Stars in my eyes…

Over the holiday season the girlfriend and I watched all three and a half seasons of Battlestar Galactica and I’m pretty sure it’s the greatest sci-fi show of all time. The question is: why?

BSG is very well written but there have been many other well written sci-fi shows – Star Trek: The Next Generation, Babylon Five, etc. What sets BSG apart is the calabier of it’s acting. All of the acting in BSG is passable (the Cyclons), much of it good (Starbuck, Helio, Tigh), some of it is just plain great (the Adamas, the President, Baltar). Terrible acting is the exception not the rule. The same can absolutely not be said of most – pretty much all – of BSG predessors in sci-fi tv greatness.

In most great sci-fi shows the acting from most of the cast is just awful. It is the exception that there are good actors (for example Picard and Data) rather than the rule. So much good sci-fi writing and characterization has been almost ruined by utterly terrible acting. No great sci-fi show suffers more from this than Babylon Five. Every actor – minus maybe Londo and G’Kar – are utterly, utterly terrible. That show suceeded despite of it’s performances – one is left wondering after some episodes if B5 would have been better off as a novel series. Many great sci-fi shows are similar – though perhaps not as extreme – cases of those sort of problems (paging Buffy, care you hear me Angel?).

Basically other shows have been as well-written as BSG but few – if any – have been as well acted and produced. It’s what makes BSG so appealing to people who aren’t traditional sci-fi fans. You don’t need a love of the genre to overcome the show’s flaws because there are so few. The same can not be said of other great sci-fi shows of the past. It’s what makes BSG such a great accomplishment and one that it will be difficult to replace when it’s gone in just a few short months.

Interesting it’s also what makes BSG such a terrible “gateway” show more sci-fi greatness. Few sci-fi shows are as accessible as BSG to outsiders.


10 Comments on “Stars in my eyes…”

  1. doctorbrown says:

    Except that I could not get through the first season because every episode is the same.
    Baltar, have you got the Cylon detector yet.
    No, it’s really hard and I’m under a lot of pressure.
    I’m the piece of tail in a red dress, living in your head, who wants to talk about God.

    DOCTOR BROWN (Effing bored and exasperated)
    Screw this, I’ll just watch an episode of Venture Bros. I’ve seen a million times.

  2. Tito says:

    I’m with Doc Brown on this one. I admittedly haven’t seen much, but I had serious trouble getting interested in what little I saw. Sure, it was well-made, well-written, and well-acted. But I couldn’t make myself care about any of the characers. It kind of reminded me of playing the Terran campaign in Starcraft… in the end it just kind of makes me hate people.

    But maybe I just haven’t watched enough. Maybe this should be our next seminar.

  3. psycholarry says:

    So many of the episodes in this show are poorly paced, or flavor of the day problem episodes that I was never really engaged in the show. Reading wikipedia plot summaries and watching the space battles was all I could muster after the first season.

    Let it be noted that you still conform to my theory on how your TV tastes form Michaels.

  4. I think your “theory” about me works for virtually the rest of humanity when it comes to entertainment – or at least a vast multitude.

  5. exceptions prove the rule or some such jibber-jabber…

  6. Tito says:

    Hmm… we’ve all commented on this thread. Sounds to me like we’ve found our next topic of discussion.

  7. doctorbrown says:

    I did sort of become interested in “True Blood” because of a girl, but not enough to watch it when she was not around. Does that lump me in with the rest of humanity?

  8. […] The Sci-Fi Channel (SyFy?) isn’t exactly know for producing quality programing. For every Battlestar there is another spin-off of Stargate. For every Farscape there is the Dresden Files (note: I like […]

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