To fraking go where no one has gone before

Posted 23 January 2011 by

Netflix has made it possible for us to do something previously impossible. We can watch an entire television series relatively quickly, instead of once a week. This means re-watching the entire Star Trek franchise, and now moving on to Battlestar Gallactica (the last reboot). This quick pace through the episodes affects my view of each series.

The USS Enterprise, NCC-1701

There were a few observations about watching Star Trek in all of its configurations.

  • There is no such thing as an original Star Trek script. Actually, I had made that observation at least 20 years ago. Taking inspiration from a previous work has a long pedigree. Bach borrowed from Vivaldi. Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Jerome Robbins owe a lot to William Shakespeare. Star Trek had no problem recycling themes.
  • Star Trek challenges us to our better natures. It can be the first interracial kiss. It can be challenging us to dare for greatness instead of playing it safe. It can encourage equality for all.
  • Even though everyone has flaws, there are good people. There are good people even among the enemies.
  • While spirituality exists, and is important to some, it is not to be trusted. An argument can be made Deep Space Nine was different on this point regarding the Emissary. Even so, we were shown that the visions and prophecies cannot be trusted at face value.
  • While there are bad episodes, a few of them are still great television. Most of the episodes bear re-watching. Sometimes it is fun to re-watch an episode immediately.

Battlestar Galactica, BSG-75

Then there is Battlestar Gallactica. While not finished watching the reboot series, I have noticed some major differences, making it a very different series from Star Trek.

  • It is dark, brutal, violent, and sexual, sometimes much more than necessary to make a point.
  • Spirituality is the basis of everything.
  • Humans are jerks. There are times I like the Cylons better.
  • This show does not wear well watching it in quick succession. It must have been much better with a week between episodes.

Actually, that last point is the one I am finding the most interesting difference. Battlestar Gallactica can be too much when watching one episode after another.

I am not being prudish. I am not ignoring the evil that exists throughout all the world. I am aware of trying to bring a sense of reality to what is essentially fantasy (along with a Mormon-inspired viewpoint).

How far does art need to go to make its point? Is not one of many purposes of art to take us places without using reality?

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