Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica!

So for awhile now I've had people mentioning intermittently that Battlestar Galactica is an awesome show, or a great show, or a show that you need to watch on DVD so you can experience the whole thing at once.

I've been reluctant. I'm not really a sci-fi, shoot-em-up kind of a gal. Sure, I like Star Wars, but who doesn't enjoy watching Han Solo running around in his tight pants making really bad passes at Princess Leia? And then there's R2D2, perhaps the world's greatest superhero, and Yoda. But other than that, I'd much rather watch people running around in pseudo-medieval worlds with bows and arrows and bad British accents.

Then, however, I started to notice the extreme diversity of the people recommending this show. We had some of my mousier coworkers (and if you've ever met a non-mousy librarian you know how mousy the mousier kind are), sci-fi types, hipster types, and, of course, Dwight K. Schrute (and anything Dwight likes must be good, right?). So, when I discovered that the entirety of season 1 was sitting on the shelf at the library just as I was about to go off on several days of non-vacationing anywhere in particular holiday, I snapped it up.

For the last couple days I've been working on various projects in my living room, and have just finished the last of the 17 episodes (on DVD they count the mini-series as the first 4 episodes. Yep. That was as geeky as it sounded). Yes, I realize I'm about 5 years behind, but that is the beauty of TV on DVD, you can discover mindsucking series at any time!

So here's what I think. I liked it. I'm not going to become a devotee, but it was definitely enticing enough that I made it through the whole season, and I will likely continue on with season 2, as it left off on something of a cliffhanger.

The first happy surprise was that the heartthrob of the piece, Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama, is played by the dude who played Archie Kennedy on Horatio Hornblower. Yes, the almost as adorable as, and never quite able to measure up to, Horatio, Jamie Bamber, gets to buff it up and be the tough hottie in this one. And he does a pretty good job at pretending he's not British too. You know how much I love the Hornblower series, and their costumes. Dare I say it, I prefer Apollo to Archie!

Lasciviousness aside, there is a lot to enjoy with the rest of the cast. I can't say I can keep track of who everyone is, despite watching 17 episodes. There are a lot of people. A lot of characters. Some of them have multiple storylines. It is all a bit confusing. My guess is that the hardcore watchers have seen all the episodes enough times that they have it all figured out. My partially watching while also working on other things left me quite in the dark on many fronts. Including the premise. I'm still a little stumped on why a lot of what's happening is happening. Perhaps I didn't pay close enough attention to the mini-series.

At any rate, I enjoyed it. So take that universe, I've sunk to the levels of Dwightness in some of my tastes! The horror. But. That being said. I can't understand the levels of devoteeism I've found in many quarters. If somebody wants to explain to me why they think this is the best series ever, I am all ears.


False Prophet said...

Seasons 1 and 2 are fairly uniformly great (with just a few cringe-worthy plot directions). The very end of season 2 and the beginning of season 3 nearly torpedoed the show for me, but I think they regained their footing soon enough. I still need to watch the "Razor" miniseries before season 4 starts.

Much has been made how this show is a commentary on current events and politics, and it most certainly is. And, like the best science fiction, it asks hard questions and challenges our assumptions. My main criticism of the show would be that in its attempts to criticize current events, it twists characters and plot to do so.

My issue with the end of season 2 and beginning of season 3 is case in point: I feel the show basically ignored its basic premise solely for the purpose of commenting on current events. It felt forced. But I think the writers and producers realized this rather soon and quickly changed gears.

I'm also glad that season 4 is supposed to be the last one. The best stories are the ones that end. And the Galactica story has to end eventually. Better to go out on top of your game.

MadJenny said...

I will let you know what I think of the end of season 2 when I get there.