March 18, 2008

Reviewed by Kenny Fischer

The following review is meant to be read only by those that have seen everything that led up to this season: the miniseries, seasons 1, 2, and 2.5. You’ve been warned.

Season 2.5 had a hell of an ending. Baltar fell asleep at his fancy presidential desk and dreamt of what life might be like on New Caprica. It’s a year later and everything is different. Adama has a mustache. Chief is head of the union, married, and has a kid. People live in tents. No one’s seen a Cylon since they landed. Like me, you were all probably thinking, “Baltar has a hell of an imagination. I wonder when he’s going to wake up?” Well, as you know, he didn’t. This show has balls. They jumped a year ahead inexplicably and then pulled their most subversive plot twist yet.

The show became about Iraq. In reverse. The Cylons invaded New Caprica because they felt they knew better than we did and would create some sort of democracy and peaceful co-existence. I thought the show had balls when they had an ENTIRE EPISODE ABOUT ABORTION, but this was much bigger and more daring. Luckily, this subject matter lends itself to much more visceral and exciting developments. Without spoiling too much, the episodes dealing with the invasion and insurgents are some of the most thrilling and entertaining television I’ve ever seen. The first four episodes of this season are bigger and grander in scope than anything they’ve done on the show previous.

Someone has to give them props for bringing on Dean Stockwell as a Cylon. From his “outing” at the end of last season, to his introductory moments in some rad Aviators, you fall in love with the piece of shit. It’s nice to have a snarky and dry Cylon around. He makes things more interesting. I love where you find the characters at the beginning of this season and how much they’ve changed. Except for Lee in the fat suit. It would have worked if the fat suit didn’t suck and he didn’t keep saying on the nose dialogue like “I’ve gotten soft.” Yes, we can see that. But thanks for repeating it over and over again.

Tigh has changed a lot, and for the better. He’s more bitter, dramatic, and he has a cane. I was very disappointed when he shaved and got rid of the cane. They were great extensions of his personality. It’s hard to talk about this season on any level if you haven’t seen it because this is a big box of surprises. This season has more holy fuck moments than any of the seasons that preceded it. If you leave out Band of Brothers, Exodus Part One and Part Two are the most epic episodes of television I’ve ever seen. The episode felt like it was ten minutes long. The action scenes are HUGE.

Ronald D. Moore, in the wonderful podcasts featured on the DVD, said that they put themselves in the hole in a big way after these episodes. You can tell just by watching them. It’s just some epic shit. Adama’s plan is clever, dramatic, and cinematic. The aftermath of the two parter is dramatic and very interesting. They ask questions that most shows wouldn’t bother with. That’s one of the great things about this show. The sign of an awful show like Heroes is that if the characters verbalized different decisions they’ve made over the course of the series, everything would fall apart. Remember when I did that stupid thing out of character for no reason? Well, Battlestar doesn’t forget anything.

Adama and Roslin seem to have something slightly romantic going on, but the show doesn’t try to make you forget that he threw her in the brig back in season one. Lee doesn’t forget that he gunned down that civilian ship in “33.” It goes on and on. The way you feel about the characters is based on an accumulation of decisions and actions that have occurred in previous seasons. All of the characters have very interesting arcs. Now, I can’t write this review without talking about the last episode of this season. I won’t even get near what happens or hint at anything, but I will say that the only time I’ve ever been more shocked by an episode of any show was in “Walkabout” from the first season of Lost.

This episode makes M. Night Shymalan look like a big douchebag. It builds to a crazy finale in such a mysterious and delicate way that you’ll be on the edge of your seat by the time it cuts to black. There are some slow patches in the middle of the season, just like every Battlestar season, but the way this season begins and ends is just as good as the best episodes of Lost.


The episodes are in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1 and the audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1. Oooh! Fancy. Every episode has a podcast commentary and I found all of them highly amusing and interesting. Everyone should drink scotch and smoke cigarettes while doing a commentary. Each episode also has deleted scenes. If you have a lot of time on your hands, this set will take it up. There are also a few producer’s video blogs if you’re into that sort of thing. David Eick’s video blogs are short, sweet, and informative. I liked being able to watch a few of these quickly whenever I had the chance. I was really stoked to watch a 90 minute cut of “Unfinished Business” until I realized it was the boxing episode. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t even bother. It’s the only episode of Battlestar I’ve ever actively disliked. I was hoping there would be a shorter version but no dice.


I didn’t even bother watching this show until after this season aired and I probably avoided it for the same reason a lot of people have. The title implies it’s going to be a big piece of shit. Every other show on Sci-Fi is terrible. Blah blah blah. Now it’s in my top three favorite shows on TV. You’ll realize why after watching this season. This is some great goddamn storytelling. Buy it. Or rent it. Just make sure you watch the show. It’s badass.

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