Marathoned: Battlestar Galactica

Marathoned: Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

Through the last two months I’ve been working on checking items off my TV New Year’s Resolution list. In addition to watching a variety of Olympic events, I also just finished the reboot of Battlestar Galactica!

Mostly I just can’t believe it took me this long to watch the series, and if you are reading this thinking about doing the same, then I certainly encourage you to check it out. Especially if you’re a Firefly fan, there are a lot of similarities between the two series like a dystopian future, engaging underdog characters, and of course spaceships.

Here’s a few more practical reasons why you might enjoy marathoning Battlestar Galactica:

  • The series ended in 2009, which means that you can watch it at your own leisure and you’re only going to encounter spoilers by looking for them.
  • A lot of episodes end in “To Be Continued…”, like way more than normal so being able to hit ‘next episode’ is a welcomed bonus.
  • All four seasons, the two-part mini-series, and made-for-tv movie Razor are all available on Netflix streaming. The prequel series Caprica is also available, although I haven’t checked it out yet.

One more thing before you press play – with so many episodes and offshoots like the mini-series, made-for-tv movie, and webisodes you may want to consult this handy Battlestar Galactica viewing order guide to maximize the storytelling experience.

[Spoilers Below: You’ve Been Warned.]

So Say We All – Onboard With The Crew’s Quest For Earth

Despite all of the time I spend watching TV and reading about various television shows, somehow I knew very little about this series before starting it, which I think was refreshing to be able to watch something with rather vague expectations. Unlike my Breaking Bad marathon, I was able to just kind of let events unfold and enjoy or gasp or shake my head in bewilderment as they came.BSG The Hand of God

I thought the series got off to an especially strong start when the then newly sworn-in President Roslin made the tough call for the fleet to jump away from the oncoming Cylon attack, leaving the FTL-less civilian ships behind and defenseless in Part II of the initial Mini-Series. That one moment set the tone for the rest of the series – that this wasn’t going to be a show about ‘big damn heroes’, but about survivors.

Sure they’d occasionally get some small victories and I suppose the last one, but for the most part everything was about minimizing loss and reacting to the circumstances around them. The theme of survival didn’t just apply to the crew of Galactica and its fleet either, the Cylons were fighting for the same thing, the survival of their race, hence all the big hullabaloo about about resurrection ships, reproduction rights, and Hera Agathon. Hell, even the opening title sequence displayed the number of ‘survivors’ left from the initial attacks on the twelve colonies.

And as much as Joss Whedon and George R.R. Martin have the reputation for killing off characters, I’m surprised that Ronald D. Moore’s name is mentioned more often. After the initial attacks, Roslin’s whiteboard estimated 50,298 survivors, by the end of the series that number dwindled to 39,406 according to the title card of the final opening sequence. You better believe that some of those people were characters we came to know and care about.

Obviously there are many more themes present in Battlestar Galactica, but for me the act of survival was always the most consistent and most interesting one. Maybe its the most basic, but I really enjoyed the episodes that didn’t get too bogged down in religious mythology or Cylon politics. What made the series so engaging was the characters, many of which were normal people trying to keep on keeping on under extraordinary circumstances. And as long as I’m invested in the characters I’m willing to go on whatever ride the showrunners want to take us, even if that ride ends with the Galactica flying into the sun while the rest of mankind turns it back on technology.

BSG Unfinished Business

Other Random Thoughts

  • I believe one of the show’s greatest strengths was its lack of angsty annoying teenager characters. I mean I’m sure they existed, but thankfully they were probably on those unseen civilian ships. If only shows like Jericho, Under the Dome, Falling Skies, and Terranova had learned.
  • I really liked the CIC’s old school war room map board and models used to visually display the action, it gave the space battle sequences some logic and structure and kept the show presumably on budget.
  • Another aspect I enjoyed about both Firefly and Battlestar Galactica was the way their ships had character. I think I was almost as heartbroken about Galactica breaking down as the Admiral.
  • Battlestar Galactica made good use of a time jump between seasons two and three. I was just beginning to grow tired of their current predicament, the shake-up was welcomed.
  • Favorite episode: “Unfinished Business” (3×9) – As much as I appreciated the time jump, I quickly found myself interested in finding out what I missed on New Caprica, and then this episode happened. Also, I love the insanely complicated relationship between Apollo and Starbuck.
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Written by Jamie Paton

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