Review: Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 TV Premiere

Battlestar Galactica Season 4If I believed in God, I would thank Him. After all, thanks to my friends at New Media and the Sci-Fi Channel, I am blessed with an early copy of Battlestar Galactica: Season 4: Episode 1, which is called He That Believeth in Me. I have been waiting to stick the DVD into my player all day, but have patiently sat around for my roommate, also a huge fan of one of the best television shows ever, to get home from work so we can watch it. As I stare at this DVD, it beckons me, calls to me, whispers to me, tells me, “Don’t wait any longer. You need to get up for work the next morning. Just start playing it. He won’t notice.” But he will, dammit! I will get through five minutes and he will appear, and I will have to restart. Where is he? Where is my roommate? I’ve never wanted him to get home faster… I’m starting to sound a little creepy, as if I’m in love with my roommate – which I’m not! I mean, I love him as a friend, but nothing more. I just want him… to get here right now so I can watch this frakkin’ Battlestar Galactica season premiere!

An hour later, I continue writing… I just finished watching the Battlestar Galactica Season 4 premiere, and it’s pretty good. As good as the Season 3 premiere, which introduced to life on New Caprica post-Cylone invasion? No, of course not. But it’s still a good starting point for the final season. The first several minutes are devoted to a gigantic space battle, full of shootings, explosions and special effects. Maybe it was just the quality of my screener DVD, but the special effects don’t look as good as they did in past seasons. Either way, for television, and especially for the Sci-Fi Channel, Battlestar Galactica still offers some of the best space action there is, and after the rather action-less second half of season three, it’s a refreshing change of pace.

The episode overall is quite good, setting the stage for the stories that will unfold over the rest of the season. It’s funny that I started this review with a mention about God, because it is clear that religion, or at least faith, is going to play a big part in this season. Gray-toned Baltar finds himself taken in by a group of predominantly young, sexy women (go Baltar!) who are of the creepy cultish religious quality, but will a miracle and some naked breasts make him born again? Will Adama accept Starbuck back into his life, even though all signs indicate that she is not what she seems? What will the Final 5 do, a good chunk of the series’ cast that are now, suddenly (but have always been) Cylons?

The episode is fast-paced, exciting and thought intriguing. As always, don’t expect a conclusion to the storylines presented here; you’ll have to wade through several more episodes before the show begins to tie things together once and for all (assuming it does). The show offers a little bit of humor, mainly revolving around the naivety of the religious cult and a line where Starbuck tells her husband that she would kill him if she found out he was a Cylon (which he is).

I signed a contract saying I wouldn’t talk about the ending, and so I won’t, other than to say that the episode ends with a pretty good cliffhanger – except that, unless I’m mistaken, it’s going to be one of those cliffhangers that is going to end rather simply at the beginning of episode two. Still, it’s clear that the writers have a very specific plan in mind and that this final season of Battlestar Galactica will be a thrilling one.

I don’t think it will be able to top the occupation episodes that took up the beginning of season three, but I pray (as much as I can pray) for some good action, some thought-provoking politics and not too much fluffy destiny stuff which the show has hinted at as being its focus.

By Erik Samdahl
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