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Blu-ray Review: Battlestar Galactica – Season Two

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Based on Glen A. Larson's 1978 ABC television series, Battlestar Galactica was reimagined by David Eick and Ronald D. Moore for the Sci-Fi Channel as a three-hour miniseries that served as a pilot and then aired for four seasons from 2004 to 2009. The critically acclaimed series tells the story of the surviving humans from a group of planets known as The Twelve Colonies of Kobol on the run through space from a robotic force known as Cylons after their devastating attack on the human's homeworlds.

Season Two has been recently released on Blu-ray and the things are understandably in disarray after the events of the Season One finale. Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) had been shot by Boomer (Grace Park), a sleeper Cylon, putting Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) in control, who is ill equipped to handle the job. President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), who is suffering from cancer, and Captain Apollo (Jamie Bamber), Adama's son, end up in the brig for their actions. Other main human characters are spread across planets Kobol and Caprica.

While the season progresses, as if dealing with the unrelenting Cylons wasn't bad enough, the fleet grows fractured amongst themselves. There is constant conflict early on between the decisions of Adama and Roslin. Other forces come into play as well including Gaius Baltar (James Callis), a scientist whose sexual involvement with a human-looking Cylon led to the success of the attack of the homeworlds, and Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch), former terrorist and representative for his people

Over the 20 episodes, the series was very strong, and while there are occasional missteps in character actions and the series' mythology, the strength of the writing is why it excelled. The season ended on a powerful cliffhanger that will send the viewer out to find Season Three right away. The cast was talented and brought to life complex characters that were for the most part enjoyable to be with.

The five-disc set is presented with a1080p/AVC-encoded transfer at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The picture is not what Blu-ray consumers expect with aspects like a high amount of grain, softness, and high contrast, but it is an accurate representation of the creators' artistic vision which is why there's a disclaimer at the beginning of each disc that reads: "The Blu-ray release of Battlestar Galactica accurately preserves the artistic intentions of the creators. The stylized visual elements within certain scenes are intentional and faithful to the broadcast presentation of the television show."

The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 submerses the viewer in the episodes, especially during battle sequences from gunfire to explosions. The surrounds help put the viewer into the action and the subwoofer provides a great amount of low-end bass rumble.  The dialogue is clear and understandable.

The extras are mainly the ones from the DVD release. There are Moore's podcast commentaries, Eick's video blogs, deleted scenes, the extended "Pegasus" episode with commentary, and the Battlestar Galactica Career Assignment Quiz to see what job a person would hold in this universe. Exclusive to Blu-ray are "The Oracle," an interactive pop-up guide dealing with aspects the series like characters and ship, as well as BD-Live content, which features a trivia challenge and the Battlestar Galactica: Ultimate Battle Card Game.

Battlestar Galactica: Season Two shows why the series was lauded with such high praise as one of the best dramas during its run. Fans should get their hands on it, but anyone new to the series really must go back to the beginning to fully appreciate what's here.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS