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January 30, 2007

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Will Baird

It's goooood stuff, as far as I am concerned. Unfortunately, I am the only one in my family able to watch it (other than my brother and he's in the Chicago area now). My wife finds it too dark and depressing.

Let me warn you: there is *NO* light in BSG2003. It's dark. It's oppressive. The few moments of joy get throttled by ever rising tides of evil and darkness. It's a human, well, and cylon darkness, not some mystical one.

However, the show is damned good. Wait until you get to the Starbuck/Leoben episode, well, the first one. Someone once said that producers took the 9-11 zeitgeist and blared it through the frakkin biggest stereo speakers ever conceived.

I have some issues with the show, but by and large I'm really impressed. This last season has needed tighter writing, but still I am generally very happy.

The New York City High School Math Teacher

I'm also behind on Geek TV. Mostly by design, since I was BURNED SO BAD by Babylon 5 that I can't summon the necessary patience for crap. I've never been able to watch Buffy, or Angel, or, um, that show with the people on the Island.

But I've been backing and filling on important cultural products from the early '90s. IE viz. MST3K the Hodgson years.

"By this time, my lungs were aching for air!"

Memories.

Doug M.

Will, around minute 70 of the mini-series I turned to Claudia and said, "This is /so/ post 9-11." And it is.

If one thing impressed me, it was how smoothly they managed the fanpander grafts. Yes, we're going to include lots of T&A shots of the slinky supermodel, because fanboys have to have their special video loops for when Mommy is out shopping. But they found ways to make them not only plausible but deeply creepy as well.

And the acting, while not Oscar or even Emmy quality, is also a lot better than I remember from old SF TV. (My baseline being somewhere between ST: TNG and first season Buffy.)

We'll go on for a while, anyway.


Doug M.

Gareth Wilson

David Langford keeps a record of silly media people who claim that their SF TV or movie isn't really SF, and is "about human relationships" instead. Watching Battlestar Galactica you can almost understand what they're getting at. It's not just that it's better written or acted than say, the various Star Treks. It's telling a completely different kind of story, like an HBO drama on starships. My only reservation is that they sometimes confuse making characters miserable with telling a good story. Of course the real HBO dramas do that too.

Andrew R.

NYC Math Teacher,

Watching Geek TV can be rewarding if you make allowances for genre weaknesses. B5 is the outstanding example of this fact--there are scenery chewing, way too many Epic Speeches, and a few episodes that are just cringe-inducingly bad. But if you acknowledge these problems and hold out for the good stuff, it can be a very rewarding viewing.

Likewise, Buffy and Angel definitely have inconsistent world-building and uneven acting. But taken as a whole, they're quite enjoyable.

Carlos

... did none of you ever watch geek vid in bars?

DaveMB

I watched the original Cattlecar Galactica in a dorm lounge with 30-50 fellow geek students -- I even watched the execrable Cattlecar 1980 with most of my college frat. Haven't gotten seriously into the new series yet, though I really liked the episodes of Firefly I've seen on DVD.

Francis "Toaster Lover" Burdett

Good Day Mr Muir,

You say you watched the "pilot" for BSG. Now was that the first episode of the actual series, "33", or the miniseries?

"33" description: Following the exodus of mankind from the Colonies, the fleet is attacked by the Cylons every 33 minutes as the survivors cope with their losses, compounded by their lack of sleep.

Carlos

Are there any plans on making a new Battlestar Galactica 1980? Because I'd watch that.

Luke

The first season is good for the first seven episodes.

"Flesh and Bone", which Will Baird thinks is a smashing interrogation scene is, well, bland. It's easy to see substance to it, but it's clumsy, and fails to grapple thoughtfully with its mythology.

"Tigh me up, tigh me down" was even worse; Ellen Tigh is the most regrettable character the show has--until the start of season three. She doesn't quite have the chops to be Lady Macbeth, and she doesn't sell codependency well.

"Hand of God" is an excretable Star Wars retred. It hits the right emotional keys, and does some solid character work, but, well.

The show gets its feet back under it for the season one finale.

If you'd like, I'll send season two and the Downing along in my magic gift box, just say please.

As for Buffy, to rise in defense of a fellow alumn...what makes it great is not season one. In part, that type of thing is visible in the first season finale, but doesn't reach the right queasy level of epic until Surprise/Innocence, which was when they switched writing staffs. In part, it's because the supporting cast moves out of its sub-Breakfast Clubness.

And yes, as Andrew points out, the world building is damnably weak from time to time--disastrously so after season five or so--and there are some pretty horrendous acting spots, but it's never as wooden as Angel. So, there's that.

Now, for a further vein of nerd fu: Veronica Mars. The cheerleader on Heroes isn't the heir to Buffy--this is.

That is all.

claudia

We've now watched the miniseries and all of Season One.

Luke, I agree that it got very uneven for a while. The episodes that you didn't like seemed to me the ones that most resembled the original series. (Note: the original series was, if memory serves, dreadful. I was just a kid, and I haven't seen it in almost thirty years, but I remember it sucking. Hard.)

Overall, it's... mixed. Lots of loose threads, and I will be very surprised if they manage to wrap them all up. And they have, IMO, bitten off more than they can chew.

Other hand, I'd rather have a show that's ambitious, if sometimes sloppy.

Agreed that they pulled it together nicely for the finale. That one wove the different storylines together nicely. Well directed, too.

On to Season Two.


Doug M.

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