Saturday, February 2, 2008


I’m honestly not sure if I’ve said this ‘round these parts before, but I honestly find it a strange and wonderful thing that the one television show I’m into at the moment that has the most relevance to the post-9/11 world I actually live in is the show that’s not even set on this planet, the show that takes place in the deeps of outer space, which boasts spaceships and killer robots.
I am, of course, talking about Ronald D. Moore’s redux of Battlestar Galactica, and with the fourth and final season on its way, Moore and company decided to produce the feature-length Razor, which was broadcast on the SciFi Channel, then subsequently released on DVD.

Kicking off with a montage of scenes from past BSG episodes which take us from the Galactica’s initial discovery of the ill-fated Battlestar Pegasus, on through the deaths of three of its skippers (Cain, Fisk, and Garner), till it gets Lee Adama at its helm, Razor quickly settles down to its narrative’s “present,” which sees Lee re-organizing the Pegasus under his command.
We then cut back and forth between that present, and Razor’s other main timeframe—ten months earlier, where we witness what Admiral Cain (a thoroughly magnetic Michelle Forbes) had only previously recounted in the BSG episode, “Pegasus”: how the Pegasus survived the initial Cylon surprise attack, and the events on-board in the aftermath of the attack. (There are also brief jaunts to two other timeframes—the first 41 years earlier, where we see the tail end of the Razor webisodes, as a young William Adama stumbles on a Cylon secret; the second depicting an event also mentioned in “Pegasus”—but for the most part, we shuttle back and forth across that 10-month divide.)
Serving as the narrative bridge between those timeframes is Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Chaves-Jacobsen, from TV’s Home and Away), who comes on board the Pegasus on the day of the attack, and through the catastrophic trial-by-fire, becomes a kind of protégé to Cain. Ten months later, she is chosen by Lee to be his X.O.
Given her function as the bridge, Shaw becomes Razor’s main focus, and the means by which the narrative explores its main themes: the difficult choices that are made in times of war, and whether the cold, inhuman mask worn by the military during wartime is indeed a necessary evil.

Despite the narrative focus on Shaw though, we do get to have the father and son Adamas, as well as some Starbuck, some Roslin, and very briefly, some Cylon Sharon.
Razor also gives us back some of Pegasus’ dearly departed, notably, Cylon Gina. One of Razor’s most provocative elements, in fact, revolves around the reason for Cain’s cold and brutal treatment of Gina (as seen in “Pegasus”).
We also get to see some old school toaster Cylons (yahoo!), and that tantalizing climactic reveal regarding Starbuck and her so-called “destiny.” (Of course, admittedly, the source is suspect; this wouldn’t be the first time a Cylon distorted the truth—or outright lied—to confuse and mislead. Still, the claim must give one pause, considering Season 3’s finale shows us Starbuck telling Lee she knows where Earth is, and she can lead the fleet there…)

Now if all this is a bit heady for the uninitiated, yes, Razor may very well be a load of gobbledygook for anyone who’s never seen a BSG episode before. But take my word for it, the show is most definitely about something. This is science fiction with substance, timely and mature, which is a whole lot more than can be said for your average Hollywood SF.
So if you haven’t yet been immersed in the world of BSG, the three previous seasons are all available on DVD, so get on out there, check them out, then catch Razor, so all the above will make sense.
And if you’re already strapped in for the BSG ride, then you know exactly what I mean, and you’ve probably already seen Razor.
And like me, you’re also probably chomping at the bit to see Season 4.
Well, not too long left to go.
Now if only the Lords of Kobol would see fit to have the WGA strike reach a quick and fair resolution, so we can all see those final 20 episodes sooner rather than later.
So say we all.

(Battlestar Galactica: Razor DVD cover art courtesy of; image courtesy of

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