I’m not convinced it was great yet. It’s good, it’s well done, but a show has a hard time being brilliant its first year; and considering what BSG achieved in its final season, which was one dramatic gut-punch after another, some of the first season’s punches seem pulled. A new show finding its way should be allowed to stumble, and BSG does at times: our characters’ emotions still at times seem a little muted considering they’re survivors of THE MURDER OF BILLIONS. (That was an issue I had with parts of the miniseries, too.) Makes me wonder if one of these days, someone will try producing a show and first write a bunch of scripts that won’t be used. Try to burn off the awkward initial ideas that won’t necessarily fit in the larger show, or any awkward presentation of those ideas. It would be kind of like the first draft of a novel, which then gets rewritten to be a more focused story. TV production means that seasons begin with, at most, only the vaguest sense of how each season will end up; but while a novel can be re-drafted after the author reaches THE END and sees what in the book doesn’t work or fit, a show has to keep those initial, often awkward episodes.*
But Starbuck was a great character from the start, and so was Cmdr. Adama (man, Edward James Olmos is/was The Man). I still feel protective and fond of Boomer (both of them); both the bridge crew and the hanger crew are full of people I can easily imagine having beers with, and I can identify with that John Mayer-with-almost-no-moves aide to Pres. Roslin. Heh. (He’s clearly forced to learn a lot in a very short time.)
I’m kind of wondering if/hoping that Baltar’s run of luck gets disrupted. Throughout that first year, he keeps doing weaselly stuff and either doesn’t get called on it or gets rewarded for it (framing that random guy Dural for being a Cylon, who it turns out was a Cylon; that sort of thing). I’m starting to want something to blow up in his face highly spectacularly.
I love the show’s look, and the muted sound in space (the producers considered having no sound in space, a la Firefly and, of course, real space, but decided with the amount of space battling in the show, no sound at all would’ve been jarring and awkward, so they split the difference and made the sound subtle). The show also scratched my itch of seeing real-world locations used in science-fictional ways, making Vancouver, B.C. locations look like places on other worlds. I like looking at places and thinking Shoot that from this angle and it could be a building 100 years from now**, or on another planet or something like that; the show runners did that plenty. (And of course Vancouver’s an interesting-looking city in general.)
Looking forward to Season Two…
* There are other, pure production reasons why this probably wouldn’t happen, though. TV production is ridiculously more complicated than writing a book – even making a bad TV show takes a lot of effort! – and there are physical limits to what you can film for a program. There’ll never be an episode of CSI where Vegas gets nuked, for instance (unless there’s some BIG plan for the eventual finale). And each year of 24, for another example, can only be plotted out so far in advance. Even if all two dozen of a season’s scripts were done and ready to be shot on Day 1 of the shooting schedule, there could be an actor fired or a key location that can’t be used. And writing TV scripts is already a lot of effort; why write more that won’t get used? So show runners work their way through as well as they can.
** Example from my life: the 1970s expansion of the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union is this angled wood construction, much different from the blocky brick building that’s the front of the EMU. It’s contrasting, plus it’s weathered; a different era of building seen from a different era, but that era can easily be 100 years after it was built instead of 20. Hospitals are good for this, too.