Friday, January 16, 2009
The best show on TV? In what alternate universe?
There are a lot of people who really like the new version of Battlestar Galactica. Some of these people I know personally, and others have opinions I usually respect, like S.F. Chronicle reviewer Tim Goodman.
Let me say this as nicely as possible. These people have lost their frakking minds.
I gave up on the show in the first or second season because I found it too unremittingly downbeat and the art direction was too drab, with every scene overwhelmed by shades of grey. This evening, the final ten episodes began, so I thought I'd check in to see how things have progressed. The shots are still all grey, and as for downbeat, this makes an Eastern European animation festival seem festive.
I am not anti-sci-fi or fantasy. I have plenty of nerd street cred. I watched Buffy and Angel and Babylon 5 and some but not all of the Star Trek franchises. I watched Farscape to the end and stuck with Xena:Warrior Princess for longer than I care to admit. I'm not completely against dark stories. I have several friends and family members who couldn't stick with The Wire or Mad Men because the stories were too depressing. I can understand that. These are acquired tastes.
I don't blame the cast. As always, if a show is good or bad, it starts with the writers. Like with almost all sci-fi casts, there are plenty of attractive young stars for eye candy and good veteran actors for gravitas, but that's not enough to keep me interested. I gave up on Heroes very early and got bored with Lost in the second or third season, and there are plenty of superfine honeys in both of those casts.
Like with the critical raves surrounding Slumdog Millionaire, I have to wonder if the world's gone nuts or I'm just getting too old and cranky. Because I have, how shall I put it delicately, a healthy self-image, I'm going to go with the premise that I'm right and the world is wrong.
You may have a friend who will try to get you hooked on the new Battlestar Galactica. He or she may tell you it is much better than the original, and on that point I would agree. This is not cornball stuff. But I advise you not to waste your time, and you have to consider the possibility that your friend is actually a Cylon.