Was Battlestar Galactica Star Trek Done Right?

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Hey, I’m not the one suggesting it; I’m just asking the question after reading these comments from BSG showrunner (and former Star Trek writer) Ron Moore:

I think a lot of Battlestar was born at Deep Space Nine in that Deep Space started as much more episodic because of the nature of the show, it became more a continuing serialised structure. I really liked that, and I discovered I really liked that style of storytelling, and also particularly when we got into the later years of Deep Space, and we started telling the Dominion War story (1997-99), we would sit and argue and fight with the powers that be at Trek about making it a more realistic war, about making it grittier, and ugly; adding more ambiguity to the characters, and roughing it up a little bit, and I kept bumping my head against the strictures at Trek. What Star Trek is could not accommodate things that I wanted to do, so I
started to have this sort of pent up frustration about ‘well if we were really going to do it right’, these ideas would sit in the back of my head so when Battlestar came along, I could now do all of those things that I was never allowed to do at Deep Space.

There’s some sense of “Star Trek couldn’t do what I wanted it to do, so Battlestar is better” in Moore’s comments, I think that feels like it misses the point of Star Trek in some ways – Sure, it couldn’t do a realistic war story that’s gritty and ugly, but… Isn’t that kind of asking Trek to be something entirely different from what it is? Star Trek‘s strengths lie in its ultimate optimism and utopian view of science and the future, and also in a metaphorical approach to dealing with real world problems that inserting a brutality and realism would somehow undermine, surely. It’d be like complaining that 90210 doesn’t allow writers the chance to offer in depth investigations of the inherent corruptions within Baltimore social structure. That’s kind of why we have The Wire, you know?

But reading Moore’s comments hit a nerve. I loved BSG a lot – I even liked the series finale, which I realize makes me somewhat of a social pariah within nerd circles – but I also adore Star Trek so much that I liked all of Voyager and more than is strictly necessary of Enterprise, and I got to thinking: Which show is better? What follows is an entirely non-scientific consideration of the facts of this argument. Your mileage, as the saying goes, may vary.

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