Thursday, January 26, 2006

10 Reasons You Should Watch Battlestar Galactica

Let's get something out of the way right away: Yes, it's set in space and yes, it's a remake of a terrible show from the 70s (that was apparently based on the Book of Mormon in some way, though I haven't seen enough episodes to know if this is true or not).

Also, I know it airs on SCI-FI, which is where good television usually goes to die.

But Battlestar Galactica is one of the best hours on TV right now. And here's why.

10.) The Music. Like nothing else you've heard on TV before. Odd instruments make cameos. An entire orchestra broods behind them. All of this to accompany space battles.

9.) It never had a sophomore slump. With a lot of shows, all of the craft goes into the first season. When season two rolls around, everyone's so tired, they don't give it as good of an effort (see: Desperate Housewives, The O.C., numerous other programs). But you don't need to worry about that with this show. It's had one miniseries and 29 episodes and has yet to produce an outright dud so far. Even the show's worst episodes offer up fun pieces of the puzzle.

8.) The incomparable cast. This is one of the best ensembles on television right now. In the first season, it had some weak links, but in season two, they've all stepped up to join the rest of the wonderful actors in this show. Sure it's got Edward James Olmos. But it's also got complete unknowns from Canada. CANADA!

7.) It expects you to keep up. Here's where I'm going to turn a lot of you off. If you've never seen this show before, it's hard to just jump right on in and know what's going on. There are SO MANY characters and so many plot threads. And all of them are fully developed in each and every episode. That said, if you pay attention, you can get the gist of what's going on. You could also ask a friend for help or find an online recap or something.

6.) It won't get canceled. For now, at least. It's ratings are quite good, and season three is on the way.

5.) It's a space show that has little to nothing to do with space. Every episode has a big space battle, and the thing DOES take place on a giant spaceship, but most of the time, the show focuses on politics, military arcana and building tension. It's like 24 and The West Wing (the good years) had a dour baby and they sent it into space.

4.) The incomparable Mary McDonnell. I know I singled out the cast already, but McDonnell (who is good in nearly everything she does) is creating a character unlike any we've EVER seen on television. She's a strong woman, uncompromised, who never lets her emotions get the best of her. As each season goes on, more and more layers are peeled away.

3.) Even the deus ex machinas are good. The last episode ended with an unlikely cure for cancer. But the way that cure was obtained altered at least four core relationships among the characters and set up dozens of new storylines. When's the last time Criminal Minds did THAT?

2.) This is what the apocalypse feels like. BSG is maybe the only television show in history (maybe the only work of filmed entertainment) to show what it would be like to be one of the last survivors of a cataclysmic event and make it make sense. The human race, down to its last remnants, is desperate. But that desperation fuels laughter, tears and a host of other emotions. You're watching a show about KILLER ROBOTS IN SPACE and saying. . ."Yeah. I could see that happening."

1.) It's the smartest political show in a long while. Most political shows choose a side. The Aaron Sorkin West Wing was liberal. So is The Daily Show. The Fox News network is conservative. Commander-in-Chief is about how the president likes babies. But this show can't be easily defined. Its complex and twisty story allows you to feel sympathetic for villains, lets you root for aggression and throws up all sorts of current events in a new context. And the show can't be easily defined as left or right. It's portrayed war protestors as people who aid the enemy but has also portrayed torturers that way. In a time when it's hard to find anything that even approaches political subtlety, BSG offers up twisty moral conundrums on a weekly basis. And it's a show about KILLER ROBOTS IN SPACE. I mean. . .HONESTLY.

Oh. . .and. . .

1a.) It introduced the word "frakkin'" into the general lexicon. Awesome?

So by all means check this out Friday night. I will be!

1 comment:

David Sims said...


You should have mentioned the dulcet tones of Michael Hogan (Col. Tigh), though. Not a day goes by when I don't imitatively snarl "whaaat thaaa hellll".