Battlestar Galactica

I (rather famously now) have always hated the first Battlestar Galactica. Initially it was because of the terrible writing and acting, but also because I considered it a rip-off of Star Wars… I found out decades later it’s because many of the same effects people worked on both projects.

Diane is a old-school BG fanatic. She refers to the newer show as GINO – Galactica In Name Only. Like the Republicans, you see.

My brother Ben on meeting Diane:

BEN: You like Battlestar Galactica?
DIANE: Yes, Brian and I watched the entire series just last week.
BEN: … Wow. He must really love you.
DIANE: … what
BEN: I remember him ranting against that show when he was 5.

The new one looks pretty intentionally gritty, much like a mid-1990s comic book, where everyone is scowling and being an anti-hero. Plus they squandered key parts of Starbuck’s character – it’s cool she’s a woman, but she could still be a womanizer!

Anyway that show is banned from my house so I haven’t seen more than 20 minutes of it.

Evil Chinese Man

There’s a character actor whose name I can never remember – he plays the Evil Chinese Man. Whatever the movie, he’s the older, usually rich, powerful villain who represents the scary part of Chinatown.

Oooh scary Chinatown. The racism implicit in the mere existence of this role is so extreme that I always thought it was pretty funny.

Anyway, the actor is actually James Hong. Skinny as a rail, with a natural expression that makes him look like he disapproves of that thing you are doing there.

Hong played the Evil Chinese Man who is running the lottery in the X-Files, where if you lose they cut off a body part, no doubt to use in some exotic Chinese delicacy (scary Chinatown!). In Big Trouble in Little China, he’s the Evil Chinese Man who actually has sorcerous powers.

Slightly less iconic but still very memorable: Victor Wong. Wong tended to play the Wise (albiet slightly batty) Chinese Man, with a droppy expression and a slightly zany cockeyed look. He played this character in Big Trouble in Little China, and again in The Golden Child.

Check out the rosters of both these guys and you’ll find a bunch of movies you remember. Unfortunately Wong passed away at the turn of this century, but Hong is still pluggin’ away at movies!