1999, TV Show


In your response to Mike in ...

Question: In your response to Mike in your Aug. 29 column, in which you discussed your list of "essential" shows and "must-catch-up-with-instantly" list, I was surprised and a little disappointed to see that Battlestar Galactica wasn't mentioned anywhere in your response. It is one of only three shows on my personal "can't miss" list (the others being Lost and 24). And if I had to pick my favorite show on television right now, it would be Battlestar Galactica. But even if you disagree with me you have to admit that it is the best science-fiction show on TV in years, and very possibly the best ever. Did you just forget to mention it, or is it really not on your list? Answer: That's the problem with making lists; you're bound to leave something out. But to be fair, after making that list, the following Friday I made another list of summer "essentials," and Battlestar Galactica was right there. Because shows like this drop off the schedule for so much of the regular season, I don't ... read more

I love your column! Is the ...

Stargate SG-1

Question: I love your column! Is the character of Vala on Stargate SG-1 now a permanent cast member? I think she is a great addition to the cast, and I hope she isn't gone forever (after last week's episode). I think she adds more fun to SG-1 and would love to see her again. Answer: As I asked around about this, I dug up a little scoop that Claudia Black, who plays Vala, will return for two episodes in the back half of SG-1's season, to air in the winter. I agree that she's a blast, even if some of the show's longtime fans seem disgruntled that other characters were marginalized during the Vala-Daniel Jackson arc, including new cast member Ben Browder. (For all those Farscape fans who've been writing in to grouse that Browder has been underutilized, I've been assured that he'll be more prominent in upcoming episodes.) As for Vala's becoming a permanent fixture, that would have to wait for next season, if then, and there's not even a deal in place yet for a 10th season (although I hav ... read more

In your last two columns, two ...

Question: In your last two columns, two different people have ranked Farscape over Battlestar Galactica as the best show ever on Sci Fi. Although I loved Farscape, and realize it ran four seasons and a miniseries to Galactica's one and a half seasons to date, I believe Battlestar is the superior show. What do you think? Answer: Frack and frell — how in the world do you expect me to answer that question and live to tell about it? No way am I alienating either of those camps. Actually, it's a pretty easy question to duck, because the shows are so entirely different. Farscape, which put Sci Fi on the map as a serious player in the original-production biz, was a fabulous escape. Whereas with Battlestar, you often feel trapped in the grim action. If you take your sci-fi (literally) seriously, then Battlestar's the show. If it's a wondrously entertaining and wild ride you're seeking, Farscape's the ticket. But I love both shows, and think they're equal when it comes to ambition and sustained ... read more

Thanks for the columns every ...

Battlestar Galactica

Question: Thanks for the columns every week. I'm usually in agreement with you on most shows and things. However, it did strike me as a little bit hypocritical when I read your response to the writer asking if you thought the dark tone of Battlestar Galactica might be a hindrance for it in the long run. While you applauded its "fatalistic tone and mood," you are constantly knocking Six Feet Under for basically the same tone and mood. Especially with the plethora of programs and channels these days, a show that maintains a sense of tone (albeit with moments of levity that Six Feet Under interjects) is to be applauded. I enjoy both shows (and I, too, think Battlestar Galactica is the second-best show ever shown on Sci Fi after Farscape), but I find it confusing that you can praise and enjoy a "fatalistic tone and mood" in one show while slamming it in another. Of course, differing opinions are what make this column and life so interesting, now, aren't they? Answer: Apples and oranges, my ... read more

If the Stargate franchise...

If the Stargate franchise is considering another sequel, I've got an idea: Stargate: Vala. There's gold in that thar Claudia Black. After eons of playing Farscape's ultra-serious Aeryn Sun, Black is positively bursting with mirth as SG-1's resident bad girl. But Vala's no ditz — when push comes to shove, the lady can play hardball, as evidenced during the budget conference. "Only an idiot would think you can defend this backwater planet with a few ships and a shield," she tells the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, throwing in a corny shot about his "shortcomings" for good measure. So why is Vala still at Stargate Command? Well, apart from her need to flirt with Daniel and pester him about credit cards, I'm guessing nobody was ready to let go of the Jaffa bracelets as a plot device. But as it led our heroes to the doorstep of Wallace Shawn's Arnus, I'm not complaining. Although I found the idea of Vala having "wonderful carnal times read more

I actually have two unrelated ...

Question: I actually have two unrelated questions. First, as someone who has recently been converted to a fan of Entourage by Jeremy Piven's hysterical performance (I've been a fan of his since the late, lamented Cupid), I'd like to know what you think his chances are of winning an Emmy are. Second question: I agree with those who think Battlestar Galactica is a very good show. It's the second-best thing Sci Fi has ever done (behind only Farscape). However, I find the show unrelentingly grim and have a hard time watching sometimes. Do you think the tone of the show might endanger its chances of a long run? A little levity would go a long way, I think. Answer: First, Piven. Yes, I think he has an excellent chance. His was a true breakout performance in a show whose buzz is steadily building during a time when Emmy ballots are in play. He deserves it (although I'd also love Peter Boyle to get an Emmy finally and complete the Raymond cast's sweep), and I predict he'll win. As for Galactica ... read more

Now that Sci Fi has picked up ...

Question: Now that Sci Fi has picked up the original season of Firefly, and the movie Serenity (which I've seen, and love) is set to hit box offices far and wide Sept. 30, what are the chances of Sci Fi making new episodes of the series? I think I read that Joss Whedon closed down his production company, Mutant Enemy, but could he reopen it if Sci Fi wanted to do a new season? Ultimately, I'd guess much of it comes down to rights issues. Did I read that the same company that is doing the movie also owns Sci Fi, and if so would that make a revival more plausible? I do hope it has a chance of being a series again someday (even if after a couple of more movies), and I think it would make a great permanent addition to Sci Fi's Friday-night lineup. Sorry to be long-winded, but I always appreciate your support of and insight into Whedon's shows (and other great underdogs)! Thanks! Answer: I know a lot of people are anxious to see how Serenity does (especially the brains behind Farscape) so ... read more

I must hand it to Sci Fi; it ...

Stargate SG-1

Question: I must hand it to Sci Fi; it looks like they got something very right. In a single move they have placated the Farscape contingent and reenergized Stargate SG-1. It appears that Ben Browder hasn't just joined the show, but now is the show. And I, for one, could not be happier — especially with all the inside jokes between him and Claudia Black (e.g. the pregnancy wink). The more they make SG-1 like Farscape while keeping the existing mythology and atmosphere, the better and more interesting the show will be, I think. But any way you look at it, it looks pretty freakin' smart. Answer: Well, it certainly got me and a handful of other critics I know into the tent. I don't pretend to understand everything that goes on in the Stargate franchise, but all I ask is to be entertained, and bringing Ben Browder aboard surely helps. I ran into Browder recently at a lunch during the still-ongoing TCA press tour. He seems to be having a great time, and he was thrilled to be reunited with ... read more

I know you like Battlestar ...

Question: I know you like Battlestar Galactica pretty much, but I just don't feel the same. Sure, the show has its moments, but they are few and far between. It's definitely not something I'd want my child to watch because of its sexual content. If it is such a good show, why is it still the last of the three-show block on Friday night? I think it's because both Stargates are far superior in every way. Now, with the addition of Ben Browder as lead and Claudia Black in six episodes SG-1 will be better than ever. Just goes to show how smart the powers that be behind SG-1 are. They will pick up fans from the best sci-fi show ever to hit the airwaves, Farscape. I still miss that show. Answer: No argument on Farscape. Bringing Ben Browder and, in a recurring role, Claudia Black aboard on SG-1 has made the show lots of fun as a new season begins tonight. (I don't really understand any of it, but who cares.) But Battlestar Galactica airs at the end of Sci Fi's Friday night lineup not because ... read more

For every drop of refreshing new...

For every drop of refreshing new blood in this year's Emmy field, there's a stubborn residue of tired old blood. The Emmy nominations are an annual rite of frustration in which every positive breakthrough is balanced by an aggravating snub. This year is no different. As expected, last year's instant hits on ABC, Desperate Housewives and Lost, got their due, leading the comedy and drama pack respectively (although Housewives was tied with the academy's longtime, and inexplicable, darling Will & Grace with 15 nominations). But because of the TV academy's regrettable devotion to faded perennials like Will & Grace, The West Wing and Si read more

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Premiered: March 19, 1999, on Sci Fi
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (127 ratings)
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Premise: Cult favorite about an astronaut stranded light years from Earth in an alien war zone and his adventures with a group of extraterrestrial fugitives on the lam from an evil collective. A handsome production design, complex characters and imaginative plot twists characterized this gem throughout its run, which ended with a jaw-dropping finale that brought the tortured romance of Crichton and crewmate Aeryn to a (seemingly) shattering end.



Investigating Farscape: Uncharted Territories of Sex and Science Fiction (Investigating Cult TV)
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