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Hey kiddies, sorry I’ve been silent till now. I’ve been in lockdown catching up on Battlestar Galactica in preparation for its final episodes.

See, this is my obsessive self in high gear. I know this because in my fevered dreams (they’re always fevered), I’m trying out different scenarios for how this will end. Truth is, I have no idea, so I must watch. But I’ve found some interesting things in the process.

First, a lot of Canadians in the cast. Even if I didn’t know that already from IMDB, I’d know it pretty quickly from the Canadian accents. Boy oh boy, the way you guys up there pronounce “combat” just hammers the point home!

Second, although it lacks the guiding hand that Babylon 5 had from start to finish, once the writers had an idea of what to do, and where to take the plot, it’s woven very nicely into the stories as they come along. Also, although the plot is helping to rein the story in more and more here at the end, the characters themselves still drive this drama along. It’s clearer now why Gaeta does what he does, and why it’s really inevitable.

**Update: I take that back: Not only are the characters driving the story all the way to the end, they do it with such consistency. Mary McDonnell plays Laura Roslin beautifully, at first idealistic and optimistic, and then with a tinge of cynicism (“I’m going to play the religious card,” she says early on as she makes public the visions she has concerning certain scriptures.) Richard Hatch, Apollo from the original Galactica series, appears as Tom Zarek, who is either a freedom fighter in the manner of Thomas Paine or an opportunist of the first order. He comes in to stir the pot at just the right times to truly complicate things.

Which leads me to Gaius Baltar, who was the hidden threat in the early episodes, matching the character of the old Galactica series. In this show, as time went on, he was as much a victim and a catalyst as he was an instigator. All of it, though, is rooted in the intense self-interest of his character, to the point where you wonder how much of what he does and says later is about being a source of hope and how much is his usual self-aggrandizement.

I am not going out on a limb here when I say that this show represents the best of what Science Fiction is on TV. This is how good it can be. It builds on everything that came before it in terms of story and the tasteful use of special effects and surpasses those sources. The verisimilitude of the characters, the stories, the special effects, the science and the use of it in telling the stories all represent where all Science Fiction on TV should be, and at the same time how far all the others have to go to get there.

Some of the same things were once said about The Watchmen, a comic book series from the late 1980s that’s just been made into a big motion picture. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I read the comic when it came out 20 years ago. It was mind-expanding, and made every comic book that came before it a little bit schlocky. It raised the bar of comics storytelling by an order of magnitude, but the only thing that most books that came after it seemed to take from it was quote-unquote GRITTY REALISM and the need to tell a dark, “human” story. Some were done well, some were just shitty. Alan Moore, the author of The Watchmen, brought this upin the years after The Watchmen was published, and I add it here because this Battlestar Galactica may likely engender the same response from its spiritual progeny.

Galactica will be over soon, and it will be what all televised science fiction is compared to in the future, much like Star Trek was before it. It will be a hard one to top, I’m afraid.

One Comment

  1. So – I’ve been following the wrong blog! I wondered where you went. I’m too sleepy to be commenting now – but I’ll be back tomorrow to catch up!

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