Friday, January 14, 2005

Friday Geekout

One of my fondest memories (and earliest conscious ones) was when I was four or five, sitting on the floor in the den with my father on Sunday afternoons, watching Sci-fi Sunday. This was a three hour window on Sunday afternoons, between hideously bad movies where one of the local affiliates (CBS, maybe? I seem to remember the eyeball popping up during comercial breaks) played Star Trek (TOS), Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica. I lived for these hours because my dad would explain as best he could to a five year old the the finer plot points I may have missed and the technical aspects that the stories hinged upon. I had a pretty good grasp of the intricacies of faster than light travel, phasers, cylons in particular and robots in general. At five, I had at least as good a grasp as the writers of those shows I would later discover, much to my disappointment.

This is how I became a nerd. It's my father's fault and I thank him for it every chance I get (which isn't nearly as often as I'd like).

Ever since this I've had a soft spot for cheesy science fiction TV shows. In the intervening years, this affection has been severely challenged, most often by the Star trek franchise. I'm now convinced that Berman and the gang at Paramount couldn't hack out a decent series if they had Harlon Elison's head in a jar and Stephen Hawking's genes spliced into their computers. (Come on folks, the idea of a prequal-type series about the first Enterprise was a good concept but why did you have to screw it up so badly? Instead of all that nonsense with Zindis and pre-federation politics, why not just do a show about Captain Christopher Pike, the first Captain of the real Enterprise? Recreate the bridge and sets and get us all embroiled din the Klingon War, with Romulans and Vulcans and the whole backstory from the original series. But no, we're stuck with the same old crap, warmed over from Voyager).

My Sci-fi spirits, however have recently been revived with the looming launch of the new Battlestar Galactica Series. There's even a blog about the show, so we can all geek out together.

I was really impressed with the miniseries and am very much looking forward to the weekly installments. They've kept enough nods to the original series while ramping up the drama and science a hundred fold. Which is good because, after catching an old episode of BSG a few days ago, I realized how severely undramatic the series was. Here's humanities last hope for survival and they're a bunch of rather relaxed fighter pilots (all with immaculately feathered hair) who are only moderately upset over the fact that twelve planets and an entire interstellar civilization have been destroyed in the span of a night. The new series adresses the innate horror of this tragedy as well as some of the implications in a more realistic manner, all without cutting any of the cool space dogfights (which are really impressive. they make Star Wars look clunky by comparison).

Thanks to Xeni at Boing Boing for the link.

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