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The Quixotic Engineer

Monday, January 14, 2008

Battlestar Galactica

I don't watch much television, but when I do like a show I follow it religiously. My favorite series of all time was Firefly, a peerless science fiction series that was tragically cancelled after 14 episodes. I plan to elaborate on my love for that particular show someday, but for now let's just say that there's been a hole in my sci-fi loving heart since 2002. My enjoyment of the new Dr. Who is a poor substitute, with its lack of an overarching narrative and generally poorly developed characters.

Battlestar Galactica

When my friend's father, Dave, told me that he was enjoying the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series, I was sceptical at first. Dave is a big fan of sci-fi television, but he also enjoys series such as Stargate and Babylon Five that I never really got into. I also felt that a show whose cast of characters were primarily military and government officials would be too dry; I prefer characters who are on the gray side of the law, such as Malcolm Reynolds and Han Solo.

However, last week on a whim I broke down and asked to borrow his Season 1 DVD set. It took a while to get going, but I'm now 4/5ths in and completely enthralled. Some of the characters, such as President Roslin, Colonel Tigh and Dr. Baltar, are interesting people with complex motivations. The show also does a good job of keeping enough hidden to allow for a perpetual sense of mystery. I'm already speculating as to which of the crew members are really Cylon sleeper agents.

It's not Firefly, but it'll do for now.

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  • Thanks for the recommendation - I've heard good things about BSG, even from 'non geeks' :)

    As for Firefly, I was really late to it - I watched the series a few months ago on DVD after finding it at the local library. I was totally floored and I think it may be my favourite TV show ever. I was actually really sad while watching it because I knew there were only 12 episodes. And of course... how can one not fall in love with Kaylee? :)

    By Anonymous Nav, At January 14, 2008 at 10:38 PM  

  • Firefly is the only show I would universally recommend to anyone. I've shown episodes to many friends with very different tastes and they've all ended up falling in love with it. I've seriously considered buying 3-4 copies of the box set to give as gifts when I don't have any other ideas.

    I hope you enjoy BSG! There's a lot of exposition at the beginning, but by the middle of the first season things have really gotten going.

    By Blogger Matthew Gallant, At January 14, 2008 at 11:10 PM  

  • Oh, and strangely enough BSG also has a cute mechanic girl. Kaylee still wins for being extra shiney ;)

    ...I'll be in my bunk

    By Blogger Matthew Gallant, At January 14, 2008 at 11:35 PM  

  • BSG definitely isn't for everyone. It's not light entertainment that's for sure. It can be emotionally exhausting, but because it's oh so engaging..

    Even though it's current cliff hanger has got me supremely worried and frustrated for it's future. I still think it's the best realised Sci-fi I've ever seen. 10 points for grit and going all the way.

    I've been watching Stargate Atlantis, I agree that it's nothing special. I'm ashamed to say I enjoy turning my brain off when I watch it, I think that's appeal. I'd be embarrassed to watch it with someone else though.

    I loved firefly, but it felt too much like a situation comedy, in that not very subtle American style I get so bored of. It's really just like Buffy (which figures) fun, soap opera like at times, but not much more. No offence to those who worship it intended.

    Isn't it great that we have a range to choose from though? The Sci-Fi channel is great. It's a real pity Firefly got cancelled.

    Dr. Who and Torchwood are okay. Torchwood can seem a bit gimmicky, but it was a fun romp at times. It's worth watching just for Captain Jack, he'd make a really great space pirate by the way. He's got inherent swashbuckling tendencies.
    Dr Who had some really fantastic episodes last season with Tennant as the Doctor, and Martha, but it was so inconsistent. It had a really terrible last 2 episodes. Every time Russell T Davies take over he feels a need to destroy the earth and somehow make it all better again (every time!), way way too dramatic. Go to another fucking planet you morons, you've got a Tardis!! (oh and take me with you). The best episode last season imo was Blink (and the doctor was hardly in it!!). It's a stand alone one and if you haven't seen any of them, it's totally worth checking out. Super creepy. All you need to know before hand is that the Doctor is a time traveller. It was Season 3, Episode 10. I just wish they'd stick with that kind of minimalist style and make it more inspired by it's long tradition.

    I think next gen Star Trek is still my overall favourite though. It was such a great ideas show, it wasn't about realism (like BSG). Sure it had some pretty embarrassing flaws at times, but over all there was just so many episodes of quality that it can't be beat. Patrick Stewart always put the show in his pocket whenever he just walked in, plus he's sexy.

    Sorry, rambling. Sci-fi is such a fun passion eh?

    By Blogger Tim, At January 15, 2008 at 2:09 AM  

  • Also.. Did you know Nicki Clyne (aka Cally from BSG) made a guest appearance in the
    vodcast? Episode 17: Space Cadet. As an alien of course.

    By Blogger Tim, At January 15, 2008 at 2:14 AM  

  • erk link messed up. : Tiki Bar TV Vodcast..

    By Blogger Tim, At January 15, 2008 at 2:15 AM  

  • Hey Tim,

    Yeah, Blink was terrific, I wrote about it specifically if you remember :P I also really loved The Empty Child from last season

    The Christmas episode of Dr. Who this year was rubbish, someone sacrificed themselves valiantly to save the group every 5 minutes :(

    I gave Torchwood a shot, but I just couldn't see past the cheese to enjoy it. Captain Jack was great, but I preferred him as a rebel and a scoundrel rather than a heroic team leader. I also thought the rest of the cast was pretty weak.

    From what I understand there's some kind of problem with Season 4 of BSG and the writer's strike, and the series might not be finished? Why must the shows I love always be cancelled!

    As for the Tiki Bar TV Vodcast, all I can say is O_o

    By Blogger Matthew Gallant, At January 15, 2008 at 2:32 AM  

  • I haven't watch the xmas special, Kylie Minogue being in it was enough to inform me of it's gist.

    There's a chance there will be a settlement soon with the writers strike. The producers are going to have to make a deal, they just can't do without their writers. I'm actually really pro the strike. If anything it makes the producers less powerful, which is a good thing.

    I'm sure they'll properly finish BSG eventually, but I just really hope they don't try to do it without their proper writers and screw it up. Last I heard next season is supposed to be the final season where the whole story is wrapped up. I really hope they do, and do it properly. They really can't just follow the pattern of growing complexity, deaths and unexpected plot twists forever. Then maybe they can make spin off series to milk it.

    For once I'd like to see a Sci-fi series end on it's own terms on a high, while in it's peak.

    By Blogger Tim, At January 15, 2008 at 3:00 AM  

  • It'd be a gorram frakking shame to see it end any other way.

    By Blogger Matthew Gallant, At January 15, 2008 at 3:45 AM  

  • It's been killing me because I was still working through season 2 of BSG when season 3 started airing on Sci-Fi, and rather than skip ahead I figured I'd wait for the DVDs. Apparently they're finally coming out in March.

    Although I have to say that I've heard mixed things about season 3, and for me the show definitely seemed to peak at the "Pegasus" two-parter midway through season 2. That one encapsulated everything great about the show, and then it sort of slid back from there.

    By Blogger Mitch Krpata, At January 16, 2008 at 1:20 PM  

  • I was assuming that my friend had season 3 too, I had no idea it wasn't out yet! It's going to be a long wait.

    By Blogger Matthew Gallant, At January 16, 2008 at 2:56 PM  

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