2.12.2014

The Serenity of the Battlestar

So...I just finished with the new (to me) Battlestar Galactica series. I have to say...I was fairly impressed. It was thoroughly engaging. I was a little annoyed at first with a few of the characters but by the end found myself rooting for people I never thought I would.

I'm a sci-fi geek from way back. The progression of my TV Sci-Fi habits goes a little like this.

Star Trek
I watched re-runs of this with my dad from as early on as I can remember. The original episodes still hold a special place in my heart. For a while as I was growing up, Dad and I didn't really know how to talk to each other (the Skaggs males excel at non-communication it seems). TV was how we interacted.

Dr. Who
On PBS...Sundays, if I recall. Back then it was Tom Baker. And there was none of this nonsense about the 5th Doctor or 6th Doctor. It was just Mr. Jelly Babies with the Long-ass scarf.

Battle of the Planets (Animated)
This is still my all time favorite cartoon. It was one of America's earliest Anime imports. The show was a re-hash of the Japanese show Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. It was re-edited, and re-dubbed (to cut down on some of the violence). It's still one of my all time favorite cartoons. The only place I've found to date to get all of the episodes is from Amazon UK. I think I know what I'm getting for Christmas for myself this year :-)  It later became G-Force (if you remember that). Still a kick ass sci-fi show.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Three words...Colonel Wilma Deering.

Battlestar Galactica (original)
Seems weird to put 'original' after this. But I did watch the original in the 70's/80's. I loved the space battles and I always thought the Cylons were bad ass. I even had a Centurion action figure at one point.

Babylon 5
I got introduced to this series in the 90's by a service tech at MicroCenter Westerville who had been taping all of the episodes (in order) on to VHS tapes from CBS. This was no easy feat considering it was a 5 year story arc. Until very recently it remains in my mind one of the best crafted sci-fi shows to date. There are elements in the pilot that are referenced in the final episode. I became disappointed with the 4th and 5th seasons of the show. If you only count seasons 1-3, it is still in my mind the best sci-fi show written.

Firefly/Serenity
This, without a doubt, is my favorite sci-fi show....ever. And the reason for this is simple...it's a Western. With spaceships and what-not instead of horses and cattle rustling.  The diversity of characters is brilliant. Every episode is enjoyable and there is still an underlying arc. I often wonder if Joss Whedon had been able to keep the show going, how it would have turned out. We got a glimpse of that in the movie, "Serenity"--which was a brilliant teaser of what might have been.

That brings me to the last great sci-fi series I've seen.

Yes. I said great.

I just finished the final episode of a 4-season series, Battlestar Galactica.
I have to say...I was skeptical at first. But from the first 7 minutes of the mini-series that was the pre-cursor to the series, I was hooked. I loved how Galactica was the 'relic' in the fleet and how it wound up being the most sturdy of the lot, due in part to the crew and commander. It was a great series. I loved the nod to the original cylons from the original series in season 4 (although I was severely bummed that they were CGI). I loved the twists and updates to the series and even looked forward to the production company outro after each episode. I was bummed when Netflix unceremoniously informed me that I had reached the end of the series.

Now...here's where it gets fun. The comparisons. The most obvious camp (almost as famous as the Star Wars/Star Trek feuds) is the Firefly vs. (new) Battlestar fight.

To which I say...don't. Just don't.

Why would you do that? Why would you pick and make someone else pick? One series is not better than the other. You can't (in my humble opinion) even compare the two. They are both unique. And besides, if you're going to do that, only compare season 1 of Battlestar since Fox didn't see fit to let Firefly live past one season.

As a geek, I have to say,  I REALLY enjoyed both series. The thing that elevates Firefly for me is that I can put on any episode of Firefly and enjoy it for what it is. I don't know how re-watchable Battlestar is going to be without wanting to dive back in to the whole series, which will be odd considering part of what made it great for 3 1/2 seasons was not knowing who the final 4 models Cylon were.

Dunno. I guess what I'm asking for is a cease fire. Why should we have to declare loyalty and allegiance? Aren't we doing that too much these days anyway? Mac vs. PC vs. NIX?  Why pick? Use what you need to use. I use PCs at work to connect to ux systems. I have a MacBook for my personal creative side (but even that is a relatively new development--I've had PC's most of my life).

I think there's a little too much Us and Them these days. And ultimately what both of those great shows illustrated was the harder you try to divide, the more you actually realize you are more entwined than you could ever really know.

Peace
-A.T.


**Addendum** The astute observers amongst you might note that I have not included any Dr. Who episodes past the Tom Baker years. There's a reason for that. I haven't watched any of them. Not sure when or if I'll go down the rabbit hole of the 'New Doctors.' If I do, you'll be the first to know.

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