LAist Watches: Battlestar Galactica

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At the risk of sounding, well, a little too geeky, we want to make sure you know about a TV show that deserves a look. More than one look, really. You may have noticed the billboards around town with giant pictures of Edward James Olmos or Mary McDonnell and wondered, "What the heck is this “Battlestar Galactica” thing anyway?" Well, wonder no more because we are going to tell you.

First off, “Battlestar Galactica” is set in space and is what is commonly referred to as a science fiction show. Don't let that put you off. Why? Because what the show really is is a highly entertaining and dramatic hour of television full of well-drawn characters, great acting (with a few exceptions), exceptional writing, explosions and several really good looking people. Hey, great writing, interesting characters and all that are great but a little eye-candy doesn't hurt either. The show definitely delivers in that department.

The show centers on the last remaining humans and their fight for survival against a race known as Cylons. The irony is that humans created the Cylons originally and now the Cylons want to wipe the humans out. So, after a surprise attack by the Cylons, the last remnants of humanity flee to the stars in the hopes of finding a new home and escaping complete extinction.

Along the way, they must piece together a new government and a civilization from the shattered remains. Leading the group is Commander Adama, played by Edward James Olmos and President Roslyn, played by Mary McDonnell, who is the Secretary of Education but becomes President when everyone else above her in succession is killed. This is, of course, the source of much tension between the somewhat rigid and militaristic Adama and the more liberal and inexperienced Roslyn.

Rounding out the cast is a great ensemble of relative unknowns who manage to bring gravity and realism to their roles and the situations their characters find themselves in. As with any good show, in the end it’s the characters that interest the audience and if they are compelling and we like them (or hate them) we will keep coming back week after week. “Battlestar Galactica” has character to spare.

And, let us not forget to mention that the visual effects, photography and the rest of the technical aspects of the show are also first-rate. Plus, the writing team, led by veteran Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore, does an excellent job of spinning topical themes from today's events into the series plotlines.

All in all, this combination makes “Battlestar Galactica” one of the best dramatic shows currently on television. If you can get past any bias against sci-fi and give the show a chance, you might end up being as big a fan of the show as we are. Besides any show that has its own entry on WikiPedia can't be bad.

“Battlestar Galactica” begins its second season Friday, July 15th on The Sci-Fi Channel.