Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Spoiler Free Post on Why I Loved BSG

And why you should too.

Television is so often spoon fed to the audience.  The characters are morally obvious.  you know who the good guys are, you know who the bad guys are, and you connect and root accordingly.  The plots are redundant and obvious, you know exactly what will happen and exactly who it will happen to.

And there is nothing wrong with this.

After all, television is supposed to be escapist fare.  It is supposed to make us forget about the everyday.  It is supposed to be brain candy.

For the most part anyway.

But too much candy isn't good for anyone.  Not even brain candy.

Sometimes we need to get something healthy, something substantial, and Battlestar Galactica was that.

Ultimately Battlestar Galactica took a good, long, hard look at what it means to be human.  What it means to experience life.  The show took real looks at what lengths humanity would go to to survive.  Sometimes painful looks, but in a way that wasn't one sided or judgmental, but revelatory.  The show studied the ideas of violence, love, sacrifice, freedom, loss, and even terrorism just to name a few.  Through the strength of its characters, characters that were never easily defined as good or evil, we came to know ourselves.

The show took a look at various events that could be related to things occurring in our world at this very time.  Politics were ably covered, including the ramifications of stealing a presidency because the person believed that they were destined in a very real fundamentalist religious sense to be president.  War was examined, a people (ostensibly our heroes) were living on a world occupied by the enemy.  Our heroes staged an insurgency and we rooted along with them for their freedom from the unlawful occupiers.  An interesting take on events occurring right now on our world.

The show had much to say on the idea of religion and theology.  The humans believed (or at least grew up in a society that recognized) a plurality of gods, sharing many characteristics of our Greek and Roman gods.  The Cylons (ostensibly the enemy), on the other hand, recognized only one true God.  As the series developed so did this idea and ultimately religion and what exactly God is played a huge role in everything.

Some people might be turned off by the idea that this television show was set in space aboard ships, by the fact that this was a Science Fiction show.  They shouldn't be turned off by that.

I understand that some people (for whatever reason) just don't like Sci-Fi as a genre and I can respect that (even if I feel that they are missing out on some great stuff).  But I don't really think that Battlestar Galactica is a regular type of Sci-Fi show.  Sure it takes place on a spaceship, but the stories very rarely require that that be the case.  Like I said earlier, the show is ultimately about what it means to be human.  Science Fiction is just an easier way to tell stories that otherwise might be considered far too controversial.  If the audience is already accepting a genre that is fantastic, then their brain is also more open to the ideas that they might otherwise be unwilling (or even unable) to accept.  Cultural, political, and socially unpopular ideas often find their arguments first made in pop culture through genre story telling which helps lead to more acceptance further down the line in the general population.

I truly believe that science fiction was the only way to get across a lot of the ideas that BSG propagates.  And like I said, the show doesn't feel fantastic, its genre but it is handled in such a way that it doesn't shove that genre in your face.  It's a story about survival and humanity that just happens to take place in space.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you are someone who just feels that you can't handle sci-fi, you should give this show a chance before writing it off because it takes place in space, I think that doing so would be well worth your time.

For everyone else who for whatever reason has avoided this television show, I hope that you give it a chance as well, because this series is ultimately the greatest show that television has ever given us and it would be a shame if you missed it.

Until Next Time, I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that this incredible and powerful television show has come to an end, but I take solace in the fact that there are so many people out there who can discover this show for the first time and come to love it and be challenged by it as I have.

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