Good Hunting – Loving the space battles of Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

Last year I finally broke down and put the first season of Battlestar Galactica on my Netflix queue. At the time the show was still running though it was already on season 4.5. I had decided I was finally curious enough about it to sit through an episode or two.

I watched the miniseries one evening after work and found myself hooked. I proceeded to devour each disc as soon as it arrived in the mail, eagerly waiting for the next one. At the end of season 2.0 I actually ranted at the top of my lungs to my living room ceiling (and then my mother when I called her) about the cliffhanger and a half that I had been left with. I then proceeded to put on shoes, head out to the store and hunt down season 2.5 since I couldn’t wait for Netflix.

Since then I’ve introduced a few other friends to the joys of BSG and at the moment I’m currently rewatching the series with one of them. He’s seeing it for the first time and I have to admit, I love being able to see his reactions to things that I’ve already seen. It’s almost like I’m watching it for the first time as well. We just finished the first disc of season 2.0 and I can’t wait to see if he has the same reaction I did at the end of disc 3. He’ll be in luck, however, as I’ll be sure to pack season 2.5 in my bag just in case.

One of the things that we’ve commented on every night that we watch the show is how the space battles are done. Though I love Star Trek and Star Wars with a passion that is beyond obsessive (how many folks really know the number of the pressure maintenance hatch in the garbage masher in Episode IV?) they don’t take advantage of all the possibilities that are available in space battles. Yes, you’ll see them move about in many directions, whip out the fancy spins and turns but they often treat space battles as though there is still an “up” and “down”.

Battlestar Galactica, from the first battle I watched in the miniseries, blew me away with their space battles. Those Vipers, Raptors and Cylon Raiders don’t treat any one direction as up. They only tend to orient themselves with their respective main ships when coming in for a landing (which makes sense). I love the way a Viper or Raider will be speeding along into battle, pass something that they need to hit and then flip around immediately with careful use of the thrusters. It’s amazing to watch and never fails to amaze me, even when watching the show for the thousandth time.

Yes, I also love the character development in the series. I love the story lines. I love even the episodes where the only things that happen involve character drama and not a single battle in space.

Even so, I eagerly wait for those battles just so I can marvel once again at the detail that went into creating them. The characters bring life and soul to the series and the space battles tend to bring more realism (at least, as much as you can get in a sci-fi show) to it.

What do you think of the space battles in the show? Do you have another sci-fi show or movie that you think does just as well?