Friday, October 2, 2009

10 things I've learned or remembered from Battlestar Galactica

This week, I finished watching Battlestar Galactica (the 2003 reimagined TV series). Simply put, it's the best SF/F video-saga I've ever seen, with a remarkable (large) cast and strong writing that makes the most of a dynamic premise. (Of the approximately 75 episodes, I'd only classify about two as weak.) My favorite episodes were the pilot (movie); the exodus from New Caprica; the mutiny; and especially those following the appearance of the Pegasus.

Throughout the entire saga, themes and truths emerge with a powerful relevance. I've identified 10 I want to share:

1. In storytelling, all has happened before, and all will happen again. If the characters, setting, and circumstances are compelling, it doesn't matter.

2. Names matter. Appearances matter more. Words, and their delivery, matter still more. Actions matter most of all.

3. As an artistic element, divine intervention is like good liquor: a little will warm you up and help you appreciate the wonder and mystery of life; too much will give you a headache and may make you feel used.

4. Respect your story's past. Revelation is wonderful; retcons are pesky.

5. Technology (or magic) tends to outrun morality. This is dangerous because increasing knowledge and power, without increasing wisdom and compassion, creates the potential for greater and greater disasters.

6. Sometimes you've got to roll the hard six.

7. Life is beautiful but fragile, imperfect but worth fighting for.

8. We only have one world and one life. We need to honor and cherish both.

9. Every time you see someone, he or she may be a different person. And there's no guarantee you'll see him or her again.

10. Faith, hope, and love--with them, you can transcend disaster and find a new beginning, a new world.