Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why I Love Battlestar Galactica

It’s rare that I ever say this: You were right Mom, Battlestar Galactica is the best show left on TV.

For as much as I hassle my Mom on this blog, she and I are always talking about TV, and we have very similar taste. Back in January, I was mourning the lack of quality programs on TV. The Wire and The Shield had finished their run, we were months away from new episodes of Mad Men and Rescue Me, and I had been forced to watch episodes of Prison Break to get my serialized TV drama fix. Going from watching The Wire to watching Prison Break is like going home with the skanky, less attractive friend of the hot girl in the bar: an enjoyable experience, but you feel dirty for doing it and you know that you deserve more. As I was whining about this dearth in exciting programming, my mom insisted that Battlestar Galactica was worth checking out, that it was the best show left on TV; I immediately began to mock her.

When I thought of Battlestar Galactica fans, I didn’t think of erudite TV connoisseurs like myself who crave intriguing drama, like Bubs craves his next fix (if you don't get that reference stop reading and put every season of The Wire in your Netflix queue right now.) I pictured a bunch of guys who play too much World of Warcraft, unglueing themselves from the computer for an hour every week, to watch a cheesy space drama about douchebags in space fighting some other douchbags in space, only the second douchbags were wearing too much makeup because they were playing aliens. At the time I had been exposed to Battlestar Galactica only through references to the show by two TV Characters: COMIC BOOK GUY from The Simpsons and DWIGHT SCHRUTE from The Office, and those guys do little to fight my internal stereotype of Battlestar Galactica fans as losers. At the time my only argument against watching the show was that I was too cool to watch Battlestar Galactica. However, at the time Six Feet Under was the next selection in my Netflix queue, and I was not ready for a show that depressing,so I decided to give BSG a shot.

I almost didn’t stick with it. It seemed at first to be the show I was expecting it to be. Something about robots being created by man, the robots rebelling, and now the robots look like us. Granted, there were a couple of hot chicks on the show, but what show gets made without hot chicks? My initial thought was “Oooh boy, another Matrix/Terminator/I,Robot-story about machines killing their masters, how original.” I was already prepping for the ultra-cerebral, pretentious blather of Six Feet Under (Stay tuned for my Why I Love Six Feet Under Blog, coming in July 09!)

But before I knew it I was hooked, this was not your average sci-fi show. What was different? The writers had taken the traditional machine uprising story and used it as a vehicle for exploring contemporary political issues ranging from the Iraq War, to Abortion, to the limits of Executive Power. It would be simple to say that the humans represent America and the Cylons (Robots) are terrorists, but that’s not always the case. The show handles different topics in different ways: Abu Ghraib was explored when two human soldiers attempt to rape a Cylon humanoid (a robot that looks like a person) prisoner. However, these roles are flipped when the humans attempt to settle a newly discovered planet and are subsequently invaded and occupied by massive Cylon army that believes that they are doing God’s work by invading the human’s territory (Additional mindfuck alert: The humans practice polytheism while the Cylon’s believe in one true god...what?!?!)

Conservatives may fear that any product of Hollywood that touches on political subjects is going to be hyper-liberal. However the show deals with all subjects in an incredibly fair and even handed manner. Example: a season two episode deals with abortion, and while merits of pro-choice are expounded upon, the pro-lifers end up winning the episode's ideological battle.

Season four of BSG arrives in my mailbox on Friday, the same day that the series finale is scheduled to air on the Sci-Fi channel. I am incredibly engrossed by this show, but I am haunted by the fact that once this show ends, I will yet again have to deal with the lack of top notch dramas on TV these days.

Oh well, there is always the final season of Prison Break. Going home with the skanky friend is probably more action than the average BSG fan gets anyways.

The Battlestar Galactica series finale airs Friday March 20th at 9:PM on Sci-Fi.


Josh Berg said...

I know what you mean about getting hooked -- I was expecting another crappy "Seaquest" or "Stargate" series, and was very surprised when I actually saw it.

Also, don't worry too much about running out of Battlestar; "Caprica", the prequel-spinoff to BSG, is set to air later this year.

djfivenine said...

Yea dude. Battleship Galaxy is one of my top 8 shows that most people will never watch:

What I love about it is just how dark the show is. These people are just trying to delay the end of humanity.

Acting from the women are great. And the special effects are freakin awesome.