~ There is only one journey: going inside yourself. ~
- Rainer Maria Rilke


Battlestar Galactica ~ Saturday, December 23, 2006

Quote of the day: "I base my fashion sense on what doesn't itch."

Appropriate enough, given my choice of casuals for the day. :-)

We've been dividing our time between Battlestar Galactica (the new television series) and Prison Break--the latter at Glenn's recommendation.

BSG took a little while to get off the ground, IMO, despite all the kabooms and explosions at the outset. I wasn't pulled in immediately. But it has gotten more interesting, though I do find it exasperating that the humans are always the underdogs. I really don't get how they survive at all, given that the Cylons (originally man-made machines that developed self-will and now look exactly like humans) always seem about ten steps ahead of them.

The opposition between humans and Cylons, in thematic terms, seems to play out a little sumpin' like this:

Cylon= monotheistic, intelligently designed, homogenous (there are only twelve models of Cylon... again, the reasons for this are unclear. If they can create a human-like creature from the ground up, then having a wider variety of them would seem a no brainer--at the least, you'd think they'd be able to do cosmetic surgery on them so that they'd look different and be able to infiltrate the human ranks more effectively. You'd also think they would age and so there would be some older looking versions of Cylon models as well as young ones)

Human= polytheistic, evolved, pluralistic

The humans appear to be relying on some kind of prophecy, but the Cylons appear to know far more about the prophecy than do the humans (e.g. a Cylon led the humans to the site of one of the significant turning points). If that's so--if the humans are so outmanoevered (and at every turn they seem to be), then it feels pretty fatalistic--like the Cylons are just sitting around letting the humans mess everything up for themselves because they can afford to?

All the positive turning points are extremely minor victories or else they are resolutions (usually with some very high level of compromise or sub-optimal solution) of problems that have been created within the story arc being depicted.

E.g. key character is shot and ends up in a coma. Lots of negative turning points ensue and stuff gets really, really bad. The positive turning point then is that the character regains consciousness--everyone's greatly relieved--but much of the bad stuff has irrevocable consequences and everything is far worse than it was before the shooting.

This pattern seems fairly typical--three steps back, one step forward. It gets rather wearing after a while to keep watching more and more bad things happen and to know that any victory will be pyrrhic at best and non-strategically significant at worst (e.g. Cylons infiltrate key outpost and learn stuff they shouldn't and the BSG folk are just barely able to contain the damage at a very high price and still have a compromised system; elsewhere, two characters who had a falling out in an earlier episode make up and decide to be friends, which is our feel-good moment and meant to make us imagine that somehow things have turned out all right after all).

Once in a very rare while, they throw us a bone in the form of some possibly strategically important victory, but often as not that's followed by our learning that some Cylon is sitting around watching the whole thing and allowing it to happen for his or her own nefarious purposes.

I've lately begun suggesting to Tom that I would actually welcome one of those "remember those fun times we had on Capricon" kind of episodes with a bunch of people sitting around laughing at a series of past hijinks--you know, one of those benevolent little "character development" episodes which *doesn't* involve some tragically killed boyfriend and the resultant emotional scars' consequences in the present. I might even welcome one of those flashback shows, depicting the fun and zany times, using clips from previous episodes, that always seem like "the writers had their week off so we're filming a flashback show". I'm that desperate to break from the largely downward spiral of the story.

I do like the characters, but will admit I'm getting rather tired of the show and the relentlessly negative overarching storylines (at least Stargate Atlantis, of which I saw a couple of seasons, had some fun episodes too).

I also admit that I rather like the Cylons, but they don't make a lot of sense to me. I'd like to see an episode (maybe there's one ahead) of the Cylons hanging out on some average day. What do they do? What to they talk about? Do they play poker with each other, and if it's the same model playing against itself, would one win, or would each recognise the small body language cues that would give away the bluff? In their cities, what do they do with their time? Hang out? Go for coffee? Have day jobs? Let the less-human-looking machines wait on them? What's the infrastructure? etc.

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 7:32 PM::::


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