J. & C.'s Movie Reviews

Our Notes on Movies Made Public

Battlestar Galactica (for those who haven’t seen the show)

Posted by J on April 13, 2010

Here are a few tidbits from reviews of Battlestar Galactica seasons.  I don’t want to give anything away.  If you watch the show, you must start at the beginning.  This is a serial TV show.

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Galactica is decent sci-fi, sometimes, which isn’t much of a complement.    In some distant time, humans live on twelve planets, none of which are Earth.  These humans are attacked by machines known as Cylons.  Humans  invented Cylons, long ago, and somehow the Cylons gained enough intelligence and gumption to attack humans.  A war broke out, both sides made peace, and then the Cylons disappeared.

Then the Cylons return, nuke all twelve human planets, and destroy 99.9% of humanity.  Only about 40,000 humans remain, scattered amongst several spaceships, hoping to find the lost colony of Earth.

The show’s best element is the mystery it’s premised on.  A few Cylon models are not just robots,but human-like robots.  These human Cylons are also monotheistic, talking about God’s love, God’s justice, God’s forgiveness.  We don’t know exactly what they mean, but they are contrasted with the colonial humans, who are polytheistic, believing in and praying to the “Lords of Kobol.”  Since the Cylons look like humans, they can infiltrate the human remnant.  This premise gives the show an instant and lasting mystery, as no one knows exactly who is human and who is Cylon.  Presumably any human character could be a Cylon.  Since the Cylons are hostile, practicing spycraft and subterfuge, engaging in suicide missions and terrorist attacks, the Battlestar Galacticans have a big problem.

We would rather watch all four seasons of Galactica than 98% of the movies we’ve ever seen.  The serial TV series is a great idea, allowing plotlines and character arcs to expand seemingly indefinitely.  If one individual episode is poorly done, the next might be great.  In Galactica‘s case, most of seasons 1 and 4 are great.  Season 2 is so-so. Season 3 is mostly terrible, but the payoffs in Season 4 are well worth wading through Season 3.  The only problem we had with Season 4 was near the end, when, during several episodes, the focus was on a pointless love triangle, rather than on developing the many recent, story-changing revelations.

The series’ end is intriguing . . .

The show overall is a fun show to watch.  A handful of episodes are legitimately great.  Three characters are great — Adama, Baltar and Roslin.  Baltar’s character arc may be the best that TV has ever had.   The moral lessons are mixed, but personally I enjoyed Baltar so much and enjoyed watching Adama assert his powerful yet humble and cool alpha-male dominance over everyone else that I can forgive Galactica its artistic and moral failings.  Thanks for the good show.

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