Cylon Mania Blazes Back in Battlestar Galactica

ctg

weaver of the unseen
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It all looks so promising to be the greatest season, doesn't it? Underneath is couple of feature articles from the Wired magazine, promoting the upcoming season. The biggest question is who is the fifth cylon? Any guesses?

And then there was one. After Battlestar Galactica revealed the identities of four of the show's "final five" human-looking Cylons at the end of Season 3, theories about the last "skin job" burned in fans' brains.
Season 4 of SciFi Channel's re-imagined Galactica begins with even more questions and "what the frak?" moments, and few actual answers about where the show is headed in its final season.
The Cylon revelations in the psychedelic Season 3 finale reinforced the big ideas about religion, war and what it means to be human that have made Battlestar Galactica the smartest science-fiction series on television. The Season 4 opener explores the same brainy terrain.
Galactica's unflinching parallels to current events in Iraq -- and executive producers Ronald D. Moore's and David Eick's skill at crafting meticulously orchestrated cliffhangers -- earned the show a prestigious Peabody Award in 2006 and have made it SciFi's highest-rated original series to date.
There's a reason for all the accolades: Galactica is top-tier sci-fi television, as gritty and engaging as anything on HBO or at the multiplex. Wired.com got a sneak peek at "He That Believeth in Me," the first episode of Season 4, and offers this (mostly) spoiler-free first look at what to expect when Galactica returns today for its final season.
(Editor's note: If you haven't seen Season 3 and don't want any of its plot twists revealed, stop reading now. Or watch SciFi's eight-minute video that recaps the major plot points of Seasons 1 through 3, and get up to speed immediately.)
Frak is back, big time
Characters spew BSG's signature F word four times in the season opener's first three minutes....
Cylon Mania Blazes Back in 'Battlestar Galactica'





Back in high school, I bought a T-shirt: PICARD/RIKER '96. At the time, this identified me as (a) a massive loser and (b) a politically conscious massive loser. But hey, it was the mid-'90s, protest votes were chic, and Star Trek, with its indomitable moonshot optimism, painted a far more inspiring portrait of humanity than any earthbound presidential candidate. What starry-eyed nerd wouldn't have plunged into the breach for Captain Picard, that oaken-voiced amalgam of King Solomon, Lord Nelson, and Abraham Lincoln? Then, somewhere between Impeachment and Recount, the shirt faded, ripped, and turned chamois. Time passed, towers fell, war and scandal raged. I bought a new T-shirt: ROSLIN/AIRLOCK '08.
For the uninitiated, that's a reference to Laura Roslin, the hard-nosed, Hillaryesque president from television's Battlestar Galactica — the Hobbes to Trek's Rousseau. On the show, humanity is locked in existential conflict with a godly, genocidal foe, and Roslin has the dual, sometimes dueling responsibilities of preserving democracy and uniting the fractious remnants of civilization under one banner: She's not above rigging an election, making dodgy claims of divine guidance — or tossing a terrorist out the ol' airlock. (In the future, airlocks are the new military tribunals!)
BSG is, at first glance, an unlikely vessel for serious sociopolitical critique. While science fiction may be the genre of Big Ideas, it's fair to say no one expected Howard Zinn-level watchdoggery from the "reimagining" of a chintzy '70s TV series starring Dirk Benedict by the basic cable network that also gave us Mansquito. BSG enters its fourth and final season in April, and none of its fans expect encomiums on par with The Sopranos. Yet BSG has done for the post-Roddenberry space western what Tony and Co. did for the post-Coppola mob tale: exhumed a mummified subgenre and reanimated it with all the relevant eschatological dread and martial hysteria of millennial America. BSG was, for a while there, the most important show on television.
Much of the show's success has been attributed to executive producer Ronald Moore, a longtime laborer in the Star Trek mines, who made Battlestar the gunmetal-grim instrument of all his Trek-suppressed pessimism: Less "To boldly go," more "Run for your frakkin' life!" With co-exec David Eick, Moore saw in the original show's premise — a fugitive humanity on the run from a committed, inhuman enemy — something chillingly topical. But in the reboot, there are a few key tweaks: The inspiring search for Earth — a mythic, lost human colony — is predicated on a religious lie cooked up by Commander Adama (Battlestar's rasping answer to Picard and Kirk). Adama says he knows where the promised land is. He doesn't. But he needs the authority to keep the screaming leavings of humanity together — and fend off certain noisome democratic complications, like the Roslin administration, civil rights, and dissent. Meanwhile the Cylons capture most of the human fleet — but instead of utterly destroying their foes, they decide, neoconically, to rehabilitate them ... by force. The desperate humans resort to suicide bombing. So, uh, who're the good guys again? Moore, like Sopranos creator David Chase, is unsentimental about humanity: "All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again," is, after all, found in The Book of Pythia: The Cycle of Time. And every science fiction fan recognizes an allusion to cyclical reality as a harbinger of doom.
As the end — and Earth — draw near, BSG has seen its moral clarities cloud over. This was always going to be a hurtling, one-way trip to enlightenment and/or oblivion. And like all the fantasies born in the Bush age, the show is programmed to self-destruct: Consider Lost, the purgatory-as-therapy sci-fi ropes course that has declared a 48-episode limit on its desert-island wanderings. In fact, it's Lost creator J.J. Abrams who'll be relaunching BSG's sunnier predecessor, Star Trek, with a prequel due out next year. By then, we'll have a new president-elect and, one way or another, a new age, with a new mood — and a new T-shirt. What will it say, I wonder? KIRK/SPOCK seems hopelessly nostalgic, KANG/KODOS a tad cynical. What new interstellar epic will arise to ferry our hopes and fears, our better angels and worst demons, across the vast galactic wastes?
Whatever happens, hey, don't blame me: I voted for Roslin.
Scott Brown on Why 'Battlestar Galactica' Must Self-Destruct
 

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