Personally, this BSG 1-3 season set was the perfect release for me as a newcomer, but already a die-hard fan of this most engrossing of sci-fi series. PLAYBACK have not disappointed BSG fans...this set (comprised of all episodes from the first three seasons including the opening miniseries) contains eight individual slimline cases, which are housed within a thin cardboard case with an opening at the top over which another thin cardboard sleeve slides down on top of. So while not particularly durable, I'm impressed with the aesthetic- the images (BSG emblem + Cylon raider ship's `eye') and colours (red, black and silver) are quite attractive. The contents (episodes, DVD disc designs, menu designs and features) are exactly the same as if you'd purchased the individual season sets, so it's only the replacement of the inner plastic cases and outer cardboard cases that differs.
Yes, there's another season yet to come, yes, there's the special feature `Razor' released at the end of this year on DVD and yes, there's even the possibility of more BSG offerings in the future (*fingers crossed), but as evidenced by the 1-2 season set on Amazon.co.uk, which sold out relatively quickly, there's a market for BSG sets even if they don't represent the entirety of the show. Also, when you take into account the current price of the individual season sets it doesn't take Gaius Baltar to recognise the favourable difference in price with this latest set. So add this to your shopping basket not only because it's the most up-to-date collection of `Battlestar Galactica' so far, but also so you can own a little bit of BSG history that's likely to become sought after in the future.
The Miniseries (4.5239 STARS)
The `Battlestar Galactica' TV Movie is one of those rare example of television that no amount of positive reviews (that set your expectations to the stratosphere) could over-hype, or manage to do justice to the breathtaking series of events that occur every minute of every hour aboard the ship of the title. This movie is quite simply...spectacular, and I urge you to buy this DVD set if only for the momentous opening. But quite luckily for us all...`Battlestar Galactica' is a series that defies all expectations and one that has a lot to prove to all those sci-fi cynics out there who think they've seen it all before. But you've never seen anything like this before...
Season One (4.6842 STARS)
I found the first season (comprised of twelve episodes) incredibly impressive. Not least because I really didn't expect the producers or the actors to be able to maintain either the quality or the flavour of the `Battlestar Galactica' TV movie on a series basis, especially with a tighter budget, but season one proved me categorically wrong. Events follow on absolutely seamlessly from the movie, which left me dumbfounded in awe and appreciation and into the first season of what is the best example of science-fiction in many years. The performances, the music, the state-of-the-art special-effects, the on-going story, the dialogue, the gritty realism, the superb locations & sets, the stark look of the series- all remain completely in tact. However, while season one certainly stays true to the events of the TV Movie and events in the lives of the main characters are constantly layered and fleshed out, events are rarely advanced, not often truly exposed (at least not until the final couple of episodes), so I was very excited to experience the second season since there was so much obvious potential for BSG to become even more compelling with an exploration of the Cylons and their many devious methods of infiltrating the fleet...
Season Two (5.0 STARS)
Despite the incredibly strong opening, I admit to being hesitant before beginning season two for fear of being totally let-down, but in fact...the second season actually surpasses the first in style and scope, whilst remaining incredibly absorbing television. The debut season was undoubtedly flawless, but in the layering of the plot and extension of Cylon investigation/realisation among the fleet season two catapults `Battlestar Galactica' to the outer edges of the galaxy. To list a few of my favourites...episode 9- `Flight of the Phoenix' (9/10) is a wonderful comment on the scarcity, but necessity of hope within an aspiring group and it's effectiveness as a tool in the re-building of a civilisation. However, that profound and touching story is completely dwarfed by the next episode. Episode 10, entitled `Pegasus' (10/10), which is the most gripping and ultimately satisfying episode of BSG so far in my opinion. Another favourite of mine was episodes 18- `Downloaded' (9/10), which could have been an real disaster, but is executed to absolute perfection. It's an episode that provides an incredible amount of insight into Cylon sensibilities and interaction, as well as unveiling an ingeniously apt story device in the on-going love affair between Cylon Number 6 and Dr. Gaius Baltar.
Season Three (4.8975 STARS)
The excruciating cliff-hanger of season two carries events on into season three with the continued occupation, but growing resistance by the colonists against the Cylons on New Caprica. To be honest I found the first few episodes that followed to be a little bit less than the absolute perfection I'd come to expect of BSG, nothing significant in any way, or even trivial for that matter, just slightly, minutely, infinitesimally less somehow than the events of the outstanding second season.
My first major favourite of the season is episode 9- `Unfinished Business' (10/10)- the whole episode revolves around various fights which take place in a boxing ring on board the Galactica between crew members, as a way for them to release steam and settle grudges. As always, on paper it sounds mind-numbingly dull, but on the screen it's absolute magic, particularly the fights between Adama and the Chief, and Apollo and Starbuck, both of which are interspersed with relevant glimpses back to New Caprica and the lives of the settlers.
Episode 12- `Rapture' (8/10) ups the anti considerably, as the Fleet and the Cylons stumble across a major discovery on the road to Earth. The subtle performance from Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) emphasises very well her character's faith and devotion to the Cylon deity. The strong religious theme that runs through this episode is the perfect back-drop to the continuing battle between the Humans and Cylons.
Episode 20- `Crossroads, Part 2' (10/10)- begins with the gripping conclusion to the trial of the millennium, but then veers off in a completely different direction, in a finale that stunningly exposes incredibly surprising Cylon sleeper-agents on board the Galactica. The final ten minutes of the third season are EXPLOSIVE; acted, directed and scored to perfection. I can't wait for season four!! Enjoy!!!