on November 9, 2011
One of my favorite television series of all time along with 'The Wire'
and 'Breaking Bad'.
Like 'The Wire' this is a complex, Dickensian study of human nature,
not afraid of asking big questions, and meticulously plotted like a
great novel, so that each episode is a chapter in a much larger whole.
Just as 'The Wire' used the overly familiar cliché' world of the cop
show to jump off from and shatter our preconceptions, and 'Battlestar
Galactica' uses the sci-fi series, and the idea of human versus robot
wars the same way.
This is thinking person's sci fi, in the tradition of Arthur C. Clarke,
or Isaac Asimov. It's about why we are how we are, what it means to be
a human being, morality under constant pressure in times of war,
fathers and sons, impossible loves, metaphors for modern and recent
politics and real world situations.
My wife, far from a sci-fi fan was hooked after 3 episodes, and we tore
through 5 years of shows in just a few days. It's that addicting.
The acting is all at least quite good, and some cast members are
remarkable, creating characters full of depth, complexity and
contradiction. The writing is terrific, allowing the characters to
change and grow, but always in ways that make sense, creating seemingly
inexplicable conundrums, only to find surprising, sometimes shocking -
but ultimately logical and satisfying - ways to explain where they've
taken us. The special effects are generally very impressive for TV,
even if they're not really why you watch this show.
It also has some of the most tense episodes of television I've ever
seen, and some of the season enders left me completely wrung out and
blown away. I was sad to get to the last episode, just as one is sad to
finish a great book.
I haven't bought it in other forms, so I can't compare, but generally
the blu-ray set (the non-Cylon box) is quite complete, and well packaged.
However, I have read accounts that quality control was a bit of a problem
and I didn't escape the bugs. On a couple of my discs there was
a slight 'pulse' to the image at times. At first I thought perhaps
it was a strange, but intentional, lighting effect, but looking at it carefully
it seemed more a reproduction problem.
This isn't just the intentionally added grain, a look I don't love, but accept
as an artistic decision.
Since then, I've read similar comments from others, so I'm not crazy
(or at least not in this case!). So, if you do order this, you might want
to make sure it's returnable, and try to do a quick quality check the best
you can. Of course, if the problem is intermittent, and mostly in the later
discs, as was in my case, by the time I saw it it was way too late
to ask for an exchange.
None-the-less, for me, the quality of the content way over-rode the
occasional image problems (and I'm a perfectionist - my wife
never noticed the pulsing until I pointed it out.).
As for season 4.5, the ending, the one let down for me in the series
was the very last episode. Certainly no disaster, but for perhaps the only time,
some of the answers felt disappointingly flat and simplistic.
But that wasn't enough to take away from the tremendous esteem with
which I hold the show. One that is surely worth your time, from begining
As far as getting the individual seasons on blu-ray, it looks as though
you can do better buying the box set, although prices fluctuate
quickly here on Amazon and elsewhere, so I'd advise you do the math
and figure out the most reasonable way to own the complete set.
Also, Amazon UK currently has a region-free complete blu-ray box set for
about $100 with shipping. It seems to have all the same extras as the US box set.
Well worth considering as long as the price holds up.