Thursday, July 31, 2014

Galactica 1980 1.4: “The Super Scouts, Part 1”

Airdate: 3/16/80

The Cylon menace continues, and this time it’s the Galactica children who are imperiled. Troy and Dillon get inadvertently assigned the task after the Cylons destroy the children’s’ barge, and so once again they must navigate earth’s unfamiliar culture to assimilate the lil’ tykes for the sake of their safety. Outfitted as scouts, the kids feel great – until one by one they start to come down with a serious illness. Using his cell biopsy device, Troy ascertains the cause of the problem: drinking water from a chemically contaminated pond. Once again, they’re wanted by the authorities once no one can ID their scout troop, and with the help of Jamie they need to avoid discovery  - and expose the chemical plant for their toxic treachery.

Ah, the 70s and early 80s, when you could show environmentalism and ecological awareness running into a political firestorm, like you would today. There was, of course, residual attitudes from the back-to-nature movement of the 60s, but don’t forget the resent industrial disaster at Three Mile Island just a year earlier. It sorta does feel a tad out of place showing up here, where the poisonous waste would affect all children, not just ones from outer space, but with so earnest a cause I wouldn’t dare complain.

I will complain about the front half of this episode, however. When Adama announces that the children will go to earth immediately, why the extra plot thread of the Cylon attack forcing them to go to earth – which is where they’re going anyway? I’ll tell you why – more recycled footage from the original Galactica of vipers launching, going to turbo speed, firing, explosions, the three Cylons inside their ships turning their heads, et cetera, et cetera. Just as boring here as it was there, and it underscores the problem this series continues to have – it can’t step outside its predecessor’s shadow.

And there’s also no continuity from the last episode to this one. Aren’t Troy and Dillon, assisted by Jamie, going back in time to the 1700s to stop Xavier. And why is Jamie back on earth as a reporter? Sounds like some behind-the-scenes troubles with this show are already afoot.

BTW: There’s a clever in-joke in which two California Highway Patrol officers, frustrated at not being able catch Troy and Dillon, wonder if this ever happens “to those two guys on TV.”

Along with Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman, these super scouts officially make the 1970s the decade of the ultra-high jump!

Rating:  ***

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