Monday, May 26, 2008

Battlestar Galactica: Who Shot JR?

I finally got to see Last weeks' BSG episode "Guess What's Coming To Dinner" for a second time. I watched it the first airing on the SciFi Channel, but missed the re-airing at midnight. So I had to wait till this weekend to watch it online. While there is allot going on as usual on this show, the only storyline people are really talking about who is the final cylon model. The theories abound, there's even Vegas betting as to who is the final cylon. I don't think we've seen anything of this magnitude since the infamous "Who Shot JR?" scenario from "Dallas". (OK, if you count "American Idol", but that's just America's obsession with embarrassing themselves, not a story that challenges the mind).

How they got the leg severing scenes past the sensors is beyond me. That scene where Gaeta is getting his leg cut off, and the sound effects of the saw and the sounds of his pain, I think are exclusively reserved for the "R" rating to be shown only in a movie theater. To say the least, it was hard to watch.

We also see more of the opera House mystery played out, but what does it mean? And why would Athena Kill the Six? Tory is busted for sleeping with Baltar, but it turns out Laura has taken to believing what Baltar is peddling. Tigh openly opposes the plan to find and unbox the D'Anna cylon model, because D'Anna can identify the final five models, including him.

We get a sample of (Alessandro Juliani) Gaeta's singing abilities as he works through the pain of having his leg cut off. Alessandro Juliani, according to IMDB, Graduated from McGill University with a B.M. (Bachelor of Music?) in vocal/opera performance. Some other blogs have implicated that his singing holds some message related to the immediate story. It's vague and cryptic if it is.

Here's a thought, what if Tyrol, Tigh, Tory, and Sam are NOT cylons? What if they have wrongly assumed they are cylons based on their shared experience? We've seen no conclusive evidence. But we do know the power of suggestion, they could have convinced themselves they are cylons. We know that because they THINK they are cylons they are beginning to ask strange and question their own life and experiences. Why do I question this? Well, a shared experience is what Laura, the Six, Athena, and Baltar are having. But were are pretty sure that Baltar and Laura are not cylons. Why? If for no other reason than it would make for a very weak and lame ending to this saga.

That fact is no one knows who the final (five) cylons are, except maybe the producers, if they've written that part yet. The whole story of BSG has been flipped on it's ear. For 3 years they've been running from the cylons, just trying to survive, and as a general rule looking for Earth.

Now the players on the home and visitors teams are changing sides at an alarming rate. We're supposed to be rooting for the humans, right? But each week I find myself rooting for the cylons and Baltar. I can identify with them more easily. Maybe it's because the cylons believe in one true God and that God has a master plan. The Colonials on the other hand believe in a group of 12 gods, which are something of a mix of the Greek gods and what we know as the 12 zodiac signs.

But it's more than that. The cylons have principles, but the Colonials, not so much. I mean, this is not the crew of the Starship Enterprise. The Colonials are a group of survivors, and they have, when it suits them, broken every covenant of their beliefs to survive. If I was a cylon I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them, cause I know they're unpredictable, and they're NOT trustworthy; the whole bunch of them, especially our key characters. While some are curious, many Colonials do not believe in any god, let alone the 12 gods. They honestly believe the whole world was created out of a void, everything is completely random and has no higher purpose. Sound like our modern society to you?

It's no wonder the cylons rebelled. The Colonials have no moral compass, kind've like a modern day America where crime is rampant, and greed is the overriding emotion in everything. The need to have and achieve; flaunt what you have, and lust after what you don't. Honesty and integrity are rare. From what I've read about the upcoming "Caprica" series, it will answer the questions about why they hated their makers. Imagine our world as we know it (sociologically), then throw in hundreds of years of technological advances. One particular storyline I read was about how a father programmed one of the "toasters" to be in the image of his rebellious daughter, who by the way, was part of a movement that believe in one true God.

If you're a fan of science fiction then you know about the Star Trek Universe. As technology advanced, so did the human ability to deal with it. Poverty, disease, and crime all were overcome. Now imagine all those technological advances WITHOUT the human growth, without the sociological changes to deal with it. That's what life was like on the 12 colonies prior to the cylon attacks.

To be honest, I didn't watch much of the first season, and I missed the miniseries. While I wasn't a fan of the original series, when I saw the previews of the miniseries, I was not impressed, and actually disheartened with how they were twisting it up. I surmised it would be like countless other series and movie remakes that flopped or just changed things too much like "Planet of the Apes, Dukes of Hazard, Miami Vice (later), Spiderman, Batman, and even the latest Star Trek movies.

Four years later it's has grown to one of the most talked about show on television. The story's intensity and depth will be hard to duplicate in other television series or movies.

The shows ending will need to be equally dramatic, and memorable. For example, one of "The Planet Of The Apes" Movies ends with a nuclear blast killing everything. There was the second Newhart series (1982-1990) that ended with him waking up in bed next to Suzanne Pleshette, his onscreen wife from the original Bob Newhart show (1972-1977). My favorite though was from "Dallas" when the season premier opens with Bobby in the shower and Pam finding him in a surprise like she'd seen a ghost. And maybe she did, cause he was killed at the end of season 8. But as the story goes all of "Dallas" season 9 was a figment of Pam Ewing's imagination. Try to top that. Picture this, the entire BSG universe is being played out in a holographic cube sitting on Glen A. Larson's desk, the creator of the original series.

John Crawford

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