Confessions of a space geek...

I'm a real sucker for anything space-related (sci-fi, NASA, SETI, Hubble telescope images, etc...). Indeed, my blog used to be called "The Final Frontier: Chaplain's Log" in a not-too-subtle nod to Star Trek lore. This is partly fed by just a boyish sense of escapism in the same way that Westerns inspired an earlier generation with tales of derring do, outlaws, street fights, colonisation of harsh landscapes... and harsh treatment of natives! And just as in Westerns, Sci-fi films + tv series over the years have moved from the native/alien-as-enemy to the native/alien as potential friend/deserving of rights and respect. But I also find all of this opens my mind, stimulates my sense of wonderment and imagination and ultimately is one of the ways that I feel God's presence.

The original "Star Trek" was very much ground-breaking in this sense with its multi-racial (including 'aliens') crew, maintaining the frontier-speak and a sense of adventure and discovery that so captivated its audience... "To boldly go where no man has gone before. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (my favourite of the whole franchise) modernised the template further, firstly with its non-American Captain Picard (French, with as pure a Shakespearean delivery as you could ever get from the wonderful Patrick Stewart), then with other touches such as the more inclusive phrase "To boldly go where no ONE has gone before", stronger female characters, etc...

But I have to say, new ground has been broken in tv sci-fi terms over the past 4 years by the remake (it's far more than just that) of the '80s classic, "Battlestar Galactica". I would be hard for me to sell the show to anyone who is not already a sci-fi fan, but disregaring the sci-fi trappings, it's basically a superbly written and acted (by a wonderful cast) slice of high-class fututistic soap opera (or more correctly "space opera", a term used to describe those epic, sprawling sci-fi novels + films of the 1970s + 80s) with wonderful three-dimensional characters, the best femme fatale I have EVER seen - the various incarnations of Cyclon "No. 6" played by Tricia Helfer (except perhaps Eva Marie-Saint in "North By Northwest"). She is the central figure in red in the below image.





This picture highlights another of the point of interest in the show: its use of moral/ethical themes and religious allegory, especially through the fact that the "good" race (Humans) are polytheistic (basically the old Greek gods) and the "bad" race, created by the humans (Cylons) are monotheistic.

Well, it's back for the final run on Sky 1: series 4.5 (series 4 was interrupted by the Hollywood writers' strike last year). And it's bleak, disturbing, gripping, shocking... and I don't want it to end. Sad heh?

See here.


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