Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,

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Battlestar Galactica? More Like "Battlestar Scralatchtica"!

So. I had heard nothing but good things about BSG, but I hadn't caught the miniseries back in the day, and I was watching a lot of shows already, so the first season passed me by.

But now is the summer of my discontent, and kieyra uploaded the mini for me. The volume was really really low, but I tried not to hold that against it. I watched it last Saturday, and I'd planned to only watch the first half, but it didn't end with an appropriately climactic cliffhanger, so I trucked along late into the night. I thought it was pretty good, satisfactory. Nothing special, though. The ending was an OMGWTF moment I realized I would probably been spoiled for if I'd understood the comments I had read on the forums earlier. Luckily, I am stupid and forgetful.

Then the lovely kiwikazoomisskiwi mailed me the first season on several CDs, though they didn't arrive in time for me watch the S2 premiere. They arrived yesterday.

I watched the entire first season in 11.5 hours.

Which, given the amount of continuity on this show, works surprisingly well. I'm getting rather fond of this thirteen-episode-season concept. It forces you to make every episode count. To advance the story with every scene. To, rather than introduce something totally new, take advantage of something old and use it for a new purpose.

It's hard to figure out what my opinion of the show is, having watched it in one go as I did. You get a different reaction to a show when you watch it every week and discuss it with your friends until the next episode, so that each individual episode is exalted anew. I'm not sure which superlatives to use. I know that's it really, really good. Probably really, really good. Maybe great. Maybe it rocks. Perhaps it's fucking awesome. I do know that this is one kickass sci-fi drama.

And it's definitely a drama. It's very...serious. There isn't enough humor in all thirteen episodes to fill out even half an episode. Which isn't a criticism, just an observation.

Identity Issues? Check. Making the Hard Choices? Check like fucking whoa. Power Struggles? Check. Hot Chicks and Cleavage? Check. I think I should probably also add Prophecies and Shit Like That.

Maybe they only did this in the Sky One airings, or maybe they changed the credits for the new season, but I really like the montage of scenes from the episode after the opening credits. And I love the music! All pounding drums and all. The music for the show is really good; it's very ambient and never gets in the way of action. It simply underscores it without calling attention to itself, saying, "Feel, dammit, feel!"

All right, I'm itching to jump to the spoilery section, just because I feel like I can better say what I need to. So, here are some non-spoilery reasons why the show is so good. As I said earlier, continuity plays a very big part; the events of one episode are not forgotten and continue to have effects in the future. There are a lot of characters, and the major secondary characters feel like real people, even if they're not given a lot to do, which is probably a credit to the actors. And speaking of not being given a lot to do, the show never feels obligated to use characters it doesn't need. Different episodes have varied screentime for the characters, depending on who's necessary. The show takes a real look at how human civilization might try to function after being nearly wiped out, albeit from a rather skewed perspective of those in control.

Also, there are robots and spaceships and explosions.

Okay then, if you were at all interested in checking out BSG and were just waiting around for my opinion, there you have it. Fucking watch it. Now, go away before you get spoiled.

Episode by episode, shall we?

"33": No, really. Why every 33 minutes? Is this some Jesus thing? The show's already better than the miniseries, which I think was hampered by being, you know, a pilot disguised as a miniseries. I like Starbuck, and I like Tyrol, and I like Cally. And I really like Baltar. I love that his subconscious Six is written so cleverly as to walk the line between Baltar's subconscious and the actual Cylon Six. I love that he's both aware of his delusion and completely accepting of it. I'm glad there was a legitimate reason for the Cylons' being able to freaking track them every single jump they made. I think I missed exactly what sort of incriminating evidence Dr. Emerick had on Baltar, but again, I love that he was able to logically justify the destruction of the Olympic Carrier and embrace the coincidence of Emerick's being on that ship as a sign from God. The way Baltar deludes himself into becoming religious is one of my favorite storylines. On the other hand, Helo on Caprica is my least favorite thing on the show ever, but more on that as we go on.

"Water": Oh no, Boomer! Why you gotta be blowing up shit like that? I'm wondering how her sleeper agent programming operates. I mean, does it take over at random moments? "Let's make out with Tyrol. Mmm, Tyrol. *click* MUST PLANT BOMBS. BLOW UP SHIP. MMM TYROL." Plus, there's that weird moment where she can't see the water on the screen, or she can see it but can't report it, or something. Then there's the other Boomer, and I thought, "Aah, that's kind of cool. Helo'll think she came back for him." Except I could not bother to care about Helo since I hardly knew him, and I couldn't see the point of the storyline at all. What could possibly happen? He was going to find a ship? How the fuck was he supposed to find the Galactica? And why were the Cylons bothering to keep him alive? What purpose could he possibly serve? It just seemed like such a lost cause, and there were no hints of a plausible, interesting endpoint, that I practically groaned every time CYLON-OCCUPIED CAPRICA came up. Also, Apollo, I know everyone on this show likes guilt, but the Olympic Carrier was going to launch a fucking nuke at your ship. You had no choice. You did the right thing. You yourself didn't even see any people on the ship.

"Bastille Day": It's Oz in spaaaaaace!! I was supposed to like Apollo by this episode (I didn't really care for him in the mini), and I suppose I did. I like the conflict he has between his loyalty to his father and his loyalty to democracy. Also, go Cally! I knew I liked you for more than just being cute! Rock on with your ear-biting self, girl. I also like the President. I get pissed at all the characters who complain about a "schoolteacher" running everything without acknowledging that she's been doing a fucking awesome job, given the circumstances. Hell, she was doing fine even before she took the actual office, and that kind of bothered me in the mini, because it's not interesting to watch someone who can handle the job handling the job. But then I realized that's not what her character is about. Whether or not she can handle the job is not her major conflict. She has to struggle to be taken seriously. She's trying to do her best for the fifty thousand people she has left. And then she becomes Prophecy Girl, but that comes later.

"Act of Contrition": Whee, flashbacks! It's angstapalooza as the Zak issue comes to the fore, and I think this is when I started really liking the show. I'd already thought the directing style was interesting, with its frequent use of quick zooms and lots of handheld work, but the flashback style was different as well. Lots of quick cuts and fancy editing. And the re-entry flashback turned out to be a glimpse of the future, 12 Monkeys-style. And I don't know, I just liked the way the Zak issue was handled. It felt...real, I guess. No fancy flourishes, no plot twists, just...this is what happens when things happen. Though I didn't really understand why the death of Flattop (pointed out in the previous episode...as one of her students, oh fuck, I'm so dumb. That's why she was getting the Zak trigger; one of her students had died, although it had nothing to do with his being a crappy pilot and everything to do with bad luck) nevermind I figured it out in the parenthetical.

"You Can't Go Home Again": All right, let's set aside the complete nonsense that is Starbuck figuring out how to mechanically operate a biological ship. It was still cool. Also, kind of a gamble that the ship breathes oxygen, girl. Still, cool. Does the name Cylon Raider make anyone else think of Tusken Raiders? I love the shape of the Raiders. Now, I really liked this episode, but it annoyed me to no end that they tried to make it look like the search for Starbuck was completely and utterly personal. Look, President. She's their best pilot, and you have a shortage of pilots. Also, as their best pilot, she is the best possible flight instructor you have, and did I mention the shortage of pilots? And guys, that scene where Apollo sees that she's written STARBUCK on the bottom of the Raider? Made me smile real big. I don't know why. It was so adorable, and I was wondering how she was going to manage to get back home without being mistaken for a Cylon and blown up. I was expecting her to execute some sort of Starbuck-specific maneuver that Apollo would recognize. But that STAR on one side and the BUCK on the other? Made me smile. I was glad she made it back. Oh, are Helo and Boomer discovering food or some shit like that, or is that some other episode? Whatever, I don't care.

"Litmus": KA-BOOM!! Nice teaser. And ah, very nice. They turned the Boomer/Tyrol thing into a major plot point and not just an excuse for more making out. Stupid independent tribunal. Oh, there's one good thing about the Caprica storyline, and that's the presence of Centurions. They look really cool. Also, it is kind of nice to see what the real Six is up to. You know, we've only seen four Cylon models. I'm wondering when we'll see the other eight. Also, who rules the Cylons? What's he or she up to? How come the Cylons don't ever seem to mention a leader? And what are they doing worshipping God, anyway? How do machines get religion? And why, in the future, have humans reverted to worshipping the Greek gods?

"Six Degrees of Separation": Haaaa. Baltar, you crazy, crazy man. Who the hell is this Shelly Godfrey? Was she an actual Six that consorted with Dr. Emerick? Do the different models not share a consciousness? Does Shelly Godfrey have any knowledge from Baltar's Six? I'm so confused. But this was a fun episode, and again, I love the way the writers set things up so that Baltar can come up with a logical explanation that may or may not be true, but satisfies him. Are Boomer and Helo having the sex? Whatever.

"Flesh and Bone": Torture is fun! I love the signals Starbuck gives to the guards. There are a lot of physical things I love about Katee Sackhoff's performance, the way she moves, her facial expessions, her cleavage. And although the "you're a machine!" argument got kind of old after a while, I find it interesting that in the end, she had some doubts. And whoa on the freaky President dreams. Again, love the quick-cut flash style. Also appreciated that the flash before the airlock was ultraquick, and just a shift in the background, basically. They didn't hammer it home by superimposing his flight out into space with how strange it looked in the dream, because they figured we got it.

"Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down": If I had to pick a least favorite episode, this would probably be it. I really don't like Ellen. The "Is Adama a Cylon?" question is too ludicrous to consider, and I thought it would be a fakeout with Apollo being the Cylon, but even that was a ludicrous notion to consider. There's no reason to think the Cylons can replace humans with Cylon models, though I guess the President doesn't know there are only twelve, and it's unlikely one of them looks just like Adama. Plus, there's quite a bit of humor in this episode. That is, there's quite a bit of attempts at humor. The humor in this episode just feels...off. Out of place. Except anything Baltar-related. That's always amusing.

"The Hand of God": You know what this show needs more of? FUCKING SPACESHIPS BLOWING UP OTHER SPACESHIPS AND POSSIBLY OTHER THINGS AS WELL. So that's why this episode kind of rocked, especially with Starbuck's out-of-the-box strategy. I loved their little war room with their little toy planes being shuffled around. Also, people need to stop doubting Apollo so he'll stop feeling doubted. His name is fucking Apollo. Clearly, he's good at something. And Gaius's conversion is complete. He is an instrument of God. Nice.

"Colonial Day": Ooh, politics! Assassination! Barfight! The sun! Also, it took me this long to realize the colonies are named after the signs of the Zodiac. It's about this time the President starts having her hallucinations and discovers she's the instrument of God, right? I also like the continuity of the reporter whom Gaius fucks in the bathroom, as I'd had my eye on her; she'd been at all the press conferences. Something vaguely interesting to come out of the Caprica storyline is the fact that the Sharon model seems to be faulty, which explains why both Boomers are so intent on being human. But is it faulty...OR SUPERIOR!

"Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1": I'm not sure why Kalbear is "wowza" about the teaser, but I really like the music. It does a nice job of tying together all the various tensions in different storylines. But dude, Kobol! The prophecies are real! Or at least extremely prone to being interpreted through coincidences! Why are the Cylons guarding Kobol, huh? Hmm. Crash landing! Starbuck takes a page out of Apollo's book and talks to the President! And discovers she's been duped. Duped, I say! Why put your faith in lies when you can put your faith in the ARROW OF APOLLO?

"Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2": Well. Adama finally goes nuts and takes over the world. Apollo chooses a side, or he makes up his own. Boomer finally figures out that yes, Virginia, you are a Cylon. Starbuck tries to give the Caprica storyline some relevance, but she fails. I honestly think they could have gotten away with Starbuck discovering Helo and Boomer in the museum and having Helo give a short recap of his boring fifty-day journey. It would have been a nice surprise, or something. Because apparently the only reason for the storyline is that Boomer's pregnant WTF? How the fuck does that work? Oh, and it was nice to see Six as a badass, though I was really afraid the Arrow of Apollo was going to get broken. Hell if I know what the fuck Gaius's crazy dream is about, but again, such great music. And my heart skipped a beat when Boomer shot Adama. I was watching at four A.M., having trouble staying awake, but that got me.

And luckily, I had the S2 premiere ready to watch on tape today. Stop scrolling if you haven't seen it yet.

What a teaser, huh? What's, like, the worst thing you can possibly think of happening? You jump, and you're totally alone. Cut off from everyone. No way to contact them. No way to find them. You are royally fucked. Speaking of royally fucked, Starbuck is stranded on Caprica with Helo. Fuck. At least I actually care about Starbuck. Maybe she'll kill him and eat him. And dude, spaceship fight yay! Breaking through firewalls has never been so exciting. Go Cally with the gun-shooting! Oh, and flashbacks to flesh out the Adama/Tigh relationship. Nice. I never particularly cared about Tigh one way or the other, but this made him more interesting. And the Galactica has been infiltrated by killer robots. Did I mention royally fucked?

So, okay. Battlestar Galactica? Awesome show. Now, time to read glumpishStrega's recaps. I have a feeling I'll enjoy them a lot, because I really like it when the recapper actually likes the show they're recapping.
Tags: battlestar galactica, new show squee, tv
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