Battlepanda: Battlestar Galactica back on form?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Battlestar Galactica back on form?

Just saw 'Scar'.

I still think that they are overusing the whole disjointed dogfight-flashback thing too much. But I can deal. Good character development. Lots of intense dialog. Meaty acting. Definitely not one of the great episodes, but the rot has been arrested.

Something struck me as odd in that early scene in which Starbuck confronts Kat, and all the other pilots started chanting "Starbuck! Starbuck!" Then I noticed, even though we are seeing two women characters dominating the action, the background faces and voices are almost all male. This struck me as an effective aesthetic choice on the part of the makers of BSG:II, so I'm definitely not trying to second-guess their decision. But it's interesting, isn't it? -- here they are, constructing a world in which both the top pilot over all and the most promising pilot of the new generation are female, yet perhaps 85 percent of the pilot population are male? From a dramatic verisimilitude angle, it just doesn't make sense. From the point of view of cultivating audience acceptance and playing off cultural norms, though, it is quite canny. Frankly, holding all other constants to be equal, I don't think the Starbuck character would be seen as quite so believable or so badass if the writers did not ensure that she emerges out of a hypermasculine environment.

I don't know how I feel about that exactly. But one thing is for sure -- there is a dearth of strongly-drawn women and minority characters in TV and movies, and Battlestar Galactica is to be commended for bucking that trend as opposed to making a nod to diversity by casting minority and female actors in negligible roles. Nothing makes me madder than the inevitable black judge. It is such a perfect way of introducing a colored face to the cast -- in a position of authority, which must appease the PC crowd, yet with so little screentime and meaningful presence that filmmaker are spared what must be the horrendously onerous task of, gasp, making mainstream audiences care about a non-white character. Even the remake of the Duke of Frickin' Hazzard featured a black judge.