"That's no moon. It's a space station."
-- Obi-Wan Kenobi

Remover of pain and sorrow

Battlestar Galactica is coming to an end, with its 2-hour season finale airing tonight. I was late to start watching it, having not gotten into the show until well into its third season. Once I did start watching it, though, it didn’t take me long to realize that it’s one of the best frakking shows on television, far outstripping the campy original.

Thinking over the four seasons that the soon-to-be-renamed Sci Fi network has provided us, I’ve put together my ten favourite moments from the series. These were actually reasonably difficult to choose, as there are so many other great moments. However, these are the ones that stick out in my memory and exemplify the best the show has to offer.

Spoiler Alert: Anyone who isn’t up-to-date with the current broadcast schedule should watch out for #10, #8 and #1 (I’ve listed the season and episode number with each one). The other ones don’t really reveal any significant plot elements.

10. Cylonic revelation
Crossroads Part 2 (Season 3 Episode 20)

s03e20-four-of-the-final-five.jpg The moment when Saul Tigh, Sam Anders, Galen Tyrol and Tory Foster all realize that they’re Cylons, having been brought together by a haunting rendition of All Along the Watchtower, is one of the best reveals of the whole series. Not only does this advance the plot in new and interesting ways, it puts an entirely new spin on so many scenes from previous episodes if you go back and watch them again. The way this was handled in the episode (and the lead-up to it over the previous couple of episodes) makes the eventual reveal of the last of the Final Five (in the second half of Season 4) pale in comparison.

9. Clash of the Battlestars
Pegasus (Season 2 Episode 10)

s02e11-galactica-and-pegasus-vipers.jpg When Commander Adama decides that Admiral Cain has gone too far in her maniacal adherance to wartime practices, the Vipers from the two ships wind up in a deadly face-off against each other. The launching of Vipers was a great cliffhanger for the end of the first half of Season 2, and the follow-up in the next episode (Resurrection Ship Part 1) is equally as tense. There is a palpable feeling of dread as the last remnants of humanity stand on the brink of destroying themselves without any help from the Cylons. And Starbuck screaming “We’re all friendlies! So let’s…just…be friendly!” on her return from her stealth mission (into the middle of the furball) was great.

8. Kara back from the dead
Crossroads Part 2 (Season 3 Episode 20)

s03e20-kara-returns.jpg In parallel with four of the Final Five being revealed, Starbuck appears out of nowhere on Lee’s wing and announces that she’s been to Earth. Having seen her Viper explode (with her in it) a few episodes previously, Lee is understandably taken aback. This is a great example of what BSG does so well — blending cosmic events with pure humanity. Both father and son Adama have to go through the process of accepting the loss of Kara, which was handled by the writers as if her death had been permanent. Then, in the midst of what seems to be the final catastrophic battle with the Cylons, she re-appears and they have to cope with the ensuing emotional turmoil while still fighting off the invading horde. Pure brilliance!

7. New Caprica Blunt
Unfinished Business (Season 3 Episode 9)

s03e09-adama-and-roslin.jpg On New Caprica, after Baltar’s ground-breaking ceremony, Admiral Adama and ex-President and now-teacher Roslin share a relaxing moment at the party. After the very boring Felix Gaeta takes his leave, they each pull out a previously-hidden cigarette of dubious origin…or perhaps I should say doobious. This is one of the first times we see Adama and Roslin really taking the time to enjoy each other’s company, outside of the occasional piece of casual conversation in between dire moments on Galactica. And it was also just plain funny.

6. Love is in the air
The Hub (Season 4 Episode 9)

s04e09-adama-and-roslin.jpg On the other end of the Adama/Roslin story arc, Roslin finally tells Adama she loves him after having been dragged across the galaxy by the hybrid on the rebel Cylon basestar. This moment of tenderness was very refreshing, after the apparent hardening of Roslin’s personality over the course of the previous couple of seasons. It was also heartwarming to see a proper response to Adama’s impressive (or foolish, depending on your perspective) gesture of devotion, i.e. leaving Galactica in a raptor to wait for the basestar, all alone in the middle of space. And Adama’s response of “About time!” was very fitting.

5. Baltar besot upon
Kobol’s Last Gleaming Part 1 (Season 1 Episode 12)

s01e12-baltar-roslin-and-six.jpg After being elected Vice-President of the Colonies, Gaius Baltar is being briefed by President Roslin and is becoming quite overwhelmed by the amount of information he has to absorb all of a sudden. To make matters worse, the Number Six that only he can see (is she imaginary? hopefully we’ll find out tonight!) is there questioning his love for her and implying that he is chasing after Roslin. He finally explodes at both of them in a blustery tirade, the verbage of which is carefully chosen to address both women at the same time. The scene is particularly funny when Baltar declares that he is not their plaything and both Roslin and the perhaps-imaginary Six respond in unison: “Plaything?”

4. Caprica Six and Baltar
Downloaded (Season 2 Episode 18)

s02e18-caprica-six-danna-and-baltar.jpg When Caprica Six downloads into a new body after dying to save Baltar’s life in the bombardment of Caprica, she finds herself being visited by Baltar himself, who no one else can see. Sound familiar? This connection between Six and Baltar seems pivotal even though it hasn’t yet been explained. I’m very much looking forward to finding out the answer to this particular mystery.

3. Sex with Six
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (Season 1 Episode 9)

s01e09-baltar-and-six.jpg There is absolutely no plot significance to this scene, but the moment when Starbuck walks in on Baltar having a little afternoon delight with his possibly-imaginary Number Six (who Kara of course cannot see) is just gut-bustingly hilarious. His attempts to brush it off as just keeping up with “the old exercises” only serve to dig himself deeper, especially when Kara has to remind him to do up his zipper.

2. Suspicions Revealed
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (Season 1 Episode 9)

s01e09-adamas-baltar-and-roslin.jpg Another moment played purely for the laughs is in the aftermath of a Leoben telling Roslin that Adama is a Cylon. When Baltar announces that his Cylon detector is ready, and Adama discovers that previously-assumed-dead Ellen Tigh is in the fleet, Roslin and Adama end up in a tug-of-war over who will be tested first: Ellen or Adama himself. When the secrets and lies all come to light, the result is an entertaining dust-up in Baltar’s lab while all parties involved try to out-yell each other. This episode also has one of my favourite lines of Adama’s, uttered in his trademark gravelly voice when Roslin asks him to be tested first: “If I’m a Cylon, you’re really screwed!”

1. Jump!
Exodus Part 2 (Season 3 Episode 4)

s03e04-galactica-in-atmosphere.jpg When Adama is faced with the challenge of supporting the human insurgency on New Caprica while the Cylon fleet orbits the planet, he uses the FTL drive to jump Galactica directly into the planet’s atmosphere, launches all of his Vipers while the ship plummets to the ground, and then jumps back out just before crashing. This is not only my favourite moment of the series, it’s one of my favourite science fiction moments of all time. I know this merely re-affirms the degree of my geekiness, but when I first saw this tactic, I literally let out a triumphant yell.

Like I said, there were many, many more great moments to choose from…but I don’t really have time to do a Top 100 list… :-)

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Notes

"Remover of pain and sorrow" is from one of the English translations of the Gayatri Mantra, which is used as the theme song for Battlestar Galactica.

Up against the mini-bar

Well, it took almost four years, but something has finally made me wish I still had cable.

Fans of Jimmy Kimmel (if there are any in our crowd…) will know that he and Sarah Silverman have been an item for quite some time (if you don’t know who Sarah Silverman is, go rent Jesus is Magic as soon as you can!). Sarah laid down a revelation for Jimmy in music video form at the end of January, and it’s absolutely hilarious. Watch it. Really, now. :-)

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Jimmy decided to respond with his own brand of vengeance, which just about had me falling out of my chair laughing. So watch that one now. Yes, again.

All I can say is thank god for YouTube… :-)

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And I’m gonna be high as a kite

I’ve been hunting around for this clip for quite a while, after hearing about it for years and then finally seeing it in Comedy Central’s roast of the Shat-man. Family Guy fans will also enjoy seeing what was being parodied when Stewie did his spoken-word rendition of Rocket Man… :-)

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Brought to you by the CBC

Have you guys seen this?

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Take me where I cannot stand

Our favourite Joss Whedon sci-fi has been licensed for a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. Apparently, by 2008 we’ll be able to login and play around in the ‘verse.

(BTW, I found this very cool wiki site!)

So far, I’ve been able to resist getting into any of the MMOs (even Star Wars Galaxies), mainly because I am truly afraid of what it would do to my life. However, a Firefly-based game might just be enough to break me–after all, Joss Whedon is my master now:-)

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Will Wright on the Colbert Report

Will Wright (without whom the world would never have known the joys of video games such as SimCity, SimCity 2000, the Sims, The Sims Online, The Sims 2, or The Urbz: Sims in the City to name just a few) was just interviewed on the Colbert Report (ri-pohrt) the other night and I thought it was too good not to share. Watch the video here.

I should add this comes on the tail of my spending Saturday night with my fourteen year old cousin playing The Sims 2: Pets (which I gave to her…). I also have to confess that I almost had a mini nerdrection* when Will had to explain simlish to Stephen.

*It’s not dirty like it sounds, just watch the video.

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C is for…um, a sometimes food…

Yesterday was the Nepean Sailing Club‘s Haulout Day, which means they had two massive cranes pulling boats out of the water and placing them onto their storage cradles for the winter. I didn’t have Serenity pulled out just yet, as I’m trying to find a decent day to get one last sail in before I really call the season done.

BTW, sailboats just don’t look right when they’re lifted out of the water.

I’ve found the theme song for my life on the Grey’s Anatomy Season 2 soundtrack. I don’t actually hate everyone I know, but I’m very entertained by the song’s cheerful disdain for the throngs of idiot humanity out there… :-)

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Polygamy on TV

After our discussion on Sunday about the new TV show Big Love, a couple of articles about it here and here , and a review.

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Police Cops

Some musings on the over-the-topness of CSI, which of course should be renamed Super Science Cops. Apparently no crimes get solved outside of the CS unit.

Btw, I would have thought the “CSI effect” referred to the number of specific requests received by hairdressers.

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Yesss!

This was really weird. This is also a bit stupid (and esoteric beyond belief) so feel free to stop reading.

You know that Future Shop ad where the guy tinkers with the escalator to make it go faster? When it originally aired, earlier this year it seems, I fully expected, nay hoped for, the guy going up to crash into something upon arrival, but alas he did not slam into anything or even fall over. The ad bugged me ever since.

I was disappointed for two reasons. Firstly, one needs that sense of comedic climax and closure, much like an out-of-control toboggan or cardboard box on the Simpsons going up in flames upon impact (please explode, please explode…yessss! *fist pump*). I mean, the premise of the ad was a little juvenile, you gotta follow through.

Secondly, and this is more puzzlement than disappointment, every second ad these days (many of them for beer) seems to incorporate some aspect of real-life cartoon violence, so it felt odd that FS would not represent with the hijinks, so to speak.

Well, lo and behold, one day last week I see the same ad only this time the dude DOES go flying into a rack of DVDs and go down in a heap. Yessss! I was thrilled and bewildered at the same time. I mean, I didn’t even write a letter to spur this development (and don’t think it didn’t occur to me).

This means that:
A. I can now influence entertainment by sheer force of will,
2. Future Shop came to their senses all by themselves, or
D. SOME OTHER PERSON ACTUALLY CONTACTED THEM to complain. If it’s a woman, I want to marry her. If it’s a whole bunch of people, my faith in humanity has been partially restored.

I’m sure this has been more insight into my twisted mind that you’d rather not have had.

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If wishes were trees

Here’s an interesting article about David Cross (of Mr. Show and Arrested Development fame) dealing with Hollywood crap.

I find it very confusing how movie and TV executives can be so uninterested in someone who is clearly a successful comic with a built-in fan base. He may not be able to pull in Rob Schneider‘s numbers, but it’s not like he’s Carrot Top.

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The Return of Hockey

As many of you know, the National Hockey League strike/lockout (it’s all the same, really) officially ended late last month. The weeks since have seen a flurry of off-ice activity with the entry draft and plenty of trades and free-agent signings, which have been made more interesting (and necessary) because of the new salary cap and the strategies and dumping of payroll that go with such a financial scheme.

From my perspective, the recent uptick in league activity has been accompanied by a proportional increase in interested chatter, both in the media and by the public. Radio sports shows seem to be discussing nothing else besides all the player movement and the outlook for the teams involved. The TV networks and their hockey personalities can barely contain their glee at the return of their prime commodity, and are advertising as though the season starts next week. Bar talk and internet banter have picked up hockey as a regular topic with a vengeance once again, and I know my friends and I have had many conversations about which player is going where, which teams are moving up, and how the Senators will fare this season.

All this from a population that generally proclaimed to be “not able to care less” all last winter and spring concerning the potential return of hockey. I thus offer this theory: they were all LYING.

Seriously…how many people did you speak with last fall and winter that did not seem to be bothered by the lockout? Seemed like plenty. How many people professed to not miss NHL hockey during the cold, dark nights of January and February, claiming something silly like “I’m going outside more” or “I like to play sports, not watch sports”. Right. I’ll keep an eye open for you on the cross-country skiing trails at 8pm on a Saturday. I suppose playing poker (which includes watching it on TV, apparently) counts as staying active as well.

General conversation, polls both informal and scientific, and anecdotal evidence all seemed to support the notion that Canadians did not miss hockey one bit and did not care if it returned or not. These responses were given as though it were the highest-paid players themselves that were asking the questions, for the alleged apathy was an obvious reaction to the greedy antics of the two primary participants in the lockout, the league and the players, with the third, and most important, participant – the fans – being blatantly ignored in the process. In reality those fans were mad, not disinterested, and were offering the silent treatment as a response, instead of something a little more constructive and mature.

Sports recap shows filled their gaping holes of airtime with basketball highlights, and people pretended to be interested – when they weren’t cross-country skiing of course. Poker dominated the sports channel airwaves, and people pretended to be interested. Even the dreaded NASCAR has a growing pretend following north of the border.

But worst of all, Canadians pretended to be interested in politics. And not in the good way. Here’s a little rule of thumb for future reference: never have a hockey lockout during a minority government. Or maybe it’s the other way around. How much political bickering occurred in the last 12 months, both in public and behind closed doors? Do we even remember what we were arguing about? I think Canadians were just testy in general because of the lack of hockey, and then filled the vacant hours with pointless, heated debate.

As many of you know, the Gomery Inquiry testimony was reportedly the most popular reality television program in Quebec this past spring. If I may put forth that televised sports was the original incarnation of reality TV, then let me theorize that had the Habs been playing hockey last year then Gomery would have fallen to number two. Since the Liberals’ moral authority to govern seemed to fluctuate daily based on how damning that day’s testimony was about events of ten years ago, I’d say that the discourse about the potential fall of the government would have been lessened had fewer people actually been paying attention. Stephen Harper must have been loving every non-hockey moment of 2004-2005, whereas Paul Martin was probably the happiest man in Canada the minute the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed. Remember, the CBC News gets pushed back by up to several hours almost every day for two months beginning in April to make room for playoff coverage. Do you think anybody would have heard of Gremant Grewal had the Canucks, Flames, Leafs, or Senators made it to the Stanley Cup finals?

I for one was always quite honest about my disappointment over the lost season, even if the result is better for the game. That the same result could very well have been achieved without the season being lost is now moot. But allow me the satisfaction of labelling Bob Goodenow as a pig-headed egomaniac as a parting shot. A good hockey game on the tube is often an important ingredient of a fun Saturday night in fall and winter, something to enjoy over beer and pizza with people over or before going out, or watching another game. With the amount of alleged hockey-haters coming out of the closet in recent weeks, it’ll be like it never left. Those two-foot blue lines are sure going to look ugly though.

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Finally!

Family Guy is back! Oh Happy Day! Caught most of the episode last night (missed the very ending, which is yet another lesson telling me never to leave my house) and it was so good, I was happy to find they kept the same humour and energy that I love about this show. Hopefully Fox will give this show a little more slack than last time (anyone who’s watched the DVD’s commentary knows how every episode was a fight with the network) and has learned their lesson: Don’t take Family Guy away! Sidebar: also amusing was the cringing of the people I was watching the show with whenever Peter was naked on screen. hehe.

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There is no spoon

This one’s for the fans of that unholiest of unholy genres:

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Whatever, dude.

One of the ways in which I justify the copious amounts of time that I spend zombifying myself in front of the Idiot Box is by criticizing (or critiquing, even) advertisements instead of putting on my coat to go buy whatever they’re hawking.

I encourage everyone to join me in boycotting products that are poorly advertised.

So, in the first in a longish series of critiques, I slag the following:

Juicy Fruit
Smashing that guy’s guitar was funny the first time, showing that you’re moving into the new millennium and all by making fun of your former pitch and introducing the latest attempt to break into the blister-pack gum market (already dominated by Excel, which is also made by Wrigley’s!!! duh).

Except by smashing his guitar and playing that corny music in multiple ads, that means he’s still in every ad and is effectively still your spokesman!!! Uber-Lame.

Boston Pizza
Just a quick slag here. If the customers in the freakin’ ad think Howie Mandel is a loser, why am I supposed to think any differently? (And I certainly had no pre-existing inclination to think differently anyway.)

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I am the very model of a modern major general…

Sailor KavSpent the morning sailing with The Grabber and BogMan, which was a great deal of a fun. We managed to get pretty far this morning after a slow start…we switched the jib for the 170% genoa, and then proceeded to make it all the way to Aylmer Island. Things got a little exciting on the way back when we realized the wind had picked up significantly and we still had the genoa on — after a some intense heeling (i.e. the leaning of the boat due to the wind’s pull on the sails), we decided that the way back would be much less nerve-wracking with the jib again. At the end of it all, it was a great morning of sailing, although my docking skills still need a lot of work. And despite the pose in the picture, I am not actually a great big poof.

Sailor GabyThe evenings of this weekend have been taken up with the continuing adventures of a certain vampire slayer. As we go through the sixth season, I am again reminded of how depressing real life can get sometimes…which is exactly what Joss was trying to convey with each of the characters going through their “I’m a grown-up now, time to make some mistakes” phase. Despite all of this, the female contingent at the Buffypalooza viewings were falling all over themselves to comment on Tara‘s clothes, Buffy‘s shoes, and Spike‘s chiseled abs.

Sailor PeatNotwithstanding the impressive ab-ular definition (remember: not a poof), there’s a lot to say about Spike in season six. I believe that he’s at his most powerful at this point in the series — after all, he spent half of season two in a wheelchair, he was fall-down drunk in his single season three appearance, he was neutered by the government in season four, and spent season five alternating between trying to get rid of his chip and figuring out how to ask Buffy out on a date. By contrast, Spike in season six exerts a great deal of influence over our intrepid Slayer, as much as she would prefer otherwise. He drags her “down where she belongs”, as he would say — that is, into the darkness with him. For Buffy, Spike represents the ultimate escapism, and although she eventually summons the willpower to turn away from him, his draw on her lasts right to the end of the series.

And, in true Whedonist style, Spike continues to inject much-needed laughter into this oh-so-dark season. From “with the rising music and the rising….music” to the ridiculous kitten poker, an appearance by Spike usually means that hilarity will ensue.

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