Monday, June 9, 2008

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica. Do you know it?

Humans on the planet Caprica created a race of robot machines who evenually rebelled against them.
Finally, a truce.
For 40 years they the humans hear nothing from the Cylons.

Out of nowhere, the Cylons attack, nearly wiping out the human race. The 41,000 human beings who survive find spaceships and take off into space, a remnent led by the only surviving battlestar: Galactica.

Galactica's commander is William Adama.
He has a son, Lee Adama (aka Apolla, a fighter pilot)

Commander Adama's second in command is Saul Tigh. He has a drinking problem.

The best pilot in the fleet is Kara Thrace, (aka Starbuck). She was engaged to Adama's other son, Zac, but he died. She and Lee (the still-alive son) have a thing for each other.

OK, so after 40 years of truce, the Cylons come out of nowhere to attack, nearly wiping out the human race. The Cylons had been treated like slaves for millenia and they hated their human oppressors. We find out that they've spent the last 40 years developing themselves. Improving themselves. In fact, they have made 12 "models" of themselves that look human. No longer are they all robot-looking. These new models cannot be distinguished from the humans who originally created them.

One of the new models, No. 6, is the tall sexy blonde.

No. 6 seduced the top human scientist, Gaius Baltar, and through him she gains information about the human defense system on Caprica. That is how the Cylons were able to launch their surprise, and very successful, attack on the humans.

The humans are polytheistic and believe in "the Gods," the Lords of Kobol. They are attacked by the monotheistic Cylons, espousing belief in the one true God who has a plan for each life. (sound familiar?)

Cylons have "resurrection ships." When a Cylon dies, he/she 'downloads' to the resurrection ship and is reborn into another body. Same model, different body. Reincarnation.

Another fight pilot is Sharon (aka Boomer). She is a Cylon but doesn't know it. She's been planted among the humans and thinks she IS human until her programming kicks in. She (in a different iteration of this particular model of Cylon) has a baby with another fighter pilot, Helo. A mixing of the races...the boundaries blur.

The president of the colonies and most of his administration were all killed during the Cylon attack. The highest-ranking official left alive is Laura Roslin who becomes President. She is dying of breast cancer. She has visions and becomes a kind of prophet. She and Commander Adama develop a thing for each other, too.

The cinematography is bleak, dark and shadowy, but there are moments when the absolute beauty of a star system, or the complex colors involved in an explosion just take my breath away.

The soundtrack has an unbelievably dramatic drumbeat. There are times I think those drums are going to drum my heart right out of my body. Fantastic.

The show looks at issues of torture...
And issues of denial of civil rights in times of war...
And what it means to be human.

And that's only for starters.

The show is complex and very difficult. I highly recommend it.


Songbird said...

We're wild for BSG at my house. My sons (17 and 22) find it funny that I like to watch, considering that I block out the violent parts and can never keep track of what is going on during the space battles. But I am compelled by the question of what it means to be human, of how it changes us to believe in more than the eye can see, of what God(s) wants in a relationship with humanity...and of why we might, or might not, be worth saving, collectively. It's good stuff.

steve said...

Oh, I absolutely love BSG. How long have you been following the series?

Jan said...

I've never ever watched BSG, and because of your descriptions will try to find it. Thanks, katherine.

Rev SS said...

Wow! Great review. I would be like Songbird, blocking out the violent parts and unable to keep track of what is going on. But, I'm glad to know it's a show with a message.

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