November 23, 2009 · 11:28 pm
“The Vengeance Formulation”
November 23rd, 2009
Last week, the show chose to split its story between something that works (Sheldon and Penny) and something that doesn’t (Leonard, Wolowitz and Raj on their own), resulting in an episode that was a mixed bag (although perhaps a bit better than I gave it credit for, as my distaste for the latter perhaps overshadowed the strength of the former).
This week, however, the show returns to more of an ensemble structure, and while nothing reaches the heights of adhesive ducks it’s a solid episode as a whole because it manages a reasonably emotional Wolowitz storyline with a cheap but not ineffective Sheldon storyline. There was every chance for these two elements to go off the rails (based on both the show’s tradition of misusing Wolowitz and the presence of Kripke), so the fact that they stayed moderately in orbit makes this a victory, if not exactly an overwhelming success.
Continue reading →
Filed under The Big Bang Theory
Tagged as Bernadette, Cylon and Colonist, Episode 9, Fantasy, Foam, Helium, Katee Sackhoff, Keyboard, Kripke, Leonard, Lip Synching, Lisp, NPR, Penny, Raj, Season 3, Sheldon, Song, The Vengeance Formulation, Three Dates, Wolowitz
March 21, 2009 · 3:02 am
“Daybreak Part Two”
Series Finale – March 20th, 2009
“Ever since we found out who…what we are…”
When the Battlestar Galactica Miniseries first began, there were two main questions: who are these people who are leading humanity forward after this devastating tragedy, and what is the nature of the Cylons who caused that devastation? It was part of that central binary the show put forward, humans vs. Cylons, but from the very beginning these are not two separate questions. In the character of Boomer, this balance between who/what was inherently questioned, as those who straddled the line between human and Cylon were forced to confront these types of questions. When the Final Four Cylons were revealed, they all fell on different sides: Tyrol accepted “what” begrudgingly in the quotation above, Tory downright embraced it, while Tigh refused to abandon “who” and continued to emphasize his personal identity.
At this point, we as viewers are all people straddling this line between “who” and “what” in the shadow of “Daybreak,” a series finale which struggles less from pressure within the show itself and more from the external pressure of fan expectation. The problem is that we, as fans, grapple with similar problems: are we concerned, moving into the finale, about who these characters are and what journey they have taken, or are we too caught up in the “plot holes” or the questions to which we demand answers? It’s not a new binary amongst viewers: for ages people have been complaining about episodes for having too few explosions, or for being too slow, or for not doing enough to advance the show’s complicated plot structure. Whereas for most of those episodes, I’ve noticed strong character development, effective mood building, and an almost cathartic sense of pacing that is part of what makes the series more than just science fiction.
“Daybreak” is an episode that, more than answering which side of this binary people should fall on, should destroy it altogether. This isn’t about plot, or character, but the intersection of these ideas. In the show’s fourth season, amidst some admittedly complicated and on occasion bungled storylines, one thing that has remained consistent is the idea that the definitions of human and Cylon are melding together. Much as Edward James Olmos argued against race being used as a cultural determinant during the United Nations panel earlier in the week, we should be beyond the point of considering these people purely along the lines of human vs. Cylon, just as we should be beyond the point of considering the show in terms of plot vs. character.
So, let there be no red line drawn down the deck: with this epic, sprawling, action-filled and philosophically-driven finale, Ronald D. Moore has accomplished what he set out to do. He manages to meld together the cheeky with the solemn, the profound with the surreal, the whimsical with the emotional, in a way that gives you that sense that destiny is not a four-letter word, that plot and character are neither slave to the other, and that whatever this show accomplished it will go down in a fashion befitting of one of television’s most effective pieces of programming, period, independent of its science fiction heritage.
So say, if not us all, then at least this particular believer.
Continue reading →
Filed under Battlestar Galactica
Tagged as 2009, Adama, Analysis, Anders, Angels, Athena, Baltar, Bear McCreary, Boomer, Cabin, Caprica Six, Cavil, Centurions, Daybreak, Daybreak Part 2, Doc Cottle, Earth, Edward James Olmos, Ellen Tigh, Entertainment, Episode 20, Finale, Flashbacks, Gaius Baltar, Galen Tyrol, Head Six, Hera, Hoshi, Hybrid, Identity, Kara Thrace, Katee Sackhoff, Laura Roslin, Lee Adama, Love, Mark Sheppard, Mary McDonnell, Michael Rymer, Mitochondrial Eve, Part Two, Quest, Racetrack, Retrospective, Review, Romo Lampkin, Ronald D. Moore, Sci-Fi, Season 4, Series Finale, Starbuck, SyFy, Television, The Colony, The Plan, Tigh, Tory, William Adama
February 28, 2009 · 1:56 am
“Someone to Watch Over Me”
February 27th, 2009
For an episode driven by the power of melody to transcend minds and to bring people together, there was a return to a familiar rhythm to “Someone to Watch Over Me,” a return to form for Battlestar Galactica as it heads into its final three episodes. What’s been missing in the last few episodes is the sense that this is all coming together to add up to something, that what we’ve been seeing and the answers we’ve been searching for have been worth our time. While, perhaps, the content of “No Exit” or “Deadlock” will make a difference in the end, neither episode in and of itself added up to something profound, something progressive, or something that gives us some peace of mind that the show knows where its most powerful material lies as it heads towards its finale.
But this week this all changed under the guidance of Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, delivering their last episode with a deft sense of pacing and momentum. It is an episode that leans heavily on the past to demonstrate the power that it has over us, and then allows that to play out in the present in a way that is simultaneously revelatory and, more importantly, diversionary from the laidback, almost nonchalant path the show has been on since the end of the mutiny. The result is a clear path to the future, centering its storyline on the two major unanswered questions and using both of them to drive us into something approximating a climax. More importantly, though, the actions in the episode are ones which actually have broad implications for almost everyone: while the most recent drama has remained far too isolated to one side of humans and Cylons, here we finally have something that everyone can get really frakking pissed about.
And, well – finally.
Continue reading →
Filed under Battlestar Galactica
Tagged as All Along the Watchtower, Bear McCreary, Boomer, Bradley Thompson, BSG, Cavil, Cylon, Daniel, David Weddle, Dreilide Thrace, Entertainment, Episode 17, Galactica, Galen Tyrol, Grace Park, Hera, Hybrid, Kara Thrace, Katee Sackhoff, Love, Michael Nankin, Opera House, Piano, Ronald D. Moore, Roslin, Season 4, Season 4.5, Someone to Watch Over Me, Someone to Watch Over Me Review, Starbuck, Television, Tyrol