On Battlestar Galactica

[Minor BSG Spoilers ahead!]

I love Battlestar Galactica. It is, in my opinion, the best Sci-Fi TV show there has ever been. (I was never a fan of Star Trek, for no reason other than I never really watched much of it. Had I watched it all, I’d probably be a fan, but I still don’t think I’d love it more than BSG.)
I would recommend it to anyone, and I have, many times! I think it’s got it all – strong character development, intense drama, epic scenes, mysteries symbolism, iconic baddies…

That’s not to say the show isn’t without it’s flaws. While the 4-hour ‘pilot’ does a great job of introducing every character and setting up the universe so that we can dive right in in episode one, it is just way too long. I tried to get my flatmate to watch it and he (understandably) started to switch off after about an hour and a half.

That first episode though, when he eventually gets round to watching it, is incredible. ’33’ is probably my favourite episode of BSG, and it’s the first one. I only realised after watching the first season how good that first episode is. It immediately shows us that this show isn’t just about fighting bad guys in space. It’s about real problems. The characters are on an old ship, running away from an evil pursuer and are suffereing from lack of food and sleep and ammunition and tempers are flaring as their hopes look lost. It does a great job of showing us that this group of people are the underdogs – they don’t stand a chance if they decide to fight the enemy, but we still want to root for them. It just perfectly sets up the rest of the show and I don’t think the show could have jumped straight in to such a great episode if the 4-hour pilot hadn’t set up the characters and the universe before hand.

The only other issue I have with the show is the iffy last season. By that season I felt like they had made such amazing progress with the characters that they had done everything with them that they could, but they still seemed to want to milk them for another story arc. I think it could have done with a couple more main characters by that time, some new people to go through the hard times rather than the poor old guys that have been through it all from season one. The journey with these same characters is great, but the anguish that they constantly go through makes it hard to watch more than one episode at a time by the end of the last season.

That being said, the second season is probably some of the best TV I have ever seen – sci-fi or otherwise. I also didn’t particularly have an issue with the end, although I know that some people did. I liked the confusion that it caused in the same way that I liked the ending of Lost – It stayed with me and gave me something to think and talk about for years afterwards.

One thing that I think makes BSG stand out from every other Sci-Fi TV show without question is it’s portrayal of women in that universe. Most sci-fi writers seem to have no idea whatsoever about how to write strong female characters who are main characters and not part of the supporting cast. Laura Roslin and Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace are probably my two favourite female characters in the show, although there are many to choose from. The best thing about these two is that they have not been portrayed as sex symbols or as damsels in distress. They have two of the most important roles on the ship (as a top-notch Viper pilot and the President of the Colonies) and are as strong and independent as the male characters – often more so – and they contribute greatly to the richness of this show.

There’s a sketch in the comedy show Portlandia where the characters sit down to watch the first episode of BSG one day and end up becomming hermits and watching every episode in one go. That’s exactly how it went down for me – barely seeing daylight for days on end, watching episode after episode! I loved that sketch.

SO this show is great. If you haven’t watched it, watch it. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re into sci-fi, because it’s more about the drama and the characters than the space battles.

So say we all.

Nic’s Top Five Battlestar Galactica Episodes:

  1. 33
  2. Exodus
  3. Crossroads
  4. Home
  5. Occupation
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