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04.02.08

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Phaedra

Battlestar Galactica, Season Three

Six discs; Universal; $59.98

By Michael S. Gant


The fourth and concluding season of Battlestar Galactica arrives on April 4, hard on the heels of Season Three on DVD. This six-disc, 20-episode set allows fans and newcomers to prepare for the final push to Earth. Seeing the show without the many annoying commercials with which the Sci-Fi Channel unconscionably lards every episode improves an already superlative epic; the sound and picture quality are greatly enhanced (at least over the broadcasts available on my cable). Season Three begins with the desperate colonists fighting back against their Cylon oppressors on New Caprica. The allegory to Iraqi fighters striking out against the American occupiers is too explicit to ignore, especially with the emphasis on the Cylon attempt to recruit colonists for the New Caprica police force. BG makes the case for the principle of resistance, even unto suicide bombings, without ignoring the price paid for such tactics. Eventually, back on Galactica, the surviving resistance fighters begin to turn viciously on collaborators like the French Resistance did after the Nazis were defeated in World War II. This season is also rich with Cylon lore—who doesn't love the half-mad, babbling oracle in the milk bath?—and drops all sorts of hints about the identity of those unknown five models. For my taste, the show hit the doldrums in several late episodes. Admiral Adama's maudlin communing with his dead wife, the racist doctor and Chief's union campaign are water-treading moralizing tales that lost sight of the bigger arc. But high-water marks are reached with Gaius Baltar's book (My Triumphs, My Mistakes), trial and revelation that he can appear, like Jiminy Cricket, to Six just as she whispers in his ear in times of stress. Praise the gods for the show that introduced "frak," the best F-word euphemism since Normal Mailer invented "fug" for The Naked and the Dead. And speaking of military men, am I the only one who thinks that Col. Tigh looks a hell of a lot like John McCain? The extras include commentaries, deleted scenes, some amusing making-of web blogs and all of the New Caprica resistance webisodes.


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