Friday, December 21, 2007

Battlestar Galactica: Razor

A word of caution for anyone reading this: the *** review here is assuming you’re already familiar with the show before watching this. I have to assume anyone randomly stumbling across this TV movie without having already watched the first two seasons of Balactica will be hopelessly lost.

Anyway, for those who have watched the show but don’t know what this is, this is basically a TV movie set before and during season 2 dealing with the Battlestar Pegasus and its history, and was seemingly designed to keep fans of the show satisfied during the seemingly endless wait between seasons (seriously, when the hell is season 3 coming out on DVD already?). Dealing with the aftermath of the Pegasus’ harsher, military-gone-wrong crew, and their decision to essentially kill the passengers of over a dozen civilian ships by scuttling their supplies and essential personnel, it functions less as a movie and more as an extended episode, much as the X-Files movie did. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you happen to like the show like I do, but again, it will make it a bit hard on anyone unfamiliar with the series.

One thing I really enjoy about the show is how it’s quite possibly the most overtly militaristic sci-fi show I’ve ever seen. Most science fiction since the 60s has tended to follow the Star Trek path of a semi-utopian future where, even when evil is encountered, it’s still dealt with fairly easily before the cast can become all sunny and cheerful again. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I do like the stark contrast in just how grim and mean this show can get, and how someone can make the command decision to, as said earlier, condemn hundreds of civilians to death at the hands of an enemy race, and still have enough of a gray area left behind that we’re left without being entirely certain it was the wrong decision. The film encapsulates this feeling in the character of Kendra Shaw, a fast-rising officer on the Pegasus who participated in the executions of several of the civilians, and who now serves under a captain from the Galactica. She has a nice meaty role here where she gets to both want to be punished for her crimes, while still not feeling as though there were any other choice, and still being exactly the kind of military hardass that led to such an event.

This is not as good as the show’s main seasons, but it certainly doesn’t let the show down either. For what was essentially filler, there was a good deal more thought and effort put into this than was really necessary, and will be well worth the view for any fans like myself that are desperate for anything new from the show. Now all I ask is for Ronald Moore to rescind his damn fool idea to end the show, so we can have it go on forever. And no, Sci-Fi Channel, spreading out season four so that it takes over a year to show every episode doesn’t really make it into two whole seasons, it just makes you dicks.

Rating: ***

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