Saturday, May 07, 2005

Battlestar Galactica

I loved original Battlestar Galactica. I watched every night. Starbuck was one of my first TV boyfriends. I bought every book tie-in.

On viewing as an adult -- still felt the love, even though I could see the flaws.

So when the new re-imagined Battlestar Galactica came out, I was outraged. No way. Starbuck a girl? I don't think so. But the previews looked cool... and there wasn't much on... and I love end-of-the-world stories... so I watched.

Oh. my. god. Truly, one of the best shows on television, EVER. Ron Moore has done an amazing, incredible job -- when a character gets beaten up in one episode, he still has the bruises next week! And if you watch episodic television, you know how rare that type of attention to detail is. New BG has everything: great special effects; interesting, complex characters; a fully imagined world. Yet at the same time, its not very "sci fi" (or SF, as I was raised to call science fiction.) If anything, the good comparison is to a war movie; or a political drama. This is not a space opera. What else? Storylines that respect the audience; don't do the expected; unanswerable, philosophical questions.

Um, did I get too fangirl -- what is the plot? OK, in a nutshell: in a galaxy far far away, people created robots; the robots (called cylons) rebelled; war; the cylons fled and peace was declared. Unknown to the humans, the cylons evolved and now look human. They infiltrate the humans, attack, kill all about 40,000 odd who are now in a fleet of ships trying to save what is left. Its a story about survival and choices, about redefining humanity, about what makes someone -- or something -- human. And in an amazing twist, the humans are polytheistic (worship many gods) while the cylons are monotheistic.

Ron Moore knows how to write quality science fiction; his credentials include Roswell and various Star Treks (and also the late lamented Touching Evil, but lets save that for another day).

What Ron Moore also knows: fans and fandom. And he respects us. Just take a peek at what is being given to BG fans: officially, legally able to watch episodes on line; deleted scenes available on line; podcasts so that you can hear Moore's commentary as you watch the episode; and a blog all about the show. So with all this available on line, why buy the DVDs?

Because -- its what fans do. And all that Moore gives us -- its like an appetizer. Just makes us hungry for more. (Yeah, bad pun.)

But its not just respect for fans -- Moore realizes that the Internet isn't the enemy. The Internet can become part of the story shown on TV, or in a movie; can add to the story. It's not a substitute; it doesn't take away; it doesn't repeat. It brings something different to a story.

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