With the news that Netflix was finally going to begin streaming episodes of Battlestar Galactica, I was over-joyed. I had heard a lot about the series, but like Firefly/Serenity had heard too late to jump on the bandwagon. In a need to add to my geek show cred, I have begun watching this show with great regularity and have already finished the first season. Here’s my thoughts so far.
Netflix started off by confusing the hell out of me. They aren’t sharing the first 2 episodes (which I guess technically was part of a mini-series before the show started). This means I was dropped right in the middle of a story and had to pick up the pieces along the way. Because of this I feel like I still do not completely know what happened that led to the start of the series. The third episode, there’s a fleet of ships in the middle of space. Only one is a military ship, and it is a battlestar named Galactica (ding!). Every 33 minutes, an attack force catches up to our beloved human fleet and starts killing folks. There are around 50,000 people alive on this fleet, and it seems like that’s all there is left of humanity. After the bad guys (called cylons, who are apparently AIs) catch up, Galactica fights them off for a couple minutes, then the whole fleet jumps away. The clock is restarted to countdown 33 minutes, at which time it starts all over again. They’ve jumped a bunch of times already, and there isn’t a recovery crew. All the military folk are running on caffeine pills and adrenaline.
I find myself making snap impressions of people based solely on how they’re acting in this highly tense situation.
The female president is still alive, and it’s very stressful for her to keep hearing about losing people every time a cylon kills a pilot before they can jump again.
There’s a genius scientist named Baltar who we immediately dislike. He’s apparently responsible for helping the cylons to kill millions of people, but since no one knows this everyone keeps listening to his random opinion rattling. Oh, and did I mention he has an imaginary girlfriend who is a cylon? Yea, he is the only one who sees this blond cylon called Number Six. She talks to him, gives him random crappy advice, and has dream-sex with him. He seems completely fine with continuing to do Six’s bidding, especially after a little show halfway through the season where she appeared to some others and almost got Baltar killed. Chicken loser coward with annoying accent and too much hair. That about sums him up.
The characters you can like are all in the military. Commander Adama is the "old man", as his entire crew calls him. Bespectacled and battle-hardened, he’s making all the tough decisions and doesn’t ask for breaks in between. His son is on the ship too, Captain Adama a.k.a. Apollo. Apollo is a pilot and a bit of an idealistic fool. I’m finding the captain harder and harder to relate to as the season progressed. The XO named Tigh is a bald alcoholic who rocks at his job when he’s sober. Oh, and his wife’s a crazy-manipulative whore witch. That’s being polite, trust me.
Despite random quirks of personality, Starbuck is overall a cool character. She is a tough, no-nonsense pilot with a traumatic past and links to pretty much every character. She’s a pilot, and apparently one of the best. She enjoys the feeling of control, and lives a very physical and aggressive life even when she’s not flying. I don’t know if I’d say her character has grown any in the first season. All you really get from her is the idea you’re seeing a different side and that she didn’t really change at all. I also get the impression she’s going to hook up with Apollo at some point. But usually if a series goes on long enough, that’ll fall apart and they’ll both meet other people.
There is a host of other characters that could be considered minor. Sharon becomes pretty important in different ways, but that’s just because there are two of her. That’s right, the greatest problem with the cylons is that some of them look human. They’re hiding amongst the fleet, even on Galactica itself. What we wonder all season is if all the Sharons are cylons, or if one is an original. By the end of the season, you’ll probably be fine with all the Sharons dying. At least I was. Also I really like the Chief Tyrol, but that might partially be the fact he’s enlisted and not an officer. The Chief is in charge of the flight deck on the Galactica. You regularly see him working on ships, prepping other ships, or tinkering. He tries to be friends to as many people as he can, and occasionally this causes him more grief than it is worth.
I can see how this first season is a great starting point for the show. I have enjoyed all the tension and wondering and mistrust. My wife has watched some episodes with me and keeps saying it has "too much space drama!". And it is a bit like a soap opera in space. With robots and military personnel and politicians. I look forward to viewing the rest of the seasons of the show.