Friday, March 28, 2008

So Say We All

Since I started this blog, I've posted thoughts on comics, movies, music, sports, and various other distractions, but I have not given attention to TV. Which is odd because I watch soooo much of it! I try to be selective, but I do have some guilty pleasures to be sure. However, Battlestar Galactica is guilt-free viewing and I'm very excited that the fourth season begins a week from tonight!

It took me a long time to admit that Battlestar Galactica is my favorite show on American TV (in case anyone is counting, my favorite current series is Doctor Who). I was a big fan of the original series and wanted to see the franchise return ever since it went off the air (Galactica 1980 notwithstanding). When it was finally announced, I was very glad to see that Ron D. Moore was involved as he is one of my favorite television writers ever. But I was not at all sold on the idea of re-inventing the series. And I was not much impressed by the mini-series. In fact, when I look back at my review posted at the forums:

Well I really tried to be objective while watching the new Battlestar Galactica mini-series. I loved the orginal series, but am not fanatical enough to think it was perfect and truth be told, it could have used an update. But this new version, isn't what I had in mind.

I was also disappointed in the story and the characters as a whole. I give the writers credit for attempting to provide backstory to the Cylons, Colonies, and practically every character featured, but some of the ideas worked and some didn't. The origin of the Cylons lies within the Colonists is an idea that makes sense, but has become a bit cliche - the "rise of the machines" featuring a hot blonde sex robot gone bad, now where have I seen that before?

The concept of the Galactica being the oldest ship in the fleet, is interesting but doesn't fit within their own newly created continuity. They say the ship is 20 years old, just like the vipers and other vehicles featured in the original series (now on display in museums), but the new version of the Galactica itself doesn't at all fit with the look of the original series. In fact, I am really disappointed with the new design of the Battlestar.

I was not disappointed in the new Cylon fighters. Not only did they look very sleek and menacing, but I LOVE the idea that they are robotic fighters sans pilots. That makes a heck of a lot of sense! The only complaint I have is the red eye feature which make them look a little silly.

As far as the characters go, Adama is by and large the best of the bunch. Edward James Olmos is an excellent choice and had some great character moments throughout. My second fave is the now female Starbuck. I don't agree with the decision to make the character female, but I don't hold it against Katee Sackhoff - she energizes the scenes she's in. I also liked the character of Chief Petty Officer Tyrol (Aaron Douglas).

There were two characters that they really dropped the ball on IMHO. The first is Apollo, who is played by the rather bland Jamie Bamber. In the first part of the mini-series, he's just not likeable at all, and in the second half, he does very little except give his dad grief. The second, and perhaps the greatest injustice done to any of the original series players, is the new version of Baltar. He used to be the "Great Deciever", the betrayer of the entire human race. Now he's a spineless sack that doesn't even seem capable of planning what he'll have for breakfast tomorrow. What a waste!

It was a bit too obvious that the producers want this to be continued. There were way too many plot threads left exposed, most notably the announcement of Boomer as a "sleeper agent" at the end, which I found to be unnecessarily sensationalistic. If it does continue in some form, I'll be there to watch, but I hope it gets better from here.

However, from the very first episode of the actual series, I was hooked! Many of the critical issues I wrote about in my review are now positive attributes. The writing is easily some of the best on TV! The creative staff may have begun with a familiar concept, but they have deeply explored the ideas and characters to an extent in which I am no longer trying to work out the story and where it will go. Instead I am watching "real" characters interact in ways I could never expect. They really feel as though they have a lives of their own and are not written but just are. Baltar is still my least favorite, though I have no problem with the actor nor the role of his character in the series. I just wish the decision had not been made to make him so pathetic.

Little did I know when I wrote that review how sad I would be to learn that this next season of Battlestar Galactica will be the last. Because this is is the final run, I imagine that the series will be even more intense, if that's possible! I can't help but have high expectations going in to next week's premiere. It should be fun watching to see if the series can meet them or as they have done so often, exceed them.

I'm ready for the jump to Earth!

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