there are many of us with unspoken or even spoken, shouted, freely admitted rituals surrounding our televisions and viewing thereof. these rituals, like all traditions, are living and change, adapt, welcoming in new content, new genres, old stories in new garb. rituals are calming, centering. they ground you particularly if and when you are in transition (for however long that may last). and even when you're not in transition, they help to remind you who you are, where you come from, where you might be going. comfort. And so it is without much surprise that Sam and I have developed a ritual of watching at least one Battlestar Gallactica (new series) each night. What is it about BG that is so compelling? It's not a stretch to suggest that this story has indeed been told before (um, can you say 1980s series? can you say the book of Exodus? can you say 'frack me'?) and yet the way they have put this one together (naturally, many of the special effects guys worked on—you guessed it—Firefly) is unbelievably compelling. Visually, in terms of the familial relationships on board, in terms of the political and societal tensions that go along with being under siege and trying to save your species from extinction. It is the entire package. Plus, the enemy is embodied by blonde leggy hotty, and although she's a bit skinny for my taste, her character is fascinating.
The real reason we watch, of course, is for the "previously" narrative they put at the beginning of each episode. It's right after the Universal studios musical banner, which is also fabulous. Something about the imperial "universal" word curving around the bluer-than-blue globe, from India to Africa, and the horns playing, and the tympany. But then they have this lovely syncopated single note that grounds the backstory, brilliantly illustrated not only by film images but also by this wonderful text that fades in and out in exactly the correct and proper manner:
The Cylons were created by Man
They look, and feel
Some of them believe they are human
There are many copies
And they have a Plan.