Sci-Fi Television Friday

Fridays in my house have rapidly become a sanctuary for science fiction.  With Battlestar Galactica wrapping up in break-neck, bullet-in-the-back-of-the-head-exposition-pace, and Joss Whedon’s newest trust exercise with network television, Dollhouse, it’s become harder and harder for me to justify having a social life.  Thank goddess for Hulu, is all I’m saying.

I got turned on to Battlestar Galactica a few years ago while dating a game developer.  I was intrigued at seeing what Ron Moore was making of the (sometimes painfully) campy 1970’s series.  As a kid, I was a big (and possibly the only) fan of Star Trek: DS9. I had a portable CD player shaped like the U.S.S. Defiant.  Yes, I was a nerd, thanks.  Anyway, the point being that I was open to see what Ron Moore was working on with BSG.  I’ll say it right now, I’m not a fan of the original BSG.  I appreciate it’s place in lexicon of sci-fi culture, but it always reeked a little Land of the Lost for me.  battlestar-galactica-20070118014017592

At first glance, I thought Moore’s re-imagining was taking itself just a bit too seriously.  And I still hold to that 1,267 glances later.  BSG is dark.  And I love it.  I love a show that isn’t afraid to kill off its characters with little to no build up or remorse.  I love that there is no real sense of “right” and “wrong”.  The moral and political gray areas in the show make it more real than shows without spaceships and sexy blonde robot ladies, which, let’s face it, are a nice bonus.

The humor is there.  But, to paraphrase co-executive producer Jane Espenson (of Buffy and Firefly fame), the humor is so dark you can’t see it against a black background.  Most of it comes through via Gaius Baltar, swarmily and wonderfully played by actor James Callis (I’ll be honest, I believed Callis was Alexander Siddig aka Dr. Julian Bashir for an entire season.  I firmly believe this was a manifestation of my childhood crush on Dr. Bashir.  See? Nerd.)  There’s also a large arc involving Lucy Lawless (of Xena fame), a woman whose comedy stylings I find to be extremely underrated.

battlestar_galactica_last_supper1The show is in it’s final 4 or 5 episodes now, at the end of the fourth season.  I’ve heard several complaints about how the ending is not living up to the series.  But, in my opinion, no ending will live up to fan expectations for this series.  Personally, I have no problem is a show takes itself a little too seriously, but when the fans can’t take things with a grain of salt, it makes me a little cranky. There are limitations to storytelling on television, and sometimes writers write themselves into corners.  It happens, even on the best of shows. Suck it up and enjoy the ride.  Or just go watch Lost.

This is not a show you can just jump into head first.  Start with the mini-series, invest some time and energy into the DVDs.  And make sure you give yourself sanity breaks.  Too much BSG might make you require an SSRI.  But, on the plus side, hot robot ladies, yeah?

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Stay tuned next Sci Fi Friday for my take on Dollhouse.  I need at least another episode of it to decide how I feel.

–DB

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