Flory sendsthis along:
“Battlestar Galactica” always finds ways to challenge the audience’s beliefs—it is no more an ode to pacifism than “24” is to “bring ’em on” warmongering. In the pilot, humanity is nearly eradicated by the Cylons, a race of robots that revolt against their human creators. The only survivors are stationed on a spacecraft called Battlestar Galactica; they’re spared because the ship’s commander, William Adama (Edward James Olmos), had refused to relax any wartime restrictions. Adama is a hard-liner, willing to sacrifice personal freedoms in order to provide safety from an abstract threat. And he was right: the moment the human race let its guard down, the Cylons attacked. As the show unfolds, though, the survivors must constantly reflect on the price of keeping their enemies at bay, and whether it’s worth paying. The show’s futuristic setting—hushed and grimy, not the metallic cool of stereotypical sci-fi—helps ground the writers’ ruminations in a nail-biting drama series. “Battlestar Galactica” achieves the ultimate in sci-fi: it presents a world that looks nothing like our own, and yet evokes it with chilling accuracy.
Which gets it wrong on a lot of levels, I think: Galactica looks a LOT like our world. Shit doesn’t work right, the vagaries of bureaucratic crap dictate a lot of lucky escapes, people talk on phones that look like the phones in our houses, I mean the whole appeal of the show, hot space chicks aside, is that we could be these people in 15 years (granted, it would mean increasing NASA funding like a kazillion percent), not 1,500.
And the Cylon threat, as it was, wasn’t abstract. Shit blew up in their actual faces, in the faces of everybody on all twenty-five sides of the argument, so it’s the wrong construction, concrete-abstract, “real” world vs. academia, it’s the cheap dispute: I have the right to my opinion and you’re a sheltered moron STFU. The conflict between personal freedom and personal safety was never a hypothetical in Crazy Space World any more than it was here, and to say it was is to fall into the same post-9/11 traps Galactica skewers so effectively, about civil liberties being for pussies who live in the city, who’ve never known fear. That you can know fear and still say hey, maybe not so much with the genocide, that’s the show’s grand statement. Abstract threat. Come the hell on.
Moreover, even in the most painfully earnest of the “issue” episodes where Lee fucks whores to improve them and Helo cures religious fanatics with only the power of his pecs, the people were still people, not cardboard cutouts of The Military and The ACLU giving each other paper cuts. This show has always brought it back, from the very very beginning, to the personal, to reminding us that pontificating on the idea of “who we are” is a dodge for figuring out “who I am.” If you don’t know whoyou are, we don’t stand a chance.
Plus I’m just kind of fucking annoyed at the mention of Galactica in the same pixel-space as the wingnutsphere’s Islamofacist spank bank, 24.