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Thursday, July 28, 2005
TV Round-Up: Sci Fi Friday
I was going to go with one long post, but I've decided instead to break up the TV Round Up into two parts. So, first up, let's look at the wonder that is SciFi Friday.

Stargate SG1: Avalon, Part 2
This episode suffered a lot from middle leg of a trilogy syndrome. After resolving the cliffhanger and having a nicely down sword battle with an apparently holographic knight, the story descends into a lot of waiting around, hoping something of interest will happen. Daniel and Vala basically pull a Quantum Leap and are communicating with another civilization, who they assume will be gate-builders. Alas, it's not and instead we have a bunch of midevil peasants who may be more than they appear..but maybe not. Honestly, they're trying to world-build here and it's just not that terribly compelling or interesting. The last 45 minutes or so of this episode felt like it was a lot of treading water and I kept going--surely something of interest should happen any second now. Nope, nothing. And I'm not exactly counting down hours to part three, since the cliffhanger was lakcluster at best.

Stargate: Atlantis: The Intruder

The first of two shows on Sci-Fi Friday dealing with a computer virus being unleashed on the ship and, by far, the less compelling. On Galactica, the how and why of the Cylon virus makes sense within the plot that is unfolding on screen. Here it's just an excuse for the wacky action plot to wrap around the far more compelling and interesting flashbacks of events on Earth. You've got to give Atlantis some props for at least copying and copying well the storytelling technique Lost uses so well. We see flashbacks of Weir fighting for Shepard's promotion and re-assignment to Atlantis, her romantic relationship derailing and we see Shepard having to go and tell Ford's cousin what happened to him and how he might not be coming back any time soon. Again, the flashbacks work and there is one hysterical scene as McKay scrunches down for an inter-ship beaming. But the rest of it--predictable, trite and basically we see them hit the reboot button on the computer system three times. Not exactly what I'd call the most compelling hour of TV I've seen of late...

Battlestar Galactica: Valley of Darkness
The award for most compelling hour of TV I've seen of late goes to (no surprise here) Battlestar Galactica.

Listening to Ron D. Moore's podcast for last week's Scattered, I was intrigued to hear how all of the subplots in the past two episodes were originally written as one single hour of television. Man, I'm glad they made the decision to split it in two because I'm pretty certain you couldn't cram in all that happened her in just one hour and do it any kind of justice. Interesting to see a look inside Starbuck's old life as we find her apartment. She is a painter and her discussion of why she fights--not to get back to her old life, but because it's all she knows--was interesting. I have a feeling that this will continue to be an issue as the series goes along. Meanwhile, on Koboll, the chief has to make a hard choice...and one that we all sort of knew was coming. A man dies bringing back an extra med kit so they can use the sedatives to kill the wounded character from last week. The scene as the Chief had to administer the drugs to his wounded friend were great.

One thing I'm loving about this sesaon (and the show as a whole) is there is no huge reset button. There'd be a lot of other shows that would create this situation for the characters and have them all back together and moving forward by now. But instead, Galactica is playing out the situation and developing it more week after week and I love it. From listening to Ron Moore's podcasts, I know a lot of the plotlines here won't wrap up until well into the summer and that's a good thing. No nice neat packages here...and from what I hear on the rumor front, we'll barely get past this when the next big crisis erupts (and I, for one, have a feeling the mid-season hiatus on this one is gonna be a bear!)

Meanwhile, back on Galactica, things ain't too peachy either. Cylons have invaded the ship and they have a plan. They will vent the crew to space and then use the ship to attack the fleet from within, turning Galactica's guns on their sister ships. Apollo and company are forced to try and stop the Cylons on-board Galactica. Now, as much of a threat as these robots have been, the series has been good at creating a sense of terror and tension about the robotic Cylons by judicious on-screen use of them. So, when we see the Cylons killing everyone in sight and stalking the ship, it's one of those "holy s***, we are so screwed moements" on the show. And the show also gets the old X-Files adage of less is more. We see bits and pieces of attacks and the aftermath, thus allowing our imaginations to fill in the details in a far more horrifying and gruesome manner than any effect ever could be. The sense of complete desparation the crew has at wondering if and how they will stop the Cylons is great. And it's interesting to see that Tigh is the commander you want in charge to deal with this threat. He takes command and has the ability to stave off this attack. But it makes you wonder what attacks are coming that he has no concept of how to deal with and he might need Adama for?

No second season slump for this show, so far. I'm loving every minute of it.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/28/2005 09:40:00 AM | |
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