Monday, 23 November 2015

TV28: Battlestar Galactica

Note: I like to limit the photos I use on this blog to scenes from the film or show, but this photo is just too good to pass up.

While many sci-fi TV shows have an ongoing storyline, there are few I have seen that I would consider pure serials. The best of those, in my opinion, and one of the very best shows in the history of television, is the new Battlestar Galactica which aired from 2004 - 2009. 

The Cylons, in their second war against the humans who created them, have destroyed all twelve human colonies (on twelve planets), leaving only the Battlestar Galactica to carry the last surviving humans in a search for the fabled 13th colony of Earth, while the Cylons try to hunt them down. 

The captain of the ship is Admiral William Adama (played by Edward James Olmos), but his authority is limited due to the presence of President Laura Rosen (Mary McDonnell). Other major characters include Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis), Captain Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace (Katee Sackhoff), Number Six (Tricia Helfer) and Adama’s son, Capatain Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama (Jamie Bamber). All of the acting is good, but Olmos, Callis and Sackhoff stand out. 

Battlestar Galactica, made for the Sci-Fi Channel, has the highest production values, though I am not a fan of the style it uses for its space cinematography, however much it adds to the show’s strengths. Those strengths include intelligent thought-provoking writing throughout, often featuring moral dilemmas and full of religious, philosophical and political discussions that are as relevant for our time as for the distant future (indeed, it is, like Star Trek, a commentary on our time). If that’s not wonderful enough (for someone like me), this dark, raw, terrifying, intense and haunting show is as gripping as TV gets (making Star Trek, which I love, often feel like a children’s program in comparison). The best episodes left us utterly drained and I don’t recommend watching more than two or three episodes at a time. This is brilliant television that should not be missed by anyone who can handle its intensity, and, yes, its violence, which I never found gratuitous. 

Battlestar Galactica gets a very easy ****. My mug is up.


  1. Funnily enough Vic, I came this close to giving my BG boxset away to Oxfam today. I've been stuck at series 3 ep 2 for about a year now. The occupation/insurgency storyline was straining my suspension of disbelief, why don't the Cylons just evacuate the planet and nuke it from space?? Anyway, your little review might just convince me to go back to it one more time. On the other hand, maybe I'd rather be watching Firefly :)

  2. I agree that the occupation/insurgency storyline is the weakest part of BG, but it does get better again after that, with some exceptional episodes along the way. Firefly is a classic, and I'm a fan, though I don't consider it to be a pure serial like BG, so it won't be part of this series of reviews.