BattleStar Season Three Premiere
Just peeped the season premiere of BattleStar Galactica. Holy motherfucking shit. These people are dropping bombs. I suggest you start watching.
The series has been something I enjoyed from the start because it innovates and pushes the envelope on both stylistic and substantive levels. There's been no other "dark, sexy, science fiction" on television that I can recall -- the only thing that really comes close at all is Ridley Scott's Blade Runner -- but this season the production values seem to be up even a notch further.
I deeply enjoy and appreciate the intelligence with which this piece of culture is crafted, and that which it grants the audience. In addition to being dark and sexy, it's also very smart. This is not TV for morons -- which I think, by the way, means that it is what most people really want; which is to say, high quality shit.
It's on the level of a feature film, their technique: the way in which they utilize jump-cuts and cinematic camera angles, how they'll play with narrative time. For instance, the producers feel free to intersperse scenes that were never aired in the "previously on BattleStar Galactica," and have made a practice of including quick flashes of the episode-to-come in the opening credits. That's stylish.
And then there's the richness of the settings, costuming, etc; the willingless to be frankly sexual, or ugly, or to juxtapose music with action. The attention to minor details, small shots and gestures. The commitment of tha actors and their work is tremendous: British actor Jamie Bamber (aka Lee "Apollo" Odama) not only rocks a great standard american accent, but also put on about 45 pounds for this season. Who the fuck does that for TV, let alone a season?
Then there's the subject matter. The series has always reveled in my favorite aspects of science-fiction: that being the freedom the genre grants to explore the abstractly philosophical and contemporarily political without seeming instantaniously dated, forced or trite. In the past the show has explored such dry (and topical) subjects as the necessity for civilian control over military forces, the psychology of genocide, and the binding nature of such quintesential human pursuits as love, religion and xenophobia.
This season they dive right in to the muck of occupation and insurgency, complete with suicide bombings, torturous detention, collaborators, newborn babies, the whole bit. It's really quite a bold direction to go.
And above and beyond all this it's good storytelling: the grizzled colonel, the fat commander, the captive ace pilot, the mystery of the cylons... it seems to be shaping up into a dynamite setting for season three.
I have no doubt that future editions will diverge into genre arcania at points. We'll no doubt have episodes devoted to questional character development and numerous wonky explanations of how things work or what they mean, but that's part of the layer cake that is science fiction, and most of the time it's enjoyable even when it's a bit dorky. I'm happy to report that it seems the creative team and cast have brought back their A-game, and are making the best damn SciFi around here in 2006. I'm looking forward to what's next.