Distributed by: Universal Studios
Reviewed by: Justine Manzano
Last week, I reviewed Grey’s Anatomy, explaining how I’d decided to join the series in Season 2, after realizing that I was missing out on something good. This happened to me twice last season. The second time, it was Battlestar Galactica. I had made no secret of hating this show from it’s very inception. Rumors had been running rampant in the Science Fiction rumor mill that my favorite show, Farscape, had been axed after years of not-so-good ratings but a rabid cult following to allow money in Sci-Fi Channel’s budget for this television remake! True or not, I was on a boycott. Then, I realized I was a mature media connoisseur who was behaving like a spoiled brat—perhaps something worth canceling Farscape for couldn’t be bad? So, I picked up the DVD.
The very first thing I could do was complain. I had bought the mini-series that introduced the series as well as the first season on DVD, only to find that the season box set contained the mini-series. No worries though, I scored money for the mini-series on ebay. Perhaps it should have been more clearly marked. Either way, I had begun my reluctant journey with the Galactica.
The story is about a war between humans and the artificially intelligent beings we have created, The Cylons. The story begins with the tentative truce between the two nations being violated by the terrorist actions of *gasp* a humanoid Cylon (Tricia Helfer)! You mean, they look like us? Like that hasn’t been done before! (Okay, maybe I’m still a tad bitter, but read on…) The Cylons rain down Armageddon on the human colonies, leaving only the few remaining ships in the air and just over 4,000 people left to repopulate the world and fight the war against the Cylons. These ships constitute many tourist ships and a Battlestar class ship named The Galactica. The fleet is now led by Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) who was on the verge of retirement before the attack. Helping and sometimes arguing with him to make decisions about the fate of humanity is newly appointed President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), who was the Secretary of Education before the attack.
As they struggle to protect humanity, these two stand alternately united and opposing. Helping them all the while is their crew. Captain Lee (Apollo) Adama (Jamie Bamber) is the Commander’s son and a valuable flight leader who struggles to repair the relationship with his father despite the fact that he blames him for the death of his brother. His brother’s fiancée, Lt. Kara (Starbuck) Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) is a courageous pilot with a death wish who can figure her way out of anything. And then there is Sharon “Boomer” Valieri (Grace Park). She’s a whole special case. As the fleet struggles through various issues that are involve either the political or survival, two side stories add a spark. The first, follows Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis), who unwittingly allowed sexy Cylon, Number Six, to disable the defenses and generally allowed the initial attack. As he struggles to cover up his involvement, he also struggles with the fact that Number Six, who he was in love with, is haunting his mind. The second side story involves a soldier left behind on the destroyed colony of Caprica, Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) is struggling to survive, but the only help he can get is from someone the audience knows is a Cylon…
I’m the kind of person who can always admit when she has been proven wrong, and this was one of those times. I was almost immediately hooked on this show. The acting is incredible and the direction is shaky in that fun, “You’re really there” way—a trick that I firmly believe was borrowed from Firefly. The vision of a technologically paranoid society, in which we can fly through space but still use rotary phones, is well played and gives the series a look and feel all it’s own. The characters aren’t quippy and fun like I normally like my TV characters to be, but they are real, gritty, tough, emotional and solid—no one misses their mark. The Cylons, while easily mocked in theory, are rather convincing and terrifying villains in that they firmly believe that they are doing God’s work. Sometimes you, the viewer, will begin questioning your loyalties yourself. The best villains are always the one’s that truly believe they are right.
Farscape is still the better show of the two, but that doesn’t mean that Battlestar Galactica doesn’t have something incredible to offer. Fans of the old Battlestar are in for many surprises. This is not some cheesy and silly 70’s diversion with characters that were never truly realized. This is a hard-hitting and powerful series that is not afraid to take amazing risks that payoff. So, I give in—if you love Science Fiction or even if you do not, but you understand that drama can happen in any setting, this is a series for you.
One of them, anyway…yeah, I know…I’ll get over it.