Tag Archives: SciFi

(Mid) Season Finale: Battlestar Galactica – “Revelations”

“Revelations”

June 13th, 2008

Since New Caprica, Battlestar Galactica has been a series defined by the intersection of two races – of their people, their beliefs, their actions and their futures. At odds with one another from the moment the Miniseries began, humans and Cylons have slowly but surely centralized into two groups of people who are searching for a greater purpose and a greater understanding. When the Cylons occupied humanity on New Caprica, Caprica Six and the other Cylon leaders felt that they were meant to co-exist – of course, one cannot force such a peace as easily as they had hoped.

No, it takes the right moment for that to happen, which is perhaps the very definition the show’s purpose in the first half of its fourth and final season. It seems as if the search for Earth is, in fact, that point of intersection: conveniently for the series’ narrative, the human desire to discover a new home on Earth requires the discovery of the Final Cylon models, the discovery of which is the goal of the current batch of renegade Cylons. And so we have spent nine episodes bringing these two groups together, now finally reaching the point where all the pieces are in play.

We started the season with a mysteriously untouched viper and four newly found Cylons, and they return here to ask the question of everyone on each side of the conflict: are you willing to accept the intertwined fate of these two peoples, or will old wounds win the day? As the driving force behind a tense showdown with an infinite number of potential outcomes, “Revelations” proves something we knew all along: that few shows on television can have us questioning everything as easily as this one, and that no show on television can measure up because of it. Plus, after all the questions are over, we’re left facing an answer we never saw coming, and a future that waiting seven months for will be, well, a frakkin’ bitch.

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Preparing for ‘Revelations’: Revisiting Battlestar Galactica Season Four Thus Far

It’s apparently streaming on SciFi.com, so I’m avoiding any and all discussion of anything even close to tonight’s midseason finale of Battlestar Galactica, “Revelations.” All signs point towards an intense and dramatic hour of television, so I’ll definitely be bracing myself for something engaging this evening. For now, however, thought I’d leave some links to my reviews of each week’s episode (With a pull quote!) so that we can remind ourselves what’s happened so far, and mentally prepare ourselves for what should prove a most stimulating forty three minutes.

After the jump, meanwhile, you can see how my views on certain episodes may have changed over time.

BSG Season Four So Far

“He That Believeth in Me”

“I actually quite loved the episode: laughed out loud, gasped in horror, loved the acting, etc. It’s just that after such a huge revelation, what was put on the screen was everything we had already imagined as fans of the series dealing with a year-long hiatus. And, well, that’s kind of a let down.”

“Six of One”

“You see, everyone’s a little bit Starbuck right now. Everyone sees a path ahead of them that they know they want to follow, and yet at the same time it seems as if everything is heading in the opposite direction. Everyone is worried about what will become of them if things don’t go their way: Roslin is worried about dying as the nobody she once was; Adama is worried about losing everyone around him and dying alone; Lee is worried about the runaway train he’s on away from his life, essentially; and the final four Cylon models are worried about, well, everything.”

“The Ties That Bind”

“I’m not saying that what we saw from Nikki Clyne last night was revolutionary performance, but Michael Taylor managed to draw from her past in order to craft, at the very least, an intriguing point of representation. Cally, through anti-depressant fueled journeys, becomes a loose cannon – she is suspicious and paranoid in her altered state, and begins to suspect Tyrol is hiding something. Upon investigation, she stumbles across his biggest secret, and all of a sudden Cally has gone from nuisance to all-out ticking time bomb.

And then it went off, much sooner than I think any of us expected.”

“Escape Velocity”

“…while certainly a lighter episode on plot than we are used to, there was nothing overly objectionable about its content. Considering that the themes of the season are very much returning to the opening of the second season and the division within the fleet along religious lines, it is good that we are seeing more of both politics and people relating to this development. While I do think that a few of the storylines felt like they were getting either too much or too little time, and that there were certainly some balance or editing issues to deal with, the end result is a decent setup for the things to come.”

“The Road Less Traveled”

“Last week felt totally wrong when it comes to the central conceit of the season: the blurring of the line between human and Cylon is integral to defining the series moving forward, and this week we return to the concepts of shared destiny and identity within the context of the series. The result is a sharper episode, one that feels like we are, indeed, traveling down a particular road as the two storylines missing last week converge.”

“Faith”

“I am kind of wary on “Faith,” if only because on a plot level it didn’t even live up to the low standards that I provided for it. It is one thing to spend a quarter of the episode with a very character/mythology driven story for Laura Roslin, that’s earned considering the show and Mary McDonnell’s respective pedigrees; the big problem is that the dramatic payoff to the Demetrius payoff was neither suspenseful nor dramatic on a broad plot level. We already knew what Kara Thrace learns from the Hybrid, we pretty well presumed what was going to be the end result of their journey, and outside of a random leg injury I never felt like anything was truly in jeopardy.”

“Guess What’s Coming to Dinner”

“Here, we have everything: the subtle character moments (albeit in smaller number than episodes past), the haunting thematics, the secret agendas, the political intrigue, the mythology of the series emerging, the cliffhanger endings, and most of all the kind of acting that you just don’t get on other shows these days. The episode leaves us with so many unanswered questions that you’d swear we are leaving for a lengthy break starting now as opposed to in (likely) a month’s time.”

“Sine Qua Non”

““Sine Qua Non” is an episode about losing control, or losing some element which is integral to existence. The latin meaning of the phrase, at least according to my extensive knowledge of using Wikipedia, is “without which (there is) nothing.” For various characters in our universe, this phrase has distinct meaning, and the episode does a strong job of emphasizing this fact in both subtle and broad fashions.”

“The Hub”

“it’s hard to screw up what the show does best, an intersection of human and Cylon combined with meaningful action sequences and a spiritual journey for humanity’s dying leader. There’s a certain diversity in the episode’s tone that could turn some off, with some strangely humorous or laid back sequences, but when much of it was given to Mary McDonnell and James Callis it was at least in good hands. By grounding itself in both the ongoing plot and the series’ central characters and themes, the episode can’t help but provide momentum into the final episode of the year.”

So that’s the season so far…but are all of these pull quotes still representative?

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Battlestar Galactica – “The Road Less Traveled”

“The Road Less Traveled”

May 2nd, 2008

After last week threw us into the psychological and religious conflict brewing on Galactica, it’s natural that this takes a back seat to the plots we really want to see: Starbuck’s struggles to find Earth and the Cylon’s internal conflict. We’re thrown right into the action this time around, with Mark Verheiden’s script starting with a definitive revelation for the Demetrius.

That was what was lacking last week, as to an extent “Escape Velocity” seems unnecessary by comparison: here, we get the kinds of reactions that we expected to find last week but didn’t. We get a glimpse of Baltar, and one that perhaps didn’t need such an extracted investigation as we saw last week. Similarly, did we really need last week’s events to explain Tyrol shaving his head and obsessing over his wife’s death? I liked last week’s episode alright, but it feels as if it was a lot of exposition without much comparative value.

Last week felt totally wrong when it comes to the central conceit of the season: the blurring of the line between human and Cylon is integral to defining the series moving forward, and this week we return to the concepts of shared destiny and identity within the context of the series. The result is a sharper episode, one that feels like we are, indeed, traveling down a particular road as the two storylines missing last week coincide.

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10 Shows to (Hopefully) Watch in 2008 – #3 – Battlestar Galactica

There is no question that there has been a rise in genre television over the past half decade, and inevitably all of these series have faced a certain backlash. Lost and Heroes, for example, have gone from breakout hits to strong demographic performers thanks to a level of backlash from casual fans. For the #3 Show to hopefully watch, however, there was never a breakout success to fall back from, and the critical voices are not quite as damning although certainly still vocal.

Later this Spring, Battlestar Galactica will return to television after what was an uneven but ultimately satisfying season. Much like another high-profile drama, Ron Moore and David Eick put together a finale which brings with it huge ramifications for the past three seasons of the drama series, and the fourth and final season which will debut in March or April. It may well be the smartest science fiction series to emerge, and it’s certainly something to look forward to in 2008.

For me personally, Battlestar Galactica will have special resonance in the months ahead: I’m in the process of completing my undergraduate English thesis on the series’ connection to the Medieval Romantic literary tradition. As a result, I’ve spent copious amounts of time sifting through the series over the past few months, and have further enjoyment ahead.

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Battlestar Galactica: Razor – Spoilers, Commentary and Discussion

Earlier today, I spent some time doing an “official” review of Battlestar Galactica: Razor. This was light on spoilers, and focused more on alerting people to its existence. Now, however, the geekiness begins. As mentioned, I am actually writing my thesis (partially) on Battlestar Galactica, specifically its ramifications on the longevity of medieval romantic tropes and heroic representation. And yes, it’s mildly crazy. However, in writing about the legacy of the Cylons and their complicated place within the idea of the heroic within the series, watching Razor has certainly opened a new portal of discussion. And, now, I want to be able to extend that discussion and consider the ramifications (or, perhaps, lack of ramifications) of this two-hour event on the series as a whole

[Warning: This discussion will feature major spoilers for Battlestar Galactica: Razor, and the series’ third season. Do not read if you wish to avoid these spoilers.]

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Review: “Battlestar Galactica: Razor”

As part of my thesis research, I have been watching parts of Battlestar Galactica’s second season. I think I had forgotten how much I really enjoyed this show, as its twists and turns felt just as fantastic now as they were before. I started listening to the commentaries provided by Ronald D. Moore, the developer and executive producer of the series, and on the one for “Pegasus” he noted that perhaps one day they would bring Michelle Forbes’ Admiral Cain back and tell the story of her ship’s journey in the post-attack era. Having watched Battlestar Galactica: Razor just before listening to said commentary, I couldn’t help but grin.

It’s important to note, however, that this doesn’t only tell the story of Admiral Cain. This is really the story of Kendra Shaw, a young officer who arrives on Pegasus just moments before the Cylon attack on Caprica. Much like Forbes before her, Stephanie Jacobsen flawlessly integrates into this cast. Her introduction helps us overcome the fact that it’s very difficult to surprise us – for better or for worse, we know how this story (which takes places, timeline wise, in the show’s second season) ends.

What Razor succeeds at is remaining an entertaining and interesting two-hour event even if, in the end, its resolution feels like a bit of a let-down. It takes the story of the Pegasus, told only in gripping conversations between Col. Tish and Col. Fisk (Pegasus’ XO) in the series, and plays it out in dramatic fashion. I can understand why some people might perhaps find this predictable, but I personally felt that this story was strong enough to justify a little fleshing out – its themes resonate through the entire series, so it certainly fits into the series’ motif nicely.

Plus, it’s not just about Pegasus: the story interweaves into three distinct timelines, and between them present an engaging and exciting “film” of sorts. And, really, that’s what we need to tide us over until the show’s fourth season begins.

[Warning: There will be some light to medium spoilers ahead]

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