Heather Havrilesky: “‘Razor’ is neither the fascinating, heart-pounding ‘Battlestar’ of our fondest memories nor the cheesy, ‘All Along the Watchtower’-lyrics-spewing ‘Battlestar’ of our worst nightmares. But those hungry for a glimpse of Starbuck and Apollo will eat it up faster than a leftover-turkey-and-stuffing sandwich.”
Okay, let’s come clean and get geeky. I don’t watch much television, but, in the interests of keeping reasonably au courant with contemporary culture, BSG is one of the four shows I keep up with. Last season was pretty damn dreadful — the kind of soporific writing reminiscent of people whose exposure to science fiction doesn’t extend past the purported Golden Age of Science Fiction from the 1950’s. (The “expertise” of Dave Itzkoff comes to mind in considering these flaccid plots, particularly that wretched flashback-laden boxing episode.) And the fact of the matter is that the mealy-mouthed metaphor of a leftover sandwich simply isn’t enough to exonerate the egregious missteps in last season’s finale. Sure, I’ll watch out of morbid curiosity. But someone needs to demand better standards from Ron Moore. Perhaps the WGA strike will force Moore to ruminate for a while and find his mojo again. (Or maybe he might want to try writing a few episodes instead of sitting it out as “developer” or “executive producer.” Or does he wish to become another Rick Berman?)
I cannot believe that “it’s pretty impossible to keep that level of intensity going on for too long, and there’s no way that ‘Battlestar’ could escape falling into a repetitive formula.” Does Havrilesky so easily forget that Moore once had the balls to recast the series in dramatic fashion at the end of the second season, only to allow the show to deteriorate into derivative third season episodes once the crew escaped New Caprica? He lacks the courage to lay down the one card he has to play: the discovery of Earth, which presumably will occur in the forthcoming fourth and final season. Maybe he knows that his chips are up.
Further n.b.: I am by no means watching this show that closely, but if Havrilesky cannot remember the Centurions (and that would be with an O, not an A; are the Salon copy editors asleep at the desk?) who have appeared at various points throughout the series — largely employed in planetary surface battles — then one wonders whether Havrilesky is even paying attention.
I saw Razor and I thought it rocked. I tend to be a big fanboy, though, so take my opinion with a grain of space salt.
The Centurions in “Razor” are different from the ones we’ve seen in new BSG, but it is odd that Havrileski doesn’t remember the new version’s presence at all.
“Razor” is… well, better than BSG has been in a long time (but then, as you may recall, I think the show lost it completely around the middle of the second season). Still not good, though, and by recalling the mid-second season “Pegasus” arc it only draws attention to its inadequacies.