To be more specific, in terms of political drama BSG kicks donkeys. That's because it is a political drama. One that just happens to involve mystical forces in space with explosions and killer robots, which are pretty much guaranteed to improve anything.
Trek never tried or even considered being a commentary on contemporary American politics. Where it exceeds BSG is as a science fiction show. That's because it's got actual fictional science in it. Like phasers and photon torpedoes and warp drives and holodecks.
|Spaceships not good enough eh ? Fine, add dinosaurs.|
|I figured people would rather see this than Dr Crusher having sex with a ghost.|
HOWEVER, the underlying psychology of the shows does not escape so lightly. In fact that's where it gets interesting. While BSG is not really about cool tech in the way that Trek is, technology in the show is conspicuous by its absence. About the only ways in which the human civilisation in BSG is more advanced than our own is the use of FTL and cybernetics (although, importantly, Caprica did remind us that the Colonials were rather further ahead than this before the holocaust).
|It also reminded us to beware of killer emo teenage robots. Very few shows do that.|
There's nothing wrong with warning about the dangers of abusing technology. But Star Trek showed us what happens if we use it properly. Sure, it didn't come with anything quite as out-and-out cool as a lightsabre, but it did have holodecks, replicators, transporters, force fields and... iPads (they even called them pads, and this was 1993 for heaven's sake). It was also undoubtedly the inspiration for Google's decision to call their phone-based operating system "Android".
|Star Trek was so utopian that even iPads and Androids could coexist.|
* Caprica Six claims she does, once, but I don't trust her, on account of being a psychopathic anorexic killer robot.
What worries me is that Star Trek, by its very nature with a happy-clappy, "YAY TRIBBLES !" attitude, is a proven source of inspiration for legions of today's scientists and engineers. Battlestar Galactica isn't going to inspire anyone, because it doesn't contain a single piece of technology anyone either doesn't already have, or would want to invent. Unless you count - like many strange people - Caprica Six, but if anorexic genocidal robots are your thing then you can keep them to yourself, thanks.
|"LOOK ! The monitor is too small. We need a viewscreen !"|
Perhaps we don't really need science fiction for inspiration, and this meandering rant hasn't achieved anything. All I know is that Star Trek is one of the two reasons I chose my career (the other is that nebula are goddamn pretty), and this is true for a lot of other people as well. Scientists are by no means Trekkies by definition, and vice-versa. And no doubt some scientists became Trek fans after discovering science, rather than the other way around. Just don't come running to me in twenty years when today's young BSG fans grow up and the hordes of angst-ridden robots start nuking the place.