Is it wrong that I first watched Battlestar Galactica after seeing this oh-so-spot-on Portlandia sketch?
Well, if loving BSG is wrong, I don't want to be right. While on its face it's a super-nerdy sci-fi series based on an even nerdier 1978 series criticized for ripping off Star Wars, at its heart it's just a really entertaining show. The last surviving members of the mostly annihilated human race are searching the galaxy for the "lost colony" of Earth, while the robotic Cylons try to wipe them out...at least at first. The show can twist on a space dime, and the heavy political overtones and religious themes lend it a gravitas you might not be expecting at first. The music is amazing too—like Fred and Carrie learned, it doesn't take long to get utterly hooked.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I really can't explain what it is about this show. It's a silly premise, of course, with cheesy dialogue, over-the-top makeup, and hilarious mid-1990s fashions. But it sucks you in nonetheless. Partly it's the sheer likability of Sarah Michelle Gellar and the other actors—Alyson Hannigan is particularly charming as dorky witch Willow. But mostly it's creator Joss Whedon's clever mixing of typical high school drama with over-the-top but fully realized supernatural mythology. It's nice to see such powerful female characters, too.
If at first the whole thing seems utterly ridiculous, I don't blame you. A few of my friends were die-hards during Buffy's original run, and I tried to watch it with them but I rolled my eyes so much I was probably looking at the ceiling as much as the TV. But once I streamed a few episodes in a row, suspending disbelief long enough to fall in love with the characters was easy. The entire series is on Amazon Prime as well as Netflix and Hulu Plus.
If you never saw the weirdly unsatisfying ending to the story of Mary Louise Parker's marijuana-selling odyssey, the whole series is up on Netflix, but the best seasons are the first three. By the time they get to season 8, you've followed this rag-tag crew from SoCal to Mexico, through the heartland to Michigan, overseas, to New York, and finally to Connecticut, but as weirdly disjointed as that journey was, the excellent core cast keeps the show from going totally off the rails.
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