Well its not quite like that. We both still have our jobs and the electric bill is paid.
Like the best of sci-fi, it recontextualizes current events and philosophy, forcing you to examine issues from new perspectives. War and peace, what it means to be human, bigotry, terrorism, anti-terrorism, abortion politics…these topics and more are pulled in, flipped around, and thrown back at you.
We’ve been plowing through all four-point-five seasons of Battlestar Galactica (or, as I call it, the best TV series ever) this month, an episode or two (or three) a night. We’re not quite done (and you haven’t even started yet, but you will), but there’s just five episodes left. With as few spoilers as possible, here’s the best-of-the-best, and a few you need to see to understand who the characters are, so far:
The Miniseries. The big set-up for everything that happens after. Treat it like a really cool science fiction movie (which it is anyway), because it stands on its own or as the leadin to everything that follows.
33. The first episode of the official season one. It continues to set up the unbearable moral dilemmas that face the crew, in particular the conundrum of the “Olympic Carrier.”
Bastille Day. Episode 4 of season one introduces Tom Zarek, political prisoner and future president.
Flesh and Bone. The interrogation of the Cylon prisoner is good metaphor for the real-life debate happening about torturing prisoners for information. Very well done.
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down. The return of Tigh’s wife, Ellen, has serious long-term consequences. You may dislike her character, but what happens to her later on is remarkable.
Kobol’s Last Gleaming, Part II is the season 1 finale. Political strife, and events on Kobol and Caprica are pivotal for some of the main characters, and what they find on Kobol is a driving force for the remainder of the series. Oh, and somebody gets shot.
Scattered, the season 2 opener, offers more info about Kobol and who some of the Cylons are.
Resistance introduces the pivotal character of Sam Anders.
The Farm. Grisly news about what the Cylons have been up to.
Home, Part II is the payoff to “Kobol’s Last Gleaming,” pushing the long-arc story forward.
Final Cut. Introducing D’anna Biers.
Pegasus. Though ultimately a long-term red herring, the introduction of the Pegasus and its crew puts Adama and his crew into sharp focus.
Sacrifice. Good drama and action.
The Captain’s Hand gives even sharper contrast between the Galactica way and the Pegasus way. The topic of pro-life vs. pro-choice is turned on its head.
Downloaded reveals details of Cylon society. Bet you didn’t know there was one!
Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I and II comprise the season 2 finale, tying together loose ends and planting the seeds for season 3.
Occupation. The season 3 opener does not disappoint. Spies, collaborators, double-agents, torture, unrest, terrorists and freedom fighters in a bleak landscape under occupation by a foreign force. Can you say “Iraq”?
Exodus, Part II A thoroughly amazing episode.
Collaborators. Post-occupation revenge and revelations.
Hero isn’t an especially strong dramatic episode, but provides a lot of background.
The Eye Of Jupiter. If you’ve been following the prophecies plot, this is essential. And it’s good, too.
Rapture. If you liked “Eye of Jupiter,” you’ll need this one too.
Maelstrom. Starbuck, unsurprisingly, has an interesting and troubled past.
Crossroads, Parts I and II close out the third season. Balthar’s trial, Roslin’s visions, dirty laundry from the occupation, and oh yeah, the final five hear the “music.”
Starting in season 4, it’s hard to pick the best. Every episode is a dramatic brain-dump of plot points, interesting clues and great drama.
Guess What’s Coming To Dinner? The alliance.
Sometimes A Great Notion. More wow.
The Oath, Blood on the Scales. The mutiny.
No Exit. A huge amount of info about the Cylons, the Five, who they are, where they came from. And you’ll never guess who turns out to be the designer of the whole thing.
…and that’s where we are now.