Friday, October 27, 2006

New Battlestar: Galactica Tonight; NYT Sort Of On Board

There's a new "Battlestar: Galactica" tonight. The New York Times tries to get on board but they blow it in eight different ways, unintentionally proving they haven't been watching the show at all. First they blather on about how the show can be seen as an allegory for Iraq and why critics hate this. Then they make the bizarre claim that OTHER critics discriminate against genre shows like sci-fi:
"Ultimately, genre discrimination is not good for anyone. And it has been particularly hard on science fiction like the newest “Battlestar,” which has been snubbed by some critics who fear its didacticism and (scarier still) the ardor of its fans."
Actually, I'd hardly call "BG" snubbed by critics: it's regularly hailed by most everyone as a terrific series. Only "The Wire" on HBO has received more praise in the last few months and even that is a close call. As for "genre discrimination," maybe the NYT doth protest too much because they were late to the game on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and "The X Files" and "Gilmore Girls" (a chick show) and many others that didn't have the gravitas of "drama." Then they refer to the new season premiere setting ratings records for SciFi, which is misleading since the new season premiered at slightly lower numbers than before. (I'm sure it set some "record" because networks can always slice and dice numbers, but the new season of "BG" has not unfortunately continued to grow its audience. It's doing fine, however, so don't worry-- after all, they're facing new episodes of other shows in the midst of the fall tv season instead of airing in January and the summer during reruns. But that's a distinction too fine for the NYT.)

Finally, just to prove they haven't a clue what's been going with the show, they write this:
A recent exchange between Laura and Gaius Baltar (James Callis), an oily human recruited by the Cylons to be their puppet dictator, was like a punch in the stomach. Audience sympathies are generally with Laura, a middle-aged woman and a seeming softie who may be a stand-in for the new sci-fi viewers, who are increasingly women; she’s human, for one, and she’s generally liberal, sympathetic to underdogs, a former teacher. But talking to Gaius, who is furious at the insurgents for their attack on the Cylon-collaborating human police, she becomes an extremist in defense of suicide bombing by humans. “Desperate people use desperate measures,” she says.

Gaius then challenges Laura to say she supports suicide bombing in public places and, thus, the murder of civilians by naïve soldiers strapped with explosives. She cannot in good faith defend the practice, and she folds.
Laura a softie? Obviously the NYT hasn't been watching the show at all, [SPOILER ALERT FOR DETAILS FROM PAST SEASONS] since Laura quickly became a badass when it comes to Cylons, brutally and repeatedly having any captured Cylons tossed out of an airlock into space and only keeping one around when it/she could prove useful. She also urged Adama to assassinate a higher-ranking member of the military and has made other ruthless decisions belying her schoolteacher origins. Half the fun of the show has been watching her confound our expectations and sometimes out-badassing even the military. The point of the scene they describe is not to show Laura possibly wavering in her softness and then pulling back but to show her wavering in her TOUGHNESS.

It also shows Gauis in a positive light (for a change). And saying the Cylons recruited him to be their lackey is also wrong: he was the President of the Colonies when they invaded and therefore the logical leader for them to deal with. If the NYT actually WATCHED the show (and I mean all of it, not just a few episodes), maybe they could discuss it intelligently.

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