Sunday, May 11, 2008

Two weeks of Battlestar Galactica

(Hey, gang. Hopefully, I'll have some posts up this week. I'm coming up on a period when I should have more space to do some things, and we'll talk about the direction of this blog in the future at that time. -- ed.)

What is it about science fiction that makes it a genre uniquely qualified to concern itself with ideas and questions about the afterlife? There’s something about it that makes the metaphysical bullshit that a show like, say, CSI or even Mad Men wouldn’t be able to get away with somehow palatable and even understandable. When Tony Soprano spent an episode or two in something like Purgatory, a lot of fans complained (I loved it). But when Dana Scully spent an episode in the very same place, only in a far more blatantly symbolic version, it became a highlight of the run of The X-Files. Similarly, this latest episode of Battlestar Galactica, titled, simply enough, “Faith,” finds its strongest theme in ideas of what happens after we die—where we go and what the end is. In a series where one side of the conflict couldn’t truly die (until only recently), it is a surprisingly moving episode about the things we tell ourselves about the greater purpose and the end of things.
Read the rest of the post here and click below the jump to read last week's recap.

I don’t know another way to say this, so I’m just gonna get it out there. Battlestar Galactica? You’re kinda givin’ me blue balls.

Now, obviously, this episode ("The Road Less Traveled"), written by Mark Verheiden and directed by Michael Rymer, is the first half of a two-parter, so you have to expect a certain amount of all-buildup, no-payoff (and the “next week on” made the next episode look like stuff is gonna start falling apart in a riveting fashion), but this is the second episode that has no real dramatic payoff. I’ve come to expect this in serialized television (where real payoffs rarely come outside of finales or, if you’re The Sopranos, penultimate episodes), and I generally don’t mind if the individual episodes have things in them that I enjoy, as all of this season’s BSG episodes—even this one—have. That’s one of the things you have to put up with if you’re going to enjoy serialized TV in broadcast, rather than on DVD. You have to put up with the long build-up, then the slow teasing out of the plot before things start coming together and you feel as though you’ve wisely or unwisely invested in the story. This is why I sort of suspect that, when we can inevitably download as many episodes of our favorite shows as we want at once, no one will voluntarily parcel these shows out at one-a-week.
Read the rest here.

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