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January 22, 2009

Persuade Me To Watch Battlestar Galactica

I watched season 3 of Battlestar Galactica eventually, but got bored. I felt that it was repeating itself, struggling for an arc, reaching for ideas. I watched the first episode of season four and didn't like it at all.

I liked season one a lot. Very fresh, very cool. And season two was pretty good too.

But season four?

I'm not sure. Should I bother? Can anyone persuade me that it's worth my time?


Well...I'm torn.

I watch Battlestar Galactica because I really enjoy watching Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Michael Hogan, Jamie Bamber and Katee Sackhoff act their respective socks off.

And, as a SFX addict, I love the SFX, especially the fantastic big space battles, which however, are few and far between lately.

I don't enjoy the deep despair, darkness, and hopelessness that this season has been showing. Of course, we could be all in for a HUMONGOUS surprise at the series finale with an uplifting, joyful and inspiring conclusion, but I'm not holding my breath. (Which I wouldn't do in any case, as I need to use supplemental oxygen, but still...)

Ron Moore seems to enjoy torturing and degrading these characters, and pushing the envelope of...being comfortable towards his audience. I don't know if he has a message or not, I guess we'll find out.

I'm still firmly in the "I love this show" camp, but I'm not gonna try and persuade anybody to watch it if they got bored in series 3, which I thought was damn good come finish, that last episode is one of my very favourite SF television moments ever.

Season 4 (first half) got screwed over cos of the writer's strike, so I wasn't expecting anything extraordinary from it, but it ended on a pretty good cliffhanger. Depressing, yes, but very interesting.

Personally, I am still far too in love with this series to see any blemishes others might find and I trust the producers to make sure the pay-off at the end is rich and sumptuous. They committed to 4 being the final series and I'm sure they wouldn't do that unless the knew they could kill it off with something very good indeed.

For the last few years I have considered BSG to be the finest show made for television - close run contest with Lost. I love the characters, the themes and am totally invested in what happens to these people through this journey.

I think season 3 suffered a lull in periods - there were a few obvious "filler" episodes. Overall, it was still great, the last 3 or 4 episodes were a very strong finish to the season.

Season 4 has been good. The latest episode great - genuine shocks if you can remain spoiler free.

The comparison I make with Lost is that both series contain characters I like. Both series have this great capacity to make you say "Wow, I didn't see that coming". Give BSG another go. You may as well watch all of season 4 so far - hopefully, you'll like it.

I don't think I've ever liked BSG as much as its staunchest advocates, nor disliked it as thoroughly as its fiercest detractors. However, I thought the first half of season four was the best it's been since early season two: a strong continuous plot which at least starts to dig into some of the questions implied by previous seasons. Very little padding (which was my major complaint with season three) and, though arguably closer to the operatics of mid-period B5 than the grungy aesthetic of earlier BSG, enjoyable.

I wrote a nice long reply but then the system deleted it because I didn't put an email. A notification that is required would be nice.

Here is the skinny, Season 4 opener probably wasn't good because you didn't watch the last 4 episodes of season 3. Those were great. Watch from there till the end of the show and you won't be disappointed.

As someone who's been with BSG from the beginning, I started watching for the reasons I watch sci-fi, escapist fun and special effects.

But now, those are the least of my concerns. I watch for the development of the characters, which is almost unheard of in the sci-fi genre. If you don't care about where the characters are going, I can understand why the show won't turn you on.

But, at the risk of sounding like a snob, the show is lauded for a reason. (And the sci-fi shows you like aren't and won't be.) I don't think you're getting it. Sorry.

The first half of season 4 was more boring than watching paint dry. From episode 10 on, however, they've completely had me. It's been a really good ride since then, and having the goal in sight seems to have energized the show. In particular, the two parter we just came out of here in the states was pretty brilliant.