I also have to give the "thumbs up" to the new BSG. But- I have a few complaints. The new mechanical cylons suck. Yeah, I get that they want more menace, less camp, and that's cool. But the new robots are just too cheesey. What's with the flip-up arm guns? Looks like a new George Lucas reject. And the Raider ships BLOW! Okay, they wouldn't be so bad if the old ones weren't so much cooler. Ditto for the Vipers- very gay compared to the originals. I like the more realistic physics (er, somewhat more realistic, anyway- the old "turbo boost" was hilarious!), but the look is "wrong" somehow. The Mk II's are better, but still not right. There's a "sea shell" look to the shape, and it's sorta "art deco-y" in a yucky way.
My brother is indignant (livid is perhaps a better word) that they made "Starbuck" a woman. Well, I agree that wasn't a great move, but I was mostly disturbed that Katee Sackhoff isn't at all hot. And a young woman smoking a fat cigar- maybe that should be hot in a Freudian way, but to me it's just nauseating.
Now, the good: I also love the grittier feel of the new BSG. "33" was tense and ominous, very nicely done. "Water" did build some tension, and I like that the little uber-hottie "Boomer" (played by Grace Park) is just starting to realize she's a Cylon. And speaking of Cylons, it was a superb idea to create a new breed that looks human.
The casting is mostly good. I originally thought that Edward James Almos was a bizarre choice as "Adama"- well, I still think so, but it looks like he'll be just fine. I don't recall the name of the guy that plays the XO, but I like him. His alcoholism might be a bit cliched, but I like the fact that the characters have flaws and foibles that make them more complex and real. The casting of Mary McDonnel raised my eyebrows; she's been in a few turkeys, but I still think of her as an Oscar-caliber actress. At first glance she appears to be slummin' it in a series made for SciFi. I don't care much for her character, but she's a class act and I imagine I'll warm up the her "President Laura". Kudos for casting super hot Grace Park & Tricia Helfer. That oughta sex up the show a bit. And the new "Gias Baltar" looks to be a highlight of the show.
Lastly, I think the effects are super, much better than I'm used to on the Sci Fi channel. Not quite up to the level of Farscape, but excellent, probably the best of anything on right now. They do blatantly rip off Joss Whedan's tragically-overlooked Firefly; the out of focus shots, the zooms, the pans, the "camera hanging in space"- all are blatant ripoffs of the the production values of Ff. Oh, well. At least they're pinching something good.
So far the writing looks up to par, too. Instead of just retelling the old stories, I like that they've got their own feel and style. They're taking pains to create a real character driven story that doesn't simply rely on stock SciFi conventions. That's another similarity with Farscape, and I mean that as a compliment.
I wonder- are there real humans that the 12 Models of Cylons are based on? Is the Boomer back on Caprica a real human or another Cylon? I'm anxious to find out.