Friday, January 16, 2009

So say we all...

As it's been only two days since Fosco announced his Literacy Challenge 2009, he's a little embarrassed to be talking to you today about a television show. Even so, Fosco cannot contain his excitement over tonight's return of Battlestar Galactica for its final ten episode run. The solutions to several mysteries will be revealed in the second half of Season 4 (or are we calling these new episodes Season 5?), including the identity of the all-important twelfth Cylon.

Now Fosco is no sci-fi nerd; nor does he much care for space operas (he'd rather visit the dentist than watch any of the Star Trek series). But, at the insistence of both Oz and Todd, Fosco gave BSG (that's what the kids call it) a chance and got totally hooked. He essentially watched the entire series with Oz last summer. And now Fosco is about to make a bold statement:

Battlestar Galactica is the best dramatic series of the decade.

A strong claim, I know, but let's talk about it. First of all, Fosco had to use the qualifier "dramatic" because (as he's said before), "Arrested Development" is the best television show of the decade. Even so, Fosco is willing to rank BSG above dramatic series like "The Sopranos" or "Angel" (both shows that Fosco admires greatly). [N.B., Fosco has not yet watched "The Wire." It's on his list.]

What makes BSG so good is not the special effects (though they often aren't terrible) nor the acting (which has a few low points--I'm looking at you, Mr. Bamber). Rather, it's the philosophical sophistication and political relevance of its storylines. "The Sopranos" is philosophically sophisticated too, of course, but these two series explore different territory. While "The Sopranos" is concerned with the emptiness at the center of everyday American life under late capitalism, BSG considers the question of the survival of a democratic society under threat from within and without. What is the best way to govern in a time of emergency? What is the proper relationship between the military and civil society? Who (or what) qualifies as a subject under the rule of law? How is war to be carried out? What is the relationship between civil society and religion? Should one protect a society that is founded on an act of evil? Can that evil ever be remedied? These are the questions that BSG deals with. Some of them may sound a little familiar...

Now, considering that only ten episodes remain in the entire series, it would be silly for Fosco to recommend you start watching the show tonight (although SciFi Channel would love that). However, I do recommend you get the miniseries that started it all and give it a shot.


Anonymous said...

But... but... what about Buffy? I love BSG, too, but doesn't all of that deep subject matter pale in comparison to the universal quest for hot vampire lovin'?

FOSCO said...

I didn't include "Buffy" for two reasons:

1. It straddled (teehee!) the 90s/00s decades and so I wasn't sure it qualified to be the best show of this decade. Especially considering that the unpleasant Season 6 and abysmal Season 7 were part of this decade.

2. Honestly... I don't feel as close to "Buffy" as I used to. I really like "Angel" better now. However, I am totally digging the Buffy Season 8 comic.

And speaking of "the quest for hot vampire lovin"... that does seem to be universal--at least lately, huh?