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TV Review: Battlestar Galactica

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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.

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About Handyguy

  • BSG I believe is beyond the perview of the layman. This masterpiece of all sci-fi masterpieces is far to complex for casual viewers or viewing. You have to start at the begining and follow all the details.

    Made by sci-fi geeks for sci-fi geeks. Makes Trek, SG, B5 or any other sci-fi great, embarassingly, look like a very very minor player compared to the ressurection of the BSG franchise. This isn’t POP, this is EPIC, this is MYTHOLOGICAL, this is GENIUS.

    Can you tell I’m a fan?

  • And those people who complain because Starbuck is a woman or because it isn’t exactly like the 1979 series and so shouldn’t be called “Battlestar Galactica” are richly deserving of any and all ridicule they get.

  • Hmm, well, ‘pop’ was not intended as an insult. And I would like to convince a few ‘laymen’ to watch the show. Entertainment Weekly has been doing a pretty good job of getting the word out.

  • Three little words: Best. Show. Ever.

  • Hmm, well, ‘pop’ was not intended as an insult. And I would like to convince a few ‘laymen’ to watch the show. Entertainment Weekly has been doing a pretty good job of getting the word out.

    well okay then. It’s all good. Yes EW has been whoring the show. Just as long as Moore and what’s his name don’t dumb it down for more viewership. Keep it cult.

    Three little words: Best. Show. Ever.

    …Best show ever all categories, all styles, all time

  • Tom from Germany

    BSG – Highly addictive!! I usually cannot wait until it finally shows up as a torrent so I can download it (it takes up to 6 h after broadcast!) – sometimes I cannot even sleep cause I need some Battlecrack. I hate to be in Germany where its delayed by f**king months if not years. Any Q about the quality? It’s the best ever.

  • Brandon

    First, let me say that “24” is personally my favorite show of all time (and believe me I have gotten everyone I know into that show). However, every week “Galactica” is on, (and I am a die-hard Science Fiction buff), I can’t help but think that they are within inches of topping (well, at least leveling with) “24”.

    Forgive me if this offends anyone (as I am considered to be a political aficianado) the only reason (in my mind) that “Galactica” does not top “24” is due to the Liberal overtones of the show. But, hey, I have an open mind and I roll with it because of the brilliance at which the story is told.

    Charles Logan for President!
    Save Farscape.
    Remember Serenity Valley.
    Long Live Robbery Homicide Division.

  • I love 24 too, although, dare I say it, I like it for its campy absurdity as well as its tense momentum. It is one of the most ridiculous of all good TV shows. Most reviewers take it so seriously, which is I think missing the point. Joe Rhodes wrote a great article in the NY Times earlier this year, profiling Jean Smart as FLOTUS and in the process writing the one review I’ve seen in the mainstream press that ‘gets’ the show’s unique quality.

    As for politics, I think both BSG and 24 balance right and left rather nimbly. The torture scenes on 24 used to bother me more….now I just laugh at them as I do the rest of the show.

    Chloe for President! or at least the star of her own series….a cross between 24 and The Office.