Tick, tick, tick...
Somehow, one of the greatest science fiction shows of all time is expiring from Netflix at the end of the month. How can that be? By the gods, Netflix, have you no heart?
Of course, all of you have watched it by now. Right? Um, you haven't? Then it's time to get on it! Think you've got what it takes to binge your way through 75 episodes in just three weeks? That's only...let's see...a tad over 3-1/2 episodes per day, including a couple of weekends for extra-large portions. You don't really need all that food and air, do you?
|Jamie Bamber as Apollo|
So by the time the final season began to air, I was fully versed in all things Cylon and could snarl "Frak!" with the best of them. Somehow, I'd become as vocal an acolyte as the most obsessed long-time fans. And why shouldn't I have?
Well, for starters, there was that cheesy 1970s original. You know, the Star Wars ripoff with Lorne Greene and a yapping mechanical dog named Muffit. And if embracing a remake of something already so cornball wasn't bad enough, there was the larger issue that it was science fiction—not an obstacle for me personally, except in that so much of TV sci-fi is, well, crap—but something the average viewer might reflexively consign to the ghetto of "non-serious" genre fare.
|No, not those guys|
So there's a bit more on the show's mind than just flashy effects and good versus evil—despite ample helpings of sexy robots, awesome sets, and jaw-dropping space battles. First and foremost, BSG is about people, and how they define their humanity. As was often said at the time, it's a drama that just happens to be set in space.
Which is exactly what co-creater Moore—a veteran of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine—intended. While retaining the original show's premise (a ragtag fleet of survivors search for Earth after their home planets are destroyed by a race of robots called Cylons), Moore was determined to make every other aspect of the show as realistic and uncompromising as possible—"Blade Runner meets Black Hawk Down," as he put it.
|Grace Park takes names|
But it's more than just the gritty realism. As in the best dramas, this one isn't afraid to make you think and feel in ways that are not only contradictory but force you to question your most cherished beliefs ("What do I believe in? What's right? What's wrong?"). And the series' ongoing game of "Who's the Cylon?" adds a thread of mystery that remains a constant source of anxious second-guessing. It's provocative and exhilarating and can make even longtime Trekkies—of which I'm one—nervous about revisiting the comparatively cardboard antics of Kirk and Picard.
|Sackhoff kicks ass|
Did the show maintain its greatness through all four seasons? To be honest, no. After three nigh-on perfect years, its quality did begin to waver during the final one, as all its many threads were either brought together or left to drift into the solar winds. But if it did have trouble sticking the landing, especially in its finale (which I liked better than most, even with all its problems), then it still has the virtue of being one of the most riveting TV series to ever grace the airwaves, helping define binge culture and paving the way for future addictive programming like Breaking Bad and Orange Is the New Black.
Forget that it's sci-fi: if you like drama spiced with action, mystery, military realism, politics, moral gray zones and a touch of humor (not to mention those sexy robots, awesome sets, and jaw-dropping space battles), then rearrange your schedule, cancel your dinner dates, and stock up on No-Doz. Because in only three short weeks, one of the best things on Netflix will have its plug pulled, with no guarantee of resurrection.
Tick, tick, tick...
(Oh, and whether you're a new viewer or simply an impatient one, know that the BSG experience isn't complete without watching each episode all the way through the end credits. Surprisingly funny and sick.)
Missed the 9/30 expiration deadline? Never fear. There's always the monster Blu-ray collection, linked below. Or if you prefer to search for another version (I hear this cheaper All-Region Blu-ray box