Monday, October 2

'Battlestar Galactica' a must-see, even for non-followers

Source: San Antonio Express-News

Even if you've never seen an episode of the critically acclaimed "Battlestar Galactica," even if science fiction is not your bag, even if you don't do TV on Fridays, there's a good reason to watch the series' two-hour, third season opener.

The world put forth will scare the living daylights out of you.

Granted, the premiere, beginning at 8 p.m. Friday on the Sci Fi Channel, will resonate stronger if you're familiar with "Battlestar's" story lines and characters.

However, anyone with a beating heart can understand the horror presented in these two dark and relentless hours. Imagine being at the mercy of a dictator or tribunal with scant appreciation for human life, much less individual rights and freedoms. The rule of this world is that the end justifies any means, no matter how cruel or nightmarish they may be.

Think of Germany under Adolph Hitler or, more recently, life at the hands of Saddam Hussein. Here, it's New Caprica under the rule of the Cylons.

This is the sci-fi part: Cylons are machines created by man. Originally crafted to make life easier, they evolved into a race that became the largest threat mankind ever faced.

They grew in numbers and in strength and modeled themselves after humans — in look and manner. They also used the concept of God to rationalize their actions.

Then came the destruction. The Cylons rose up against their creators, launching a nuclear attack that left fewer than 50,000 human survivors. On the run and in search of a new home planet, the humans try to forge a life aboard ships — some civilian, some military. The central fighting ship is the Battlestar Galactica, where most of the main characters have lived for two seasons.

These characters are emotional, passionate and deeply flawed. They're also courageous to a fault and put their lives on the line every day. On a visual level, you won't be able to take your eyes off them. A rundown:

Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos). The trusted commanding officer of Galactica, Adama embodies wisdom, strength and leadership.

Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell). The former Secretary of Education, Roslin rose to the presidency out of necessity. She was the highest-ranked official who survived the attack. McDonnell imbues her with values, dignity and love. In the Season 2 finale, she was deposed by the election of the current president, who is . . .

Gaius Baltar (James Callis). The most intriguing character of all, Baltar is a brilliant scientist who goes frighteningly wrong. His weaknesses are sex, lust for power and a desire for self-protection. Think J.R. Ewing for the intellectual set.

Number Six (Tricia Helfer). This stunning Cylon exerts control over Baltar and guides him to the decision that could mean the annihilation of his fellow humans. Her saving grace is a hunger for love that makes her more human than her fellow Cylons.

Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) and Kara Thrace (Katee Sackhoff). These two are the soldiers you want in your corner. Both are as human as human can get; they're buff, beautiful and intensely brave warriors.

Sharon (Grace Park). The most sympathetic Cylon on the show, Sharon was a trusted pilot of Galactica until her programming kicked in and she realized she was a machine. Instead of submitting to her race, she continues to identify with the humans and help them in their fight for survival. She also experienced love with a human and has dealt with the sacrifices that come with it.

It would be impossible to delve into all the delicious nuances that set "Battlestar Galactica" apart from other sci-fi shows. I'll only say this is television that shouldn't be missed. It will make you feel, think and, best of all, talk, an inspiration for conversation far into the night.

Footnote: For a more complete recap, watch "The Story So Far" at 4 p.m. Friday on Sci-Fi. Or if you're really ambitious, catch last season's seven final episodes, starting at 7:30 a.m. that same day.

Newshound: SciFi

No comments: