“The Cylons were created by the people of the Twelve Colonies. Intelligent robots, they were used as slaves and soldiers to fight humanity’s wars. But the Cylons became sentient and they rebelled. Man and machine fought to a bloody stalemate, then the Cylons withdrew to a remote region of space. A truce between the Twelve Colonies and the Cylons lasted for 40 tense and silent years. Each year, on the anniversary of the treaty-signing, humanity sent an envoy to the neutral ground of Armistice Station to meet with a Cylon envoy. For 39 years, no Cylon envoy came. Then, on the 40th anniversary, a stunning blonde — a Cylon in human form — met the human envoy … moments before the Cylons vaporized the station and launched a genocidal attack on the Twelve Colonies. In one devastating day, billions of human lives were consumed by nuclear fires. Only those souls fortunate enough to be aboard starships were able to band together and escape and flee into deep space, led by the sole surviving Colonial warship, the battlestar Galactica…”
Every so often, there’s a TV show that comes along the accomplishes it’s task better than almost any show before it and sets a new high-bar for quality. These are the shows that people will remember 30 years from now. The Sopranos, ER, The Simpsons – shows that, for better or worse, make an impact and stay with you. Battlestar Galactica is an unlikely entry in the pantheon of such shows, but it’s a TV unlike any other I’ve seen and is executed upon so masterfully I’m honestly in awe of Ron Moore and his team.
It’s easy to see a trailer of Battlestar Galactica and think “Oh, it’s a Star Trek-type show in space” and think that’s the end of it. Battlestar is, at it’s heart, a drama about people – it just happens to be set in space. The best shows are always like that – they focus on the people, the characters, and the sci-fi action is merely the backdrop for the events that propel the characters to evolve and adapt. The show is gritty, harsh, and all too real. When you’re watching it, you can very easily believe it’s a documentary – the acting is convincing, and the characters are all flawed, just like everyone in real life. Regardless of whether or not you enjoy sci-fi TV shows, I’d urge you to watch (on DVD) the four-hour mini-series that started the whole thing. If you enjoy that, you’ll enjoy Battlestar Galactica.
After years of trying to ignore the chorus of requests from consumers who wanted to buy their favourite TV shows on DVD, the movie studios finally relented – and ushered in a new pipeline of profit as nostalgic consumers and collectors alike snapped up all their favourite TV shows. The Star Trek DVD boxed sets have always been ridiculously expensive – where most TV shows are around $50 CAD for one season – the Star Trek boxed sets usually cost around $110 CAD (give or take). I was looking on Amazon.ca today and noticed something very surprising: you can purchase the entire seven seasons for Star Trek: The Next Generation for $429 CAD, which is only $61 per boxed set. That’s a great price compared to what I’ve paid for them over the years. I also noticed that Amazon.ca doesn’t have purchasing links for most seasons of ST:TNG – you can only buy them used. Why is this happening? I believe they’re preparing the way for the HD-DVD releases of the entire Star Trek boxed sets…which, unless they’re re-cut for wide screen, I will not be purchasing. Hell, even if they are, I doubt I can bring myself to drop all that $$$ on the same content. Although I will say that if Paramount prices them in the $60 range for each boxed set, rather than the $120 level they were previous at, the odds of me buying them will definitely go up.
Tonight Ashley and I saw a movie that we both really enjoyed: Children of Men. Starring Clive Owen, this movie had me tense from the moment it started with an explosion. I saw but one trailer for it, and thought it looked like a good movie – it was! Without revealing the plot, I can say that it’s a gripping action/drama that is unrelenting in pace. It had a European feeling to it, and didn’t have any slow-motion action sequences and rock music like your typical Jerry Bruckheimer flick. Not that I dislike those movies mind you, but that style of film making would have been seriously out of place with this story. The movie had a stark feeling (less colour, almost de-saturated), with basically no music – mostly background sound effects. It also had a very atypical ending for a “Hollywood” movie, and it left us talking about what might happen in the future if the events of the movie came to pass (in short, it’s about the world not having children any more). Julianne Moore also plays a role, along with Michael Caine. Rating: 9/10
Also looking intriguing is the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. Anyone seen that yet?
I’m generally not a fan of reality TV shows: they tend to be geared toward maximum exploitation of the people on the show, vapid entertainment based on sex appeal or cruel humour. The reason most of these types of shows are popular? It’s the same reason why people driving slow down to watch the aftermath of a car crash. We have a strange desire as humans to witness the suffering of others. I’ve ignored 95% of the shows in this genre, having never watched more than a couple of episodes of Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, etc. When I first heard about Beauty and the Geek a couple of years ago, I just knew that I had to check it out. I wasn’t disappointed, because the first season was hilarious. I found that I could identify with the geeks on the show, which gave me an instant connection to it – while some people watching the show doubtlessly laugh at the geek, I was definitely laughing with them because I know what it’s like (and I managed to marry my own beauty). The third season of this show just kicked off last week, and it looks just as entertaining as the first two seasons (though nothing will ever be as funny as watching Richard in the first season). If you’re a jock or were popular in school, you won’t grasp this show. But if you went home most days after school to play Ultima IV by yourself (like I did), you’ll find this an entertaining TV show. The cast this year is a good mix of geeky geeks (like the guy who leads a Star Wars tribute band) and beauties (some of the women look incredible) – and, true to form, some of the geeks are incredibly socially dysfunctional (some in their 20’s and never having kissed a girl), and some of the beauties are incredibly clueless (like the one who thought the satellite was a telescope). I’m definitely glad this show came back a third time!
“The outlaw camp of Deadwood marches slowly towards civilization, facing its first elections. But the power struggles continue over everything in Deadwood—influence, money, and whores—as the founding camp members form strategic alliances to face down the threat of a powerful newcomer, seeking to remake Deadwood in his image. Created and executive produced by David Milch (“NYPD Blue”), Deadwood is one of most acclaimed dramas on television. The series was nominated for 22 Emmys® and won 7 and earned a Golden Globe® Award in its first two seasons for Ian McShane.”
With all the dross on TV now, it can sometimes be hard to find really good TV shows. There aren’t many that I watch, but with the advent of TV shows being released on DVD, there are new opportunities to find great shows that I never had a chance to watch on TV. In fact, many shows are more enjoyable on DVD – better quality, no commercials, no waiting for the next episode. One such show is Deadwood, a gripping drama that covers the harsh world of a small town caught up in a gold rush. Amazing acting, superb writing, excellent cinematography…the show is top notch in every way. But it’s also rife with swearing, nudity, and violence – so it’s not a show I’d recommend to everyone. Zip (think Canadian Netflix) is great for getting TV shows like this, because I can queue up several discs at once and really absorb the show. If you’re not squeamish and can handle a harsh tale of life in the old West, give Deadwood a serious look.