06 October, 2006

The Lords Of Coble

Do you ever have those dreams where you are at your workplace, but all of the other employees are people who were in your high school class? Or you're at the doctor, but the actual doctor is really one of those guys from the Hughes & Coleman commercials?

If you share these types of experiences with me, then you have a pretty good idea of what tonight's premiere of Battlestar Galactica was like. I knew all the characters (except Jammer), but they were in strange situations behaving strangely. And I'm not so sure I liked it all that much. There's Kara, in her new environs and her snappy extensions looking less figher-pilot, more geisha. There's Lee, still in space but fat and sloppy. The only character behaving remotely like I expected was Ellen Tigh. And I hate Ellen Tigh.

BSG until this point has done a very good job of telling a strong narrative while maintaining the episode-to-episode quality. I'm trusting them to keep up with their track record as far as the narrative goes, but I'm nervous after tonight's double bill. I presume that these two hours are laying groundwork for the more action-driven episodes later in the season. Or at least that's my most fervant hope. Because I can't take much more of these shouts-out to plotlines better done on Babylon 5.

Nightwatch? Check. We have the New Caprica Police. Hard character compromised by the loss of an eye? Check. We have Saul Tigh. If Zathras shows up, I'm done.

Worse than the shouts-out are the underlying currents of sermonising. Did you ever have one of those television-watching experiences where you felt as though someone was always walking in the background holding up a big sign reading This Is A Metaphor, followed immediately by someone else with a sign reading This Is An Allegory? Because that was the other part of tonight's BSG that left my FTL drive in disrepair. I get that the whole show is supposed to be a commentary on the Iraq war. Heretofore they've been able to pull off the commentary with a minimum of anvils. But starting tonight I felt that these were all-too-obvious displays of the writers' desires to comment on the world situation. Baltar's conversation with Roslin in detention was a particular example of this. All the talk of insurgents, suspension of habeas corpus and torture made me feel less like I was watching one of my favourite TV shows and more like I'd downloaded a chat transcript from AlterNet.

So now to the part where I say that I'm a die-hard fan and will keep watching no matter what. If I don't, certain parties will have my head. Yes, I will keep watching. I just hope that while I do watch they sometime decide to again entertain me.

UPDATE. Frak. It just occured to me right now. The Cylons are Zathras. Bugger.


At 11:46 PM, October 06, 2006, Blogger John said...

It's very rare for me to say this, but I disagree with you completely. I thought the season premiere was great. And I thought the way they turned some of the show's previous assumptions on their head added subtlety and complexity to the allegory.

At 12:04 AM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off: I love science fiction.
Second: I REALLY love science fiction.

I was the kid who read tons of SF books in jr high (and high school, and college, and now). If there's a popular SF book (or an unpopular one, or an unknown one), or a SF movie or TV show, I'm there. So I was gobsmacked when I totally lost interest in BSG about halfway through the second season. I've downloaded a few of the episodes since then just to see if it had gotten any better, and I kept coming away with the sense that it had actually gotten WORSE. How disappointing. I'm not trying to hate on BSG, for you true fans out there, but something about the writing just struck me as over the top, and not in an entertaining way.
Acting, too (mainly Katie Sackhoff).
I think Katherine's tolerance of anvil-weighty allegories is much higher than mine. I don't mind them, but for them to work, they have to be almost invisible. Otherwise you lose me. If I wanted sermonizing I'd watch the 700 club.

I hate to say it, but I really don't like BSG's brand of SF. I never thought that sentence would come out of me.


At 2:20 AM, October 07, 2006, Blogger Kelly said...

Thank goodness Dirk Benedict is back on TV. Wait a minute, what year is this?

At 3:03 PM, October 07, 2006, Blogger Sarcastro said...

The allegory turned heavy handed several times. It left little doubt to the views of Ron Moore concerning the war in Iraq.

Later this season they will feature a guy with the right side of his face white and the left side black. His arch-enemy will be a guy with black on his right side and white on his left.

Ellen Tigh is doing what she must to keep her husband alive. Even if it means making the sign of the two backed beast with every Cylon on New Caprica. Was that her lipstick smeared on her face? Most hoo-ers draw the line at kissing.

Jammer and Duck were in the webisodes that filled in some of the blanks in the four month interim from last season to this.

At 11:18 AM, October 09, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

I loved every last second of the premiere. Man, it was worth the wait.

I didn't really catch the B5 homages, which I should have. I'm a bad SciFi fan...

I am hooked and eager for more BSG genius....the cliffhanger ensured that I will be counting down hours to the next installment.

I love this show too much...

At 5:15 PM, October 11, 2006, Anonymous Lu said...

Ok -- catching up on my reading here; hence the incredible tardiness of my comment. :)

First off -- I have some friends who still work in the industry, all of whom swear that BSG, according to the producers, is NOT an allegory/ metaphor/ commentary on Iraq.

Up until Friday night I believed them.

Personally, I have a horrible case of whiplash from Friday's episode that has yet to go away. And perhaps that's why I still cannot come up with much to say other than, "shit" and "what the...?"

But then again, the season finale left me with a horrible case of whiplash too. "One year later....?!?!"

I hadn't even thought of the comparisons to B5 until you mentioned them. And it took me several minutes to get back off the floor after falling out of my chair laughing over your comparison... and the image of G'Kar beating the living crap out of Dean Stockwell's character while Londo flirts with 6. ---just a little insight into my twisted mind.

At any rate, the Cylons are most definitely NOT Zathras. Zathras "had hard life" remember. "Probably have hard death.... (at least there is symmetry)"

Oh, crap. Maybe you're right about the Cylons...


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