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Friday, September 30, 2005
TV Round-Up
Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus
In this week's podcast, series producer Ron Moore reveals that they debated super-sizing this episode of BSG. Basically, the show has about 15 more minutes of footage which turned out to be too much for an hour but not enough to pad it out to an hour and a half. So what does this mean? Well, it means we have to wait for the deluxe, extended version when season two comes out on DVD sometime next year. I look forward to seeing the extended version because I think it's going to be one of those things where more time will allow a great episode to become even better.

If you're a fan of the old Battlestar, this is probably the only storyline that has been screaming out for re-imagining since the series started. I don't think it's overstating things to say that the 2-part story "The Living Legend" is the best of the original BSG and probably one of the most fondly remembered stories from the original series' run. Part of that had to do with the fact that Lloyd Bridges was just great as Commander Cain.

I like that the story here did a nice little homage to the original. In the original, Cain was obesssed with chasing the Cylons and delivering a strike against them. (I can't recall the exact details as it's been a while since I've seen the original episodes in question) And we hear hints of this here in the dialogue about chasing Cylon ships around and trying to find out their secret. It's a small thing but it's a nice little throw-back to the original show.

But, back to 2005.

After two episodes that addressed the sense of futility and exhaustion the fleet is facing, it was interesting to have their prayers answered. But as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Pegasus shows up and things are immediately thrown into disarray.

At one point, Adama cautions Tigh to try and remember the context of what has happened on board Pegasus (there are rumors that Cain shot and killed her second in command on the bridge for defying her orders). It's interesting that Adama is willing to give Cain this benefit of the doubt but she won't return the favor. I think part of that is that Adama sees the shades of gray and Cain is very much a by the book, things are black and white kind of leader. She refuses to see that maybe Lee is the best choice for Galactica CAG and instead sees only the potential conflict that Lee being Adama's son can bring.

Also, our heroes on Galactica look like saints in their treatment of Sharon as compared to what Pegasus has done to the Six copy they have in their brig. Six's anger at her counterpart being brutalized so is amazingly well done. Also, you have to wonder if Pegasus's crew won't pick up that fact that Baltar is a bit too odd for his own good. I think Galactica's crews can dismiss it as, "Oh that's just that wacky Baltar" but will it go unnoticed and unaddressed.

The scenes where the Pegasus crew interrogate Cylon-Sharon were pretty intense, all leading up to the--holy-frak,-he's-taking-off-his-belt-cause-he's-gonna-do-what-I-think-he's-gonna-do moment. Meanwhile, we see Adama do the slow burn as every decision he's made is counter-acted and questioned by Cain. Until Adama reaches a breaking point--basically, his family is threatened--and he takes action.

And the series leaves us hanging until January. Ugh...it's going to be a long wait.

Lost: Adrift

Looking back, I think they should've gone with a 2-hour season premiere episode. If we had enough material to fill in that much of the time down in the vault with Locke, then surely we should have gone two hours last week. From a pacing standpoint, it just seems to make more sense to me. But then again, I don't have my own hit TV show, so what do I know? I'm just that guy who watches too much TV for his own good.

Anyway, moving on to this week's episode. We find out the fate of the crew of the raft. They're out at sea, being threatened by something--whether or not it's a sea monster or the long-lost relative of Jaws, we're not quite sure. Michael is able to wound it or kill it by shooting it. Which if you think about it, while you're saving Sawyer that killing of the creature by shooting it is only going to encourage more sharks to come into the area...and you're running low of bullets. I'm just saying this is probably not the best long-term idea when it comes to surviving out on what's left of the raft.

Meanwhile, we get fewer answers than ever to the confrontation down in the vault. Desmond is looking for someone...but we're not sure who. He also thinks that the island is contaminated somehow and that's why he has to say in his underground bunker. Now, after seeing Serenity Wednesday night, I began to wonder if a key plot point from the movie was going to be repeated here...I won't say what it was so as to not ruin Serenity for those of you who haven't seen it. But it does make a bit of sense, especially when you wonder just what the numbers mean when typed into the computer and then you hit the execute button. What exactly is being done and what would happen if you didn't do it? And why do they only have a Commodore 64 down there and Desmond isn't playing Ghosts and Goblins? I mean, everyone who had a Commodore had that game...

But I digress. We got no answers this week, but I wasn't expecting any big revelations either. The flashbacks of Michael losing Walt both times and his reactions to it were OK but not exactly breaking new ground. Again, the flashbacks have been really chasing the episode where we find out Locke was in a wheelchair pre-island for some time now. We've learned things about the characters but nothing quite as jaw-dropping and series-defining as that episode. And honestly, I keep hoping for something like that. And once again, they tease me by putting Michelle Rodriguez in the opening credits but she is no where in sight....maybe next week!

Alias: Prophet Five

A new season of Alias begins and I faithfully tune in, hoping against all hope that maybe, just maybe the show can right the ship somehow. And after months of hearing conflicting rumors as to the fate of Michael Vaughn and wondering about the car crash, I have to admit I was kind of curious.

And the thing is--the show had me for about fifteen minutes. The opening where Vaughn is taken and we question his loyalty, even seeing him admit to having another name had me thinking, "Wow, this could actually turn out to be pretty interesting." Seeing the APO team work outside the rules to find out the truth was a nice touch and, again, they had me for that period of time. Then, suddenly the revelations start coming fast and furious and my eyes start rolling up into my head as I repeatedly say, "No, but seriously.....you're kidding right?" over and over again.

Let me see if I've got this one--Vaughn's dad was involved in some kind of quest to translate/decrypt this book about Prophet Five. Apparently it was so super cool dangerous that he went into hiding and changed his identity was well as that of his young son. OK, so I guess that's OK, but you don't think the CIA would have maybe, just maybe uncovered that on a background check when Vaughn applied to work there. I'm just saying security should be a bit tighter. Also, the idea that every destination in the world is only five minutes via plane on Alias continues as the main bad guy for this week is able to hunt down Vaughn and Syd in South Africa after being in D.C. not ten minutes before. Seriously--come on, Alias at least have a shred of plausability! A shred--it's all I ask.

Over the course of the episode, Vaughn and Syd find out they're pregnant, have a made for Emmy nod moment in the car right before Vaughn goes to the big CIA in the sky (oh yeah, and if you think he's really dead, raise your hand....yeah, didn't think so), and have a touching death scene. OK, I've gotta ask--how incompetent were these bad guys that they can't kill Vaughn by firing off several dozen rounds into him. I'm sorry, but most mere mortals would be dead after the cascade of bullets they took..and why do the baddies leave Syd alive? I mean, are they new to this super-spy game and think--well, that crazy woman can't hurt us. Seriously, have they seen this show or did they just watch old Bond movies to figure out how to be bad guys?

So, yeah, I guess you could say I was frustrated with this show. We're in what should (hopefully) be the final season and since we've completely trashed the Rimbaldi plotline last year, we've got to come up with a new uber-conspiracy. In a lot of ways it reminds me of The X-Files in the final two years after they'd revealed all the details of the conspiracy and had to come up with a new arc to keep things going. Yeah, that didn't exactly work there either...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/30/2005 09:08:00 AM | |
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