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This ainít your fatherís BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, because this show really kicks a**. And for my money, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA definitely the best science fiction series on television, not to mention that this sharply written and superbly acted series is one of the best dramas on television- period, even if it does take place in outer space. Ronald Mooreís re-imagining of the 1970ís TV show is an entirely different animal from the original series; this BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is a dark, dangerous, sexy beast that isnít afraid to draw blood, which is why it draws in viewers.

Like the series that spawned this re-imagined BATTLESTAR GALACTICA tells the story of humanityís fight for survival against a mechanized enemy bent on its utter extermination. Humanity originally created their Cylon enemy as a robotic labor force. However, the Cylons rebelled against their Human masters, which lead to a war, a truce and then the complete disappearance of the entire Cylon race. Off humanityís radar for forty years, The Cylons were able to launch a devastating sneak attack on mankindís twelve colonial worlds, which has reduce the human population from billions to roughly fifty thousand nomadic survivors that have been culled into a rag tag fugitive fleet searching for the fabled thirteenth colony- a shining planet known as Earth. Oh, and in case I have forgotten to mentionÖ in their forty-year absence, The Cylons have also upgraded themselves; going from walking chrome toasters to a synthetic approximation of their former masters- in essence The Cylons now appear human and are virtually indistinguishable from the real deal.

The cast of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA features Edward James Olmos as Admiral William Adama, the highest ranking military officer still left alive, Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin, the former Education Secretary elevated to the Presidency, Katee Sackhoff as top fighter pilot Captain Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace, Jamie Bamber as the Admiralís son Captain Lee 'Apollo' Adama, James Callis as Vice President Dr. Gaius Baltar, who played an unwitting role in the near destruction of humanity, Tricia Helfer as Cylon seductress Number Six, Grace Park as Cylon operative Sharon Valerii, who was made a bit too human, Michael Hogan as Colonel Saul Tigh, the Galactica XO who fights his own personal demons, in addition to The Cylons. Also featured in the cast are Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol, Tahmoh Penikett as Lieutenant Karl 'Helo' Agathon, Kandyse McClure as Petty Officer Anastasia Dualla, Paul Campbell as Billy Keikeya, Alessandro Juliani as Lieutenant Gaeta and Donnelly Rhodes as Dr. Cottle. Look for original series alumnus Richard Hatch in a reoccurring role as terrorist turned politician Tom Zarek, as well as Lucy Lawless in there reoccurring role of Cylon operative D'Anna Biers.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 2.5 ($50) comes to DVD in a three-disc set that features an extended version of the mid-season cliffhanger, as well as the ten episodes that were aired in the second half of the series second year. The eleven featured episodes in the collection are as follows: Pegasus, Resurrection Ship, Part 1, Resurrection Ship, Part 2, Epiphanies, Black Market, Scar, Sacrifice, The Captain's Hand, Downloaded, Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1 and Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2. Highlights of SEASON 2.5 include the revelation that the Galactica isnít the last Battlestar; Cylon secrets are revealed; the presidentís health takes several dramatic turns; the president also comes to suspect there is a Cylon collaborator in their midst; the vice president becomes a political rival for the top job and a habitable planet is discovered.

Universal Studios Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 2.5 available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is one of the more interesting looking shows on television, much of it is gritty, but it always looks great. Image sharpness and detail get top marks for a television production. Occasional mildly soft shots crop up, but they donít detract from the viewing experience. Colors are somewhat variable, sometimes strongly saturated, sometimes subdued- depending on the different environments being depicted. Blacks are deep and the whites are clean. Contrast is generally smooth, but there are sequences where it is purposely blown out. Grain crops up on occasion, but it seems intentional. Digital compression artifacts are well concealed.

All the episodes that make up BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 2.5 feature Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. Just like the previous BATTLESTAR GALACTICA sets, the soundtracks contained in this collection rock. The tracks are well mixed and make terrific use of the outlying channels for active effects, as well as music and ambient sound. As expected, the forward soundstage remains dominant. Additionally, there is terrific channel separation across the front. Fidelity is terrific for a television production, especially in the music department. The bass channel is quite deep. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene/episode selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extra features. All of the episodes feature podcast audio commentaries with series developer/executive producer/writer Ronald Moore. Ronald Moore and fellow executive producer David Eick also provide a running audio commentary on the extended version of Pegasus. Deleted Scenes are provided for the following episodes: Black Market, Scar, Sacrifice, The Captain's Hand, Downloaded, Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1 and Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2. Also provided are seven of David Eickís Videoblogs, which give one a good look behind-the-scenes on the series. A collection of the different and amusing R&D Logos that end each episode of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA close out the supplements.

For my money, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is one of the best shows on television. Universalís DVD collection looks and sounds terrific, so BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 2.5 comes highly recommended.



Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.5



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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