Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I'll fight anyone who doesn't agree with me that Battlestar Galactica (I mean the 2004 edition) is one the finest television series of our time. Well written, superbly acted, and deeply insightful about leadership, military culture, and human drive for survival. It also had much more to say about theological matters than pretty much any TV series I have seen in a long time. The re-boot of BSG began with a two-part miniseries aired in 2003. After that, it began a convention run as a series that finally ended in 2009, though future movies set in the BSG world are still a very real possibility.

Anyway, the series kicked off with an episode entitled "33." It is the favourite of many of the actors, fans, and production team for good reason. The plot is relatively simple--the last humans have formed up into an armada of civilian ships and one "Battlestar." The Battlestar is a kind of combination aircraft (err.. space craft) carrier, battleship, and battlecruiser. They are running from a militarily superior force of artificial beings called the Cylon determined to wipe out all human life.

In this episode, the fleet "Jumps" with faster-than-light travel to a new location. The jumps are untrackable. Yet 33 minutes after each jump, the Cylons appear at the new location and attack the fleet. The fleet jumps away to a new location and, 33 minutes later, the Cylons appear and attack again. The episode starts the story after several days of this cat-and-mouse. Most of the fleet, especially the military-ops folks, are suffering from severe sleep deprivation. 33 Minutes isn't long enough to do much more than refuel, rearm, and get in a quick briefing before the next attack.

(Side note--besides consulting psychologists and medical doctors about the effects of sleep deprivation, some members of the cast actually went without sleep for several days to get an even deeper sense of what this scenario would be like in real life. It's a good anecdote about how seriously the cast took their roles in this series.)

Anyway, imagine having to fight or flee every 33 minutes? Scary.

These days, in our house, we are experiencing something similar. Every 120 minutes or so our little guy wakes up and needs to be fed and changed. It not exactly every 120 minutes, of course, but it's close. We have a little timer called an "Itzbeen" that helpful tracks how long it has been since he was last fed or had his diaper changed. And sometimes that timer will go beyond 120 minutes.... But even as it does you know it will be by much before he begins to fuss and smack his lips like the hungry little guy he is.

I'm lucky, most of the time at night I can sleep through this 2-hour cycle. Betsy is the one who bears the brunt of it, and I can see the effect. Of the two of us I was always the better one for day-time naps and night-time wakefulness, so this really isn't fair. Ah well.

Even now I can tell that it will soon be time to take our little Henry to his mother. The cycle continues....



Daniel said...

Adam and I are watching the BSG series on DVD, we are in Season 3 disc two right now.
The Humans just escaped from New Caprica... was an AMAZING episode.

I love love love that show.


Tay Moss said...

One of the disappointing aspects of most Space Opera (think "Star Trek," "Star Wars," etc.) is how simplistic and uninteresting the battle scenes tend to be. You want something with the kind of suspense and complexity of the Battle of Midway or the Battle of the Coral sea, and instead you get two spaceships facing each other and blasting away at "shields" with phasers and photon torpedoes. Yawn.

Now compare that with the riveting Battle of New Caprica on BSG. It was creative and interesting and absolutely thrilling. I was on my feet cheering as the Galactica showed just how nimble the old gal really was. Great stuff.


Daniel Graves said...

Tay - Athena and I both agree with you (and not because I want to avoid hand to hand combat with my favourite Ninja priest). We loved BSG, and especially that episode, "33". And no, I don't want to cast my mind back to the sleep deprivation days when our children were small... I'd like to leave them in the past.