Thursday, November 17, 2005

A copy better than the original

If it seems like it takes me longer than it should to catch up on a specific night's worth of shows, it's because I've been spending a lot of time catching up on "Battlestar Galactica." One of the downsides of sharing the workload with another critic is that, if I'm not reviewing something, I rarely can make the time to watch it on my own. Matt snagged the "Galactica" miniseries back in '03 and proceeded to dump all over it in his review ("The Sci Fi version is better than the original, I guess, but that’s not much of a compliment," he wrote. "It’s like saying one brand of American cheese smells better than another.") So I filed it away as a show I didn't need to bother with, and moved on.

But when the first season began airing late last year, I began seeing reviews by other critics whose opinions I trust, and they were raves. Diane Werts wrote at one point, "Is this the best show on television right now or what?" Since Diane is the person who turned me on to "The Shield" and "Titus" long before they premiered, I had a George Bluth moment and said, "I've made a terrible mistake."

So when the miniseries plus the first season came out on DVD, I raced through all of them in about a week, and was embarrassed that I'd missed out on such a terrific show for so long. (When I confronted Matt about it, he admitted sheepishly that he really regretted his negative review of the mini, and later expressed that reversal of opinion in print.) Once I got out from under all the fall premieres, I got ahold of all the second season episodes to date, and when given the choice between one of them and most of what's been on the networks, I've chosen "Galactica." I was messing around with a rough draft of my year-end top 10 list today, and I'll be damned if this show didn't keep winding up at or near the top of every version.

It was swell for a while to be able to watch as many episodes as I wanted on whatever schedule I wanted, but now that I've finished with "Pegasus," I'm in the same boat as the rest of the show's fans, having to wait to find out what happens next. (Same thing happened to me with the Harry Potter books; after years of parceling them out slowly, I read the last three in a six-month span and now have no new Potter until J.K. gets around to writing the finale.)

But while I wait for what's surprisingly become my favorite show to return, I have to get back to the rest of the schedule. Back tomorrow with reviews of "Lost," "Veronica Mars," "South Park" and whatever I get to watching tonight. Much as I've been making fun of it -- as does Matt in today's All TV column (the token "Arrested Development" mention is on page 3) -- I have to admit that I'm probably going to check out the stupid "ER" plane crash episode.

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