Sal and I like to avoid TV shows while they are, er, showing on TV and, instead, like to get them out on DVD and blob out for days on end without the constant stream of adverts and without the delay of a week between episodes.
For many years, people who’s opinions on films I value greatly have been telling me I really ought to get into Battlestar Galactica (BSG). I’ve never been into watching sci-fi but enjoy the occasional well-written sci-fi novel so it made sense to give it a go. And so we did.
Now, for fans of BSG this is probably going to hurt a little. I apologise in advance.
The coolest thing about sci-fi (as compared to, say, fantasy) is that you sort of have to work within the limits of the known laws of physics which is not all that limiting as it leaves the imagination wide open for some really creative concepts. Sure, some boundaries are overstepped, mainly the whole issue of getting around in this giant universe of ours where almost every sci-fi writer will invoke some form of instantaneous zipping from place to place. But, other than these understandable exceptions, most of the concepts should be plausible.
BSG is a bit quirky in that people still use telephones with cords aboard their space craft but are capable of teleporting willy-nilly across the universe. I quite like this aspect though. It works. It’s also got some interesting interplay between characters. And for those who have not already given thought to what makes a human a human and whether a being that is made qualifies there are some intriguing concepts too. However…
A good friend of mine said “the coolest thing is the way the space fights don’t make any noise!!1!”. But, Simon, they do make noise. All the time. Even their little side-puffers make little side-puffing noises. For frack’s sake, they managed to get this right back in 1968. Perhaps the lack of noise is only in comparison with the skwarking of the fighters in Star Wars but they definitely still make noises in the noiseless vacuum of space in BSG.
And what’s with the fact that every bit of paper has it’s corners clipped? Is the printing ship run by bored-but-OCD staff? I’ve operated a guillotine in a print shop and there’s a very valid reason for why books and other forms of paper have corners.
There is a scene where Lee has landed on a windy and forsaken planet and is dragged along the ground by his parachute, painfully hitting his legs against rocks. He struggles to cut the cords of his parachute and finally manages to do so before breaking any more bones. You can feel his sense of relief. I turned to Sal and said, “well there’s something, if this had been any other cheesy sci-fi he’d have narrowly avoided a massive precipice”. I spoke too soon. Right then the camera pans out and up… strike three, you’re out.
So, I’ve reached the end of season one. Sal abandoned it halfway through but I feel I’ve given it a fair trial.
And in the red corner. We’ve just got out the first DVD of season one of Dexter, we’re only two episodes in and we’re hooked. Dexter is a sociopath (or is that psychopath? I never remember the difference) who lacks feelings but charmingly, yet insightfully, understands the social niceties ordinary people need to get along. Oh, and he butchers people who’ve (literally) gotten away with murder.
I feel a little bad for bagging BSG. It’s got a lot going for it and my frustrations are slightly exaggerated for the sake of the telling. But, alas, it’s up against Dexter for a share of our viewing time and Dexter has neatly dismembered BSG and kept a drop of its blood on a slide as memorabilia.