battlestar spectacular

so i have a weakness for genre television. i admit it. i love fantasy shows, i love sci-fi shows... that being said, everyone loves talking about lost, the show about people being stranded on a mysterious island. while the show is good, to me, it just feels like a glorified version of survivor. many of the episodes are just okay, with every third or forth episode really being worthwhile.

now, the show with real guts is battlestar galactica. i realize the original bg was really cheezy, but the great part of the new bg, is that it takes itself seriously. no other show has writing like this right now. they are willing to tackle subjects that are controversial, but tackle them in an intelligent manner, without preaching to the viewers and without offering simple black and white answers. we're talking about issues of human rights and abuse, and whether they extend to your enemy in times of war.

the premise of the show is that humans created cylons, these machines that eventually rebelled and the show starts off with the near extinction of the human race by a surprise attack. what's left of humanity is on the run with the machines after them. the kicker is that the machines have new models that not only look like humans, but behave and live as humans.

now consider this: eventually a few of these human models of cylons are captured at one point or another during the series. they are interrogated. these cylons seem human for all intents and purposes... but they're the enemy. does the enemy, in times of war, have rights? can you hold the prisoner indefinitely? can you torture the prisoner? can you abuse the prisoner? can you even rape the prisoner, all in the effort to gather information? the thing is, this show tackles such topics, and the characters do their thing, and while some characters protest, others say that they're in a time of war, and anything goes. the writers then leave it to the viewers to really debate this.

now consider this: the united states is at war. we have all seen the photos of prisoner abuse at abu ghraib (i will not add a link to the photos, but anyone can simply find them online). now, i'm not saying that anything like rape went on there, but the photos clearly show prisoners being humiliated and degraded, some of them in sexual ways such as being photographed naked with their heads in each other's crotches. i realize they are considered the enemy, but apply those same questions to you or i. can you be held prisoner indefinitely? can you be tortured? can you be abused? can you be raped, all in the effort to gather information? in the end, they are still human, regardless of which side they are on. of course, one can justly argue that they attacked first, indiscriminitely, terrorizing innocent civilians. the same arguement is used on battlestar galactica: the cylons nearly wiped out the human race. anything we do back to them doesn't even compare. my gut instinct, if i were in a real time of war, i would probably go with the whole anything goes philosophy. i mean really, if you think about it, the fact that there are rules to war seems a bit silly, logically speaking. but that's my gut and my brain. what about the heart? the heart would say something entirely different. i guess the realities of war trump pretty much anything, and when it comes down to survival, one must do what one must. i'm sure i'd behave in a similar manner if i were in such a situation. would it have been right? definitely not, cause war is never right. would it be necessary? perhaps, cause even though it is not right, sometimes war is necessary as a last resort. it's a realization that the humanitarian side of me doesn't want to come to terms with, but the realist in me can't ignore. i suppose war makes dogs of us all...

battlestar galactica is a space opera. pure and simple. but it does what good art does best: makes us question what we are about, our values, our beliefs. i didn't mean to get too serious here, but that being said, i just love the show. i think the reason the show can go into such dark territory is because it's a genre show, and people dismiss it as being just another geeky sci-fi show, which makes it a blessing and curse for bg, because i don't think any other show could get away with being so blatantly political (even though it is not really trying to be). there is also a deeply religious aspect to the show, but that's for another time... battlestar galactica is smart, funny, gutsy, political, and very, very brave, which makes it exciting to watch. hell of a lot better than what's down some stupid hatch...