One of my favourite things about Battlestar Galactica in its current form is that it’s both an established classic and a whole new, compelling show. A bit like Doctor Who, I’m of a generation that missed the show the first time round, which means that I experienced the contemporary BSG as a whole, fresh new thing – and my experience has been all the better for that.
For those who’ve not seen it, the first seasons of BSG revolve around a relatively simple plot – a war between the human population of the “Twelve Colonies”and the robotic Cylons – who are colloquially known to their human enemies as “toasters”. The events of the series are imagined to take place some twenty years after the previous war against the Cylons. At the end of this war, the toasters were banished to a far world – from which they suddenly escape at the beginning of the new series to launch a surprise attack against the Colonies. Nearly all of humanity is wiped out in the sudden attack; only a small fleet of civilian ships, protected by the Battlestar Galactica, an antiquated military starship, make an escape. Constantly on the run, and harried by continual Cylon attacks, the humans aboard the Galactica make a terrifying discovery – that the Cylons have worked out a way to create robots that look like, act like, and sometimes even believe themselves to be, human beings.
It’s a terrific analogy for the “War on Terror”, and has brilliant combat sequences, top notch character development and snappy dialogue. A modern classic.