Battlestar Galactica – Revelations

Ok, so let me break into a bit of an episode review (more like a light social commentary).

[EDIT: actually, this post is more social commentary + my thoughts on BSG, and NOT a true”episode recap”.  If you’re looking for an interesting episode recap, scroll down to the very bottom…]

Whenever I watch Battlestar Galactica (BSG), I wonder about two things:

  1. I recall hearing about how BSG attracts a decently wide audience.  As in, it’s not just nerds & geeks & sci-fi fans who watch it (i.e. me), but “normal” people, as well.  I’m not sure how true that is, but it does make me wonder…. But I do think BSG does have a decently broad appeal (especially amongst university students?), largely due to my next point…
  2. BSG tries to tackle a lot of issues centered around meaning (by “meaning”, I mean things that people think truly matter in life).  Which is strange, considering that a lot of people think that our generation/culture is a post-modern one that has largely rejected the notion of objective meaning/truth/morals.  That attitude can be summed up by the phrase, “what’s true for me might not be true for you”, but BSG’s feel seems to go against that, tackling issues more from the “is this the right thing to do?” viewpoint.  You might think that’s common sense, but I’ve had my share of experiences talking to university students who come from that relativistic morality viewpoint (i.e. the “don’t try and apply your moral standards to anyone outside of you” attitude).

So to build on point #2, I DEFINITELY notice that BSG makes an intentional effort to flesh out at least 3 or 4 of these meaningful topics:

relationships/sex, spirituality/God, ethics, and human personhood

Here are my thoughts on these themes.

Relationships/sex: people long for connection, intimacy, and relationship.  I think that’s why movies/music/literature always feature relationships.  And it’s actually related to the next item on the list.

Spirituality/God: it’s funny how, for a science-fiction story, BSG brings in polytheism and now the concept of God and a “higher power” orchestrating things for a higher purpose, as Kara/Starbuck and Lee/Apollo were discussing in this week’s episode.  My take – in general, people know that purpose and objective truth has got to exist (as opposed to “it’s all relative”/there’s no real meaning to life except for what your imagination makes up). The alternative is meaning-lessness, after all.

Ethics: it’s hard to create a story, even a science-fiction story, where you completely airlock (i.e. throw out) morals.  It would make no sense.  So it makes a LOT of sense when you make moral dilemmas central to your story, like BSG has.  And I think that resonates with viewers.

Human personhood: Ok, I have to admit that I’ve only seen like 7 cumulative hours of BSG ever in my life, and only know the episode plots of like 1-2 seasons worth, but I do know that the whole Cylon/human thing brings up the question of how “human” Cylons are when they think/feel/even-thought-they-were-human.  The interesting thing is that this relates to the question of what gives a “person” value… do you have to be an adult human?  What about a Cylon/human infant?  Does an infant (or an unborn child, for that matter) still have basic human rights just because it’s a real (albeit, underdeveloped) person?  I’ve seen over the years how TV shows have come to value the lives of the unborn or infants (especially when the fate of many depends on that person), so I think it’s an encouraging sign that our generation is starting to realize that eliminating the unborn isn’t something wonderful, to say the least.

EDIT/ADDED (June 14th):

I just realized that I didn’t give any episode specifics.  Sorry if you came here and expected an episode recap!
Here’s a great one, though:

http://www.webomatica.com/wordpress/2008/06/14/battlestar-galactica-revelations/

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