Monday, March 23, 2009

Movie Monday: Man or Machine?

Though this post is not about a movie, the television series I'm about to write about started with a movie, included a movie in the middle of its run, and, if rumor is correct, will hopefully continue on, a la Sex and the City, on the big screen. So there.

One of the best non-HBO television shows on today is Battlestar Galactica. Now, I know there are sci-fi haters out there, who think that the genre is all about fulfilling nerdy male adolescent fantasies of conquest and control, and, sure, some of it is. Battlestar Galactica happens to be a show about a human/cyborg conflict that airs on the Sci Fi Channel, but don't let this simplistic description deter you from watching. This is science fiction at its best, a philosophical and political entity that examines our current condition with an unflinching and unbiased eye.

Don't believe me? Mirroring current events, season three of the show cast the heroes--the humans--as vengeful, bomb-happy "insurgents" launching sneak attacks at the occupying Cylons. Instead of demonizing the insurgents in this allegory of the Iraq War, the show's writers choose instead to examine the psychology behind such desperate violence by telling the story from the enemy's point of view. The entire show, in fact, plays with the idea of "enemy;" when our enemies look and act just like us, as the humanoid Cylons do, it is harder to treat them like monsters. Further complicating matters is the fact that we (humans) created our foes in the first place.

Because of its treatment of the Iraq War and other themes such as torture, justice, and freedom, members of the cast and production team recently participated in a panel discussion at the United Nations, attended by audience members from around the world. Though its final season is coming to an end, Battlestar Galactica has made a lasting mark on both the cultural and political arenas and has proven that bravery, honesty, and artistry can have a place in the world of entertainment.

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