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Mercy is for whimps. The tough guys go for the big tasks, and how big as
mankind’s extinction can it get? So show no mercy and engage in the bloody
battle between humans and cylons, jump on the train headed towards the 13th
colony, Earth, believe in the schoolteacher and her well-balanced humanity
(“throw them out of the airlock”), believe in Starbucks’ immortality until
she show she knows better, cry with Adama over an expensive ship model, see
the figure of survivors drop every episode. Issues about BSG, as we pros call it:
* there are surely elements in it, and the main A story line (couple of
genocide survivors searching a new home, supposedly to be found at a planet
called Earth) belongs to it, which belong to the best-written tv show
material I have ever seen. This material is up to the standard of the X
Files core drama, but mostly produced on a higher level and better played.
It’s an often rough and dirty show, with a lot of funnily disguised
swearing, with a considerable amount of sex, with killing and getting killed
aplenty. The ship doctor is a chain smoker, the female hero is (or was at
least, the habit gor somehow lost on the way) in cigars and wants to get
laid now and again – sometimes even by her husband. A promiscuous supermodel
shows her gorgeous back regularly, while the XO’s wife fucks for freedom.
* there are some superb actors involved, namely Michael Hogan and Dean
Stockwell, but most of the others, too (honorary mention for “Chief”).
Intermission:
I don’t like “episodic” tv shows, stories unrelated to the overall plot. I
don’t like shows were you can jump in for just one episode, get the idea,
and never come back. I hate tv serials, I want big stories, narrated in one
piece, with only technical interruptions for toilet, sex, and work, in that
order. I love “24”, I despise stuff like “Sex and the City”, because it is
as boring as the world is. On the other hand, I would never watch a tv shows
that stretches over months with one storyline (the way I would not walk out
of a movie halfway through, having a ticket for next week’s screening in my
pocket, when I will be watching the rest of the film). If it’s one story, I
need to watch it in as close as I get to one go. I love DVD box-sets and I
also love broadcasters offering their shows online.
* over time, new cast members come in that are rather arbitrary and would
not be missed: Sam, as one example, also Helo, actually, are among the
weaker characters (even though well-played). Fortunately this also happened
on the Cylon side – and the writers punished D’Anna for annoying too many
people, I guess, by wrapping her up quickly.
* from season 3 on, there are a lot of episodes that are completely
dispensable: Union strikes, divorces of 40 years ago, racism and xenophobia,
. blablabla. It’s not only that they start interrupting the core drame –
they also indicate a frightening development, which is: you need this kind
of episodes to make a show infinite. They did that with X Files, and killed
it by doing so. I hear they are starting similar things on Lost, and
audiences get nervous about it. I hope they will regain focus on BSG, and I
think they might: in one of the highly recommendable audio commentaries by
the creator, he voices his own dissatisfaction with some of these arbitrary
episodes, and states, on another occasion, that the “Maelstrom” episode to
him clearly opens the 3rd act of the overall show, not just this season.
At the moment (end of Season 3) the creators manage to keep up some
credibility on their overall mission, which is to find that planet where
milk and honey (probably also some Cylon blood) flows and where everyone
will be able to live happy everafter. I hope they are aware that many
audience members do not think this can be extended and streched eternally.
As soon as the hope for or the believe in this final moment of relief is
gone, I am sure manymany peopple will lose interest in the story and the
characters. If they manage to wrap up the whole thing in Season 4, end it
with a blast, and say goodbye my friends, was a pleasure – then it will have
been a truly great reinvention of an already pretty entertaining tv show.
Again, judging from Ron Moore’s commenatry, I am optimistic. He stresses
this dedication to the search for Earth, and I have the impression he would
himself not be satisfied with giving away this powerful force for the sake
of just another season full of more or less arbitrary plot disctractions.

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