the return of friday random ten
things are frakked: battlestar galactica season premiere

last frakking attempt

OK, I’ll try one last time to convince people that Battlestar Galactica, which starts its third season tonight, is worth your time and attention.

First there’s the fear of coming in too late. This is not a good enough excuse in this case. I came to BSG late myself … decided before Season Two started that I should give it a try. I’m obsessive, so I downloaded the mini-series and the entire first season and caught up the best I could … by the time the second episode of the second season had been shown, I’d managed to see all of the previous episodes. It’s not that I’d expect you to do the same (although it’s easier now, you can just watch the DVDs), but it can be done. Also, Buffy, the previous “why are you watching that show” series in my life, is also one I came to late … the third season, in fact. Battlestar Galactica is not Lost … you can start tonight.

Meanwhile, I’ll quote my two favorite critics, since that’s always good for cheap points. Tim Goodman in today’s Chronicle:

"Battlestar Galactica" not only lives up to its sci-fi gold-standard reputation but also should be considered straight up as one of television's most appealing dramas, no matter the genre…. The acting in "Battlestar Galactica" is superb, the characters nuanced and multilayered, and the issues broad, deep and current. In fact, if you tune in to the story now, you'd be hard pressed not to find parallels with the war in Iraq, among other political hot buttons.

What makes "Battlestar Galactica" cross over to non-sci-fi fans is that stripped of the space conceit and relatively few sci-fi elements, it's a top-notch drama with fascinating characters, solid writing and an eagerness to explore complicated social, political and philosophical issues….

There's no shame in coming to a series after it's a hit, or at least a cult hit. Viewers are traditionally a season late on most HBO shows. No, the unforgivable decision is to keep avoiding "Battlestar Galactica" because you're not a sci-fi fan or you're intimidated by what could be construed as excessively shaded character development. Listen, it's a fantastic journey and a stunning surprise -- and better than a flock of the most-hyped new fall series. There's no time like now to get on board.

And Heather Havrilesky’s new Salon review:

Looking on helplessly as red-eyed robots march through the streets, Galen "Chief" Tyrol asks his commanding officer, Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, "What do you want to do now, Captain?" With a scowl, she responds, "Same thing we always do. Fight 'em until we can't."

Oh, the hopelessness of it all! But intoxicating darkness has always been "Battlestar Galactica's" calling card, from those opening shots of mushroom clouds and lonely ships, wandering off to find Earth, to the show's haunting, melancholy theme music, to the claustrophobic interiors of Galactica and the stifled rage and sadness of its occupants. When Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) mutters her plan, through gritted teeth, she's not being tough or courageous or poetic like the heroes of most sci-fi shows. Her remark feels more like an existential lament, the fighter pilot's version of "If that's all there is, then let's keep dancing." …

[W]hat better environment in which to examine the boundaries of personality and group dynamics than a fantastical scenario where the survival of humankind is at stake? The uninitiated may continue to write off "Battlestar Galactica" as the remake of a mediocre show, or as the domain of science fiction fans alone, but those who've watched the show more than once or twice know better….

"Battlestar" concerns itself primarily with human survival and views the characters and stories through a historical lens, layering on sociopolitical, cultural, economic and religious meaning to illustrate the divergent natures of human beings as well as their wildly contrasting philosophies and approaches to persevering in the face of major risks….

There are temporary victories, epiphanies, discoveries and moments of grace, but the colonists, for the most part, muddle through the darkness just like the rest of us, unsure of where it all leads, yet determined to find out at any cost.


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