Battlestar Galactica 2006

I had a friend recommend that I watch Battlestar Galactica last month. He simply said that it was the best show on TV. I’m sure many could argue whether it is the “Best” or not, but I don’t think anyone can say it is less than a top notch show. I give this series 5/5 stars.

First of all, you need to keep in mind that this series is only based on the classic 1978 series, and is not a continuation or a remake. Several things are radically different in both main plot lines and characters. The Cylon race was created by Humans not lizard-like aliens. The Cylons and rebelled and tried to kill their masters, eventually the fighting ended and the Cylons disappeared. Several leading characters that were once male, Starbuck & Boomer, for example are now female. This opens up opportunities for lots of sexual tension with other characters. Speaking of sexual, this is not a show for young kids. The DVD releases are Not Rated, but the original TV broadcasts are TV-14. There’s cursing (in their own little vocabulary), sex, drinking, fighting and more. All of these are used to create an intense emotional drama.

I would definitely describe this show as a drama that is Sci-Fi, not a Sci-Fi drama. As many viewers have pointed out, some episodes have no space battles whatsoever, and are spent on character development and internal conflict. The cinematography is quite unique, especially in the space action sequences. The camera moves around like you are really involved in the action. There are lots of snap zooms to whoever is talking, and there is no such thing as a “steadycam” in this series. There’s a nice DVD bonus feature where the directors talk about this style.

I would find it hard to believe anyone could watch the miniseries (which by the way is included on Disk1 of Season 1) and walk away without wanting to see more. Luckily I had the advantage of having these on DVD and watched the miniseries in one sitting, only 183 minutes. I usually watched at least 2 or 3 of the approximately 45 minute episodes at a time. Nothing beats not having to watch commercials or wait another week or 2 for the next episode. Season 2.5 (episodes 11-20 of Season 2) has just been released on DVD, so grab a copy if you aren’t caught up yet. Season 3 just started in October 2006 on Sci-Fi. For more information, visit Sci-Fi’s official website for Battlestar Galactica.

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Falling Skies (2011) on TNTFalling Skies (2011) on TNT

Falling Skies takes place in a near future alternate reality where aliens invaded Earth and just about destroyed everything. The series opens with a kid describing the first contact and subsequent invasion. All of the major cities and most of the military was destroyed all in one swoop. The series follows a group of resistance fighters that are struggling to survive. Some people want to strike back, but the military commander is convinced that splitting up and going to ground is the best move right now. The main character, Tom Mason played by Noah Wyle, happens to be second in command of a small splinter group. He has three sons, one very little, another in his late teens, and the last one has been captured by the aliens. The general feel seems to be something similar to Terminator and the new Battlestar Galactica.

Tom Mason was a US history professor, so quite often he quotes how some historical battles were won by underdogs. His repetition of this got on my nerves a bit. Another thing that bothered me was that his youngest son wanted to wish for everything to go back to the way it was for his birthday. His son asked if that was OK to wish for and Tom said yes. That really bothered me, because the sooner his kid understands nothing will be as it was, the better. Overall I would have to say the premier was mediocre at best. Some of the acting seemed a bit weak, but nothing terrible. I’ll have to watch the next few episodes so I can form a better opinion.

So I have been a bit behind with my reviewsSo I have been a bit behind with my reviews

I’ve been a bad reviewer lately. I usually try to write my reviews right after viewing or reading but I haven’t had as much time to write them lately. I’ve been playing World in Conflict quite a bit lately, which competes with my reviews here. I should actually do a review for that sometime, since I spend so much time playing it. It takes place in an alternate reality where the Soviets invade the US in 1990. For more information in the meantime just click the link above.

So, here are the things I have watched so far, but have yet to review:

  1. Blade Runner – The Final Cut: (I’ve watched the movie, which was awesome, but I still have to work through the rest of the special features on the last disc)
  2. I am Legend (2007) – I’ve actually watched this twice, once with my Father while on vacation, and again with my wife
  3. Battlestar Galactica: Razor – Unrated Extended Edition

I’m also in the process of reading two books: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert, and The Age of Spiritual machines by Ray Kurzweil. The latter is not really science fiction, but I’m about half way through it and many of the ideas probably seemed like fiction back when it was published in 1999. Many of the predictions Kurzweil makes in the first half are fairly accurate, so I’m interested to see what he will say in the second half.

My next major milestone will be to read Chaos Theory, Asimov’s Foundations and Robots, and Herbert’s Dune: The Fractal Aesthetic of Epic Science Fiction.

That should keep me busy for a little while.