Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cinescape Reviews 301/302


TV Review
Dateline: Thursday, October 12, 2006
By: Columnist

Stars: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff

Created By: Ron Moore

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is the best sci-fi drama on TV and one of the best dramas of any genre ever made. The opening miniseries was a bit disappointing to me but when the seasons kicked in I was completely enthralled. I liked the old cheesy series from the 70’s and I was a bit disappointed at all the changes made to this reboot but this is a dark serious series where the original was much cheesier when it originally aired, and especially now. At the end of last season the Colony had discovered a planet that was dubbed New Caprica. At the same time the corrupt Baltar was running for president against Roslin. Baltar used the planet as an issue for voters to get behind. Roslin didn’t support settling on the planet. She believed that the Colony should continue the search for the elusive planet Earth. Baltar played on the people’s wishes to get off their ships and settle on a planet to win the election. With Baltar’s election to the Presidency the Colony settles on New Caprica. In a flash a year passes and we are reintroduced to the primary cast in their new environments and positions on the planet. Then at the end of the episode the Cylons discover the Colony and lead an assault on the planet.
In the two hour premiere Colonel Tigh and several other officers are leading an “insurgency” bombing Cylon bases and ships as they land and the Cylons are setting up a human police force convincing the humans to monitor themselves. The humans, not wanting to live under the rule of the Cylons resort to terrorist activities to retaliate against their oppressors. Through Moore’s writing he tries to create a situation where we can understand and support terrorist activity that we normally would find appalling. The series has really had some great riffs on everything from 9/11, to abortion, to separation of church and state, and now the series makes a statement on the current ground war happening in Iraq. The humans and Cylons have switched places in the season premiere with the humans taking the role of terrorists and the Cylons taking the place of the government. There’s no white and black, good and bad in this episode. You may still support the humans but you’ll be asking yourself if you can support what they choose to do to fight back. I found myself in an uncomfortable spot while watching the episode as I continued to support the humans even as they made a decision that I could never support.
The commentary and deep drama ground the show and make it identifiable to those of us who don’t get to fly around in space ships and jump through worm holes in space. In this season opener the drama is up a couple of notches as we see the once strong and powerful soldiers living in poverty with the pleated and authoritative uniforms replaced with rags. They represent a once proud people now just struggling to survive under the rule of the robots they used to have as slaves. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA has been a dark series from the beginning but last season’s finale and this season premiere set the series on a new even more dramatic and even darker direction. The season premiere lives up to the best of the previous two seasons and continues to set the bar high not just for sci-fi TV but for nighttime drama in general.

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