Sep 17, 2009

[TV] Battlestar Galactica: Season 1

Battlestar Galactica: Season 1With the success of the pilot miniseries, it was inevitable that Battlestar Galactica was all set to become a full-fledged TV series. The two-part miniseries had become one of the most-watched shows on SciFi for its time and that kind of viewership can really push a show into the future.

It was such a revolution in writing - a reimagination / remake that had actually worked. Sure, there had been many other shows that had gone through the reboot process with varying degrees of success but few managed to be as compelling as this show. Thus the writers had their act cut out of them when the took the plunge in terms of developing this show into a full series - and they certainly didn't disappoint.

The first season of Battlestar Galactica picked up immediately after where the miniseries left off. The civilian fleet under the protection of the Battlestar Galactica under the command of Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) is on the run from the pursuing Cylon forces and struggles with keeping alive despite numerous attacks. Plus they have all the other challenges of a colonial fleet on the move including supplies of food and water and the need to ensure the continued growth of the population. Thus this show was never meant to be an all-out space warfare kind of show since they simply don't have the resources for it. Of course the Cylons do.

At the same time the story has to address several plot threads laid out for us. We know there's tension between Commander Adama, his son Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) and their top Viper pilot Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (Katee Sackhoff). There's Dr. Baltar (James Callis) and his continued internal dialogs with the Cylon model known as Number Six (Tricia Helfer) and Sharon "Boomer" Valerii (Grace Park) trying to come to terms with her growing suspicions that she's a Cylon. And of course there's the fledgling colonial government under the leadership of Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) who is trying to reestablish order while trying to deal with the overwhelming power wielded by the military in terms of the fleet and of course her own visions for where the fleet should go. Plus there are many other side stories, character plots and red herrings left for us to try and assemble into a recognizable pattern.

The show feels like a good science fiction novel - epic in scale yet able to play close attention to the minute details of the individual characters. The emotions tend to run pretty high in the fleet given the high-stress environment of being constantly on the run in such cramped confines and the actors manage to present this in a highly believable manner. Plus the way these characters were written is just phenomenal and you're constantly left guessing in terms of who's really the "good" guys or who might be yet another Cylon clone. At the start of the series we only know the identity of two of the Cylon models thanks to the miniseries by the identity of the 10 others is something that we'll spend the rest of the series understanding.

Everything from the actors, the production team, the special effects and most especially the music just made this an amazing experience for me. Seriously, I don't think I've seen a show utilize drum tracks so effectively in terms of driving particular emotions. Good job.

The first season of Battlestar Galactica gets a full 5 Cylon basestars out of a possible 5.


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