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Battlestar Galactica and the dilemma of God

In a genre that largely treats God as dead, Battlestar Galactica stood out because God was actually a character in the series. It was never implicitly implied that the mysterious being pulling the strings of the hapless humans and Cylons was God per se; even the mysterious invisible beings that haunt Cavil and No.6 wouldn’t confirm it (or is reluctant to). His portrayal, of course, would get some Christians protesting, as he (or at least his representatives) seemed manipulative, vague, sometimes cruel to ensure the poor humans instruments do what he wants.

God also had an interesting way of choosing them – ie prophets. Instead of the boy scout Apollo or even the conflicted No.8, they picked No.6, who was literally responsible for the genocide of the human race, and Cavil, a selfish, amoral, self-absorbed bastard.
I think some viewers expressed frustration at the vagueness of these mysterious beings’ actions, but I thought it was perfect.

Ultimately, I think the BSG god represents mankind’s frustrations, fears, confusion and awe of God. Namely, why His actions are perplexing to most of us, our grief at why he allows evil things to happen, and our frustration that He refuses to explain his actions.

I couldn’t help but include a god-like character in the Distant Stars novels either. I think of this being as kinder version than the Machiavellian BSG one, though no less frustrating and exasperating. Thinking of this character as a literal representation of the Christian god would be a mistake though. This character, like BSG’s is a reflection of my emotions about God.

Can God exist in sci-fi? You bet.

Space Opera is back on TV!

When Stargate Universe bit the dust in 2011, I mourned. And I didn’t even like the show. But it was there – the last space opera on TV, and I need my fix.

Then followed years of no space opera on TV. There were sci-fi, mind you, but just no space adventures. Hollywood wasn’t game. Super high budgets, low ratings. Bad ROI. Even Syfy (once SciFi) was looking elsewhere. Wrestling. Mutant sharks. Anything but producing glorious space epics it was known for like Battlestar Galactica.

And then, this year, a renaissance! We have two space operas showing on TV. There will be a third at the end of the year.  Syfy, after years of ugh programming is finially back on the ball producing awesome science fiction again.

Killjoys

Premise: Bounty Hunters in space.

What I love: Cool heroine: Dutch, the ass-kicking ex-assassin. The two brothers are bland and predictable, sadly. Make one of them a face-sucking undercover alien, and maybe I’ll be 100% onboard.

What I don’t quite love: A been there, done that premise. Although watchable, Killjoys has not offered anything new or groundbreaking in the story department. Though Dutch’s dark history with the mysterious assassin order which trained her since kidhood promises some dramatic tension in the future.

Dark Matter

Premise: A couple of folks wake up from cryosleep and find themselves floating in space in a ship with a serious case of amnesia.

Usually the amnesia plot device makes me groan out loud, but this one promises revelations, surprises and twists. Well, in theory. So far the characters seem pretty … standard. Tough lady who leads the team, bland hero guy with a conscience, mysterious guy with ninja moves, jerk gun-happy grunt and even a spunky teen with ESP. Still, the mystery of who they really are (and who wiped their memory banks clean) is compelling. Here’s to hoping for more exciting developments.

The Expanse

Premise: Men have colonised the solar system. Humanity is under threat (when is it never in danger?), and somehow police detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), ship’s officer Jim Holden (Steven Strait) and his crew play a key in humanity’s survival.

ETA: December 2015

Zero gravity sex. Sorry to be pervy, but that’s what first came up when I googled the show. So it promises to be gritty, dark, and maybe the Game of Thrones of Space Opera. (But pretty please without the mutilations, torture and non-stop deaths.) Best of all, it’s based on, awesomely, James SA Corey‘s magnum opus space opera series of the same name. I love the novels and you betcha I’ll be rooted in front of that TV, eyes wide open ready to devour it.