I have to admit, I was a latecomer to the new BSG. I dislike the four-hour mini-series/pilot. I thought it was oversexed. I thought aside from Olmos and McDonnell, the acting was subpar. I wasn't too keen on the idea of the human-form Cylons.
I was going to give the series a pass, but RevSF's Shane Ivey did up a review of the first two episodes of the series. He said to just watch them, and while I didn't expect much, I trusted his judgment. Those two blew me away, and I've been a rabid fan since. I even kinda like the original miniseries a little better now.
But the show has been top notch. In its weakest moments, it's still better than a lot of other shows on the air. The biggest problem is the way Sci Fi has handled it, but at least they're giving it better treatment than they did Farscape.
But 10 months between seasons, and splitting each season in half? Come on, Sci Fi Channel suits! Show us some love!
The new BSG movie Razor debuts soon (at this writing), so this is a good time to look at season 3 and remember why we look forward to BSG's return.
Rocks: Adama is still the man. Whether he's tormented by the death of Starbuck, abandoning people on New Caprica, fighting with Lee, barking orders in the CIC, or pounding the crap out of Chief Tyrol in the boxing ring, Olmos brings depth and passion. I can't imagine the show without him.
Rocks: Everyone else. This is a powerhouse cast. From McDonnell as Roslin, to Sackhoff as Starbuck, Douglas as Tyrol and Hogan as Tigh, everyone brings their A-game, giving deep performances of real people doing their best in a bad situation. Add Helfer's side-changing Caprica Six and Callis as Baltar (to quote Ron Moore "when in doubt, cut to Baltar"), and you have a cast that you can't take your eyes off.
Sucks: Filler. Season Three started strong and ended with a bang, but most of the in between were self-contained stories that didn't do much to advance the overall arc. Some were better than others (Dirty Hands, also known as Tyrol the labor leader and Unfinished Business, aka BSG Punch Out). A good chunk felt like a long slog to get back to that main story.
Rocks: There still is a main story. It might have gone MIA a few times this season, but you can still tell Ron Moore and the gang have a final destination in mind, and know what's waiting there for the Colonial Fleet. Whatever it is, you know there aren't any Starlight People involved. (I will never stop complaining about them. Ever.)
Rocks: Ron Moore and company managed to make a solid case for all or nothing suicide tactics, and showing what people are capable of when faced with overwhelming odds. This is what great science fiction can do: take current events and turn them on their head to make us examine what we do, what we believe, and the whys behind both. This is what science fiction should be doing, making us think while giving us a hell of a ride.
Sucks: Though sometimes that message stuff can be heavy handed. I'm looking at you, Collaborators, The Woman King and A Day in the Life.
Sucks: They boxed the interesting and sexy Cylon Warrior Princess. Her storyline of going slightly mad, obsessed with finding the Final Five, as well as whatever else was in that area between life and death was interesting, if dragged out. I'll miss her crazy bisexual robot antics.
Totally Rocks: The rescue of the Colonials from New Caprica was thrilling, chilling and full of awesome. Seeing the Galactica drop into atmosphere to launch the vipers behind the Basestars made me cheer. Then that long, slow pull back where they let you think they're destroying the old gal, then the Pegasus pops to the rescue with guns blazing: Beautifully done. The BSG crew knows how to do a space battle.
Rocks/Sucks: The destruction of the Pegasus. I know it had to happen, losing the second Battlestar, but it still sucks. On the other hand, they gave her a warrior's send off, taking two Basestars with her to oblivion.
Rocks: The addition of Firefly's Mark Sheppard as super-lawyer Romo Lampkin. He was an amazing manipulator of both people and the law, and Sheppard gave a great performance. We might never see him again, but his actions will have long-lasting ramifications.
Sucks: Making Kat, the only woman pilot who can give Starbuck a run for her money, a deeper character, only to whack her.
Rocks/Sucks: The meandering relationships. Sometimes it felt contrived (Apollo and Starbuck) and other times it's just right (Adama and Roslin).
Totally Rocks: Apollo's testimony and monologue in the trial of Baltar. With this speech, Jamie Bamber not only shows off some impressive acting chops, but he manages to go over everything that's been right and wrong with the show since the first season. At the same time he made it all make sense why things have happened the way they did. Give that man an Emmy. (I know: Fat chance.)
Totally Sucks: Tigh is a Cylon? How did that happen?
Rocks: Tigh's reaction to finding out he's a Cylon. "My name is Saul Tigh. I'm an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that's the man I want to be. And if I die today, that's the man I'll be." The mixture of determination and fear in his eye in the CIC at the end of the season was perfect.
Also Rocks: Tigh's torment over having to kill his wife. He knew why she didn't want to do it, but did it anyway. One more horror of robot war.
Sucks/Rocks: The death and resurrection of Kara Thrace. I have nothing more I can add to this.
Rocks: According to internet reports, and word from people at Dragon*Con, the fourth and final season will be rid of the episodic nature of Season Three, and once more focus on the Colonial's struggle for survival.
Rocks: If I left out anything that sucks and/or rocks, feel free to call me out on our boards.
It wasn't as strong as Seasons One and Two. But season three will still kick your ass. At this writing I'm counting down the hours until BSG: Razor, where we'll get the backstory of hard-ass Admiral Cain and the original Cylon War, followed by Season Four in January.
At least, it better be in January. You hear me, Sci-Fi Channel?