Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Battlestar Galactica & The Human Condition

As I mentioned earlier today, I am a sci-fi fan.  The reason isn't the hard science that often accompanies, and identifies, the genre.  Rather my love is of the stories that accompany that science.  It seems that things are clearer, more interesting and more daring when gravity is somewhere near 0 and ships are floating in space.

Look at Battlestar.  In its short 4 years it has examined the entire scope of human existence as it is currently.  From breast cancer to human slavery to universal health care to loss of a child to nuclear threats to life after death.  Every topic that is glossed over in modern day politics or brought out during sweeps on the news has been put under the microscope in this tiny population the size of the town I live in - all that is left of humanity.  They can't ignore the issues.  To ignore means extinction of not one but two races.

What is even more illuminating now is that these actors, writers and producers are getting the stage of their lives.  It isn't the final episode that airs on Friday.  No, that was conceived, written, shot and edited many months ago.  Rather, the stage they are getting is the stage everyone wants.  This week, before the final decision on humanity's existence is rendered, they will be speaking with the men and women who comprise the United Nations.

To me, this is thrilling.  This audience, reportedly to be moderated by Whoopi Goldberg (sci-fi buff extraordinaire and Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation), will hopefully touch on all the human subjects that have been examined over the course of 4.5 seasons and two mini series spawned by the minds of the writers who took a campy space opera from the 1970s and made it relevant to a post 9-11 world.  Everything about this discussion shows how ingrained sci-fi is in our daily lives.  

To the writers, producers and actors who will represent the stories of the men and women of the rag tag fleet of humans and cylons - speak well, speak truly and from the heart as you have  done for the past several years.  You've imagined a world, brought it to life and breathed the words and emotions of the feud that brought two races to the brink of destruction.  You made a planet of a space ship and reminded us all that we are on it together.  I can think of no more fitting a way to end your story than by telling the lessons you learned to the world.

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