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Well Spent? - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Well Spent?
On the one hand, the last two hours of commercial television were some of the most compelling I've seen in a long time. On the other hand, their extreme darkness has radically amplified my already well-developed sense of despair. I'm not sure whether I'll be able to keep watching the show without going totally mad.

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masoo From: masoo Date: October 7th, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I wish I could tell you it was going to get better. I even think that it will. At the very least, Admiral Adama will give an inspiring speech.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 7th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It was pretty great. Are the first two seasons that cinematic?
masoo From: masoo Date: October 7th, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yes. And while I haven't seen many episodes this way (we don't get Universal HD), they look glorious in hi-def. On the other hand, a lot of what seems "cinematic" may stem from the relatively low budget of the show. They are forced to get creative.

But the various "looks" of the various settings are always well done. The planet of Caprica, which is the post-apocalypse place we saw the most, was always shot with filters to make it look, well, post-apocalyptic. New Caprica, as you saw, has a grimy look, not just in the sets but in the actual filtering of the image. They take a lot of care with everything.

One way to get to know more about the making of the show: Ron Moore, the creator, usually does a podcast, works like a DVD commentary, that gets posted to the official website, sometimes even before the episode airs so you can watch it and listen to him. They're pretty entertaining (I'm not often a fan of such commentaries). While BSG comes across as having huge ambitions, his commentaries are v.down to earth ... he records a lot of them in his study at home, his wife'll walk in, stuff like that.
From: ex_benlinus Date: October 7th, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I've been tivo'ing it for months but haven't watched an episode yet because I was told I had to watch from the beginning of the series, and I just don't have the time to catch up.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 7th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I had the same anxiety but my friend Steven made such a rousing plea that I gave it a shot. And you know what? I figured most of what I needed to know out just watching the episode. As he points out -- read his entry from yesterday -- you can watch a free, 45-minute program to catch you up.
masoo From: masoo Date: October 7th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Here's some of the email I sent my sister, trying to fill in a couple of the gaps in the "BSG So Far" special:

Humans in the world of BSG believe in multiple gods ... this is obvious when they talk, since they say stuff like "gods save us." Cylons, the machines made by humans, believe in One God. This matters because Cylons do what they do because they believe they are doing god's bidding. The morality of their actions is frighteningly awful to an outsider ... to them it's very moral to wipe out all of humanity. [Addendum: after last night, I'm not so sure the Cylons are as devout as they used to be.]

Meanwhile, something that isn't made clear in "So Far" is that President Roslin comes to believe she is a chosen one spoken of in the scriptures of one of the human religions, meant to lead her people to the promised land, which is "Earth." Roslin also has cancer, for which she takes contraband medicine. The medicine makes her hallucinate ... she has visions, which seem to match scripture ... she starts to believe in herself as Chosen ... she has followers. By the time Season Three starts, her cancer has been cured (the half-Cylon baby you'll learn about in "So Far" has mysterious curative powers), she's no longer President, and most of the religious aspects of her character seem to have been forgotten. But I have to believe they're still there ... this isn't a show that forgets where it's been.

Religion itself in viewed non-judgementally. The most basic aspect of this is that thus far we have no idea whose God is the real one, or if God even exists. The Cylons might have the "right" God, or maybe Roslin's goofballs, or maybe Admiral Adama (EJ Olmos) is right (he's an atheist).

And ... another reason to love the show ... because BSG treats all possible religions as, well, possible, and because the guy behind the show believes in characterization, and in writing narrative to fit the characters, he tries very hard to see everything from the points of view of all the characters. This means you see the genocide of the human race as the awful thing it is, but you also see how Cylons could do it out of their beliefs.

The most confusing thing for me when I jumped in last season was the Cylon known as "Six." You'll know who she is right away ... she's the blond bombshell. It's easy enough to grasp that there are a limited number of Cylon models, but multiple examples of each one ... you just see a hundred Sharons or whatever, and you get the point. But there is one version of "Six" that seems to live inside the head of a human character, Gaius Baltar, a brilliant scientist who inadvertently caused the initial holocaust. That version of Six shows up on the screen, and she and Baltar have conversations, but they're in Baltar's head (I think). It's very confusing, even now. [Addendum: this Six shows up near the end of last night's episodes, telling Baltar to sign the death warrants. One of the PKDickian aspects of the show is that at one point, one of the Sixes starts having visions of Baltar in her head. Ron Moore, the show's creator, says it's always possible he could have a scene between the In-the-Head-of-Six Baltar and the In-the-Head-of-Baltar Six.]

Robin and I both have the same favorite character on this show ... we didn't name our new cat "Starbuck" for nothing. I think you'll like her, too, but 1) her butch qualities are a bit muted at the beginning of the new season (she grew her hair out at the end of Season Two), and 2) it's only fair to note that some people find the Starbuck character very annoying. [Addendum: I found her scenes disturbing last night. Robin figures Starbuck is playing the Cylon, though, so she wasn't as worried. And most of the online fans have noted that Starbuck has always been one of the most hardcore "they're not people, they're toasters" crowd, so it's unlikely she's really feeling maternal to something she surely sees as a machine.]
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