Thursday, March 27, 2008

What the Frak?

I'm not a BSG fan (shocking, I know), but I appreciated the Sci Fi Channel's snarky 9-minute recap of the first three seasons.

In fact, I probably enjoyed that recap more than the first season, which I watched on DVD and then promptly gave away to my friend Bryan. I'm not saying it's a bad show. It's just not for me.

At some point, I'll write a longer post on how much it bugs me when putative sf/fantasy shows are insufficiently rigorous. That is, they come up with some amazing premise, but then fail to think through all the ramifications of the gimmick they used to sell the show. For now, I'll just name a couple of the current offenders: New Amsterdam and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Discuss amongst yourselves.

~CKL

4 comments:

Nils said...

Big C,
I (heart) you, and I share many, many of your tastes in movies, shows, books, and t-shirts. You introduced me to Simmons, Niven, Scalzi, and a host of others. We've shared rants about the tragedy of Firefly and the majesty of Buffy. I read your blog and your short stories with rapt interest and wait with anticipation for the day when you release your first full length novel (I'll expect a signed copy, btw, and you had better make it out, "To My BFF, Nils."

When you consider all of this, I can't help but wonder how we differ so significantly on our taste for BSG? Were it not for my deep respect for you and your tastes, I'd feel obliged to pick apart your (very) abbreviated criticism of BSG and come to its defense.

Do I agree that it isn't perfect and that it is not without flaws in logic, lacking in scientific or technological sophistication, even inconsistent in its plot development? No. I was disappointed with the ending of the first season and the second, quite honestly, and I found some of the attempts at fantasy/metaphysical crossover to be weak.

But putative? Insufficiently rigorous? Ouch. Hardly. It has flaws - it's writers are human, after all, and they make mistakes and have tastes. That makes for a nice analogy to the show's entire premise. It's not so much about "sci-fi" as it is about humanity. The moral dilemmas are profound - they bring modern issues to a setting that is painfully difficult to please audiences (at the mere mention of science fiction, many would write it off completely). Few writers would come CLOSE to presenting the very touchy topics that are tackled head on in the show: racism, torture, terrorism, election fraud, abortion, a military state, rape, genocide, and collateral damage, to mention just a few.

And the best part? Your biases and opinions are attacked head-on, and there is NEVER a clear victor. The show is about character development and morality - not about pushing the bounds of science fiction. This is why the show accomplishes cross-over appeal with audiences who would ordinarily be too biased to watch five seconds of a show that is billed as science fiction.

Please, brutha, I'm eager to read the "longer post" that you promised on the subject, though I don't hold out much hope of being swayed. I do, however, always like my viewpoints and opinions to be challenged...

CKL said...

Well, I said a little more about this in an earlier post. I don't think BSG is a bad show--it's just not for me. I may give it another try, later, on DVD, like I did with Alias. (Although I still haven't made it past the first season on that one.)

It's kind of like NYPD Blue--I like police dramas, and I trust many people's opinions that it was a great show, but I could never watch it because the camera work was too damn distracting. Similarly, I acknowledge that BSG tackles some tough issues in interesting ways, but the packaging is not to my taste.

Nils said...

That's fair. As a biased fan, it's my aim to encourage/endorse the show so as to insure that it will a) stay on the air and selfishly provide me with ongoing entertainment, and b) so that the studios will see that there's a demand for more shows of the same quality/genre.

Truce.

Speaking of TV: what are you watching these days? Or more importantly, do you have any thoughts on the Fall lineup? Looks like Whedon and Abrams will both have new shows on Fox. Then there's the Alan Ball vampire series on HBO...

CKL said...

Well, I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you, but this fourth season is the last one for BSG. I wouldn't worry about David Eick or Ron Moore finding work, though.

Since we've been on the road, without access to TiVo or consistent fast broadband, we're not watching anything current (though we would be catching up on House, Reaper, My Name is Earl, and Medium if we could). But we are watching the first seasons of Veronica Mars and Murder One on DVD.

As for the new fall season, I'm definitely interested in Dollhouse, especially after seeing the upfront promo. I'm not sold on Fringe--Abrams' stuff is wildly hit-or-miss for me--and I haven't heard or seen enough about True Blood to form an opinion yet.