Review: Battlestar Galactica

So, I finished watching Battlestar Galactica earlier this week, and I’ve spent the last few days thinking about what I have to say about it. I don’t think I have anything particularly deep to offer up. I like the show; it has its flaws, but then, so does every television show. The show attempts something more interesting than most, and succeeds, for the most part, which makes it better than most in my books.

The basic premise of the show – the last remnants of the human race are trying to escape the mechanical Cylons who revolted against them and find the mythical planet Earth, home of the 13th colony – and the general flavor of the setting – a space opera with strong mystic undertones and a theme of paganism vs. quasi-Christianity – are great. The basic story arc works as well (find Kobol, find New Caprica, settle there, be forced out, find the Temple of Five, find old Earth, find it is a nuclear wasteland, find new Earth, become our ancestors).

The show does have several weaknesses, though. One of the worst is its tendency to become too much of a soap opera. I never minded that part until the fourth season, I think; the bed-side hospital scene (with Caprica Six miscarrying while Saul tries to convince her he loves her – the only way I can justify this is by saying it’s proving that Cylons are people too, even in the petty soap-opera-y ways) was just a bit much, though. As was a lot of other stuff in season 4 (like Cally’s son turning out to have been Hot Dog’s, not Tyrol’s, which I’m pretty sure they did just to get around the fact that otherwise, the child would be half Cylon, making Hera not nearly as special – that seems like a cop-out to me).

There’s also the fact that, about halfway through season 3 (after they find the Algae Planet, essentially), they give up trying to explain how they stay alive. I think the show would have benefited from being more about the day-to-day survival of the fleet, though it would be hard to work that in with all the other stuff they were doing. And the ending, while overall a good close to the series, is somewhat unbelievable (you mean to tell me everyone willingly gives up their technology, just like that? I don’t think so, not that easily. They would be on Earth for a few months, realize “hey, I like being able to easily hunt and move around and have shelter – let’s re-invent guns and cars and houses!”, and there goes the continuity with the real world).

But one think the show does really well is evoke a kind of mysticism, that everything happens for a reason. I think so, anyway. My dad doesn’t buy it – he thinks all the coincidences are just the writers’ way of getting out of corners they’ve backed themselves into – but I think it does a good job of seeming magical/mystical/destined/whatever without, for the most part, feeling contrived.

Anyway, overall, good show, you ought to watch it; just be aware that it definitely has its flaws and it’ll go smoother.

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