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January 5, 2006

Filed under: movies»television»galactica

Galactica Bound

Television shows should stop mucking around with broadcast and just go straight to DVD, available every month at a local TV Store. Thanks to Netflix, I've been catching up on the television that I never watched when it was live, and the experience is simply much better. The lack of commercials creates a better flow, the picture is sharper, and I can watch as much as I want whenever I want. Perhaps the best part is that the uninterrupted versions run 22 or 43 minutes (depending on its original length), which is a perfect bite-sized chunk of entertainment. I can't always find the time to watch a movie--but I can usually set aside less than an hour to watch some Battlestar Galactica or Arrested Development.

Speaking of Galactica, there's only one bad part to it: thanks to this show, I will either have to reserve my Fridays or get a Tivo. I've watched the previous two seasons over the last couple weeks, and it is phenomenal. The acting is uniformly quality, the production doesn't cut any corners, and the themes are more subtle and human than most science fiction--or most television, period--ever manages.

In contrast, (sacrilege alert!) I don't understand the fuss behind Firefly. I'm only a few episodes in, but I doubt I'll make it through the whole series. These are stock characters placed in uninteresting moral dilemmas, and the whole western theme is gratuitous (cheap production values don't help). I think Firefly makes a mistake common to sci-fi television: it assumes that we are more interested in clever devices and hypothetical problems than the people in front of the camera. Galactica's greatest strength is that its conflicts don't usually revolve around fighting Cylons. They involve power struggles, love triangles, and opposing philosophies--the kinds of bricks that great drama has been built from for centuries.

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