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Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5
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Rejoin Sci-Fi's most action-packed TV series as Battlestar Galactica 2.5 flies on to DVD in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. Featuring an extended version of the cliffhanger episode "Pegasus," this continuation of the epic second season follows the ongoing battle of President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) in their heart-pounding crusade to save humanity from the deadly robot Cylons. Packed with special features, including deleted scenes, podcasts and Producer David Eick's video blog, Battlestar Galactica 2.5 is an explosive thrill-ride that's not to be missed!
Battlestar Galactica's season 2.5 (i.e., the final 10 episodes of the second season) picks up where season 2.0 (the first 10 episodes) left off: Galactica's giddy reunion with the Pegasus had taken a sour turn when Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes) went back on her word to Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) and decided to integrate the crews, moving Apollo (Jamie Bamber) and Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) to Pegasus. The animosity, combined with an attack on Sharon (Grace Park), threatens to derail a golden opportunity for the fleet to strike the Cylons where they'll hurt, and stay hurt--their resurrection ship.
In many ways, Sharon is the central character. The attack lands Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) and the Chief (Aaron Douglas) in hot water; her impending baby remains the subject of heated debate among president Laura Roslyn (Mary McDonnell), Commander Adama, and others; and a rebellious movement determined to force Galactica to give up the Cylon ends up threatening both Apollo and Starbuck and putting further strain on their already-shaky relationship. Dr. Baltar (James Callis) becomes even more intertwined with the Cylons when he discovers another version of Number Six (Tricia Helfer) on the Pegasus, but is also in line to take over the presidency as Roslin's cancer reaches a critical stage. Battlestar Galactica's inexorable dramatic arc sagged in a couple episodes during this run, but the terrific two-part season finale involving a presidential election, a glimmer of hope for humanity, and some unexpected turns of events makes for a thrilling springboard to season 3. Battlestar is often called the best sci-fi show on television, but that seems like damning it with faint praise; it's the best drama on television.
In addition to the 10 episodes, the three-DVD set has an extended version of the last episode of season 2.0, "Pegasus"; the extra 15 minutes include a longer conversation in which Cain reveals her plans to Adama. That episode has a commentary track by executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, Moore's podcast commentaries are on every other episode, and Eick's "video blogs" serve as casual featurettes on series production. --David Horiuchi
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One of the greatest bonuses to the set is the much anticipated and greatly debated extended version of the episode `Pegasus' this special version is over an hour and a half long it was not aired in this format due to time constraints. It views like a feature movie. It has amazing special effects and amazing cinematography.
Other features include deleted scenes, which are broken down by episodes, include the producer's podcasts that aired on the Sci-Fi channel's website during the original airings, and the producer's video Logs and much much more. The deletes scenes are broken down episode by episode.
The bonus material, if not ignored, will help viewers better understand the choices made in preparing the episodes and the season for release.
This half of season 2 has many unique twits and turns in the plots and lives of the characters. We are also introduced to new human cylon models. As to the content itself, in this half of season 2 the central character is Sharon,with her actions developed alongside those of (spoiler alert!) those of a few different Cylon version of her. Byond Sharon's development on Batlestar Galactica and Battlestar Pegasus, which is presented as strongly intertwined with the fate of the whole human race, a great deal of the season deals with relationships - Professional and otherwise - and especially friendships. Striking interactions occur between President Roslyn and Commander Adama; in the complicated relationship between Starbuck and Apollo; with Sharon and, well just about everybody.
In the broader scheme of things, by this point in the series the complexities of guiding a free population while trying to avoid the Cylon army has taken it's toll on both military and civilian leaders of this rag-tag group of humans trying to find a new home on a lost planet called Earth.
The excellent character development in this half of the season can be attributed to very strong scriptwriting. The cliffhanger ending leaves you mouth watering and you desperately awaiting season 3 - which hopefully, after snagging this DVD set, you can finally get caught up in watching. The Sci-Fi channel has to date released 4 of 10 web episodes that have story line development between season's 2 and 3. Season 3 begins airing in the US and Canada on October 7th for the first time the episodes will air in both countries at the same time. We here in Canada will not have to wait days, weeks or months for the US show to finally come to Canada.
BSG is often called the best Sci-fi on television and Newsweek has gone so far as to call it the best drama on TV. With such high praise and the series consistently receiving great reviews - not to mention the special features and additions offered in the 2.5 DVD - how could this DVD box set not be worth every penny?
So Say we all.
(First Pulished in Imprint 2006-10-20 as 'Galactica's secon half sizzles: Recently released DVD set offers rewarding bonus features'.)
In the second half of Battlestar Galactica's second season, you will enjoy the resolution to the arrival of the Pegasus in the climax of "Resurrection Ship". The show also brings the resistance movement on Caprica into better focus, and makes the characters there more important to the overall story. One aspect of season two that I am not completely sold on at this point is the expansion of the Cylon's internal structure, as expressed in the Cylon war-hero story. I think I enjoyed the mystery and confusion behind their true motives. It would be a shame for the arch-villains to become predictable and stale.
For those already addicted to this show, 2.5 will satisfy you to a point, but I believe the finale will only be justified by where the show goes in season 3. Right now I am a little skeptical, and will even go so far as saying it approaches the hokey sci-fi clichés (granted, clichés that we all like to watch) that the show has so assiduously avoided so far. One thing the final episode will do is set up a whole new string of story possibilities in the coming season/seasons; it is such a crazy ender that I don't see how they can possibly resolve the issues in the first episode or even entire season 3. Maybe that's what the whole idea ultimately is about: creating more story possibilities. The final cliffhanger is not quite as emotional as the assassination at the end of season 1, but it will leave you wanting more.
If you happen to be a new to this sci-fi phenomenon, I highly recommend you first watch season 1. This series is not the typical sci-fi that is `plug and play' at any point in the series (ala most Trek series). If you jump in midstream, you'll probably find yourself asking "what the ____?" and "why do I care about this character?". This quality is one of the shows strong points, conflicts are not resolved every 50 minutes and tidily packaged so that the next episode will be back at square one. Like real life the problems and troubles often follow the characters through their journey. And I will add this - Battlestar Galactica manages to bridge the gap between `sci-fi' people and people who typically don't watch sci-fi. I can say this with nearly complete certainty. I am a sci-fi person in the military, and I have enjoyed spreading this show around- despite many initial and long term refusals. Right now the tide has turned and most of my fellow officers and many men in the battalion are hooked on the show. So give it a shot, you won't be disappointed.
Led by President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), who is dying of cancer, and Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos), the fleet was last seen about to do battle with... fellow humans? Yes, after the discovery that the Battlestar Pegasus has also been on the run in the 7 or so months since the Cylons attacked the 12 Colonies of Kobol, a disagreement about leadership has Adama and Roslin looking down the figurative barrel at Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes), the commanding officer aboard the Pegasus and Adama's superior. The two-parter "Resurrection Ship" shows that the immaculate pair of Adama and Roslin can sink very low if they need to in order to protect the fleet. The two episodes also contain a huge revelation regarding the Cylons that may allow the humans to actually begin to have a chance at combatting their enemies.
As the second half of the second season progresses, the characters that we've grown to love (or in some cases, love to hate), are put through more trials as they deal not only with the Cylon threat, but also each other. Vice President Gaius Baltar (James Callis) has his loyalties divided due to the discovery of a captured Model No. 6 (Tricia Helfer) aboard the Pegasus. Of course, the twist is that they are divided three ways; to his fellow humans, to the corporeal 6 (known, possibly as a joke to a group of people who dislike the show, who call the show GINO, or Galactica In Name Only) as Gina, and finally to the mental 6 that he sees in his head. Capt. Lee "Apollo" Adama, the commander's son, is given more responsibility as his role as pilot and CAG is expanded to do gritty missions, including shutting down a black market ring. Of course, the now Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace acts tough as usual (but then, we wouldn't have it any other way), though her position as best pilot/biggest b**** aboard Galactica is challenged by one of the pilots she trained in season 1. And the love triangle of Sharon "Boomer" Valerii/No. 8 (Grace Park), Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas), and Karl "Helo" Agathon (Tahmoh Penniket) is further strained by the arrival of the cylon/human hybrid baby as well as the creation of a kind of "love trapazoid" when Cally (Nikki Clyne) begins to express her feelings for Tyrol. Even another love triangle forms when Lee begins to become the object of affection of Dualla (Kandyse McClure), much to the disappointment of her boyfriend Billy (Paul Campbell).
Unfortunately, these 10 episodes contain some of the weakest of the show's run. Episodes like "Scar" and "Black Market" are only ok by comparison to some of the show's episodes, most of which are amazing. Still, the weakest episode of Galactica is still 10 times better than the best episodes of most of what's on television these days. There are many really good episodes in this set, including "The Captain's Hand", and "Sacrifice". Also, the two-part "Resurrection Ship" is wonderful, as is "Downloaded", which is told from the point of view of the Cylons on the planet Caprica. However, I must say that "Lay Down Your Burdens, Pts. 1 and 2" have ousted "Pegasus" as my new favorite episode(s). While the season finale does share a slight similarity with the season 1 ender (the discovery of a planet), it is handled much differently this time around, and there are numerous other things going on. By the year's end, another Cylon model will be revealed (taking the total to 7 known models and 5 to be discovered), a few characters in the military will be promoted, and, in the second part of the season finale (which is an extended episode), there will be more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at, especially in the last half hour.
The writers continue to impress as the characters are taken in great new and terrifying directions. This show is unpredictable, and it revels in going places many shows fear to tread. Every character is flawed in some way, and the people inhabiting the universe of BSG are some of the most human characters on television. Sadly, we didn't see much of Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon), the insane wife of Galactica's executive officer Col. Saul Tigh (Paul Hogan). On his own, Tigh is a self-destructive alcoholic, but Ellen serves to take all his worse tendencies and amplify them, as well as planting ideas of ambition in his head (think Lady Macbeth crossed with 24's Sherry Palmer). Ellen is despicable, but she is part of what makes this show great; she forces Tigh to confront his demons in the most twisted ways imaginable.
The stories are also amazing; the show is very much a product of a post-9/11 America, and that is reflected in the grim, survivalist nature of the fleet. The humans once thought that nothing could touch them, but now their entire way of living has been obliterated, and they must scrape by living on crowded ships with meager rations to sustain them. Furthermore, the lines of good and evil aren't drawn clearly; the Cylons view their actions as just and right. Even though they claim not to condone murder, in this case, the ends justified the means. And of course, no human is completely good or evil. Even Baltar, who can't seem to pick a side, can't always be blamed for his actions, as he is certifiably insane. That doesn't make his horrible decisions and actions right, but he isn't doing them because he is "evil". In a clever twist, the writers even reversed the roles of religion on the show; most of the time in film and television, the protagonists are monotheistic (unless they live in a time/place in history where a polytheistic religion is practiced), but here, the "good" humans are the polytheists while the "evil" Cylons worship the "one true God".
Battlestar Galactica is without a doubt one of the best series on television. While many people tend to look down on science fiction series as trivial and childish, this is anything but. The messages that are found layered within the plots of the story accurately reflect the state of the world today. If you don't want to take my word for it, look at the numerous mainstream critics who love the show, such as Time Magazine (which listed it has the best new show of 2005) and Entertainment Weekly, which is trying to get the show nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Drama (which, unfortunately, it probably won't get due to the academy's phobia of sci-fi; but then again, LOST won, so I guess anything's possible). If you have yet to check this show out, buying season 1 should be a top priority for you!
Is "Battlestar Galactica" the best science fiction television drama? No, it is quite simply the best drama airing now on American television. Series creator Ronald D. Moore and his crew of writers and technicians have done a fine job keeping intact the edgy, gritty qualities of Season One which made "Battlestar Galactica" popular with viewers. However, I still regard "Babylon 5" - especially from its second through fourth seasons - as the finest science fiction drama ever to air on television. "Babylon 5" series creator J. Michael Straczynski wove such a fascinating, elaborate web of drama and fascinating back-story, with ample religious connotations from Christianity and Buddhism, and discrete references to such science fiction and fantasy classics as "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Prisoner" television series, which has yet to be equalled by Ronald Moore and his crew. Still, I strongly recommend acquiring "Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.5" to those unfamiliar with this series, as well as loyal fans. You will be well rewarded with ten hours of gripping, intense drama that deserve recognition for being the finest currently airing on American television.
211 Resurrection Ship Pt. 1
212 Resurrection Ship Pt. 2
214 Black Market
217 The Captain's Hand
219 Lay Down Your Burdens Pt. 1
220 Lay Down Your Burdens Pt. 2
This DVD set has all my very favorite episodes on it. The two episodes that reveal more about the Cylons (Scar and Downloaded) are both phenomenal. In Scar, we learn more about the Cylon raiders, which are not funny-looking vipers piloted by Cylon pilots (like in the first series) but the ship itself is a space-dwelling AI robot/cyborg that is downloaded and reborn when it is destroyed just like the human-form Cylons. In Downloaded, we get to see occupied Caprica and into Cylon society. It's fascinating and tour de force world-building.
My favorite episodes, though, are Lay Down Your Burdens (1 and 2.) In these two climactic episodes, so much happens that changes the plotline so much. I was astonished. It always amazes me how incredible the writers are in this series that they progress the plot and allow the characters to change so much with every episode that the characters' arcs over the course of these first two seasons are huge. BSG is probably the best show on TV.
Author of Rabid: A Novel and Callous: A Novel
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