Friday, September 22

High-flying sci-fi: 'Battlestar Galactica'

Source: The Toledo Blade

Science fiction is easy to knock - what with its symphonic bombast, earnestness, ethereal flakiness, adolescent misogyny, and blinkered fans obsessed with the elemental composition of Mining Colony Y-72, located six moons from the Whoreallycaresian galaxy.

It's so easy to dismiss science fiction as goofball and inbred that when the genre, in the words of William Shatner, gets a life, it's not a small thing.

Because more than any other popular form of fiction, sci-fi is in a uniquely potent position: Not only can it speculate wildly about what will happen - wild speculation is the whole point.

That said, what makes a show like the Sci Fi Channel's terrific updating of Battlestar Galactica one of the best series on television is not the speculation but the way its imagination is never far from its timeliness. New on DVD this week is Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5 (Universal, $49.98), and mark these words:

It'll outlive Star Trek.

Only a couple of seasons in (season three starts Oct. 6), this formerly corny intergalactic property has become a provocative and resonant voice against fanaticism, addressing topics such as religion, politics, racism, terrorism, questions of security, and what it means to be human. There are special-effects battles, but what grabs you are the personal wars, between bad guys and good guys, and more interestingly, between good guys and other good guys.

Star Trek wasn't averse to being topical, but this new Battlestar is so frank in its human frailties (and sexuality), it makes the Enterprise crew members come off like dispassionate Borgs. Gone are the chrome robot warriors and cute cyborg canines of the original '70s kitsch-a-thon - a blatant Star Wars knock-off, and not without ardent fans - and in their place, a rich drama about the last remnants of a civilization inching their way to Earth.

It's worth noting the creator of this unlikely reinvention is Ronald D. Moore, whose credits include producing and writing episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Watching Battlestar Galactica, it's as if he's decided that far in the future, if the human race is reduced to a single ship soaring through the galaxy in a desperate bid for survival, we'll get really sick of each other.

Newshound: SciFi

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