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Battlestar is back

Toronto Star TV Guide

7 October 2006

Scans contributed by maRia

Article contains some spoilers


By Raju Mudhar

An awesome invading force surrounds a much smaller group's homeland. Outmanned, outgunned and faced with foreign rule, a rebellious insurgency is underway, complete with collaborators, tortured prisoners and suicide bombers.

Sound familiar? Sure, ifs like every other night on CNN.

But this is the galaxy the third season of Battlestar Galactica inhabits. Welcome to the show that puts the gory in allegory.
A critic's favourite because of its abilities to blend well-defined characters and pointed discussions on the most pressing societal issues - religious freedom, abortion, the nature of democracy and what it means to be free and civilized - Battlestar is often mentioned in debates on the best show on television.

No argument, here. The new version of the '70s sci-fi show, which relaunched as a minis-eries in 2003, is definitely one of my favourites.

Beyond all the weighty issues, this glorious drama has cool fights, spaceships, really hot chicks, robots and clones. They're all wrapped up with incredible writing and portrayed by an ethnically diverse cast that includes several Canadians, as the show is shot in B.C. Really, what more could you ask for?

Actually, the only real criticism of the show - other than being quite dark - is that isn't really newcomer friendly.
The problem that three-year-old Battlestar encounters is the same thing many of the new serials face in their first few weeks. If viewers aren't tuning in to the first few episodes it's unlikely they're going to join up later.

On Battlestar, there's too much going on, too many characters and too much frakkin' water under the bridge in terms of character development for new viewers to catch up with. ("Frak" is Battlestar's version of the f-word, and it's already gaining popularity in pop culture land.) I recommend that those new to the show get caught up with the show by watching the
Season One and Two DVDs. In anticipation of tonight's two-hour season premiere, I recently re-watched the 2003 miniseries, and really, it was all there in the beginning.

But enough proselytizing. The action is about to begin. When last we left the remnants of humanity, life was going swimmingly on New Caprica until those pesky Cylons showed up to conquer the humans - for their own good this time.
Over the summer, the originating US. network, Scifi, aired 10 webisodes. They were mere morsels compared to the two-hour season premiere.

For fans, I'd rather not give any spoilers- but plenty of time has passed, so the characters we all know and love have evolved a little, but they are also exactly who we know them to be.

Michael Hogan's Col. Saul Tigh gets some real moments to shine here, and Katie Sackhoff's Starbuck has one of the most chilling - and kick ass - returns. Quite simply, it's frakkin' awesome. 9 p.m. on Space.