"That guy impressed me and I am not easily impressed. Wow. A *blue car*."
-- Homer Simpson

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.

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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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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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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