Posts Tagged ‘Sci-fi network

03
Dec
09

Season 3 – BSG- Breaking Scifi Greatness

Now we arrive at season 3 of BSG, and things really start to get out of hand. Let’s take a look shall we? If you haven’t been keeping up, at least go read my season 2 post, where I state the Golden Rule of BSG.

All these spoilers have happened before, and all of them will happen again.

We are dropped into this season on the planet, and we spend several episodes dealing with getting off of said planet. The escape sequence is really great, and it will go down as one of the best special effect sequences in this show. There’s one episode about suicide bombings where the writers really don’t have the guts to get into the morality of it, they seem to be using it more as politically hot window dressing than anything else.

“A Measure of Salvation” is one of those profoundly irritating Golden Rule of BSG type episodes. Cylon physiology is not something that the writers have nailed down at all, but it’s something that they keep using in their plotlines. The virus that infects and kills them, but not humans makes no sense for reasons I won’t get into. It also commits the same Battlestar sin that the Pegasus arc did, by giving Roslin the “tough decision” of using biological warfare, but then robbing her of the consequences of it by having Helo disrupt their plan.

“Hero” is truly one of the worst episodes on the show in terms of Cylon Detection and Battlestar’s retroactive writing. Here, we see a guy get on the ship and get tested by the cylon detector, by the doctor on the ship, without the nuke, and it works and shows him as human. So…. if we remember waaaay back to the earlier episodes, we saw the same detector display red for Boomer, when Baltar lied to her. So, the detector can display both a correct positive (Boomer) and a correct negative (Bulldog) without baltar and without the nuke. Therefore, the thing works. Therefore, they should have tested people in key positions with a tribunal of 13 people (they know there are 12 cylons) and bam, they could have caught them all.

Although, “catching them all” isn’t all that important (unless you play pokemon). The cylons, at this point in the show, carry little to no menace at all. We keep hearing about “the final five”, but this is a race of machines that can’t get the job done with their unlimited army and the spies they do have. They’re no longer a believable threat, they’re these generic antagonists that the heroes occasionally swat at, because the heroes are the important ones.

Here is when I really realized that the Cylons as a race are written so that they don’t have to be written. There are way too many examples, but the writers seem to come up with a fact about the cylons only when it’s absolutely necessary to the story they are telling, and this fact never needs to be binding. One easy example is the number three stating that six killing her with a rock was “the first cylon on cylon murder in their race’s history”, when this just isn’t the case, since Boomer shot a six in one of the very first episodes. This is easy fact checking type stuff, guys!

The standalone episodes towards the end of the season return, once again showing us the Golden Rule of BSG in full force. “The Woman King” has everybody on the crew be extremely concerned with what colony people are from (their treatment of racism) for one and only one episode. “Dirty Hands” addresses the working class dudes in the fuel ships, whom we never hear from again.

This season also starts a new running trick that the show pulls. Whenever the writers need to make anything important, they say that it somehow “points the way to Earth”. Even the Final Five supposedly “know the way to Earth” at some point in the show, but this is given up in favor of Starbuck’s magical ship knowing the way instead.

Starbuck’s return is hardly surprising, since the show is absolutely in love with the character. What is surprising is the nature of her return, which is something I’ll address in the next post.

She’s important though, so you can bet she knows the way to earth.

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03
Dec
09

Season 2 – BSG – Bumpy Second Go

Here we are on season two of our review of Battlestar Galactica. I advise you to read the season one post first, but if you’re a rebel or a Cylon you might not want to just to spite me.

Spoilers are hidden throughout this post, there are many copies.

Season two starts off with a really great series of episodes following the finale of the first season, which I neglected to mention in the last post, but it’s shocking and pretty excellent. Several episodes are devoted to getting several groups of characters back together and restoring the status quo.

We need to stop here, because we have hit the first truly hate-worthy episode of BSG, “Flight of the Phoenix”. In this episode, Boomer hooks herself up to a temporarily networked Galactica computer to repel the Cylon computer virus. She manages to somehow make a counter virus or throw the virus back at them or something, because it shuts off all the enemy ships and makes them easily killed.

This, once again, raises several questions about Cylon Detection which are certainly still looming from season one. We’re told they’re identical to humans in every way physically and therefore they cannot be detected, but she can hook into a computer and hack it with her blood or her neurons or whatever. Alright… no.

Moving on, the way she shuts off the largest force of cylon ships is an easy way to get a dramatic ending to the episode. I don’t know why the colonials don’t use her to shut off EVERY cylon ship they encounter from then on. They have the equivalent of a technological superweapon.

This is where we must stop and forge what I will call the Golden Rule of Battlestar Galactica:

The creators of Battlestar Galactica will sacrifice ANYTHING they have built up or previously established in favor of the moment”

The show is very good at drama and has some really good actors (Mary McDonnell rules), but we’ll see as time goes on that again and again this show feels no obligation to stay consistent with anything if it makes for good drama. As I said, the drama is really good, but it’s falsely earned, and doesn’t fit into the series in a meaningful way, it’s just drama in a vacuum.

The pegasus arc is a pretty satisfying series of episodes that puts the crew of BSG up against a parallel crew, offering for a great contrast in command structures and whatnot. It’s tense, but it also starts the second problem with the later seasons of this show, where they get their key figures to make “tough decisions”, but unlike Lee in season one, they don’t have to actually live with them. We see this very clearly when Adama resolves after much deliberation to have Cain murdered. Of course, the show makes it so he doesn’t have to live with this decision by having the escaped Cylon prisoner do it instead. It’s an uncharacteristically neat ending to the arc, but not a completely awful one.

After this, we have a series of one off episodes, most likely because the show is now a 20 episode season instead of 13. “Black Market” is truly atrocious, and it demonstrates the Golden Rule of BSG very well. Lee is shown to have been sleeping with a prostitute for a while, SHOCKING! This is dropped after this episode and never mentioned again. The moment wins out in BSG every time.

When I first saw this show, I was bothered by the way Moore shakes up the series at the end of this season. Looking back on it now, I’ve warmed to it a little. It’s a little bit of a hollow gesture, since all the ramifications are dealt with by episode 6 of the next season though.

This is the last season of Battlestar that is at all salvageable. Get out while you still can… or follow me to the next post, where we’ll tear down season 3.