Farrago (special TV & sci-fi edition!)
I'm hooked on just two TV shows -- Battlestar Galactica and Lost (well, three if you count The Shield, but that doesn't start back up until March 15). Oh, sure, they're just soap operas with special-effects budgets and otherworldly settings. But I don't care. I'm hooked, and I'm apparently not alone.
In this week's Los Angeles City Beat, Mick Farren watches the new Battlestar Galactica and ponders the meaning of the Cylon menace, and the socio-political implications of science fiction and fantasy:
The new Battlestar Galactica was conceived, produced, and aired during the Bush II era. The old show may have debuted under Carter, but it was canceled as the Reagan revolution dawned. It aired in a time of transition, in both society and sci-fi itself. The last great conservative debauch was heralded by no less than the movie Alien, and, in very empty space, the silent screaming started. In that film, humanity had been traversing the cosmos for maybe a century and had failed to find a single alien life form. On the mining vessel Nostromo -- named for a Joseph Conrad plague ship -- Harry Dean Stanton's character smoked dope to maintain his equilibrium, Yaphet Kotto argued union contracts, and, when first contact was finally made, the ET turned out to be bug-nasty, ultra-lethal, and bleeding corrosive acid. We were not alone but suddenly wished we were. (And the alien was only brought on board at the underhanded instigation of a mega-greedy corporate conglomerate. What could be more Reagan era?)Meanwhile, the San Diego Union-Tribune's science-fiction blog, The Disembodied Brain, wonders whether J.J. Abrams' Lost is losing its way, and moving too far into the realm of the supernatural.
Also of note: Executive producer Ron Moore answers questions about Battlestar Galactica at the show's official blog, and in one of its stranger moments, USA Today whips up an imaginary soundtrack for Lost.
Update: At his Happy Nonsense blog, Marc Mason praises Moore for "wisely jettisoning the campy barnacles" of the original series, and reimagining Galactica as a complex, dark drama.
Okay, that's enough TV-show nerdiness for me for one day.