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PILOT REVIEW: 17th Precinct

Ronald D. Moore at a Battlestar Galactica Conv...

Image via Wikipedia

17th Precinct
By Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica)
Grade: B

For those of you not up to speed with Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica lovefest, 17th Precinct is a spin on the typical police procedural, substituting science for a world run entirely by magic. Starring Eamonn Walker as Wilder Banks, the 17th precinct force must police a magical interpretation of San Fransisco (Excelsior) armed with necromancy, magic spells, power-plants, and divination rods.

Sound confusing? It’s actually not. One of the most unfortunate aspects of 17th Precinct is that it’s just a cop show – with a magical twist. So much of the experience is based upon the novelty of the world and the magical gadgets that Moore substitutes for typical scientific technologies. While worldbuilding is incredibly important for genre shows, subtlety is not Moore’s strong point. It’s a data overload, and the first half of the hour is fairly clunky. Moore attempts to build a world concurrently with showing a typical case-of-the-week, yet this largely fails (at least, at first) because of the reliance on the “new” and on special effects. In fact, most the pilot script is description of the world of Excelsior.

Thankfully, the second half works better, inviting in more serial elements and using magic elements of the world to challenge conventions during the case. Yet the A-story is largely solved coincidentally, which is unfortunate considering the novel twist within the case during the fourth act. The final act also invites a serial story that could offer some compelling metaphors on human nature – if Moore can handle it. And after the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica, I really hope he can.


One Response

  1. […] 17th Precinct – B REM S.I.L.A. Brave New World Alpha Mom Reconstruction […]

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