Stars in my eyes…Posted: January 23, 2009
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.