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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Watching the new Battlestar Galactica

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As mentioned previously, during the TV writers’ strike, we stared renting DVDs of the remade Battlestar Galactica series, which I’d read was really good, but felt I was too far behind on to watch on “live” TV. (One friend was amazed I’d never seen this series; another equally amazed that I had any interest in seeing it. In the immortal words of Dr. Temperance Brennan, I don’t know what that means.)

I’ll start by saying that I don’t remember the old series at all, though I imagine that I watched some of it at the time. So until watching the extras, I had no idea that Boomer and Starbuck were men in the original, or that one of the recurring guest stars was played by Richard Hatch, the original Apollo. So I judged this one on its own merits. And found it to be good.

It is, indeed, a drama in space, and not so much a space drama. Character is paramount, and each episode continues from the last—two features I always prefer in my television. So I’m drawn in by the story, and I care what happens to these people—even the ones who aren’t really people. The underlying mythology retains its interest. We’re halfway through season 2 now, and the full motives of the cylons remain mysterious.

The series is dark. There are moments of joy and triumph, but mostly the characters are struggling, running, and fighting. It can be kind of haunting. So though we’re getting through the disks pretty quickly—an average of an episode a day, I suppose—it’s also good to have a break from that world, to watch something else. To enjoy an escape that the characters themselves rarely experience.

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