Battlestar Galactica: Season One

It's been a tough couple of light years for sci-fi fans. Despite being one of the most popular genres in film, literature, videogames, etc., sci-fi and TV have had a very bumpy history. Currently, there's no Star Trek (TNG, DS9, Voyager or the shitty one with the dude from Quantum Leap) for the first time in forever, no Farscape, no Babylon 5, no Firefly, no nothing. Truly, in terms of top-quality sci-fi (and no, Stargate doesn't count), right now it's at its lowest ebb. But, luckily, there's Battlestar Galactica. Not just the current champ by default, this re-imagining of the "classic" '80s series holds its own against the best sci-fi has/had to offer, but oddly, when the mini-series about a rag-tag fleet of "humans" on the run and searching for Earth from the robotic Cylons was announced, it didn't look good at all. First, there was the decision to make the classic Starbuck character a woman (and Boomer also). Then there was the increased focus on sex, lots and lots of it, which had Richard Hatch (the original Apollo, who oddly makes a couple of guest appearances in the first season) decrying the show to anyone on the internet who would listen. And let's not forget the new Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) telling people in interviews that if you liked the '80s series, don't watch the new one. Oh, and the Cylons look human now, or at least, some of them did. Um, yeah. It looked bleak for BSG surrounded by such controversy, but those who watched the mini-series (which is also included here) were introduced to a darker, edgier, more dramatic and human sci-fi series, and all these elements are continued, explored and deepened in BG's triumphant first season. Focusing on slightly more realistic sci-fi (although not as "used future" as, say, Alien), BG's inaugural season picks up right where the mini-series ends, with the rag tag fleet of survivors on the run from the Cylons. While focusing more on the logistical problems (i.e., running out of water, fuel, etc.), internal strife (the conflict between the government and the military), sex and drama than action (although there are still a few great moments), the gritty, darker edge, excellent characters and constant thread of paranoia (did I mention the Cylons look like us?) easily make the "re-imagining" better than the original. In terms of extras, the box-set sports an almost unrivalled number of episode commentaries for a sci-fi/fantasy series, featuring the likes of Ronald D. Moore and various directors, and a number of featurettes that unfortunately are more EPK than exploration of the shows trials, tribulations and controversies. Plus: deleted scenes, more. (Universal)