Thursday, March 01, 2007

Galactica Blogging

Complaints about the latest Battlestar Galactica here, here, and of course here from our friends at

To start with, let me just say I've enjoyed this season tremendously- much more so than last year when the show seemed to lack direction in the second half of the season after the resolution of the Admiral Cain/Pegasus storyline. Since the start of the third season the ever present theme has been the choices of the individual and the exploration of why we make the choices we make. Yet all the self-proclaimed critics (who might I add, still watch the show) choose to ignore the fact that Battlestar is first and foremost about people.

My conservative friend at GalacticaBlog calls Ron Moore and company communists for failing to recognize the possibility of a market-based solution to the problem of working conditions in the latest episode. The problem with that is that I don't believe that there's ever been an indication that there is much of a functioning market at work in the fleet and anyhow, markets tend to collapse in the aftermath of the apocalypse- wait, sorry, the second apocalypse. Things are, quite obviously, much, much worse in the fleet since the rescue of the population of New Caprica and as President Rosalin pointed out, working conditions are bad throughout the fleet.

Then there's my Cold Equations friend, who enjoyed the last episode, minus the fact that the storyline wasn't followed to it's logical "cold equation" solution. I don't deny that I felt a little cheated by the resolution- however, this was well within the characters of both Tyrol and Adama. We know Tyrol cares about Callie and his family above all else, so we know he'd give in. And we know Adama is a softie a heart- Lee, Starbuck, and Rosalin have all defied him, and after he takes his big macho stand, he tends to relent and see things their way. To Adama, the leader by nature, it's the defiance more than the differences in opinion that really stings.

And finally, there's the Colossus, who feels the show is getting "just plain silly." Similar to my last paragraph, just because things end well for our characters does not mean that this was a happy ending. What we end up with is more and more people- civilians in the fleet- forcibly being put to work. This is a resolution to the issue, but it's not really a happy one, and it can be debated whether or not it's even a good resolution.

Colossus asks why a better schedule hadn't already been worked out- Considering the drastic measures taken during the episode, you can see why nothing had been done. Colossus asks why people would read and believe Baltar's book- I dunno. Why do people believe Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and other charismatic leaders? I think this subplot really adds to Baltar's fascinating nature as a character. The backstory is completely believable for him- and we all know how adaptable he can be. Who knows if he believes what he's writing, but it may well help keep him alive and he is nothing if not a survivor. And finally, he wonders how the 12 colonies couldn't have solved the issues of social and economic inequality- Some people could say the same things about the United States. And remember, differences before the attack may not have been as prominent- the aftermath of the attacks may have exacerbated some of these colonial differences.

I absolutely love the fact that through all the controversy the show highlights, controversies very relevant to our world today, that not once are we told what to think or what the right answer should be. And I'm amazed people miss this about the show. The characters themselves are shown in a sympathetic light- all of them- even the Cylons who through there exercise of individual choice seem more human than Cylon. Yet the choices of the characters are not subject to moral scrutiny by the writers, directors, and producers.

What we see on the screen is at times heart-breakingly familiar- suicide bombers, torture, war crimes trials, or like last Sunday, poor working conditions and children literally getting hurt sticking their hands in the machines. But these images are meant to invoke an emotional response about the human condition, not about particular political solutions. We're so used to being told right and wrong by the media that when a show actually presents us with an opportunity to think for ourselves, for too many of us are content to fall back into the same old paradigm where TV tells us right from wrong.


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