BSG S1:E3 – “Water”

What do you do when you don’t remember what you’ve done?

There are real incidences of people committing murder while in a somnambulistic state. Can you imagine what that would be like, to wake up and find that you’d done something you had no memory of, that you would never have chosen to to? Even in the world of BSG, your first thought would not, could not be, “I must be a Cylon.” To doubt your own identity at that level seems unthinkable. In a way, I think Boomer (and the Chief) don’t go quite crazy enough.

I didn’t like the bits when Boomer was on the water patrol. It wasn’t clear to me what the mechanism in operation—seeing the somnambulism was less convincing than seeing the aftermath as at the beginning. The whole business with the explosives on the Raptor was confusing, though with it there, I would have expected her, like Galen, to realize that this was evidence that perhaps she wasn’t responsible.

It’s interesting to see that at this point it was still easy to think Tricia Helfer was just eye-candy, spouting out weird lines about God. I don’t remember it being until later, maybe “New Caprica” or thereabouts that she really started to show that there was depth there.

The interplay between Laura and Adama is adorable, even knowing its ultimate melancholy outcome, and the rockiness that lies ahead.

The tension between Baltar and Starbuck was great. I don’t remember offhand whether they ever actually sleep together, but that was certainly a great setup for the idea.

BSG S1:E3 – “33”

Way to ratchet up the tension.

If the second half of the mini-series seemed like a little bit of a let-down (and I’ve not yet got my commentary on it up, so this is a spoiler), this first episode of the actual series kicks things right back into high gear.

Even if I find it implausible that the Colonials are able to even pretend to function after 130+ hours, medicated or not, the actors do their considerable best to give the impression that these are people who are beyond even working on autopilot. Even the best of them have moments of staring off into nothingness as their minds are unable to keep going.

Oh, the characters. The writers seemed to understand them well, and figured out ways to show who they are without hitting us in the face with it. Kara’s confrontation with Lee that looks like it’s truly going to spill over into violence until they both burst out laughing. The look on Laura’s face when at they end, she gets the news that a baby’s been born. Adama’s sadness and forgiveness when Dualla admits she doesn’t know if a ship checked in before they made their jump.

Tigh…I wonder if they were already planning to make Tigh one of the “Final Five”, because he (as with Boomer, who we already know is a Cylon) is shown here as having extraordinary endurance. He actually seems to enjoy it.

Finally, I had forgotten how weird things were with Baltar and Six right from the get-go. This episode seems to be setting up the idea that the Cylon’s god is very involved and present–and yet, it could all be coincidental.


This is some insanely taut storytelling, and while it tries to be clear what is happening at any moment–it’s only about the jump cuts during space battles, which is probably an appropriate place to do that–it’s happy to wait until later to reveal to you the implications of what you saw. Which I regard as a good thing–not assuming your audience is stupid is still refreshing.

As an example, we see Six on the space station, seemingly destroyed, and then we’re shown the same person with Baltar, and although we get that this is a signal that she is probably not one of the good guys (not to mention the incident with the baby–which I still can’t decide whether to interpret as mercy or as the equivalent of pulling the legs off a spider[1] just to see what happens), they’re happy to wait half an hour to let us know that they can upload their consciousness–and we’re *still* not told whether the one on Caprica is the same one as on the space station.

Even the bits that could easily have seemed like off-the-shelf parts–I’m thinking of the exchange between Apollo and Commander Adama after their photo-shoot, where the rift between them starts to become clear–still resonate because the writers hold back You understand that Lee holds his father responsible, and you think you understand what happened, but still much is left unsaid–we’re not given any sort of infodump, even though they still didn’t know if they were going to get anything more than a miniseries at this point.

And, the actors are just so damned good. The moment near the end of the first half, where Lee explains to President Roslin that “Apollo” is just his call-sign–Mary McDonnell gives him this fleeting smile before telling him she knows who he is, it’s just amazing. The entirety of Gaius Baltar’s performance is so wonderfully…slimy. And the moment when Tigh decides to sacrifice people to put out fires is chilling…the way he hesitates, but finally acts without remorse.

Interestingly, knowing in advance how it’s all going to come out, Adama’s speech at the decommissioning ceremony for the Galactica seems to point to everything that the series ends up being concerned with–the responsibility of a creator toward his creations. They take a circuitous route, and I’ll be curious how well Ronald D. Moore actually holds to it over the long term, but it might actually be that they set out their ideas here, first thing.

fn1. I have never done this, if only because I find spiders way too creepy to want to be that intimate with. But the replicants systematic destruction of a spider toward the end of _Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep_ has always haunted me.

I just don’t understand

Insane Clown Posse would be just another act that I didn’t care for–in a world littered with them–except for the Gathering of the Juggalos. Just watch the apparently legitimate “informercial” for the 2011 Gathering of the Juggalos:

(Incidentally, life must be rough for Vanilla Ice).

And then compare to the Saturday Night Live “Kickspit Underground Rock Festival”:

“Everybody gets pitchforks!”

Ah, humanity.

The Middleman

So, to counter the extremely negative review I just did, as well as the one I’m about to do, from the department of things that I would like to recommend: _The Middleman_

I wrote about _The Middleman_ “a few years ago”:, shortly–very shortly–before it got cancelled. The ABC Family network it was broadcast on never even re-broadcast the original episodes–I saw two and three quarters episodes, and that was it.

At some point, I noticed that Netflix had the DVDs of that lone season, so I put them in the queue. They finally came up.

I was actually kind of worried that Anne wouldn’t enjoy watching them–they’re low-budget and comic-book-y and full of references from a subculture in which she doesn’t generally have a lot of interest–but that turned out to not be the case.

The remind me, more than anything else, of the similarly short-lived live-action version of _The Tick_, with Patrick Warburton–which is one of the few things I’ve ever bothered to purchase on DVD–which includes the best line ever written: “You’re not *needy*, you’re *wanty*.” But that’s another show.

Anyway, if you think that the idea of a show that would throw in off-hand references to Dune, hentai (on ABC Family? How did they slip that one it?), music-industry lawsuits against consumers and Batman & Robin, you should consider this as a fun way to spend a few hours.

Mister Rogers

I vaguely remember being entranced with the show when I was very young. At some point, I guess I started to feel that it was stuff for “little kids”, and came to view it with something a little like contempt.

I kind of wonder what I’d make of it now, because “the person behind the show is someone I might have liked to meet”:

I’m actually waiting to be able to watch it all in retrospect.

Yeah, so the new BSG episode maybe didn’t have the impact on me that it was intended to because it’s been so goddamned long since the last episode.

In fact, I’m looking forward to BSG being over so I can go back and start at the beginning and watch it all start to finish–to date, I’ve watched each episode as it came out, and I while discussion with Chet suggests that this makes some of the less-wonderful episodes from Season 3 a little less glaringly bad, it means that after each break, I don’t remember all the nuances of the story so far.

So, once it’s over, after a reasonable break, I’ll go back to it.

These are the things that yogis think are crazy…

We were in class earlier, and several people were talking about this clip.

Mind you, the way she’s doing it, she’s only able to do most of that stuff because she’s really young. It takes skill to do it (and I can do most of it except for the bits involving the actual bow) when you’re twice her age. 🙂

I’m sad to hear Middleman isn’t doing well

So, on the recommendation of a “total stranger”:, and, honestly, because it is so easy and free of downsides to try stuff this way, I started TiVOing “The Middleman”:

I have a vague memory of actually seeing ads for it, but seriously, “ABC Family” isn’t generally targetting me as their demographic.

Except, apparently, when they are.

The show is funny and smart–some of the jokes *really* make me reach to catch them. That puts it in a league with Thomas Pynchon. How the hell did something like that end up on television?

Unfortunately–and I guess in a way I’m not surprised–I hear that “it isn’t doing so hot”: That makes me sad. But at least you will all have the opportunity to tune in for the remaining episodes. And maybe if enough of you do, there will be more. It’s a virtuous circle.