Thursday, October 26, 2006

postal scrotum: Richardson on "Galactica"

Richardson writes with regard to "Battlestar Galactica":

On Battlestar Galactica; the 'politics' was extremely disappointing for me, but seems to have passed for the time being. Perhaps the writers made their statement, although I now conclude they do indeed live in their own little worlds.

The occupation to freedom fighter/terrorist comparison to U.S. policy and Iraq sort of bypasses some fundamental differences. First, the humans (blameless) in the series had been on the run from the Cylons for centuries, while Iraq (not so blameless) had been (at least until the Gulf War) manufacturing actual WMD and destabilizing the region. Second, the U.S. isn't trying to subjugate and absorb Iraq; we just need them to stop blowing themselves up for awhile before we go-and we aren't even taking their oil. Third, the series implies that Iraqi policemen are somehow traitors to their country, when In Reality, those guys are risking their arses to bring a little peace to their corner of the world.

But Sci-Fi knows that their audience is too hungry for more to let the politics stop them from watching. Me included, unless the BS continues. Leftist writers drive me nuts when they inject their politics into something that could be a lot better w/o it...

That's my vent...

Another conservative friend of mine said the show's politics are "so liberal my eyes bleed," but I see a good bit of political incorrectness to balance that out. First, note that the show affirms the largely conservative assumption that human nature isn't redeemable. No matter what idealistic rhetoric the characters bandy about, their actions bespeak a familiar human meanness, craftiness, and deceit. Humanity is as much a danger to itself as the Cylons are.

Plus, there's plenty of shit being blown up in almost every episode, which I think keeps the show appealing to righties. Heh.

If the series is going to last beyond the Iraq war (whenever that ends), the Cylons and humans will ultimately have to symbolize something other than an Islam/West conflict.* Perhaps they can simply evolve as characters in their own right, not necessarily linked by metaphor or analogy to events in our times.

A general remark about the series: the whole "riotous applause in the Command Information Center" thing is getting old.

"We've found water!" Yaaaaaaaay!

"We've found Starbuck!" Yaaaaaaaay!

"We've found the fleet again!" Yaaaaaaaay!

What Galactica needs is a nice orgy, right there in the hangar bay. It's the hangar bay, after all. Howzit hangin', babe? An episode devoted to the ins and outs of female Cylon pubic hair would be nice. I'll mail that request to Santa.

I've also begun to notice the clever ways in which the writers have crafted each episode's plot to show a minimum of "toaster" centurions. The centurions appear to be almost entirely CGI, so it's expensive to put them on screen. Animating them must be a bitch not only because the centurions have to be rendered in great detail (their silver coats reflect the light patterns of their surroundings-- not easy work for an animator), but also because the series is filmed in that jittery, hand-held cam style. Making a finely detailed CGI Cylon jiggle for the camera-- while running, no less... c'est pas évident, as the French say. It's not an easy thing to do.

The Cylons puzzle me. They can get pregnant, which implies they're made of organic (i.e., "wet") circuitry, a simulation that is accurate down to the genetic level, which implies accuracy at the atomic level. Biologically speaking, then, Cylons are clones, aren't they? Based on the Season One two-part finale, in which we're treated to the delightful vision of many naked Boomers inside a Cylon base star, we can also surmise that Cylons are, effectively, telepathic: they speak in turns, finishing each other's thoughts, in precisely the way the Agents from the Matrix series do.

So what we have is a race of telepathic clones-- of which there are twelve versions-- that are endowed with enormous intelligence, agility, and strength (cf. "Blade Runner" replicants). They are human in most respects: sweating, crying, laughing, and capable of holding perfectly normal conversations with human beings, which means they've mastered the fuzzy logic of human social interaction and possess anthropic percipience.

What confuses me about the Cylons is that, if they've developed a technology that demonstrates mastery reaching down to the genetic level... why aren't they attacking humans with mutagens? Cylons obviously have highly advanced nanotech. Seed a mutagen in the Galactica's constantly recycling atmosphere and quietly turn everyone Cylon!

Hmm. Always in motion is this series. Meditate on this, I will.

*I can hear the replies to this already: "That conflict isn't ending anytime soon!"


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