Confused about What to Buy? Here are Some Answers.
Gilgamesh | New Jersey | 08/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought all of the seasons separately as they first came out, and I highly recommend watching the entire television series through to the end. While looking for the last piece of the series (see the end of the review), I came across some great deals (in terms of price), but was dismayed to see just how confusing things have become on Amazon. This review below is meant to help you wade through the mess in the marketplace, purchase the series, and enjoy it. I originally posted it for the combined Seasons 4.0 and 4.5 set, but someone kindly suggested I post it elsewhere as well. I hope you find it helpful.
The show is incredible. However, the whole DVD thing has been a disaster. They released it in the worst way possible (see below), Amazon compounded the problem by lumping together reviews for DIFFERENT PRODUCTS, and the DVD manufacturers seem to be changing the contents of some products. I cannot imagine how someone who is not deeply familiar with it is supposed to purchase this wonderful show. Certainly, they would hesitate to give it as a gift! Let's hope this solves your problem.
In one sentence, I can say that here is what you want to get: Seasons 1, 2.0, 2.5, 3, 4.0, 4.5, and The Plan. I have links to them below. If you get these, then you will be sure to have it all.
-Season One was released as (Battlestar Galactica - Season One) altogether with the pilot in one box.
-Season Two was released as Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.0 (Episodes 1-10) and Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5 (Episodes 11-20) in two boxes. You can now purchase them together as Battlestar Galactica (2004): Seasons 2.0 & 2.5
-Season Three was released together in one box as Battlestar Galactica - Season Three.
-Season Four was released as Battlestar Galactica - Season 4.0 and Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 with the Razor episode. Those are now available together as Battlestar Galactica (2004): Season 4.0 & 4.5. Occasionally I come across things like "Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 - Limited Edition Gift Set (2009)." It seems like a lot of money for one part of the full season, but you get some dog tags with it, so if you are into collecting memorabilia, you might want to consider it.
-The Plan was released on its own as Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
OPTIONS FOR PURCHASING THEM ALL TOGETHER: BAD TO GOOD
-Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series (with COLLECTIBLE CYLON). Not recommended. I do not own this, but according to the reviews, it is packaged poorly WITHOUT AN EPISODE LIST. That seems like a horrible idea for four seasons of a tv show. Apparently, it contains the same DVDs as the ones sold separately (explained above).
-Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series (the one in the GRAY BOX). *Recommended*. I do not own this. Good reviews of it so far. Packaging problems were fixed. According to a comment from Leif Sheppard, it does include The Plan.
-Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series (with COLLECTIBLE CYLON) [BLU-RAY] or the gray box [BLU-RAY] set. *Recommended*. I do not own this. Seems to include some extras, but not significant. It also has an episode list, according to the reviews. It might be worth buying if you wanted to get everything together.
As far as I can tell from the reviews, I think there are two choices:
(1) Buy either Blu-Ray set or the Gray DVD set.
(2) Purchase everything separately (make sure to get all of the stuff mentioned above).
-The "Face of the Enemy" webisodes (episodes shown only online) have not been made available for purchase in any of the sets as far as I can tell. What a shame!
-Also, if anyone sees any mistakes in this review, please tell me and I will edit it. Frustratingly, the manufacturers seem to be changing the contents of some sets, so it is possible that my information has become outdated."
An interesting mess
B. Martin | 08/24/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"To say that Battlestar Galactica's first season is all over the place, is a bit of an understatement. By the final episode I wasn't sure exactly what the focus of the series was or where it was heading. Still, I have to admit that I am definitely interested in seeing how things play out. The series follows the remaining members of the human race (approximately 50,000 souls) as they search for a new home after the twelve colonies that they inhabited are destroyed and overtaken by a race of supremely advanced machines called Cylons. The mini-series that launched the series is included in season one and it serves as a prologue to the events that take place. It explains who and what the Cylons are and chronicles the events leading up to their attack on the human race.
Once the story has been set up and all of the major players introduced, BSG gets off to a stellar start with its first five episodes which find the fleet of surviving humans running from Cylon pursuers, appointing a president (Mary McDonnell) to keep some form of goverment intact, searching for a source of water and dealing with a political uprising. All the while, themes of faith and the very nature of humanity are explored.
But after those first five episodes, things start to spin out of control. Onerheated melodrama outmuscles more subtle storytelling, the show's relligiious overtones begin to get heavy handed and preachy and characters start to make increasingly aggrivating decisions (Adama brings Tai's power hungry wife on board the Galactica, Boomer and a chief mechanic put the security of the fleet at risk in an attempt to hide their affair, Adama rebels against the president because she makes a decision that he disagrees with, etc.) that seem designed to keep the drama flowing. By the season's end, things finally start to get silly when the president begins having visions of serpents that ultimately convince her to seek out a mystical arrow that she believes will help them find the mysterious planet earth that is to be their new home. And have I mentioned the ongoing scenes between Dr. Gayus Baltar and the cylons' leader: a vixen known as number 6? The cylon appears only to Dr. Baltar via a chip planted in his head. At first the interplay between the two is compelling and has an undeniable sexual tension. But soon, the scenes become almost laughable and the only thing that they accomplish is to make Baltar look like a complete loon. Interestingly, despite his constant bouts of strange behavior, nobody seems to question that he is a gifted scientific mind and his loyalty to the human race is only questioned once. It would seem to me that anyone who was paying attention would be able to figure out that there is something off with the guy and maybe he shouldn't be given such high security clearance. But as I said earlier, it just serves to create more drama and confrontation. And before I forget, the constant use of the word "frack" as a substitute for that other famous f-word is just stupid. Anytme a character uses the word, the drama is instantly sucked out of the scene.
Yet despite its numerous flaws, BSG is a unique and often compelling series. Any show that ponders what it means to be human and wrestles with big ideas such as God and fate is worth checking out. I just hope that the show gets itself straightened out and more focused by season 2. I can overlook the growing pains that seem to be apparent throught this freshman season, but if they continue I'll probably end up begging for them to push me out one of the air locks."
Good start, but ultimately a bit heavy-handed.
Grey | 08/08/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Things start out great. We get an interesting backstory, a fine assortment of characters and an incredibly desperate situation which could easily have viewers hooked through multiple seasons.
Then it starts to fall apart.
It's a slow process to be fair. There's plot holes in a series which tries to be relatively realistic (humanity is nearing extinction and they accept the Secretary of Education, 40th in line, as president and leader? The ace pilot also happens to be the best marksmen and is put in charge of security details when there's marines aboard? Cylons have infiltrated the fleet yet can't simply find a way to let out the fleet's position?). The writers also didn't know how to handle plots or let them go. For instance, the side story back on the nuked-out homeworld following a stranded pilot which only serves to dish out melodrama that remains unrelated to the rest of the story (and as I understand it, was only written in because the writers liked the actor) or the Cylon infiltrator who is revealed to us during the miniseries and goes through literally a whole season of plot of 'will they or won't they?' before something actually comes of it. How much more frightening or shocking would it have been had they not revealed this character as Cylon in the very first episode, instead waiting for the shock moment at the end? How much more intense not having this infiltrator paraded before us episode in and episode out, instead having us constantly question who might the enemy be?
But that's only the tip of the iceberg. What motivates the Cylons? Why would they possibly be interested in building so many clearly inferior things (mixing organic with machine instead of sticking with machine or having infiltrators able to question themselves)? Or how about the military discipline or lack of? It eventually gets to a point where not following orders seems to be more for shock value or to create a stir than anything. Even worse is how heavy-handed the religious tones become, especially in later episodes. I'm not an atheist and religion would have very obvious influence over any society, apocalyptic or otherwise, but it goes too far. Whenever I see Baltar I want to skip the scene because if it isn't some overacted embarrassing sequence where he's being seduced by a chip in his brain then it's said chip preaching God like he can just believe and be granted wishes and inevitably be proven correct. This grows even worse when the president start having visions linked to religion which inevitably has her acting on things thought to be more superstition than anything and convincing others to do the same.
In the end, tons of potential, but it's squandered. The desperation and atmosphere and the characters and their interactions become nearly completely overridden in favor of not so subtle symbolism, political messages, cheap dramatic tension and even cheaper shocks."