I spent this evening watching Catherine Tate interview David Tennant live on stage at a theatre in Covent Garden for a Radio 4 show. And, while it was hilarious and wonderful and jolly good fun, I’m afraid it’s now completely boxed away in my brain and forgotten about…
… because I’ve just finished watching the season three finale of Battlestar Galactica.
[DON’T WORRY: NO SPOILERS BELOW!]
The thing about Battlestar Galactica is that you start with the miniseries, realise it’s quality stuff and then watch season one out of a sense of duty. But it’s tough going, heavy and bleak, and you don’t so much “look forward” to an episode as you “make yourself watch it”, only to realise halfway through that it’s excellent. And then a few episodes into season two you realise you’re addicted, and then the end of season two has you screaming because you can’t believe they just did that, and then you’re into season three and you’re so lost in the religious philosophy and the Iraq War parallels and the relationships and the bloody, balls-out bravado of it all that you finally realise the show is one of the top ten television series of all time.
I’m not just talking sci-fi, either: it truly is a magnificent piece of television. The mainstream critics agree (the American ones, anyway, because the British press don’t know shit from Shinola) and the only downside to the whole thing is that the show is called Battlestar Galactica, a name guaranteed to put off viewers who don’t like “that whole space thing”, like a guy I know at work who won’t watch it even though I’ve told him a million times it’s as good as his favourite show, The Sopranos, and he’s an idiot for being so blinkered by the name. I finally won him over this week by explaining that him not watching Battlestar Galactica because the name makes him think it’s a silly sci-fi show is a bit like someone not watching The Sopranos because they think it’s about opera. I’m quite proud of that analogy, because he finally folded and has agreed to watch the miniseries. He’s gonna kick himself when he finds out what he’s been missing.
Anyway, the upshot is this: I just watched the season finale; I almost passed out three times from holding my breath in shock; I can’t believe I have to wait months to find out what happens next, but I’m thrilled the fourth season has been commissioned already.
The good news is that word is spreading. Everybody’s talking about Battlestar nowadays: it’s finally made the leap into the mainstream. Last month, as I was strolling along the Thames, two middle-aged blokes walked by me and I heard one of them say to the other, “Much as I love it, I still can’t get used to the fact that Starbuck’s a woman!” When you overhear ordinary people in the street discussing a sci-fi series, you know it’s hit a nerve. And as much as I love all those other shows – Supernatural, Heroes, a million more – I really do think Battlestar Galactica is the king of them all.
Television very, very rarely gets better than Battlestar. If you don’t watch it… shame on you.