Sunday, March 23, 2008

Celebrity Fans of Battlestar Galactica

The scariest part of giving up TV was wondering how I was going to watch Battlestar Galactica when it came back for it's fourth season. I just trusted that I'd be able to watch it online in some legal, streaming format. I'll soon find out after Friday, April 4. Fingers crossed!

Usually, fans and TV critics will rally around critically acclaimed shows that have low viewership with missionary zeal in the hopes it will not get canceled. There is no danger here of that at this point--the producers of BSG have already said this will be the final season.

Nonetheless, for the few people who read my blog (Hi Dad!) and who have never seen the show, I will recommend it simply so you can have the pleasure of seeing one of the best shows on television. In short, it follows 40,000 humans from another star system traveling through space searching for a planet called Earth, their twelve home planets having been destroyed by the Cylons. In the original system, Cylons were chrome Stormtroopers that rebelled against their human creators. The same is true here, only in addition to the robotic Cylons, some are now indistinguishable from humans and have blended in secret; some don't even know they aren't human.

This show breaks the mold of what most think of as science fiction.
It is more like 24, Lost and The West Wing than Star Trek. There are no alien races to dress up as at a BSG convention. Most of the actors portray humans, civilians and military, trying to figure out how to rebuild a democracy, maintain hope, and survive with their humanity intact after a devastating attack wipes out nearly everyone else. The rest portray Cylons, who have evolved to be so like their human creators, they can have children with them.

In this post-9/11 world, the show has taken on religious, political, and societal issues--but in a way that doesn't so much parallel our world so much as comes at it sideways. If you are liberal or conservative, you'll have a hard time figuring out who to root for, which is exactly why this show is so good--it peels back the tidy labels we put on ourselves and forces us to re-examine our core beliefs. That, and it spins a ripping good yarn.

The promoters of the show put together interviews with celebrity fans. It's as if they met with a marketing agency and said "Gee, how do we connect with people who still haven't watched this show?" and they said "Let's go get celebrity endorsements from every single demographic who might possibly avoid BSG: country-western music fans, African-Americans, heavy metal dudes, and snarky E! television personalities. So aside from the usual suspects--Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, fanboy/actor Seth Green of Robot Chicken and Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park (who won the Peabody Award the same year as BSG and have since become devoted fans)--they filmed country singer Brad Paisley, actors Jessie L. Martin and Epatha Merkerson from Law and Order, guitarist Scott Ian of Anthrax, and Joel McHale, host of The Soup waxing rhapsodic about the show.

McHale had the best quip of the show "When you hear the word sci-fi, that literally makes women run screaming. They're like, huh, what? I'm going to read The Kite Runner." My thoughts exactly until I actually saw the three-hour miniseries that kicked off the show.

If you're still not convinced, don't take my word for it, take the word of your favorite celebrity. And if you still don't like it, well, I've got a link to go buy The Kite Runner for you. (You should know, a year later, I still haven't finished The Kite Runner, but I sure as heck am going to finish watching the last season of BSG.)

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