The best laid plans of machines and men

I’m sure there were blog entries like this one back when Battlestar Galactica season 3 premiered in the States. So, once again, I’m a year or so late with my reactions. Well, you know what? If you’re looking for cutting-edge reviews you’re in the wrong place anyway. Sorry… should’ve told you earlier, I guess.

Together with Firefly, it’s Battlestar Galactica that has revived my interest in sci-fi. After an overdose of bad Star Trek spinoffs, I’d really given up on the genre, but these two series show that there’s interesting stories to be told in outer space. What I like especially about BSG is the ambivalence of its characters – and that has never been as plain to see as at the beginning of season 3. The references to Iraq are obvious – lines about “insurgent uprisings” and “capturing their hearts and minds” are almost a bit too in-your-face – but the interesting thing is that it’s our protagonists who are strapping on bombs, killing the enemy as much as their own people.

And what other series could manage such a sick, compelling “Honey, I’m home!” moment as when Leoben is stabbed through the neck by Starbuck, only to come home a little later, freshly downloaded, telling her that it’s her choice whether she wants to sleep in the bedroom – but either way (nodding towards the Cylon corpse on the floor) she’d be spending the night with him.

Almost feeling a bit sorry for Gaius Baltar…

I must say I’m even feeling a bit sorry for Gaius. He’s in a situation where he can either do the wrong thing or get a bullet in the head. He’s never been heroic, exactly, but he’s in a place where he’s screwed, no matter what he does. It’ll be interesting to see where the season will take these characters. But I’m sure that wherever we’ll end up, it won’t be predictable.

4 thoughts on “The best laid plans of machines and men

  1. magenta November 26, 2007 / 3:13 pm

    The references to Iraq are obvious

    Oh… uh… *eherm*…. of course…. I knew that!

  2. southerngeekygirl November 26, 2007 / 5:01 pm

    According to the commentary podcasts they weren’t intending to specifically reference Iraq in these episodes, it’s just that stories about war tend to apply across the board, but they certainly do resonate, don’t they?

    I still get the creeps thinking about the Leoben/Starbuck storyline.

  3. thirithch November 26, 2007 / 5:32 pm

    I’m not sure I believe them fully, to be quite honest. That phrase about “hearts and minds” has been used so prominently with respect to the US involvement/invasion in Iraq, it pretty much stood out like a sore thumb.

    Doesn’t matter, though, because differently to, say, Trek doing this kind of thing, BSG pulls it off intelligently. In Trek, Occuptation and Precipice would have been allegory episodes, and they would have been insultingly polemic.

    It’s a shame they didn’t include the podcasts as commentary tracks on the R2 DVDs. They did for some of season 2.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment!

  4. southerngeekygirl November 27, 2007 / 6:20 am

    I’m sure you’re right – I know what they claimed but the parallels are very strong, it’s hard to see how they could have done it accidentally.

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