While I love science fiction, I wouldn’t call my self a science-fiction PERSON. That is to say, if I were invited to a science-fiction themed movie night, I’d be really excited, but if I were asked to curate my own movie night, I wouldn’t immediately think to stack the evening with science-fiction films. An explanation for the real heads out there might be: Though I thoroughly enjoyed it and reference it often in casual conversation, I’ve only read the first book in the Dune series.
For many, many months — perhaps years — people I love whose opinions I respect (and people I dislike whose opinions I respect, mind you) have insisted that I watch the 2004 television series Battlestar Galactica. I’m generally a watch-a-whole-television-series-all-the-way-through-from-beginning-to-end sort of person, so my reply has historically been something like, “I know, I know. I’ll get to it”.
I vaguely remember the original series, but have no real attachments to or associations with it apart from the Cylons looking super cool and having a busy, red light that went from side to side just like the front of the Knight Industries Two Thousand.
The Cold, Hard Truth of the Matter
Battlestar Galactica isn’t simply a television series, it turns out. It’s a television series that’s kicked off by an extended pilot-ish dealie that comes in the form of a two-part mini-series, each half of which is a feature-length film-lette.
I titled this blog-post the way I did because I didn’t make it past the mini-series and, interestingly, wouldn’t have made it past the first five minutes of THAT had my viewing partner/best friend not convinced me to at least give the full first two feature-length film-lettes a chance.
For the uninitiated, I have distilled the plot of the Battlestar Galactica mini-series down to its core elements: The Battlestar Galactica mini-series is about a robotic human-being impersonator who is trying to eliminate human-kind by Frenching men to death.
Why I Wanted to Turn It Off After Five Minutes
The mini-series opens with an annual diplomatic meeting that has taken place every year during the forty-year armistice between the humans and the Cylons. The humans always send someone; the Cylons never do. This particular year, however, the human diplomat was surprised to learn that the Cylons DID send a representative. They sent the humanoid Cylon-creation we come to know as Number Six. A red-dress-dripping temptress who proceeds to — you guessed it — French the human diplomat to death.
You might think that I’m just a person who doesn’t enjoy watching people being Frenched to death; I assure you that’s not the case. I’m a person who thinks that there’s a right tool for every job. Would the entire mini-series and the events it portrays be stalled in its tracks if the human diplomat were, say, a heterosexual woman or a homosexual man? What if the humans had sent a heterosexual male diplomat who felt that being Frenched was inappropriate? Also, and more to the point, why is anyone Frenching anyone in this situation?
It’s not hot. It’s crass, disappointing and, really, the only television show I think I’ve ever seen that contains a clear, logical error before we even know who the characters are or what their motivations might be.
Why I Wanted to Turn it Off After Thirty-or-So Minutes
I wanted to turn the Battlestar Galactica mini-series off after thirty-or-so minutes because, though I still didn’t really know any of the characters’ motivations, they were all having, like, SERIOUS, deep, sweaty, athletic sex with one another, which I found to be inappropriate for really anything having to do with anything — I mean, apart from wanting to keep horny, science-fiction people* interested in a terrible television show.
Why I Wanted to Turn it Off After the First Full Film-lette
After the first full film-lette, I was uninterested in the plight of any of the show’s two-dimensional characters (which, to be clear, is all of them) and I had seen so much Frenching that the thought of performing even my own, personal, non-televised Frenching seemed like it would result in a tiring, uninspired, and meaningless misadventure.
The Battlestar Galactica mini-series represents the worst, most irresponsible version of humans making television. A scantily-clad seductress uses her sexiness to sexify the galaxy into a war that consists of humans sweatily humping each other and saying meaningless, non-plot-advancing things to one another. It’s like the book of Genesis with production values that are a hair better than if you were just reading.
While I believe with all of my being that the series gets better and becomes really engaging, the mini-series is so deeply flawed that I’m not interested in investing the time — especially when there are so many Antiques Roadshow episodes I haven’t seen (Greatest Gifts special repreZENT, y’all!).
To state it as concisely as possible: The Battlestar Galactica mini-series is the mind-killer.
*Not hatin’! Just sayin’!