Friday, February 10, 2006

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON 2.0

When I reviewed the first season set of Sci-Fi Channel's new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA series, I begrudgingly admitted that it was a good show, despite my nostalgic affection for the Seventies' original. Well, the first half of the second season is now available on DVD as BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON 2.0 (2005)… and the show's gotten even better.

With Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) temporarily out of action after an assassination attempt by the Cylons, command of the fleet falls to alcoholic Colonel Tigh (Michael Hogan), who immediately clashes with civilian President Rosalyn (Mary McDonnell). Tension runs at a high level through all of these episodes with an almost unrelenting paranoia and plot twists aplenty. The series is more soap opera than space opera, but it's pretty damned good soap – with uniformly solid performances from an excellent cast.

I continue to be pleased at the producers' incorporation of elements from the 1978 series – the recurring role for Richard Hatch (the 70s' Apollo), the discovery of a second surviving battlestar, the Pegasus, the occasional use of the original theme music, etc. There's even a couple of notable cult guest stars in this batch of episodes: the Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless (XENA), as a news reporter and Michelle Forbes (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION's Ensign Ro) as Admiral Cain.

Universal repeats the fine job they did on the first volume, with solid, flawless transfers of the Second Season's first ten episodes on three single-sided discs (no "flippers," thank God!). The 1.78:1 widescreen transfers, as one might expect from a brand-new show, are perfect, with no debris or digital artifacts. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround soundtracks are rich and robust. Universal has included a handful of deleted scenes and commentaries on every episode (originally from online podcasts) by Executive Producer Ronald Moore.

This set gets my highest recommendation. One of the best shows on television in a slick, affordable package.

BUY: Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.0 (Episodes 1-10)