johnson.

Watching the fan hullaballoo over the dark reinvention of Astro Quest, this seems like a good moment to post a link to Chris Abramson's excellent blog post about "Overcoming Bad Online Influencers for Battlestar." Abramson was one of the people in charge of selling fans on the new, reinvented BSG, which got a similar initial response to the dark Astro Quest.

Abramson says the only argument that held sway with those fans was: This is the only BSG you're going to get.

I even had authority to leak the fact that Executive Producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick were totally into hiring original cast members, including the fly-in-the-ointment-at-the-time Richard Hatch - none of it rang true, it was such a tough crowd. Moore and Eick even promised to tip the hat all the time to the old gang, including cheeky references to the old theme, the old Cylons, and any number of playful homages (which they surely did in spades over the course of the series).

Instead of really embracing the idea of a darker, stranger, more brutal BSG, the only argument that rang true was that this Battlestar Galactica miniseries was the last opportunity that these true blue OBSG fans had to any of the above. They homages would not have time to play out, the guest appearances would not come to pass, and if the miniseries never got picked up, it would be bad for everyone involved, especially Richard Hatch himself (who ended up rocking the role of Vice-President Tom Zarek, by the way!)



I loved the CSI episode last night. Not the least for, I have to admit, all the scenes with Liz Vassey in the Star Trek spoof outfits.