Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thoughts on re-watching Season One of Battlestar Galactica after 10 (!) years

So we've been re-watching Battlestar Galactica.

1.) The rebooted series started in 2003. Just think about that. I feel like we watched it, oh, five or six years ago. Not freakin 10-plus. Jesus.

2.) This is a post-9-11 show if ever there was one. Everything about it is 9-11, 9-11, 9-11. Terrorism. Torture. Religion. Realization that "we" can't always tell who "they" are, and that "we" don't always have the moral upper hand. General dread and claustrophobia.

3.) So far, the show holds up really, really well, apart from a few things (see 4, below). For the most part the acting and dialog are excellent. Olmos rules. Michael Hogan still possesses the most outsized Canadian accent I have ever heard.

4.) Way, way too much of Boomer and Helo running around in the rain on Caprica. Now as then, it feels like the directors said, "We can't resolve this plotline till Episode 13, so, um, OK, run that way for awhile, and now run this way, and that'll be it for this episode." Novelists have something of an advantage in cases like these; if we have a plotline we don't want to resolve till later, we can just *not write about it* for awhile, or just mention it cryptically or briefly every so often. On a TV series we have to be visually reminded of these characters' existence and what they are doing--and if they're just biding their time on behalf of the storytelling, that shows.

5.) How does one portray a butch, straight female character in a typically male profession? I remember the ruckus (and adulation) when BSG fans learned the new Starbuck would be a woman. For the most part, she's an appealing character, believable in her toughness ... except that we are given to understand that, as with all women, that toughness hides a deep vulnerability. Every now and again we're treated to the sight of Starbuck crying or crumpling into a ball and sort of squealing. We also see her in an evening gown, knocking the space socks off Apollo. Do "tough" male characters show vulnerability in any similar ways, or just pour themselves another drink and/or race off on their motorcycles? Do these brief bursts of stereotypical feminine behavior add dimension to Starbuck, or reassure us that she's really a little girl at heart? And straight! Don't forget straight! Though having a butch woman turn out to *be* straight also challenges stereotypes, I think in 2003 they were more worried about having one of our heroes be gay. OK, they're still worried about that in 2014.

That is all for now. Galactica out.

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