Battlestar Galactica Season 2 Review
As with most good series, I found that Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica was FAR superior to Season 1. The characters were really beginning to settle into their relationships with each other, their motivations, their reason for being. Rather than being caricatures, they were now real human beings, with strengths and weaknesses, with fears and desires.
This season really shines for many reasons, but there is one particular episode that stands out to be as being one of the best episodes I have seen on TV for any series, never mind just for a sci-fi series. I hate to give away plot points in case someone is reading this to determine if they should buy the DVD set based on my review. I will say that the episode involves a woman who is in trouble, and two men who love her and who drive in, against all odds, to save her. It was incandescently powerful and moving. What is ironic is that in the director's soundtrack for this issue they were saying that they felt women would be "turned off" by this particular episode as being too hard hitting. Too hard hitting?? Most women out there have been in trouble and have craved help. This was about as primal as you can get in terms of what is meaningful to many women.
It is important to note that season 2 is divided in half - into season 2 and then season 2.5. This is just the "fall season" and "spring season" for the series. It is also important to note that they made two versions of one of the episodes - a short version for TV and then a longer version for DVD. That was because the director had shot tons of brilliant footage and they simply could not fit it all into the normal TV time slot. I definitely recommend you watch the shorter TV version first to see what "average watchers saw" - but then watch the DVD version after that. It is amazing how much more lush and meaningful the storyline is. It really makes you want BattleStar Galactica to move to a pay channel where they could have a full hour to tell each episode, rather than losing so much of the story to the cutting-room floor so that commercials still have their chance to play.
Yes, there are still complaints to be made about certain heavy-handed black-vs-white issues, but the series is definitely getting better about treating its viewers with more respect. There were several laugh out loud moments, as in when a cylon says "take me to your leader". Those are balanced by the snide political commentary that sneaks in at several points, as when it's commented that "I don't have to listen - I'm the president!" Probably the most egregious line, even though it was (sort of) meant in jest is when Adama is warning his second-in-command about his troublesome wife. Adama suggestions that if the wife gives him any trouble, he should ditch her and get a younger one. What?? How about a nicer one, or a more loving one?
The season finale is very interesting in many ways. Again, I don't want to give away the plot of it, but it is a fascinating twist on the story, one that really has you paying attention to details. It very much lures you to watching the third season, to see where all of the loose threads they leave open will head towards.
Well worth watching. And as much as I say that Season 1 has faults, I highly recommend you at least rent season 1 first, because a lot of what makes season 2 so great is that all of that back-story has been established.
The episode I refer to above as being so incredible is of course the one where the cylon version of Sharon is nearly raped. The buildup of tension, the growing knowledge in her two loves of what is going on and their immediate drive into action to rescue her was incredibly powerful. I literally watched that episode three times in a row on DVD. I am still surprsied that the commentary thought that would be too "raw" for women. Stats show that one in six women has been raped. That means every one of us women has either been raped ourselves or knows directly someone who has been. This is something we live with. To have a pair of protective men racing in, willing to do anything to keep us safe is a very powerful image. Everything in that was just perfect - the way the men bristled, the way Sharon pulled the blanket down, it was a work of art.
I think they could have done a better job balancing some of the "bad characters". They seem to feel in this show that a character must be "pure evil" and both commanders of the Pegasus were definitely set up that way. You were almost waiting for them to be taken down immediately. The whole idea of Adama saying "let's just kill her" blew my mind. Doesn't the President have the ability to demote a poorly acting military commander? Why not have the president demote the poorly-acting commander? Why not have her take other actions?
Lee's sudden jumping through the ranks is a bit offsetting. I would have much rather liked them to show that progression, to show how he changed over time.
I really liked the episode where Starbuck and Apollo get drunk and almost get intimate. I think that was extremely well done, and shows a lot about each character.
It was amusing to watch the final episode where it was "in the future" - with how they tried to age each character differently. Starbuck gets long hair. Adama gets grey. Lee gets porky?? The other characters don't seem to change much. I did find it hard to believe that their camp area looked so incredibly sparse though. People who settle in usually plant some veggies, plant some flowers, make it cozy. I think they were deliberately going for the "things are just as bad down here" look but it just didn't seem realistic to me. People would have made more of an effort - even with natural items found around them - to settle in.
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