Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Why I Don't Like BSG 2.0

Gregg Easterbrook has returned to ESPN.com which is good news in and of itself. He also offers the perfect explanation why I had to stop watching the new Battlestar Galactica series about 8 episodes in:
TMQ's core problem with "Battlestar Galactica" is that the people of the show's imaginary space society are incredibly stupid. True, there are lots of stupid people on Earth, so presumably there would be stupid people on the opposite side of the galaxy. And folly is, inarguably, a grand theme of history. But practically everyone in "Galactica" is so astonishingly falling-down dumb, it's hard to care about their fates: And this is setting aside how, if they're so stupid, they were able to construct enormous faster-than-light starcruisers.
Just so - the so-called Idiot Plot is useful in certain situations, though they generally involve Adam Sandler portraying more or less of an idiot.

However, for sustaining dramatic tension that a reasonably intelligent audience will buy, I'd have to say ixnay on the diot-ay. Lost comes pretty close to the edge with the audience knowing that each character knows more than they are telling the others (though not The Others). But since there is a compelling backstory for each character which gives them plausible reasons to not pool information, we tend to play along. Who would believe Locke if he started telling everybody that he really couldn't walk until he came to Magic Island of the Sea?

In contrast, on BSG there was simply never any compelling rationale for the incuriousness of the decision makers. If ever a situation existed where 'trust but verify' would seem essential, times post-sabotage-induced-apocalypse would be it. But that's just me.

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