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Battlestar Gallactica: Season 2 (2005)

 Psst! There's a cylon behind you!
Psst! There's a cylon behind you!

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Action Adventure War Sci-Fi Dramatic Series

Starring: Edward James Olmos (American Me; Blade Runner); Katee Sackhoff (Halloween: Resurrection)

Directed By: Ronald D. Moore

Overview: Following the devastating attack of their ages-old robotic enemy, the Cylons, 50,000 human survivors scour space in search for the legendary planet Earth, lead by the military flagship Battlestar Galactica.

Recently, I tore into the second season of "The Twilight Zone", as I have of late in my realization that many shows suffer from a second season rut. Though I wasn't worried that "Battlestar" would be one of these perpetrators, I had no idea how impressed I would be with it.

I'll begin by saying that I'm not much one for television - as a culture. I hate the idea of being bogged down to a set time and place to watch something full of interruptions and then having to wait a week to see the rest of it. In fact, it genuinely pisses me off. This DVD era we've hit is certainly a great thing for someone like me who likes the shows and the freedom of keeping my schedule my own. But I digress.

Television sits in three style camps for me: The Repeated Formula, The Character Piece and The Ongoing Saga.

With The Repeated Formula you have basically one foundation episode that is repeated with the details ever changing. "Law & Order" (17 years running!), every "C.S.I." in the franchise, to a lesser extent "Quantum Leap", these shows banked on the fact that very little character development occurred. If you see just one random episode of "Law & Order", chances are you won't be lost.

With The Character Piece, we have most shows on television, like the sitcom. If you like the characters, "Roseanne" will live on as long as the writers keep the ideas relatively fresh. You need not have seen the previous episode of "The Simpsons" to get the jokes. "Batman" and "Dr. Who" may accomplish things from season to season but somehow we don't really have to keep on top of things to know that The Penguin is at it again, and we're not surprised that 25 years later, the Daleks are still as big a pain as they've ever been.

Then we have The Ongoing Saga, a formula made ever popular with HBO. Imagine missing just one episode of "Twin Peaks"? Forget it. Miss a season of "Six Feet Under" and you'll immediately be asking who these new main characters are. Because it's basically one big, long movie, audiences need to not miss anything. Since producers don't have to worry about keeping the show entertaining to occasional viewers, they really focus on the plot, the drama and the forward momentum of a storyline.

Of course shows take a little from Column A and little from Column B to flesh itself out but I'm finding that people, myself included, are really getting on The Ongoing Saga bandwagon.

Er, segueway aside...

"Battlestar Galactica", ultimately, knows its place perfectly. As an Ongoing Saga, we know already that Season Four will be the last one. A show with a distinct beginning, middle and end makes for good planning, just as a mini-series can kick ass by being a hammered out tale that just so happens to be longer than a film.

Season Two of "Battlestar Galactica" introduces a new atmosphere to the series, and rightly so. Where Season One saw humanity's escape and a settling into this new Post-Apocalyptic life, Season Two explores the present: humanity has accepted its fate and is dealing, sometimes bringing the fight to the enemy, sometimes dealing with inner strife, and sometimes pressing onward in hopes of finding utopia.

What I enjoyed most about "Battlestar Galactica" is the way the episodes unfold as mostly unique stories that finish without too much need for follow up. With shows like "Oz" and "Carnivale", there's no real end until the season finale, then it's usually just one big cliff-hanger. The meandering can drive you nuts. Not so with "Battlestar". It never forgets the overall theme, and every episode, though sometimes relatively escapist to the overall plot, is excellent character development. This year we also saw a curbing of my biggest issue with last season. It now helps create a distinct culture outside of the one we Earthlings know, and though not a great rift, it is a rift becoming greater.

 Yep, she's totally smokin'
Yep, she's totally smokin'

Overall Rating: 88% (Shines Bright)
Aftertaste:

Besides what it does for the future of television in the way of innovations of CGI and editing, "Battlestar Gallactica" is original in plotline and character. It explores psychology of both its core characters and its enemies, its stories delve into the grey (and pure black) areas of morality, and the episodes that have heavy action are fantastic. Overall, "Battlestar Gallactica" is a fantastic Drama that's even better now that they produce twenty episodes a season instead of the usual thirteen.

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