But I digress.
One show I hadn't much gotten into until recently is the retooled resurrection of Battlestar Galactica. I had caught it occasionally, but, because it was on Friday nights at 10 PM and because I'm frequently exhausted on Friday nights, I often fell asleep on the couch either before it came on or sometime shortly after it came on. It looked intriguing (from seeing the first 20 minutes of episodes). Well, this weekend, I lost my Battlestar Galactica virginity, so to speak. (Also, because my wife has been away visiting her parents for the last week, I was re-learning how pathetically bored and lonely I would be without her.) Besides NBC's showing the last three episodes of season one last night, I stumbled on the fact that a newly-added channel to our cable package, Universal HD (which offers HD programming from NBC and Universal Studios) is running a Battlestar Galactica marathon all weekend, all in glorious 1080i HD-TV. (Once you go HD, you don't want to come back, not to mention that UHD shows almost no commercials during the show. Of course, one disadvantage of HD is that you can see every crevice and pockmark in Edward James Olmos's face, but I'll put up with that gladly.) In fact, now that I know the show is shown in HD on this channel Sunday nights at 8 PM, I may skip the SciFi Channel's airing of it altogether.
Nahh, probably not. The series is too addictive, and, if I'm home on Fridays (and conscious at 10 PM), it'll be hard for me to resist checking it out. Waiting until Sunday will probably not be an option.
In any case, it's become clear to me as I've filled in most of the gaps in my viewing and finally watched the season finale that Battlestar Galactica is, quite simply, the best SF show presently on television. Nothing currently on the air (or even on the air in the last couple of years) that I'm aware of comes even comes close, with the possible exception of the new version of Doctor Who, and that show is only available to those living within broadcast range of the Canadian border. I was a fan of the original series. However, it should be noted that I was a teenager back then. I realize now that the series was pretty cheesy, although, having seen a couple of episodes recently, I still like it mainly for its campy fun.
The new Galactica is much darker and much richer than the original. Perhaps the biggest (and most effective) change from the past is that the Cylons are now capable of masquerading as humans and infiltrating the battlegroup. Their ability is so effective that it takes sophisticated tests to distinguish Cylon from human. Indeed, major character, Boomer, is revealed to be a Cylon infiltrator, even though she won't acknowledge it at first and, when finally forced to, tries to deny that she will in the end do what the Cylons require (which she does, but I won't tell you what it was). Also, in this version, Commander Adama believes that earth is a myth, but claims that he knows where it is to keep hope alive, and the civilian President, slowly dying of terminal breast cancer, is having religious visions that tell her she is the fulfillment of prophecy as the "dying leader" who will lead the people to the "promised land," bringing her into direct conflict with Adama. Another interesting change is that, while the humans practice a polytheistic religion, the Cylons actually appear to believe in a monotheistic religion that tells them they must destroy their creators, the humans. Finally, the production values on the series are top-notch, with a retro-tech, dingy feel.
The season finale was quite satisfying, with a number of major cliffhangers, not the least of which is the question of whether Adama will survive the wounds he suffered in an assassination attempt by an imbedded Cylon. I can't wait for the premiere of the second season this Friday to see how these all play out. I admit it; I'm now hooked.
Maybe next week, by which time I will hopefully have had the chance to watch the last three episodes of the new Doctor Who that my mother sent me, completing the season, I'll do a rundown on the new version and why it's as good as anything during the John Pertwee, Tom Baker, or Peter Davison eras of the old series. In the meantime, more of the usual skepticism, alt-med, creationism, etc...