I have rediscovered TV, and its name is Battlestar Galactica.
Never saw the original series, so the setup was all new to me: The human race gets wiped out by the Cylons, an army of killer robots. That we created. Rats.
But! A rag-tag caravan of transports escapes the holocaust, led by humanity’s one surviving warship: the eponymous Battlestar Galactica.
The Galactica is helmed, in turn, by Commander William Adama — played by Edward James Olmos.
Elevator pitch: “It’s Stand and Deliver in outer space!”
But there’s more! When the human colonies get wiped out, the presidency devolves to the secretary of education — forty-three steps down the ladder of succession. President Laura Roslin totally steps up, though, and becomes a strong counterweight to Adama.
So then it’s a chase. And this is what makes this show fantastic: It’s Terminator writ large, with that same scary sense of a relentless hunter right behind you. There’s no reasoning with it, no deals to be struck. And it can’t be defeated.
So, maybe that sounds depressing, but it’s really not. Instead it becomes a laboratory for human ingenuity: making plans, setting traps, solving problems. And there is a possible solution — or something — although it might just be a myth. Oooooooh.
Anyway, a few observations:
- I may or may not have downloaded this show off the internet. If I did, I would probably say: Internet downloading = best marketing tool ever. Let’s face it, I just do not have the discipline or the organizational skills to watch a show at a regular time every week. And no TiVo either. So if not for the internet, I would have seen an episode of BSG, tops. As it is, I watched them all in record time, and I will definitely be back for season two.
- Others have pointed out, and I agree: BSG features some of the best depictions of gender on TV right now. I mean, I don’t want to oversell it — I know some depictions-of-gender experts who will probably not be satisfied. But the president of all humanity, as noted, is a woman; the fleet’s ace pilot is a woman; all of this goes unremarked, as if expected; and there are unisex bathrooms!
- The first episode of the season is, I think, the best. It’s actually one of the coolest hours of TV I have ever seen. The Sci-Fi Channel is smartly offering it up to watch online (see the big red banner at the top of this page); unfortunately, it’s only in lo-rez streaming format. Sooo… if you happen to know how to download TV shows… checkitout. It’s so worth it.
- BSG is rockin’ the new media with a really solid blog and (this is cool) podcasts that you’re intended to watch with the episodes — like ad-hoc DVD commentary tracks.
Season one of BSG ended with a gigantic freak-out cliffhanger. The show has been renewed for another run of episodes, which begin this summer.