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Can 17 Precincts Make Up For One Flawed Battlestar?

by  in Comic News, TV News Comment

Am I the only one who got the strangest feeling of deja vu when I read that 17th Precinct, the new NBC pilot created by Battlestar Galactica‘s Ron Moore, will star Battlestar Galactica‘s Jamie Bamber, Tricia “Battlestar Galactica” Helfer, and James Callis of … Battlestar Galactica? Is history repeating for anyone else, and if it is, is that a good thing or not?

The news that Callis — who’s only really popped up in Eureka for an arc since the end of BSG back in 2009, where he proved that he could do an accent, just not keep one up for any appreciable length of time — and Helfer (who has spent a ridiculous amount of time popping up as a guest star in shows where all she has to do is look beautiful and occasionally act tough) have joined Moore’s fantasy crime procedural (Precinct follows the cops assigned to a town where magic exists and is stronger than science) was greeted with a lot of fan excitement when it broke on Thursday, and in a sense, it’s easy to understand why: Callis’ Baltar was one of the undeniable high points of Moore’s BSG and the two seemed to share a strong off-screen friendship that led to a stronger character on-screen, and Helfer’s Six was easily the most complicated and rewarding character she’s had a chance to portray to date, so the idea of the two re-teaming with Moore definitely has a certain excitement to it.

The only problem is, with Bamber already attached to the project, Helfer and Callis’ participation suddenly makes it seem like a BSG revival in the making, raising expectations both for the show itself — And, please, let’s remember that Moore can do and has done other types of show with varying degrees of success; anyone else remember his interesting-yet-supremely-flawed Fox pilot Virtuality? Or his short-lived HBO show Carnivale? — and also for even more faces familiar from Galactica to show up (What’s the guy who played Tyrol doing? Can we rescue the guy who played Gaeta from Smallville and give his career some meaning again?), and that just seems … cruel, perhaps? Or maybe just unnecessary, and unhelpful.

Thing is, now that I’ve written that, I’m suddenly not sure who it’s unhelpful for; not the show, which suddenly gets more excitement just by dint of the familiarity of those working on it as much as it gets the raised expectations of being another Galactica, redefining and crossing over from its chosen genre. The fans, then? Their hopes are the ones they’re allowing to get raised without having seen anything from the show itself. Again, maybe I’m wrong — maybe they’re just excited to see those people get work again.

Perhaps my problem with the casting isn’t so much what anyone else is bringing to it as much as what I am; maybe I’m the one who still isn’t over Battlestar Galactica (and Caprica, in an entirely different way), and this is my way of coming to terms with it. I really did get a sense of deja vu when I read the news — And writing that, I thought “Well, that makes sense: All of this has happened before, remember?” — but maybe anything beyond that is just me, worrying that the finale of this show, seven years down the line, will be as disappointing as BSG‘s, and perhaps that’s the most unfair thing of all.

Although, really: That opera house thing really was a stretch. They’d better not pull any of that this time around.