Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Other Season 4 Premiere

Thank the gods, there were other things to watch after last night's Doctor Who. And no, I speak not of the BBC's I'd Do Anything, nothing but a fantastic metaphor for all reality TV shows, but of the opening episode of Battlestar Galactica's 4th and final season.
Technically, it started on Friday night in the US. But 'technically' also happened to have a lot to do with how we were able to watch it only a day later. Anyway, I know that to compare BSG with Doctor Who would be to compare two entirely different foodstuffs. On the other hand, watching one after the other is sort of like sitting down to a two-course meal, and we're free to be of the opinion that one course impressed us more than the other. Of course, if you're going to have a Mr Men yoghurt - high in poly-unsatisfacturates - for starters, pretty much anything is going to come off like a real treat. And it was - a hearty meal.
Ironically, after venting - albeit in a limited way, because I no longer feel inclined to waste much breath on the subject - on Doctor Who, I'm conscious that I can't in all fairness discuss BSG in any detail, because there will be plenty who won't have seen it yet. Suffice to say though, the impulse and the desire to discuss it are very much there and that in itself is some measure of the difference in impressions left on me by the two shows.
Now, any season opener comes with its share of inherent goodwill. In other words, if it's a show you've missed, its return is bound to be welcome and you're basically glad to have it back. So I freely confess, that bias was in play. (As it was for Who, despite The Last Of The Time Lords - at least, for the first few minutes.) Against that, by way of balance, season openers come burdened with expectations - and BSG managed to generate a lot of them in its closing third-season episodes - and so there's a lot riding on how they measure up.
So, what is it safe to say? There are answers to burning questions (supplied, if anything, a little too prematurely in the pre-teaser tag-line sequence), there's a wham-bam opening, there are intriguing developments and there are, inevitably, more questions, new mysteries. On the whole, the sense I had was that of having watched a long-awaited mini-movie, one that has properly refuelled my addiction and one that, crucially, delivered on its promise. Just what you want.
Now, there's room for things to go downhill from here, of course there is, but for all that this is one of those blog posts that doesn't tell you much of anything, one of the reasons it's here at all is a need I felt to type something positive. And the mere idea that things could go downhill from here sets BSG a few giant beanstalks above Who.
Still, all is not lost on the Who front. We have Up Pompeii to look forward to next week, and if David Tennant gets to do a Lurcio-style "The Prologue...", that should cheer things up in that quarter. Failing that, we should be having another helping of Battlestar for our main course, so I may not care.


Stuart Douglas said...

Showing superhuman will, I'm not watching BSG until I have next week's to watch too (and maybe even the following week's).

I know that if I don't start watching then I won't be bothered, but that as soon as I do, I'll want to watch more than one at a sitting.

I can't imagine doing that with Doctor Who nowadays...

SAF said...

Ah yes, sounds like a very smart plan. Somehow I'm having to hold my breath and bite my nails for an entire week! ;)