Battlestar Gallactica: Season 1 (2004)
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Action Adventrue Drama Sci-Fi Series (USA, UK)
Starring: Edward James Almos (American Me; "Miami Vice"), Mary McDonnell (Donnie Darko; Independence Day)
Developed By: Ronald D. Moore
Overview: Following the devastating attack of their ages-old robotic enemy, the Cylons, the 50,000 surviving humans scour space in search for the legendary planet Earth, lead by the military flagship Battlestar Gallactica.
Acting: By far, without a doubt, Edward James Almos is my favorite character. Reminiscent of "Star Trek: The Next Generation"'s stoic Picard, he is intelligent and driven, yet his role is far more human, far less professional. Other characters include the drunk second in command, the paranoid scientist and the sexy Cylon in his head, the dying new president, and the upstart ace pilot. The quality of the cast is exceptional, better than many films. You know the actors have studied long and hard.
Cinematography: The Cylons are nice. The Battlestar, the fighters, all the spaceships really, the unique camerawork used exclusively for the space scenes... Amazing. You can tell that a lot of money went into making this sci-fi look great, and for once they really thought about the space battles. They use a 360 degree field of combat, so it's disorientingly realistic, FINALLY.
Script: When you start off with a plot scheme so rich that you really have to go out of your way to ruin the writing, you might think that the dialogue itself falls by the wayside a little. Imagine my surprise at characters that don't act like you would expect them to, and whose lines deliver so many intriguing synaptic sparks that you wonder why the deep-space is filled with so many wordsmiths.
Plot: The show opens up rife with conflict, the stuff that takes half a season to resolve. From struggles with inner demons of guilt, duty, and addiction to the Cylons themselves, perfectly masked as humans, with their own goals and intense desires, you will become a fan very quickly. Add civil politics that crash waves against military authority and order, and you'll appreciate that this show will be running for season after season.
Mood: I must add however that the standard conventions of today apply far too greatly for me to be completely immersed in this world. Things like phone cords, British accents, platinum blondes with mamarian implants, a Han Solo carbon-copy and Quanza-geared priests detracted enough from this category to make me groan for what I knew could have been a much better series. Sorry guys, it's good but don't make me swallow it up just because it's pretty.
Overall Rating: 86% (Intergalactic!)
Aftertaste: Will I continue to love this series, damn right, but as a good friend told me once, the most important thing about sci-fi is creating a culture distinct from our own. Having Greek Gods and 6-sided cards is really not enough to pull off a unique universe, regardless of the home-made enemy. Still, I've been told that I judge too harshly, that I have to watch the second season for the answers too many of my issues. Maybe though, it's not that everything gets answered later as much as the producers got told by the focus group what to fix.