Sunday, October 22, 2006

How Can This Show Get Darker?

That's the question I asked myself when I heard that this season of Battlestar Galactica would somehow be darker than the previous two seasons.


Season one involved the near destruction of humanity by the Cyclons. Season two involved the near self-destruction of humanity as humans did various horrible things to human-like Cyclons and fellow humans. So how on New Caprica could this show get any darker? From the recap of last night's episode:

"Saul Tigh poisons the hell out of Ellen Tigh, but as per usual with them, it's actually the sweetest -- not to say most romantic -- part of the season. They're so sad and weird."

And that, of course, is just a small sampling of all of the twisted and disturbing things that have happened this season, from suicide bombings by human insurgents to Starbuck's brainwashing by the Cyclons. All of this is very thought provoking material. But it's also driving home the biggest problem I have with this show - it takes itself far, far too seriously.

"Well, of course it's serious!" you may say. "Genocide, torture, end-of-the-world-NO-REALLY stuff is pretty serious." And it is. But every once and a while, everyone needs to come up for air. Babylon 5 dealt with some pretty dark stuff, including genocide (though not of humanity), war, and doing what it takes to survive in a sometimes cruel universe. But even that show managed to have a sense of humor, twisted and dark though it sometimes was. After a while, all of the darkness starts to weigh on the audience and characters alike. Those lighter moments that make you love the characters, not just feel sorry for them, make the pain bearable. I'm not asking Adama to do a stand-up routine or anything. Just something to releave a bit of the knot in my shoulders and stomach from watching the rest of it.

I don't know. Maybe BSG has to be this serious, given the issues that it addresses in often graphic (but not HBO graphic) ways. But isn't the real world depressing enough without the worlds we escape to being depressing too?


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