I’ve been negligent in my “Battlestar Galactica”-watching duties for the past month, so I spent the last couple of days getting caught up on the last four episodes.
I’ve got to be vague, here, since there may yet be brothers of man, out there, among the blogosphere, who are waiting for the DVD release to watch the show. I’ll just say that it’s been troubling, and I’m getting really creeped-out by my TV series-destroying powers.
It’s not even the obvious plot events that are bugging me, as much as the general up-and-down nature of the show. People keep acting wildly inconsistently — they’ve got a basic character type that they mostly stay true to, but within that, they’re all over the map. What’s an unforgivable sin one episode becomes standard practice a few weeks later. A guy can commit treason and get a “no harm, no foul” from the Admiral in one episode; a short while later, Adama is threatening to shoot the Chief’s wife to get back at him (and just a couple of weeks before that, he was getting all emotional trying to save her).
One of the strengths of the series, as I understand it, is that it tries to put everything in a moral gray area, and it tries to add contemporary relevance to the events instead of just making it a sci-fi action series. That’s all fine, except that when you don’t have a stronger backbone for the story, and real consistency across episodes, it all comes across as self-contained Ripped From Today’s Headlines stories. I’m glad they have the conscience to tackle real issues, but there are some places where stories about racism and labor disputes and class warfare just don’t fit.
The most recent episode (the one about Baltar’s lawyer) shows signs they might be pulling out of the tailspin. I honestly couldn’t tell you if the writing was actually intelligent, or if it was just obtuse but meant to sound intelligent. Whatever the case, it worked for me. And it looks like they’re finally committed to building up to something big.
This is the only series I can think of where I’ve disliked the individual stand-along episodes so much. Usually I look forward to them; as the “series mythology” stuff is generally tedious, and smaller episodes give writers the chance to experiment and present a fully-fleshed out idea. On “Battlestar Galactica,” they just get in the way.
Update: I guess I should’ve waited until after tonight’s episode to start complaining. Because tonight’s was pretty damn cool. And I can’t remember when I’ve ever watched a TV series and had no clue what was going to happen. I can’t even speculate how things are going to turn out next week.