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Monday, July 18, 2005
TV Round-Up: Sci-Fi Friday
SciFi Friday is back....my round-up goes from worst to first in what I enjoyed Friday evening.

Stargate: Atlantis: The Seige, Part 3

This may be one of the most dense episodes of any show I've seen in a long time. In the course of one hour, we have to introduce new characters, resolve the cliffhanger from last year and deal with the Wraith and their unrelented attacks on Atlantis and set-up some of the on-going plot threads and threats for this year. That is a lot of information and resolution to pack into an hour of television and I have to admit I'm not sure Atlantis really pulled it off all that well. I liked the introduction of Nick Peleggi as Col. Caldwell to the recurring cast, but the arrival of the Daedulus just seemed a bit too convienent. Gee, just as Shepard is about to go kamakazi on one Wraith hive ship, Caldwell and company show up, beam our hero to safety and he still gets to destroy the hive ship using a puddle jumper and a nuke. Yeah, that was a bit much. As was the rather derivative ending of utlizing Telya's connection to the Wraith to convince them that our heroes had really destroyed Atlantis. It stinks of Data's telling the Borg to "sleep" via the link with Captain Picard in TNG's fourth season opener. And for a super colossal evil race who last year said--yes, we're gonna take out Atlantis and then head on over to Earth for the all you can eat human buffet, the Wraith sure do give up awfully easy. "Oh, gee, it looks like the city is gone, so let's head for the hills and go find us another buffet." It just felt like the writers painted themselves into a corner and had to find a way out and this seemed as good as any. Also, if you're trying to sell the Wraith on the destruction of Atlantis, why don't you have the Daedulus take off into hyperspace and make it appear as if a skeleton crew is nuking the city? I know, I know--we needed their super cool transporter to make the illusion work, but it just didn't make a lot of sense. (Of course, following my own logic, I guess everyone could pile out using the Stargate before the big boom).

Meanwhile, Ford gets turned into a half-human/half-Wraith thing and is now pretty unbalanced. He takes off in a puddle jumper and now, I assume, will be out there as an on-going threat all season long.

Stargate SG1: Avalon, Part 1
Ever wonder what it'd be like if John Crichton somehow fell through a wormhole into the Stargate universe? Well, you don't have to wonder any more as that's exactly what we get here as Ben Browder joins the cast of Stargate SG1 as the new team leader. And you know what--I know the character Browder is playing ain't exactly the opposite of John Crichton and I just don't care. The sensibility that Browder brought to Farscape is working here, at least so far. The first episode of season nine is intended to introduce us to two new characters--Browder and new general, Beau Bridges and maybe have a bit of plot thrown in. On those counts it ably succeeds and it does so very well. it was interesting to see the show go ret-con with the backstory of Mitchell and how that fit into the overall Stargate universe mythology.

As if that weren't enough, you add in Claudia Black, dressed in a tight leather outfit that is revealing in all the right places. Excuse me for a moment while I just pause to drool while thinking about Claudia Black.

OK...where was I?

Honestly, I found myself wondering if this episode wasn't supposed to be a two-hour season premiere that had to be trimmed into a two-parter. The pacing felt that way at several points--especially early on as we see a lot of Mitchell front and center in the plotline. I did like the way that Mitchell is working to "get the band back together" and how they dealt with not having Daniel Jackson warp off to Atlantis on the Deadelus. (Though it does make you wonder...how did the Daedulus get to Atlantis so fast?) And the quick in-joke about how similiar Michael Shanks and Ben Browder look was nicely done.

Battlestar Galactica: Scattered
I've saved the best for last...much as SciFi did Friday night. I admit that as excited as I was about the second season of Battlestar Galactica, part of me was a bit nervous, hoping the show wouldn't have a sophomore slump. I was hoping this wouldn't be a one-season wonder and then quickly jump the shark in season two. One episode in and all I can say is--no fin in sight.

Picking up just moments about Kobol's Last Gleaming left off, the storyline begins to deal with some of the fallout of the events from the end of last season..meanwhile, continuing to push the plotlines forward in an interesting way. Seeing Tigh suddenly thrust into a role he doesn't want as commander was nicely done and the flashbacks to his early friendship with Adama were intresting. One key detail that I caught--Adama married into the right family to give his career a boost...interesting nugget of information, especially given the reverred position Adama now holds with fleet. I did like that Adama was not magically healed from his gun shot wounds and that even though we knew they couldn't kill off the character just yet, that somewhere deep inside, you wondered--maybe, just maybe will they kill off the commander of the fleet?

Interesting to see that Tigh is so loyal to Adama and so scared of having his own command that he risks the Galactica and the safety of the entire fleet on an insane plan to find the coordinates for the rest of the fleet. Again, I thought for a moment that were going to not find the fleet at the coordinates in question. Just another way the show plays with expectations. Meanwhile, we see Lee's loyalties shift a bit--at least publically. He disavows Roslin to get out of the cell and go back on duty, but is forced to return there any time he's off duty. Meanwhile, Helo keeps Starbuck from killing Caprica Boomer because she is carrying his chilld. And Baltar asks the questions we're all wondering--how can he have a child with Six when she's just an image in his twisted little mind? (Oh but damn it's gonna be fun to find out Ron Moore does that one...)

And just when you think it's safe, they hit you with a cliffhanger that left me eager for more Galatica soon. Thank goodness we only have to wait seven days to see Cylons storming the corridors of Galactica.

Another strong advantage--no neat resolution to the cliffhangers ala Atlantis. At the end of the hours, we'd only resolved that Galactica is back with the fleet, the situation on Kobol is pretty perilious and that Starbuck is stuck on Caprica. Not every one returned to the fleet and had a hug..instead, things continue to be deadly, dark and utterly compelling.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/18/2005 08:44:00 AM | |
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