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Battlestar Galactica (2004): Season 1 [Blu-ray]
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One of the best shows on television looks better than ever as Battlestar Galactica: Season One arrives on Blu-ray™ Hi-Def. Relive all 13 thrilling episodes plus the four-hour miniseries that started it all in this four-disc set. When a surprise Cylon attack scatters the remnants of humanity throughout the galaxy, it’s up to steely President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and battle-hardened Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) to unite the desperate survivors and seek mankind’s only chance for a future, a mythical planet called Earth. Presented in 1080p with Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and showcasing U-Control™ features that allow you to go deeper into the BSG universe, Battlestar Galactica: Season One on Blu-ray™ Hi-Def is gripping drama that explores the human condition at its worst…and its best.
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One thing though: I didn't realize this until after I saw the TV series, but the Battlestar Galactica "Miniseries" (listed in a seperate place in amazon) comes before the first episode of season 1. It makes more sense if you see the miniseries first, which is just about two or three hours long in total.
But of course the story doesn't stop -- and it turned out to be a rare case of a remake becoming spectacularly better than the source material. "Battlestar Galactica Season" is a grimy, dark sci-fi/adventure saga that isn't afraid to dip into philosophical and theological matters -- and it's also well-acted (mostly) and emotionally powerful.
Forty years after the war's end, the Cylons unexpectedly return to the Twelve Colonies and start wiping out ships and cities. The Battlestar Galactica (an aging warship about to be turned into a museum) is forced to flee the world of Caprica with a collection of refugee-crammed ships, under the command of Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) and Secretary of Education-turned-President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell).
Now the people of the Twelve Colonies must find a new home -- and their new goal is Earth, a legendary planet with other humans on it. Unfortunately, they have been infiltrated by the treacherous scientist Gaius Baltar (James Callis), and a group of Cylons who are almost indistinguishable from human beings.
But the journey is the real test -- the ragtag fleet must deal with sabotage, shortages of water and fuel, Starbuck's stranding on a deadly planet, treachery among their numbers, attacks on Cylon-held asteroids, political crises and captured Cylons. What's more, someone on the Galactica is actually a Cylon -- leading to a terrible confrontation....
Anyone expecting "Battlestar Galactica" to be a copy of its predecessor is going to be horribly disappointed. This is sci-fi at its most compelling and transcendent -- a gritty, bleak, sexual, dark story of war and desperate escapes, and there are plenty of moral dilemmas (leaving behind slower ships to the Cylons). And it knows how to chill you -- the premiere miniseries has a ghastly scene where Six quietly snaps a tiny baby's neck... and she's trying to be merciful.
The writers also do a solid job in here, emphasizing the hard sci-fi but starting to add some mystical threads near the end. The writing is solid with some bleakly humorous moments ("Why can't we use the starboard launch tube?" "It's a gift shop now"). They even manage to pull off dramatic and powerful dialogue without being cheesy ("You were born to a woman who believed suffering was good for the soul, so you suffered. Your life is a testament to pain. Injuries. Accidents. Some inflicted upon others, others inflicted upon yourself").
Olmos and McDonnell are the powerful leaders in this story, and both actors do a brilliant job -- especially Mcdonnell with Roslin's terminal breast cancer, and Olmos with his tragic past. Katee Sackhoff's Starbuck comes across as annoyingly more-macho-than-thou in many episodes, but the actress does a fine job in the deeper, more powerful moments -- Tricia Helfer is excellent as the ethereal humanoid-Cylon Number Six.
Other standouts: Callis as the ever-changing Baltar, an enigmatic man with charisma and incredible smarts; Michael Hogan as the unlikeable Saul Tigh; and Grace Park as a woman who may be a Cylon without even being fully aware of it.
"Battlestar Galactica Season One" is the start of a strong, powerful sci-fi epic, and definitely deserves to be seen. Not for kids, though.
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