Friday, October 06, 2006

What the frak?

Technical difficulties prevented the posting of today's column on "Battlestar Galactica" until just now. I'll also be back tonight at 11 with thoughts on the two-hour premiere, which is just one big slice of awesome. Anyway, on to my tete-a-tete with Mr. Moore:

The bad guys are an occupying force among a hostile population, accused of torture and worse even as they say they're there to build an infrastructure. The good guys are using improvised explosive devices, hiding guns inside of places of worship -- even, on occasion, strapping explosives to their chests for a suicide bombing run.

In the parlance of "Battlestar Galactica," what the frak is going on here?

Since its revival in 2003, "Galactica" has been one of the most overtly political shows on television, albeit one with spaceships and robots. The human heroes were set up as America; the robotic Cylons, who were created and trained by the humans only to rebel and become religious fanatic mass murderers, were stand-ins for Al Qaeda. 9/11 imagery abounded, characters debated the merits of security versus civil liberties and leaders on all sides invoked their respective deities as justification for their actions.

At the end of season two, producer Ronald D. Moore and his writers ripped up the series' status quo. The human fleet settled on an obscure planet they dubbed New Caprica, lived there for a year in relative peace, then faced an invasion by the Cylons.

The new season picks up four months into the occupation, and despite the Cylons' claims of benevolence, the largest structure visible anywhere is the new jail. Humans are routinely rounded up without cause, others are branded as traitors for joining a Cylon-organized police force, and the resistance, led by former prisoner and torture victim Colonel Tigh (Michael Hogan), is trying out suicide bombings.

If the humans were originally us and the Cylons were Al Qaeda, how did the Cylons become America while we became the Iraqis?

"That's only one of the parallels that we played," insists Moore. "Certainly, that parallel is there, but there's also elements of Vichy France and the West Bank. Clearly, the war in Iraq plays into what we're doing. We didn't really design it as a polemic about Iraq, but it is informed by Iraq."

To read the full story, click here. There are also a couple of sidebars on what newbies need to know and why they should even want to watch a show called "Battlestar Galactica."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the sidebars. You've talked me into it.