Monday, October 09, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

I just had to take a minute to comment on this past weekend's season premier of Battlestar Galactica. The two-hour premier was perhaps the best thing I've ever seen on TV. For those of you who don't watch, give it a chance. It's really, really, really good.

For most of Battlestar's first two seasons, the show seemed to be on the verge of greatness. Great ideas percolated throughout, but the final product was sometimes less than fufilling. In particular, the end of season two seemed to drag as the Cylon threat became less pronounced and the search for earth was seemingly forgotten. But as we saw at the end of last season, the Cylons are back, and they have occupied New Caprica, the colony containing the last vestiges of humanity. The new season of Battlestar opens with a resistance movement fighting the Cylon occupation, and a great number of difficult questions to ask.

Last spring, I ranted a great deal about V For Vendetta. The problem with that movie was that, for a movie that was supposedly "so relevant" there was a lot of spoon fed answers and dictated emotional responses. As the new season of Battlestar opens we have issues that are familiar to the world of today; resistance movements, occupying armies, suicide bombers, and collaborators. But unlike V, Battlestar doesn't give us any easy answers. We see two minor characters take drastically different courses of action- While one becomes a suicide bomber and sacrifices himself, the other becomes a member of the occupational police force, wearing a mask and working against his friends. Obviously, these are extreme solutions, but in getting to know the characters, you understand their motivations, and it's difficult to label either of them as flat out wrong. As opposed to V For Vendetta (and most of Hollywood today) Battlestar doesn't give answers, it raises questions.

Best parts of the opener:

* Felix Gada, acting as a spy for the resistance, while keeping his role in the puppet civilian administration. And for all Gada is risking, we hear Tyrol say that he'll hang Gada when the war is over.

* Every scene with Starbuck is amazing- just beyond disturbing the way she is emotionally manipulated.

* Colonel Tigh's casual willingness to kill innocent people.

* And finally, just great acting, great writing, and an incredible job of putting the occupied colony on film and making it look realistic.


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