Saturday, April 05, 2008

BSG Saturdays: Season 4, Episode 1, "He That Believeth in Me"

Returning in our hour of greatest need, Battlestar Galactica began its fourth and final season (depending on if you follow the Sci Fi Channel’s rather asinine nomenclature of a season that will essentially be split into two smaller ones) with a dull, seething roar. “He That Believeth in Me” wasn’t a slam-bang premiere, outside of its opening space battle, but it contained enough roiling tensions to hopefully placate fans who lost faith in the third season, during a long string of stand-alone “personal” stories that served to flesh out other aspects of the ragtag fleet and (in too many cases) bore hardcore fans to tears. While Battlestar is, in many ways, a post-genre work (it’s only tangentially a science fiction tale much of the time, and when things like technobabble pop up, they often infuriate), the very genre it belongs to carries with it a legion of fans looking to nitpick each and every thing about the show they passive-aggressively love (one poster on the Television Without Pity boards questioned how Starbuck could have heard of a Petri dish if she had not grown up on an Earth where Julius Richard Petri had invented the thing). To that end, Battlestar often feels like a show at war with itself and perceptions of what it’s trying to do, and the tug-of-war between its small, personal side and its operatic side that indulges in things like a complicated mythology involving lost colonies and Biblical references galore is occasionally what makes the show fascinating—when it’s not leading to things like last season’s poorly thought-out “The Woman King.”
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