If you don’t already watch the Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica, I understand what you must think of the show. When your friends rave on and on about the series, you say to them, “Isn’t that based on some cheesy show from the ’70s? And isn’t it on that network that airs movies like Mansquito and Ice Spiders? I’m not watching that!” If those aren’t your reasons for avoiding it, maybe it’s the fact that you’re so tired of people raving about it that you refuse to check it out, which is a reaction we’ve all had at some point or another. Or perhaps you’d like to watch it, but you know it would require a big commitment to go back and watch all those episodes. Maybe you just don’t have the time.
There must be a lot of different reasons why people avoid Battlestar Galactica, because despite universal critical acclaim it has struggled to make it to a fourth season. Like many great shows, its ratings are strangely anemic. That’s why I’m here to urge you to watch the series when it returns for its fourth and final season on Friday, April 4 at 10pm. Below you’ll find five reasons why you should give Battlestar Galactica a chance. Don’t be scared, as I promise not to rant and rave like a nerd who lives in his mother’s basement. You don’t have to be a stereotype to enjoy one of the best sci-fi shows of the decade.
1) It’s Not Cheesy
I’ve only seen a few episodes of the 1970s version of Battlestar Galactica, and they did not inspire me to watch more. One of them featured Wolfman Jack and a Cylon (those are the robots in the BSG universe, for the uninitiated) who got knocked out by a nearby microwave oven. It was embarrassingly lame, and it suddenly came as no surprise that people didn’t expect the “re-imagining” to be any good.
I’m happy to point out that the recent iteration of Battlestar Galactica has stripped away every single slice of Velveeta. Yes, it’s still set in space and features robots, but don’t let that scare you away. This version of BSG is a dark, deadly metaphor for our post-9/11 fears, which brings me to my next point. . .
2) It’s Got Depth
I know that some people like their television shows simple and uncomplicated. How else could According to Jim still be on the air? However, there are a lot of people out there who crave intelligent programming with depth and nuance. Those people don’t have an abundance of options in the current television landscape, which is why BSG acts as a beacon of hope.
The entire concept of the show is that a group of man-made robots called Cylons have defected and wiped out the majority of the human race. They also have the ability to look human, which means that the enemy could be anyone: your best friend, your lover, your wife of the past 10 years. This situation speaks volumes about our post-9/11 paranoia, and the great thing is that Galactica never hits you over the head with its parallels to real world events. It’s subtle in its storytelling, the way that a great show should be.
3) It Has Robots
Seriously, who doesn’t love robots? You don’t need to be a geek to find the idea of robots appealing, which is why everyone adores the likes of C-3PO and R2-D2. The great thing about BSG is that it has robots acting completely human, but also has big metal ones with machine guns for arms. You get the best of both worlds!
4) It Has Sex Appeal
Sure, BSG has depth, nuance, and robots, but who cares about all that if the cast is unattractive? Thankfully Battlestar Galactica has one of the hottest casts on television, so even if you want to turn your brain off you’ll still have something pretty to look at. Even better, they can act too! Here are two examples of the hotness for the non-believers:
5) It Has Strong, Powerful Female Characters
There’s nothing I like better than a truly strong, inspiring, complicated female character. Battlestar Galactica has more of them than any other show on television. These characters include Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), who doesn’t let a little bit of cancer stop her from being the President for the remnants of humanity. Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), who drinks, sleeps around, and is tougher than any man on the show while still being vulnerable and feminine. And Number Six (Tricia Helfer), the Cylon who uses her abundance of sex appeal to crush men beneath her red high heels. There’s many more where that came from, but rest assured that this is a show where the women often have the power. They’re smart, capable, and admirable.
If you’ve never seen Battlestar Galactica, the first two seasons are already out on DVD. The third season comes out on March 18, and you can then follow that up with the two-hour TV movie, Razor. It would take a bit of commitment to get caught up in time for the season 4 premiere on April 4, but surely you can make the time, right? What more could you ask for in a show than robots, sex appeal, strong women, depth, intelligence, and darkness? It’s never too late to jump in on one of the most complex sci-fi shows to ever hit the airwaves.
– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Images courtesy of the Sci Fi Channel, Maxim)