Sci-fi lovers already know how good this series is. My review is aimed at others (such as several of my own friends) who will likely roll their eyes – those who wouldn’t stoop so low as to waste their valuable time on a space opera: too hopelessly nerdy.
I came late to this cable serial, as I have to several other TV phenomena, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Six Feet Under, watching it mostly on disc. And, as also happened with those two series, becoming hopelessly, helplessly hooked.
The four-hour miniseries and the first several weekly episodes are indeed space opera, well done but, I was thinking, not worth continuing to clog my Netflix queue with. Then, somewhere in the second half of the first season, I began to realize just how good this was: in fact, a pop masterpiece.
Humans are being genocidally annihilated by evil robots, but wait: Why are the humans non-believing carriers of Greek/Roman religious traditions, while the robots are fierce devotees of "the One True God"? What goes on here? And then there are the episodes that touch on terrorism (is it okay to torture a robot?) and presidential politics (including abortion) without once being heavy-handed, the uniformly excellent writing and acting, the brilliantly conceived documentary look that, combined with beautifully done special effects, giveS the series an immediacy and believability previously unknown in either film or TV sci-fi.
Most important of all is the enormity of the overall conception, with its long, novel-like story arcs – again, something quite new for filmed space sagas. And it’s sexy, and funny, and… oh, just rent it already. If I told you it’s as good as The West Wing, but with an actual plot, will that convince you? Because it is.
No weekly series is without the occasional bummer episode. They may be cheating a little with the mythological stuff about God and the Arrow of Apollo and the Lost Planet Earth – raising tantalizing questions and then dropping them. I hope I’m wrong about that last part. I can’t wait for the new season to start in a few months since the second one left us with a jaw-dropper of a twisty cliffhanger, just as the first season did. It's a work of genius.