Friday, May 1, 2009

Battlestar Galatica (2004): Review

Battlestar Galactica

Televison/SciFi Channel:

In difficult times, movies (and television shows) have often provided us with a helpful uplift. What's more, I think it is fair to say Hollywood makes movies and television better than anyone else, and in fact, movies are one of America's most successful exports. Hollywood has a huge share of the world's entertainment market, with over half of the audiences for Hollywood's movies coming from outside the USA.

And so it is always a delight to discover a really good movie or TV show, not just because the show is enjoyable, but because it is nice to see what America can produce. I think Hollywood succeeds so well because making good movies requires a mixture of good business sense, imagination, technical skill, and audacity - typically American virtues.

These elements certainly come together in the SciFi Channel's "Battlestar Galatica." This series, which ran four years and won both Emmy and Peabody Awards, features great writing, acting, and superior special effects (the special effects are better than that of most big budget Science Fiction movies).

The plot is a science fiction standard, and yet it is complex and multi-hued. Mankind created a race of increasingly sophisticated machines, which of course have become superior to their creator and rebelled. Now the two are at war. The story arc has a bit of a dark edge. Humanity is struggling for survival, and at times the machines can almost seem like the good guys, as they take on increasingly human qualities, while the real humans can at times behave quite cruelly. What is left of mankind is only about 50,000 people who are on the run, traveling through space in a sort of wagon train to the stars.

I tend to avoid the SciFi Channel, but after reading the critical acclaim the show has received, I am glad I made an exception. I am just finishing Season 1, and I am looking forward to watching the next four seasons on DVD.