Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Battlestar Galactica" (2003) Season Three [blu-ray]

"Battlestar Galactica" (2003) Season Three [blu-ray]
Starring Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff
Developed by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick

Season Three begins with humanity at its lowest point yet, with thousands trapped on the surface of New Caprica under the oppressive heel of the Cylon occupation.  It's been months since anyone's heard from the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus, along with half their civilian fleet.  A resistance has sprung up on New Caprica, led by Colonel Tigh and Chief Tyrol, but their methods grow more desperate every day.  Kara Thrace is held captive in a Cylon compound, and believed dead by her friends.  President Gaius Baltar is a puppet, signing executive orders for the Cylons with a gun to his head. 

The opening story arc of Season Three is intense, and ballsy.  With the human resistance employing suicide bombings, and referred to as "the insurgency," it's easy to see the parallels being drawn here.  But this has been a staple of the show from the beginning - to do challenging, dramatic stories that reflect current events and important themes.  And showing the people who are supposed to be the heroes of the story resorting to suicide bombings, well, that's certainly challenging.  It's easy for us to look at the news, to be revolted by these things.  But what happens when we're supposed to be rooting for the people who are doing it?

Season Three goes to some terrible places in terms of what it does to its characters.  The writers drag these people through the muck harder and dirtier than they ever have before, but it makes the show bigger, and bolder and more daring each time.  The ideas of prophecy and destiny are ratcheted up even more, and justice becomes more of a central theme as well. 

Like Season Two before it, Season Three stumbles a bit when it presents a series of standalone episodes late in the game.  These episodes just don't seem to fit, and you watch them wondering when the storylines you care about are going to come back and move forward.  Thankfully, there are only a handful of these episodes.

The final few episodes of the season are just as ballsy as the opening episodes, but in a different way.  Few shows have the guts to stage a big season finale as a courtroom drama episode, fewer are able to pull it off.  And once again the producers throw something into the final moments that will have you salivating for Season Four. 

Image quality on the blu-ray disc is stellar, as before.  Even with all the intentional grain, "Battlestar Galactica" looks great.  There are tons of scenes with excellent clarity and depth and color.  Sound quality, as before, is also excellent.  Lots of deep bass.  The battle sequence that takes up the majority of the season's fourth episode, "Exodus," is a fantastic workout for your surround system.  Crank it.