Sunday, February 17, 2008

Battlestar Galactica - the new series

Quite a while ago, maybe as much as a whole year back, friends of ours recommended the new Battlestar Galactica series to me and my wife. They knew from past discussions of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that we were really into what you might call "serious Sci-Fi", science fiction with interesting and complex stories. We like beautiful visuals and impressive explosions, but what we're really looking for are good, inventive stories. With Deep Space Nine, we really love the way it brought together politics, religion, ethics, and science and how those forces can complement and compete with each other. The Mars Trilogy novels by Kim Stanley Robinson (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) about humanity colonizing Mars painted a similarly complex picture of how future society might function. I was somewhat hesitant to watch the new Battlestar Galactica series because I still remember the original one from the Seventies, which I watched as a little kid. Even then, I think part of me recognized how dumb it was.

So, with all that as a backdrop, we finally decided we should watch it. But, before we started with the new series, Beth and I discovered that the original series was available on the Netflix Watch Instantly streaming video service and we thought we'd sample it for some perspective. As I expected, it was painfully stupid: poorly written, poorly directed, poorly acted, and at the same time very sexist and dated. That was a bit discouraging, but we pressed on and got the first DVD from the new series this week. It was actually the pilot mini-series, which was definitely the right one to start with. We watched the whole three hours on Friday night and were blown away. It was incredible! It's based on the same root story as the original series, but the character of it is so different. It's much darker and the people feel so much more real. I'm so glad they cast Edward James Olmos as the battle-weary Commander Adama (I remember first encountering him when he played Lieutenant Castillo in Miami Vice). What a great choice! I don't want to ruin any surprises for new viewers, so I'll just say that the new series seems very engaging and does a good job of combining the same sort of story elements that I described above for Deep Space Nine and the Mars Trilogy. If you like either of those, I'd highly recommend the new Battlestar Galactica to you. Probably my only complaint is that there's one female character who's rather over-sexified. If you can forgive that, I'm pretty sure you'll like it.

So, next in line for us is the first season! I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you finally took the plunge. The reincarnation of Battlestar Galactica blew us away. The mini-series gives you an introduction into this new fantastic and dark world, but let me tell you that the creators (re-creators?) of this series really did an incredible job of mixing in religion, politics, and a healthy portion of existential mind-f@#$s... Jessica is suggesting that I should warn you that season 3 meandered off the solid path the first and second seasons established only to right itself towards the end. We can't wait for season 4 to start. Here's to the final season!