In late May, I took it upon myself to catch completely up on the revised Battlestar Galactica. I managed to watch the three hour mini-series and three seasons of episodes over a month period. A downtime between work-related projects had its perks. The most surprising aspect was the quality of writing for a sci-fi series. Joss Whedon’s Firefly certainly raised the bar and their are easter eggs connecting the two series, due to Zoic Studios working on the visual effects for both. There is a Battlestar Wiki for all your nerd needs. Now onto the spoilers.
The basic story is the remaining few members of humanity on the run from its robotic inventions called Cylons, which are bent on destroying the existence of humans. However, they have evolved to look human, and their overall behaviour indicates they have a higher purpose for people. Since it’s science-fiction television, you know there will be the token hot chick, in this case Tricia Helfer who is a bit too porn star for my liking. Much of the interesting dialog involves political manoeuvring by members of the military and public as society attempts to regain its ground, operationally and morally, while lost in space and chased by Cylon raider ships. The finale to season one introduces the complexity of possible Cylon sleeper agents on human ships resulting in paranoia being a constant throughout the series.
However, themes concentrate on the spiritual beliefs of each individual. Humans believe in polytheism, with religious scriptures depicting humanity almost annihilated before discovering their new haven, Earth. Cylons instead believe in one true God that created the universe to work in cycles, and at the end of season three, it is revealed they too are searching for Earth. By majority, both parties believe in some sort of fate. Of course, they are sceptical characters too. My favourite section of the story arc was the Eye of Jupiter for its effects and satisfying payoff the previous episodes built up to.
There are negatives too. The Karl/Starbuck and Lee/Dee love triangle storyline made the whole saga too soap opera-ish, especially that boxing episode. The show loses its weight in these weekly one-offs, but plays to its strength when fully embracing the serial nature of its complex story. Not-so-far-from-modern-day-Iraq themes from early season three were aggravating too. However, momentum is regained as they escape back into the depths of space. The season three finale reintroduces Starbuck, who was thought to be dead but now claims to have seen Earth. Some people are theorizing she will act as a guide to Lee ala No. Six to Baltar.
There has been a decision to complete the series in four seasons with producers claiming this upcoming final season will focus on the spiritual nature of the characters, which I’m predicting will be its rating downfall. season four doesn’t start until early next year SO in November we’ll get a two hour TV movie, Battlestar Galactica: Razor to explore the back story of Pegasus’ crew, who fought the Cylons alone before finding the rest of the human fleet. You can see a Razor preview clip already.
The show gets the nerd thumbs up. But we need more Firefly, plz.