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Olmos: BSG Finale is “Devastating” March 28, 2008

Posted by Chris in Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined).
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According to Ronald D. Moore, the writers’ strike gave the BSG team the chance to re-think the second half of the fourth and final season of the series, and Edward James Olmos says, “It’s devastating…don’t watch this program; it’s not an easy ride.”

So while this was reported by io9 as a cue that this means the finale will be “depressing,” this geek is licking his chops with anticipation for some delicious sci-fi TV drama.

Geek Hiatus for Practical Concerns March 18, 2008

Posted by Chris in Navel Gazing.
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Diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with more primitive needs at the bottom.

Diagram of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with more primitive needs at the bottom.

Maslow said that in the hierarchy of needs, human beings will always value exigencies of the immediate (air, food, water, shelter) over the things higher on hierarchy — like blogging about science fiction TV, for example.  So since we just bought a new house and are in the process of moving 12 years worth of junk from one house to the other, I’m taking bit of a blogging break.  Stay tuned!  I’ll be back in a week or so.

BSG Season 1: Bastille Day Ep. 3 March 12, 2008

Posted by Chris in Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined).
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 Apollo:  Now That I Have You at Gun-Point, I’m Going to Give You EXACTLY What You Want!

And we start this episode with a continuation of the liquid theme.  Tighe wakes up, rolls out of bed and drags out his last bottle of liquor, measuring how many shots he has ’till empty.  Then we’re off to hear some exposition where the dire needs of the fleet for water are re-capped along with the logistics of extracting it from a nearby moon.  The need for manpower to accomplish this drives the Roslyn to offer the 1,000 prisoners on the inmate transport ship a chance at freedom if they help extract the water.  So as the series progresses the water motif continues to develop.  While it represented the illumination and understanding of the unconscious  in the previous episode, here it morphs into a metaphor representing an understanding and control over the nature of humanity — or what remains of it.

Roslyn and Adama’s motives seem fairly straight-forward here — they’re looking for water to ensure humanity’s survival.  But they’re also interested in preserving the structure and power of the government (such as it is) and the lack of water threatens to spark an uprising within the fleet.  Their need for water is driven by the imperative of survival in real terms but also in terms of the stability it offers that will allow their fragile democracy and civilization to continue to exist.  But others in the fleet have different ideas about how humanity should save itself and control of the water is the political and symbolic pivot-point.

Just as Apollo is announcing Roslyn’s offer to the prisoners, they take over their ship and Apollo is taken hostage.  The prisoners’ leader, Tom Zarek — played by Richard Hatch, the same actor that played Apollo in the original series — demands that Roslyn step down and an immediate election be held for the presidency.

Apollo is caught in the middle in more ways than one — between his (already shaky) loyalties to his father and commander, and Roslyn in his new role as military adviser.  When Zarek takes over the ship, he finds his loyalties split again, as we find out that he’s read Zarek’s political writings and admires him.  So while Apollo tries to fulfill his duty by putting down the prison ship uprising, he comes to recognize the legitimacy of what Zarek wants:  free elections for the presidency.  Here he’s caught between Roslyn and Zarek as well, since Roslyn doesn’t think elections are possible during the current crisis.  Perhaps most importantly, he’s caught between his own notions of right and wrong — duty to father or to democratic principles, duty to his role as a captain in the military or to his role as military adviser to the president, duty to his fellow hostages or to his mission.  So just as the Cylons rebelled against their Human parents, Apollo is negotiating how the landscape of his own personal rebellion against two personal and societal authority figures:  his father (by working for Roslyn) and the President of the Colonies.

Roslyn is caught as well between her beliefs in democracy and her conviction that the government stands on the precipice, ready to fall over and take what remains of humanity down with it.  Adama is caught between his love for and desire to protect his son, and the imperatives of the moment — to put down the prisoner uprising, to stop a general rebellion from catching fire, and to restock the fleet with water.  Throughout, water plays the role of a symbolic and practical touchstone, infusing the plot and the characters with an existential imperative. 

In the end, Apollo manages to find a way to convince Zarek that it’s in his and the fleet’s interest to cooperate, release the hostages, and save the fleet from dehydration, all at the point of a gun.  By threatening him, Apollo is able to simultaneously give Zarek what he wants without appearing to have caved in to his “terrorist” demands — he commits (without approval from Roslyn or Adama) that there will be elections for president in nine months.

Whedon’s Dollhouse Pilot Starts Production March 7, 2008

Posted by Chris in Interesting News.
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According to DollhouseTV.net the series pilot will begin production on April 23rd.  Should be interesting to see if Whedon can work his magic on the small screen again after his disappointments with Fox on Firefly.

BSG Season 1: Water Ep. 2 March 4, 2008

Posted by Chris in Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined).
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Boomer:  Symbolically Drenched in Water, She Enters the World of Her Own Unconscious

This episode opens with Boomer, sitting alone and spacing-out.  Water drips off her and we see that she’s completely drenched.  As she comes out of her trance, she realizes that she has a duffel bag with dry clothes, ready to change into.  She begins to unpack and is shocked to find a plastique bomb among her clothes.  She manages to control her growing panic long enough to check the small arms supply room where she finds that a number of detonators (like the one she found in her bag) are missing. 

Her suspicions are growing that she is a Cylon.  But her programming is keeping her conscious mind from believing what her unconscious mind already knows.  Shortly thereafter, explosions aboard Galactica release most of the fleet’s water supply into space.  Symbolically, drenching Boomer in water and having her unconsciously destroy the fleet’s water supply provides us insight into her personal state of mind.  Water is often used as a symbol for the unconscious mind — the world of dreams and repressed urges.  Like a sea mammal coming up for air, Boomer’s repressed Cylon identity is beginning to force its way to the surface of her conscious mind, but only for brief periods of time.  Now, her Cylon identity is maneuvering for full expression.  By blowing up the water storage tanks, it has not only crippled the fleet’s life support systems, but it has symbolically shattered the barrier between Boomer’s conscious and unconscious minds, threatening to undermine her sense of self and her loyalties to her friends and crewmates.

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Boomer’s Unconscious Identity Violently Erupts into the Real World

Just like Baltar, Boomer is beginning to realize that she is guilty of traitorous acts (see Kym‘s comments on my 33 post for where this insight orginated).  And while both did not intentionally betray their friends and governments, each feels a growing sense of panic and self-doubt about their real identities.  What’s interesting here is the way the writers have chosen to portray each character’s reactions to their crises of self-doubt.  While Boomer, the Cylon who thinks she’s Human, seeks comfort from her friend and lover, Chief Tyrol, Baltar trusts no one except his Imaginary Six, a Cylon who may or may not actually be imaginary.  So while the Cylon seeks solace and protection from humans, an act of faith in “humanity”, Baltar, the self-centered and egomaniacal human, finds solace and fawning affections from an imaginary and sexually-charged Cylon.

Boomer’s erratic behavior continues as she’s sent out on recon to find a new supply of water for the fleet.  As she surveys a planet, her sensor screen tells her that she has found water, but her conscious mind doesn’t seem to register it.  As she struggles with herself, we also see her fingering another plastique bomb below her seat.  It seems that her unconscious Cylon programming is instructing her to blow herself and her Raptor up instead of admit to herself and the fleet that she’s found water.  Again, water serves as the pivotal symobolic element in this story, representing the dangers of the unconscious and the self-understanding it holds.  For the moment, Boomer is able to appease her human identity by convincing herself that she has found a sabateur’s bomb.  This mental maneuver allows her to consciously become aware of the water discovery, thereby allowing her to continue to believe she is human.