Some TV thoughts.
The best show on television. Period.
If you don’t know anything about Battlestar Galactica, it’s not your fault. A dozen or so sci-fi series hit varying degrees of cult recognition over the past decade (Farscape, Babylon 5, Deep Space 9, etc.) and at first glance BSG seems to fall into the same category …Geek-TV for lack of a better moniker.
To write off the series as another goofy Duck Dodgers space opera would be a mistake because BSG is probably the most acutely realized forum for reflection on the state of the world that TV currently has on offer. The producers and writers have redistilled science fiction back to its original form, one more in line with the genres’ original purveyors (Aldous Huxley, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, among others) who wrote stories set in the future but decidedly about the issues of the day using allegory and socio-political commentary.
BSG is a hybrid of these many writing styles. The plot oscillates between being a cautionary tale about technology, a dissection of the dynamic between the state and the military, a straight up political allegory, a sweeping tale about heroism and sacrifice, a mystery, a religious quest, but most of all it’s a topnotch drama about how people face uncertainty and challenge. The show is immensely bleak because it’s about our time and our failures. Without getting into the specifics of the plot, the warring sides fight and kill each other with righteous conviction and religious zeal. The president has visions and claims the Gods have shown her the way. There are episodes about genocide, prisoner torture, invasion, fuel shortages, labour relations, class unrest and a myriad of other contemporary subjects. In short, BSG explores issues as topical as any front newspaper section.
There is no doubt that you have to enter the spirit of the series and look past a bit of testosterone-heavy nonsense along the way but there’s something special waiting for those willing to make the investment. As the series enters it’s 4th and final season, I have no idea what to expect but if it’s anything like the first three, it’s going to be astonishing.
The 2nd best show on TV
Glenn Close and a terrific cast star in this complex and well-constructed 13 episode series about the efforts to prosecute a wealthy corporate sleazebag who presided over the collapse of his company leaving thousands of employees holding the bag and him with millions. I’m normally not a big fan of plot timeline jumps but the writers of this series have made it work beautifully. Corruption, legal tampering, backroom deals, unclear allegiances and what appears to be a rather nasty series of murders ratchets the tension up. A riveting crime drama/mystery that I can’t recommend highly enough.