Let it be known
It's a very slow Friday, and I'm ancy to get out into the daylight. Before I do, I've got to address something that has needed to be said for weeks. My comments have been inspired by blithe regular-TV recommendations and, well, consistently dull network TV programming over the last few years. Alias and West Wing jumped the shark years ago, and Buffy isn't around anymore. The best show on TV in on cable, and it's on the Sci-Fi channel. I'm talking about Battlestar Galactica.
The series was born from the high ratings and critical acclaim received by the 3-hour mini-series/pilot shown in 2003. It was a riveting and pretty scary beginning to the story, as several billion humans get whacked by the Cylons in the first hour. But, more than just effects or shock value, the mini-series set the tone for what this Battlestar Galactica would be about: character.
For instance, one of the main characters in the series is Sharon (call-sign 'Boomer'). Sharon is one of the skilled pilots on Galactica. She is also on her home planet, struggling with another human ('Helo') to 'escape' from the Cylons. You see, there are (at least) two Sharons, and each is a Cylon clone. The Sharon on Galactica doesn't know that she is a Cylon, but begins to suspect and then goes straight to denial. The Sharon on the planet knows she is a Cylon but falls in love with Helo and begins to defy her orders from her Cylon superiors and help him.
And that is just one character. You also have the female fuckup (or 'frakup' as they say on the show) 'Starbuck', both the best pilot in the fleet and the most likely to get in a brawl. She's got feelings for her commander, Apollo, but instead hooked up with Professor Baltar, who has produced the only 'Cylon detector' in the fleet and is partially responsible for the annihilation of most of humanity. Oh, and Baltar has a chip in his head that enables him to receive psychic input from a tall leggy Cylon blonde who likes to frak. And in case I forget the fleet's commander (Edward James Olmos) and President (Mary McDonell) don't quite see eye-to-eye. On and on.
But even if there wasn't the great plotting and character interactions and situations, by far the most intriguing aspect for me is how they deal with religion. Ronald D. Moore, famous for being the driving force behind Deep Space Nine (another character-driven sci-fi show), has turned conventional religious thinking on its head for the series. For you see, the humans are the ones who have a whole series of gods (kind of a cross between the Roman and Greek mythology), a polytheist culture, while those upstart machines they created a long time ago, the Cylons, have come to believe in a single god, who seems to have much in common with the Christian or Islamic god. And he has a plan.
As I mentioned the mini-series also functions as a pilot, and I would highly recommend renting it before watching the series as a necessary primer. Without it, you'll probably have a hard time figuring out what each character is about in the series. (Well, you could just ask me to blog it.) In any event, the series is being replayed in order, this week's episode being the 2nd.
And a final note, I have no fucking idea what possesses people to watch such tripe as 'American Idol' or even care. People baffle me.