Battlestar Galactica
Season Three

Starring: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis and Tricia Helfer
Universal Playback
RRP: 49.99
Certificate: 15
Available 03 September 2007

New Caprica is in the hands of the Cylons, and attempts at co-existence have given way to a state of fear and subjugation. Can humanity thwart its oppressors? Is the quest for Earth over?...

Season three of Battlestar Galactica begins some time after the Cylon occupation of New Caprica. A resistance has been formed, and terrorist attacks are being mounted against the Cylons. Typically of the show, post-911 issues are once more under scrutiny - in this instance the use of suicide-bombers. When people are blowing themselves up for our heroes, how do we, the audience, feel? It's a contentious topic, no doubt, and here the show's producers like to play Devil's advocate.

With the struggle on New Caprica, the show begins with action and tension in bucketloads. There is also a moment when the Galactica makes a brief atmospheric entry that will have you gob smacked. Indeed, the CGI space battles continue to impress with their gritty potency, but sadly, it's not long before the season settles into a groove of Cylon navel-gazing and human unrest.

The new Battlestar Galactica has always been the thinking person's sci-fi, but season three seems a little more occupied with its metaphysical, sociological and psychological agendas than those previously. This is to the show's detriment. Are we watching sci-fi or a soap-opera? Sure, character, character, character is the new black in modern television, but toss the sci-fi fans a bone once in a while. Can we have another space battle, please?

Still, that is not to say that season three is rubbish. Dear no, far from it! There are some riveting moments, and cheeky episodes where some of our heroes are made a lot less likeable. In fact, there are so many shades of grey in many of the characters - both Cylon and Human - that sometimes one feels a little perplexed by proceedings.

At least the season's finale is worthy, with some superb acting from Jamie Bamber (Apollo), and the ever reliable James Callis (Baltar). The closing moments of the last episode are bizarre to say the least, and point the way to a possibly very intriguing season four.

In the past, I've been full of praise for the new Battlestar Galactica, but on this occasion, I am vexed. Familiarity breeding contempt, or is it "difficult third album" syndrome?

Jeff Watson

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