Saturday, May 27, 2006

A good show

I originally had very elaborate plans for what to do after college. Most of which involved winding down my brain through an immersion in nearly anything nerdy or geeky, much of which involved purchases. Because of that last bit, there are only a few of these things that I actually did do. One of which involved reading a collection of Ultimate X-Men comics, the other involved buying and starting to watch the first season of Battlestar Galactica.

Back in August there was a back to back marathon of about four episodes in a row, and lacking anything else to do, I actually reclined on the couch and watched them all. Not thoroughly sold-- but interested enough. Enough so that when it came down to buying the DVDs of the miniseries alone or the full first season, I figured I liked it well enough to just get the whole first season. Which, neatly, includes the original miniseries. Glad I got the whole thing.

Battlestar sort of fits into that genre of hour long dramas that've started becoming popular lately. It sort of fits in the same scheme as Alias, Lost, the OC, maybe not perfectly in terms of form-- but with high production values and overarching storylines that go through the whole season. I'm guessing that the sale of TV episodes on DVD has probably fueled this shift as well. From what I've read, Star Trek: Enterprise started to move in that direction, but was unable to garner enough ratings to save it from cancellation. So emphasis on characters, plot lines, etcetera. And there is a concentrated effort to make it as "cinematic" in scope and quality as possible.

Genre wise, it's probably a lot closer to the short lived Fox series Space: Above and Beyond or the film Starship Troopers than Star Trek. But I feel like one of its closer affinities is to the Wing Commander series. Similar enough-- a dark atmosphere, gritty pilot kind of business going on. They're really not identical, maybe even not all that close, but Battlestar pretty much covers whatever craving I would have had for a Wing Commander series or new film. The much derided Freddy Prinze Junior/Matt Lillard starring Wing Commander film from a number of years ago, sort of tried for a similar feel, but failed on nearly every count. Not faithful enough to the original material, not good enough on its own feet or as a film in general to attract viewers. This show kind of "gets it right" where the dark space opera genre is concerned.

Big guns involved, "Edward James Olmos," from Stand and Deliver, plays a leading part, he's probably my favorite character on the show. I have to confess, I was pretty unfamiliar with what he'd done previously, but the most recent times I've heard someone reference the show, it's been- "oh wow, did you see that Edward James Olmos is in that sci fi show..." And while the blond Victoria's Secret model probably has a lot of appeal to the target Battlestar Audience, her plot lines/scenes are probably my least favorites of the show so far; psycho blond mind trip business. Hot lead fighter pilot dude guy, character named "Apollo," is ok...but sort of the boring boy scout of the bunch. And fighter pilot dame named "Starbuck," is also ok...but not too interesting yet. Though-- I've only finished the miniseries and one regular episode. So there's a ways to go with this.

Long and short, I'd recommend it. I don't know how it fares if you're not into sci-fi, but if you enjoy military/navy/WWII type atmosphered movies and such, probably worth taking at least a look.