Friday, March 30, 2007
Of Ancient Rome and Spaceships
As this week and month wraps up I was struck by the timing of both Battlestar Galatica and Rome finishing up their seasons on the same day and the same time, that being ten o’clock on Sunday. Of course I couldn’t watch both at the same time so I caught BSG on-demand the next day. I’ve been trying to come up with some angle to compare and contrast these two shows but nothing really occurred me.
Rome is a historical drama set during the turbulent years when the Roman Republic was transformed into the Roman Empire. All your favorite figures are there, like Ceasar (season one), Octavian, Brutus, Cleopatra, and Antony. It’s highly detailed and has several fictional characters that help flesh out the time period. Folks with no familiarity with things Roman might get a little lost with the huge historical scope but the deadly politics and family secrets are sure to please. If you like costume dramas, politics, sex and family shenanigans, you’ll like Rome. The show presents a realistic environment and helps shed light on what life may have been like for the people of that time and place, but some historical inconsistencies will jump out. If you know your history there are no real surprises as to the fate of the major characters however the fictional characters like Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus leave some room for discovery. Rome is really a two season mini-series as that was all that was ever planed for. I genuinely like that show but I could have had a little more combat, and there was a little too much British slang for my tastes. Hearing a Roman say “bollix” kinda’ pulls you out of the program if you know what I mean.
Battlestar Galactica did what it does best during its 3rd season finale, meaning: it gives you a huge cliffhanger and you want more (not moore Yuk Yuk). As the ratings have tanked, Scifi must have decided to throw out some major plot twisters. I don’t want to ruin it for anybody but I will say that the final episode for this season tries to put the show back on track with the get to earth storyline and adds some other major reveals. One thing I will say is that the whole Lee Adama hates his Daddy borefest has come roaring back and it culminates in this episode. The constant burning of bridges on BSG gets really old. The concept of apocalyptic survival is so much more interesting than the continued dredging of interpersonal conflicts. I wish the creators had gone for that rather than the syrupy show we’ve got. But hopefully, BSG is getting back to basics. I saw a suggetion on RPG.net that maybe they're all cylons... that would make a lot of sense.
So one show (Rome) concludes it's run with a ending that you knew was coming, and the other (BSG) ends it’s season with surprising plot twits that you knew were coming to keep it interesting. Oh wait, I just thought of something, both of these programs depict struggles between the civilians and the military, with huge allegories to current geopolitical issues of our day. Now that sounds like and interesting topic for a blog post.