#BSG – A Geek Tragedy

Posted by & filed under Sci-Fi, TV.

Its nine minutes until 10:00pm on a Friday night.  It may be the nine most antagonizing moments in a geek’s life.  That is because this Friday night is a very special night for geeks around the world.  For in seven minutes now, the final season of Battlestar Galactica will start with the season premier.  For many of us, we are currently watching the last episode of last season.

Its with baited breath that we wait for the beginning of the end of what may very well be the best drama on television that no one watches, except for us geeks.  Ten episodes remain to answer last seasons cliff-hanger and to answer questions that have been nurtured through the entire series.

Many of us grew up with the original series in the 70’s.  It was cheesy TV sci-fi.  The special effects were cutting edge for the time but they reused the same combat sequences over and over.  The characters were ones that we fell in love with.  But it was a show of lightly connected individual shows.  The characters, though we loved them, were shallow and perfect.

When the Sci-Fi Network announced the new series and we got a glimpse of what was to come, we saw a very edgy, updated series that trampled on several pieces of gospel from the original series. The prime example:  “What the frak?  Starbuck’s a girl?” blazoned forums and chat rooms.  It wasn’t just a remake of the one Character.  Major important plot lines were changed.  Cylons now existed in two models, the old tin can’s from the old series and new “Human” like models.

This change turned off a lot of purists, but for many we latched on to the new series with a passion.

Accepting change is hard for many people.  But many times change is good and for those who stayed with the show, they have found a true gem.

Unlike the ’70’s series, the characters in this show are complex and well thought out.  Almost all have major quirks or dark twists.  For instance, the character “Apollo” in the 70’s was a hot shot fighter pilot and an all around “Captain America”.  This version of “Apollo” is a guy name Lee, who’s fighter call-sign is “Apollo” and he’s one angry and torn character.

In addition to these great characters, the cinematography is edgy and as dark as the characters and plot twists.  It is shot in a fashion that has a very editorial / documentary feel to it which helps the viewer tie in to the show even strong.

But more importantly the story has and is intriguing.  Its a show you have to watch from the beginning.  The episodes are so intertwined its very hard to pick it up in the middle.  Luckily for those interested, DVD’s of the previous seasons exist.  There are only a hand full of episodes that stand alone.  The long term questions are not over played but carefully weaved into the short term situations the cast finds themselves.

The problem is this show is never going to be known by the masses.  Sure, its tucked away on the Sci-Fi channel, which most people don’t get unless they have digital cable, DirecTV or Dish, but the fact that its a sci-fi show is an instant reason to turn away.  Science scares people who don’t love it.  Add the fiction twist and its just too much for non-geeks to enjoy.  They will never know how great this series is.

In a way I’m glad that this has stayed on Sci-Fi.  Had NBC tried to bring it to network, we would have ended up with another “Bionic Woman” failure, where “Suits” would micro-manage the show to a total train wreck killing the wonderful freedom the directors have had in creating this dark, deadly, dreary darling of a show.

Battlestar Galactia is an expensive show to produce.  The cast, save a couple are not household names, is large.  There are dozens of main characters and dozens more in supporting roles.  The Special Effects, space scenes, variety of sets all have the feel of a big budget Hollywood production.  No wonder the show is coming to an end.  An expensive show on a station that few people watch can’t go on for ever.

So its with sadness that we know tonight starts the beginning of the end, but for the next 9 episodes now (the 1st show of the season is now over and all I’m going to say is “Wow”) we can loose ourselves in this show that is a much better drama than anything shown on the big 4 networks.  Yes, its better than CSI and better than Desperate Housewives but the masses will never know.

Or never care.

*Sigh*

5 Responses to “#BSG – A Geek Tragedy”

  1. Magnus

    Look at it this way.

    We had to lose Farscape to gain Battlestar Galactica.

    Who knows what the next shining beacon for geeks might be? I don’t think it’s the upcoming Stargate series, but maybe the next thing after that.

  2. lkm

    So many folks I admire and respect are fans of this series, so I keep trying to figure out why.
    I forced myself to watch all of last night’s premiere (usually I don’t last that long) and I keep having the same reactions:
    * I don’t like any of these characters;
    * They’re all terrifically unhappy;
    * The “background” music is ‘orrible.
    Now, I AM a major sci-fi fan (and pretty deep into the geek world, too. But I just can’t fathom this one. Probably because of reason No. 2 (above); the sci-fi I’ve loved the most (“Doctor Who,” “Stargate SG-1” until Richard Dean Anderson left) has had a sense of humor. BSG has none.
    Comrades, please help me understand what I’m missing?

  3. admin

    Well starting with #3, I really don’t know if I’ve ever paid attention to the background music before so I will have to pay attention to it.

    As for #2, this is a story of a post-apocalyptic society on the run from another society bent on genocide. Its the story of a holocaust and frankly, there isn’t a log of humor to be had. I think the light hearted humor was a weakness of the original series, and I for one appreciate the realism that this series has without it. I suppose its a point to agree-to-disagree on.

    As for not liking the characters, part of that is tied to #2 above. They are dark, moody and conflicted. The series has done a very good job in building who they are since the beginning through bits in each episode. So if you haven’t watched it from the beginning they can be difficult.

  4. 5x5

    @lkm The things I enjoy about BSG
    * The general plot of lost in space, trying to find earth, evil bad guys (Cylons), mystery, suspense.
    * The characters ARE human or as human as a Cylon can be. They have feelings and show them. They overreact and are outright asses sometimes. They do great things. They make horrible choices. I get to watch them learn and regret their mistakes.

    I never noticed the background music either. I consider that good, because I would not want to be distracted by it.

  5. simplyRik

    @lkm you would have to start at the beginning I feel to truly appreciate the full story and its evolution. That is what I had to do as I was into season 3 when I picked it up. From the first episode on the first disc of the first season I was hooked.

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