Friday, January 06, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

I try not to watch as much TV as I used to. I seriously used to have a show I would watch every night of the week. Now thought, I watch news, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. I also watch sports, but my must watch episodic TV is only the Shield and Battlestar Galactica (ok, the Amazing Race and Survivor).

I loved Battlestar Galactica (BSG) when it was first on in 1978. I was at the height of my Star Wars love and this had space fighters and lasers and those kind of things. I didn't care if it was cheesy and not very well written. I got to seeing science fiction every week. Even watching the series again on SciFi Channel about 5 year ago, it was all of those things, but I still liked it.

So when I heard that the SciFi Channel was redoing the series as a miniseries, and that one of its stars, Edward James Olmos, said that if you liked the first one, you shouldn't watch this one, I didn't. But then, I started hearing great things about the new series. And that it was produced and developed by Ronald D. Moore, the creative force behind Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (the best series, in my opinion), and I started to get hopeful.

So when the miniseries became a full fledged series, I decided to give it a chance.

This may be one of the best TV series I've ever watched.

It's incredibly topical. The series starts off with a surprise attack on humans by the Cylons (who can look human; there are still metal ones) and only 50,000 humans escape. As a result there is deep seated fear about who might be a Cylon and who might not, all while trying to survive the pursuing Cylons and to find Earth, their promised land.

The show examines what it means to be human, if sexual assault is an acceptable means of obtaining information from prisoners, and even if torture is acceptable.

And it even has cool space battles.

The reason I'm writing about this today is two fold:

1) Season 2 starts tonight (Friday) at 10 PM EST/9 CST on the Sci Fi Channel

2) Something added from the 1978 series is religion. The good guys (Colonials) are polytheists that worship representations of the Greek and Roman gods and the bad guys (Cylons) are monotheists who say things like, "God loves you and has a plan for your life." I'm going to choose to believe that Moore doesn't think Christians are bad people (although Pat Robertson seems to trying to prove me wrong). I think he wants us to think about how what we say sounds. Hearing words that I've said and heard a lot coming from someone evil does make me think about it. Does that make it less true? No, but it does make me think about how someone not familiar with that language hears it. There is also the President of the Colonies that believes she has been chosen by the gods to lead the colonials to their promised land.

The whole show is very well done and to be really honest, it's a drama set in space rather than a space opera. And it does what good art should do: makes you think about what you think.

I highly recommend it.


Adam Brooks said...

Hey Phil,

You know, I don't have cable, so BattleStar Galactica is out. But I had thought the ads for it looked great, and it is really interesting to hear that the Cylons are evangelistic monotheists. That's cute.

BTW, I'm really enjoying your blog. I've wandered through a lot of the past posts you hightlighted last week, and really like the challenging thinking you are presenting regarding our church heritage.

Keep it up.


Phil said...


The miniseries, Season 1, and the first half of Season 2 are on DVD.

I highly recommend renting them or finding someone that has them to borrow.

Thanks for the other comment too. I'd love to see some of your thoughts on these issues as well. You're in a unique position up there in NYC and would have a great perspective.

Michael said...


If you want to spend two dollar per episode, you can get them off I Tunes. But honestly, if you're going to go the buying them route, just go for the DVDs. It works out about the same and the picture is larger on the DVD.

That said--BSG is one of my favorite shows on right now. Like you, I enjoyed the original back in the day, but this new one just blows it away. Every week it's good.

I did get the original series on DVD for a really rock-bottom price and I think some of the Colonial's religon was brought up in the original but it wasnt' a major plot conflict like we have now.

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