Frak Me Dead

An anonymous commenter (sign in, wouldja, so I can give more of you credit?) from what is turning into a very interesting thread below points us to this Salon story: Baby, baby, you so fine baby.

Still, Starbuck (whose real name is Kara Thrace; Starbuck and Apollo are pilot call names), is a tomboy by the standards of our world, and we all know what happens to a tomboy in pop culture. She tries to be one of the guys while harboring a secret, unrequited crush on her best guy friend, but the guy doesn’t even see her as a girl until she has the sense to put on a dress, lipstick and a suitably demure manner at the big dance, whereupon he is wowed. Well, you can scratch that scenario. Late in the first season, Starbuck did put on a dress for a party, and Apollo was duly wowed, but he was already in love with her before that, and she wound up in bed with another man anyway, and then that guy fell for her, too. This is one tomboy who never has trouble getting laid.

They re-ran the whole season in order on Wednesday and my Tivo nearly broke under the weight of all that coolness. I’m about as straight a straight girl as you can get, but sci-fi heroines make me swoon: Leia, Aeryn, Starbuck. Not to mention Edward James Olmos (I’m a sucker for a good pair of arms and a face with the map of the world on it). And anybody who can watch “You Can’t Go Home Again” without feeling like they got their heart ripped out is not somebody I want at my dinner table.

But where Salon nails the appeal, I think, is here:

This is a character-based drama, not something you often see on a spaceship. In a way, once you get past the trappings (which aren’t very high-tech to begin with — Galactica is an outdated model that escaped the cylon’s crippling computer virus because it wasn’t networked), the series has more in common with “The West Wing” than it does with “Star Trek.” Granted, trying to lead a small group of fugitive survivors on a flight across the universe differs a bit from running a stable terrestrial superpower, but as Machiavelli would probably point out if he were still around, the dilemmas of power are surprisingly consistent.

And that’s exactly it. You’re watching PEOPLE, people at the end of the world, people who are hanging on by a thread, people who are losing it a little, sleeping with anybody they can get their hands on, talking to themselves, abusing substances like crazy, lying and betraying and screwing up and making it through, people doing more than they thought they could do because they had to, people finding themselves. People who are finding out that they are better and worse than they think they are. That’s the kind of thing that makes me stop and hold my breath, that it can’t be this good, but yes, it is.

That, and the hotness of the Starbuck. Oh, and the music kicks ass. Friday night can’t come soon enough.