Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Skinjob on Board!

So, after the downer second season finale of Battlestar Galactica, I just couldn't face Season 3, and I let the eps stack up on my PVR until I felt more in the mood to deal with cylon occupation, insurgents, and Gaius Baltar. Then, my stupid comcast PVR ate all my episodes, so that I had to wait for the mid-December marathon, and, then the holidays came and went, but finally, last Saturday, there was no more procrastinating. Season 3.2 started Sunday night, and if I didn't catch up before, I'd never catch up at all.

So, I lay down upon the U.S.S. Martha Steward (our sofa) with a box of tissue and much foreboding, and watched eleven hours of BSG, straight.


Talk about an emotional roller coaster! I'll say one thing for Sieur Ronald D. Moore--he really knows how to put his audience through the melodramatic wringer. No victory is so great that it can not be tinged with defeat. No character so noble that he/she can't do something mindblowingly appalling. No character so appalling that he/she can't do something mindblowingly noble. He really really likes to keep his audience on an uneven keel, and there's a great story-telling lesson in there--keep the shocks coming!

I'm going to try not to be a spoiler-girl here, for those who might be reading who haven't watched the show yet, but I'll just say that:

My respect for Tigh, who previously I wanted to cashier straight to hell, has risen to an all time high. He's the type of soldier who we can't live without but find it hard to live with--the guy who makes the hard decisions even if it destroys him, so that we may not be destroyed.

Someone needs to feed Starbuck out of the nearest airlock. The woman just doesn't seem to have the capacity to learn. She is so caught up in her own &(&#&(*! that she can't even see when she's being played. It drives me nuts.

Helo: Yay! Yay! I was afraid they'd kill you on Caprica--how happy I am that they let all 6 feet 4 inches of you still live.

Laura Roslin & Bill Adama: They, at least, know when they've made a mistake, and take the responsibility for it--would some leaders in our world (mentioning no names!) could do the same. (Though--Laura--it is sure is easy to be forgiving when Tom Zarek has done your dirty work, eh?)

Three: Where did you get such a perfect blonde flip? It was nice to hear Lucy Lawless's real voice, tho'.

Baltar: Watching him squirm and wiggle, and flip back and forth, and sooooo sincerely too--because you know when his skin is on the line he means every word he says--is delicious. He really is a villain for the ages--and yet, it's hard not to pity him. It's not that he's evil; he's just weak. But then that's the worst kind of evil, innit?

So, I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. At the end of Season 2, I was really doubting Ron Moore's ability to pull of his giant leap in story-line, but I think he did an excellent job of using the missing year as a pull for the audience to try to figure out exactly what happened during, and he's certainly kept story going in a compelling manner.

And for those who haven't watched the show, I'd like to say that you are really missing something...There are other shows out there that have been trying to reflect the post-911 reality, but I think BSG has done the best job--by dealing with real today issues (suicide bombings, insurgents, failed occupations, torture) in a fantastic setting, it is much easier to actually pose hard questions. Each character on BSG is so well-drawn, and none are unambiguously good or bad, that the audience can face hard questions, and their unpleasant answers, in a much more impartial way. When a character who you respect, and whose moral code you have previously applauded starts arguing for genocide, you suddenly understand how good people can be driven to do bad bad things, and this makes you think pretty hard about your own world-view--and what you would do if pushed to the line. Not happy things to think about, but issues that we must face.

One slight nitpick: the cylons and humans keep being referred to as "races". Shouldn't it really be "species"? (Unless, Moore is trying to posit that they are different races of the same species? I guess we have to wait and see about that...)

A last thought to an extremely long post: I think BSG is a good show for anyone interested in telling a good story to watch. It's a serial that has to juggle many themes and characters, and whose writers have to throw out clues to a mysterious future while maintaining audience interest over a very long plot arc. The techniques involved in doing this are worth examining. Ron Moore does a podcast for each ep wherein he discusses the creative and technical issues of the episode, and some of the writers meetings are also available as podcasts. It's very very interesting to listen to writers working in another medium--and one with an expiration date--hash out their creative issues. So, I highly recommend giving the 'casts a listen.

In summation: if you haven't been watching the show, get thee to Netflix and start with Season 1. If you have been watching the show--ain't it good?

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