"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

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.


Great write up. I'm 100% with you on the new season thus far.

It will be interesting to me to see what happens with the audience. This is one of the few shows that my Dad and I enjoy equally. When we spoke about it last week though, he was griping that he might stop watching if it continues along this trajectory.

He's an ex Marine (vietnam) Republican who's voted for The Bush clan 4 times now . . . He's definitely been disturbed by the direction the show has taken, but its hard to get a read on just whether or not he's uncomfortable because of the parallels to current events and his support of those events, or if he just wants to see shit flying around in space.

We'll see what happens. At the very least I'm goinig to have some interesting dinner conversation when I visit the parents.

Oh, and Apollo's wearing a body suit. I read it on TV Tattle.

Good catch on the fat-suit. They do a good job with the makeup, because his face carries it too. But frankly it's a little unbelievable that an established actor would do that to their body for a cable tv series, and I think the plot arc we all sense requires the character to "shape up" on a shooting timetable that a human metabolism just can't possibly match.

I wonder if they'll loose many viewers with the current political reprecussions. The thing to me is that it's not an overt parallel of what's going on now in Iraq, it's just a sympathetic portreyal of an insurgency. I mean, you could get the same topical mileage out of a show about "le Resistance" during WWII, or even a story about guerilla resistence and fighting in our own revolutionary period. Is it simply unacceptable to show an occupying power in a negative light, and if so, what does that really say about the moral foundation of our current policy?

I have to say my favorite moment thus far (I only watched the first episode and the pre-credits part of the next) was Dr. Baltars cognative-dissonant bleat that "nobody has been tortured!"