Monday, August 27, 2007

more Battlestar Galactica (no, I won't stop)

I just wanted to point out, to anyone who cares, that after having been over the first season a few times now (watching Galactica on my iPod at the gym is my new favorite thing), I've concluded that, at least during the first season, SEVERAL of the cast members were absolutely, without-a-doubt, 100% award-worthy, and were robbed.

Katee Sackhoff has found praise on this blog before, and I meant what I said. I think, pound for pound, she's probably the strongest actor on the show - just so spontaneous, alive, and fun to watch. In her big two-parter, Act of Contrition and You Can't Go Home Again, she really proves her worth, and her talent. If, after watching these, you can't appreciate all the range, presence, and sheer "va-va-VOOM" she puts into this character... then I can't help you.

Edward James Olmos, who gets first billing, is also choice. I didn't like him much at the beginning of the miniseries, when he comes off as not much more than a stern, one-note bore. But as the show progresses, you see why Olmos was perfect for the role of Commander Adama. For underneath his gruff, guarded exterior is a well of vulnerability, and a soft underbelly he only rarely shows. And it's immensely pleasurable to see it gradually revealed. It was during a tense, quiet moment with Katee Sackhoff in the aforementioned Act of Contrition when I first thought, "this man is a GREAT actor." He's confronting Starbuck about something in her past, seemingly cool as a cucumber, when suddenly, shockingly, as if from nowhere, vast streams of emotion flooded his face, and he was like a new man. That's called "revealing a character's soul."

Mary McDonnell, who gets second billing, is also quite strong in that "speaks quietly but carries a big stick" kind of way. Her feminine charms and presidential presence are always intermingled, creating an exciting and unexpected character. I hate to say it, but she does in fact outdo Geena Davis' Commander in Chief (easily), despite the latter's having the whole show handed to her week after week. Much of that is the writing, of course; Geena did fine with what was given to her. But Mary takes the role of President Roslin and really gives it life with her quiet power.

And finally, James Callis does wonders in the role of the slightly unhinged Dr. Gaius Baltar. I wonder if the role was written for a Brit, or if they just liked him? Cause I honestly can't see it any other way. What I love about Callis is that he provides a highly theatrical, comic counterpoint to the rest of the cast, who are pretty somber and naturalistic on the whole (give or take the constant highwire act that is Sackhoff's Starbuck). Plus, he's arguably the true lead of the show... especially the miniseries. Plus, all his scenes with Tricia Helfer are SMOKING hot.

Anyway, were I to campaign them for Emmy awards (a pointless exercise, given the show's genre and network, but stay with me), I think the most savvy (and appropriate) thing to do would be to put Olmos and McDonnell in the lead categories, and Sackhoff and Callis in support. Really, this is an ensemble show, so the distinctions are hard to make. Plus, a different person's the lead in every episode. But since these things are so fluid in episodic television, the only thing you can really do is go, "hmm, now in the grand scheme of things, which characters are the most important?" And in answering that question, you'd be hard-pressed not to go with Olmos and McDonnell as the leads... and possibly Callis, too, depending on where you are in the series and just how many leads the show can have. His character is in many ways the lynchpin of the ensemble, and almost certainly the most complex. But I think a supporting categorization is defensible. As for Sackhoff, she too has a huge role, and could arguably be a lead (in some episodes, she certainly is), but she's NOT the President or the Vice-President or a genius or the Commander of the fleet. She's just a really good pilot. And if she's a lead, then Jamie Bamber's really a lead, too, and that's just too many leads.

Speaking of Jamie Bamber, I go back and forth on his acting (he annoys me at times, but it kinda works for the character, so whatever), but what I do know about him is that he's REALLY HOT. Tricia Helfer also is REALLY HOT (like, even moreso). But I don't know if that equates to "great acting." In Helfer's case, maaaaaybe, but in Bamber's, definitely not. Not that he's bad - the whole ensemble's great - but when everyone's so great, it's hard to stand out, and he doesn't.

The only other two actors I think are arguably nomination-worthy are Aaron Douglas and Grace Park - Park in particular really steps up her game near the end of the season - but neither is so outstanding that I can cry "ROBBED!" they way I could with, say, Sackhoff. And if they're not THAT good, then it's not even worth debating in terms of actual awards, cause it just won't happen. Ever. Olmos, McDonnell, Sackhoff or Callis might - MIGHT - have a chance at scoring an emmy nod next year. But any of the others? Not gonna happen.


One more plea, for all those readers out there who don't know what I'm talking about 'cause they've never seen out the show: please PLEASE check it out. Just buy the miniseries and/or season one on amazon and/or iTunes, and give it a go. Within a couple hours, you'll be hooked, and mad that you didn't discover it years ago, back when it was first on. At least, that's what happened to me. I immediately cursed the gods of fate (and my own indifference) for the fact that I was late to the party.

You see, I just found out that Galactica is ending this year (sadly). So I'll barely have any time, once I'm caught up, to enjoy the show week to week. Damn. And if any of those actors (and of course the show itself) aren't nominated next year, then that's it. A great show will have been (mostyl) ignored for the entirety of its run, and Emmy will forever have to hide her head in shame. But at least they'll be going out on a high note, instead of being randomly cancelled like they almost were this year and last. That would've sucked. So good on them for having made it this far and had the good sense to end the show before it's killed.

So say we all.



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