This review contains NO SPOILERS of Saturday’s SciFi Channel broadcast of “Battlestar Galactica: Razor.”
It was a story told to us in passing during the second season of “Battlestar Galactica,” and now we’re getting all of it right in front of our eyes.
“Razor” is the story of the Battlestar Pegasus, taking us from the Cylon attack that kicked off the current SciFi Channel series, and going up and through the time that Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) takes center stage as the commanding officer of the ship.
While some have claimed that “Razor” was a mere after-thought brought on by SciFi Channel’s desire to have something to hold fans over to an April premiere, there’s nothing about “Razor” that looks like it has been done on the fly. We get something for everyone: action, intrigue, drama and even classic Cylons. We get to see a more human side of Adm. Cain, brought back to life by the venerable Michelle Forbes, and we get to see the story that should definitely have been told.
Michael Taylor put together a strong script, using story elements mentioned in the original “Pegasus” script written by Anne Cofell Saunders, who is uncredited. “Razor” is a breath of fresh air, even if some of its real good scenes setting up the history of Cain as a child were left on the cutting room floor (but will be included in the December DVD release).
We get to see the Pegasus from being docked for retrofit, to some crazy battles with the Cylons, and even a battle that took place before the Colonials find New Caprica that was never shown before.
Plus, there’s a warning toward the end told to the focus character, Kendra Shaw, that can’t be missed.
Stephanie Jacobsen pulls off Shaw flawlessly as an officer who gets strings pulled so that she could be the assistant to a Battlestar commander just as the Cylons are about to attack. She quickly transforms from the sweet officer trying to climb the career ladder, to someone who learns what it takes to fight for her life, and to be what Cain describes as a “razor.” The movie is set from her perspective, and she pulls it off.
Doing a prequel-style of anything can be difficult, especially when some events are locked, and the writers are forced to include them. “Razor” definitely could have struggled with some elements that had to be included like the fate of Cain’s second-in-command as well as an incident involving a civilian fleet that the Pegasus comes up on. Taylor, however, is able to weave these incidents in seamlessly, and not just include those events as props, but to actually make them a key part of the overall story. And it works.
The only drawback I found is that William Adama (Edward James Olmos) discovering a connection between himself and something that happened at the end of the first Cylon War to be a bit stiff, and a glaring plothole. The debris of a single Raider with no other evidence makes it clear to Adama that he was dealing with something in the present that was exactly what he accidentally stumbled on in the past. Yet, there was nothing about the debris — or even what Athena (Grace Park) tells Adama — that could’ve justified his certainty that his younger self and this current event was related.
But hey, what’s a small plothole when the overall story makes up for it greatly?
“Razor” airs Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on SciFi Channel.