Space: Above and Beyond and Battlestar Galactica
I've been rewatching this week my DVDs of Space: Above and Beyond, the damn fine but short-lived sci-fi series created by X-Files vets Glen Morgan and James Wong. It aired one season, 1995-96, and was about space marines battling an alien foe.
I've mentioned before the influence I think it must have had on the new version of Battlestar Galactica. In that linked post, I outline the plot of an episode of BSG which had striking similarities to an episode of S:A&B produced a decade earlier. Watching the DVDs again, I'm discovering how many more similarities exist between the two shows.
Start with the premise: both are dark and gritty (though BSG certainly amped up the dark-and-grittiness to the nth degree) depictions of a war against a technologically superior and mysterious race. Both shows are centered on military fighter pilots based on a space battle station (the Saratoga in S:A&B, the Galactica in BSG).
In both, a terrible war was fought in the recent past, after which years of peace led to complacency. Both wars were against artificial beings created by humans -- the Silicates in S:A&B, the Cylons in BSG. After both wars, the artificial beings fled the human homeworld(s). And in both series, a new war is instigated by the unprovoked destruction of human colonies (in BSG, of course, it is all human colonies, and that certainly comes from the original BSG, not S:A&B).
In S:A&B, an enemy fighter ship is captured by the humans; it is discovered to be biological in nature. The humans learn how to pilot it, and use it in a tactical mission. In BSG, an enemy fighter ship is captured by the humans; it is discovered to be biological in nature. The humans learn how to pilot it, and use it in a tactical mission.
In S:A&B, the enemy are aliens who resemble chigger bugs, and are thus called Chigs by the humans. But they are aided by the Silicates, who are human in appearance, and who are renewing their war on mankind. In BSG, the enemy are the Cylons, who have evolved into human appearance during their absence, and who are renewing their war on mankind.
Both the Silicates and the Cylons have multiple copies of particular "models". Both the Silicates and the Cylons share memories between models.
Now, I'm not saying any of these similarities necessarily indicate BSG stole ideas from (or "paid homage to") S:A&B, nor that S:A&B necessarily originated these concepts in the first place. Still -- that's a lot of similarities, ain't it?
Anyhoo. If you enjoy BSG, you'd probably enjoy Space: Above and Beyond, too. It's a decade behind on the special effects used in BSG, but it still holds up pretty well, and really hits its stride about halfway through the first (and only) season, and keeps getting better till the end. You might want to Netflix it and give it a try.