31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Great Season, Questionable Package,
This review is from: Battlestar Galactica: Season 2  [DVD] (DVD)
A slight gripe first, namely that the DVD package is somewhat lacking. We don't get any podcast commentaries for the latter two-thirds of the season and the special features are feeble compared to the US release. I hope for Season 3 they hold off on releasing the DVD for a few more weeks to ensure they have a complete package.
That gripe aside, Season 2 of BSG improves on the first in a number of key areas. The widely-separated storylines of the Galactica's adventures in deep space and Lt. Helo's problems on Caprica are finally brought together satisfyingly, whilst the mechanical Cylon Centurions that looked really good in the first season but didn't do very much are allowed to cut loose in spectacular style. The semi-serialised nature of the first season turns into a full-scale serialised storyline here, with the first seven episodes representing a sustained story arc resolving the first season cliffhanger through some breathless twists and turns. Commander Adama has been shot and is on the edge of death in sickbay, leaving the alcoholic Colonel Tigh in command and the exposed Cylon traitor Boomer in the brig. A military coup has been staged and President Roslin is also in the brig, with Apollo on parole for mutiny. Meanwhile, several Galactica crewmen are stranded on the planet Kobol under constant Cylon attack, whilst Starbuck and Helo are now trapped on Caprica with no way off the planet. The writers later admitted taking too long to tell this story, but I found it compelling viewing and it's difficult to see how it could have been shortened. After this arc is concluded we are barely given a pause for breath before the three-part Pegasus arc kicks in, with the crew of the Galactica encountering the larger, more powerful battlestar Pegasus, whose commander, Admiral Cain (the excellent Michelle Forbes from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the second season of 24), has a very different idea of what the survivors of humanity should be doing than Adama.
The result is an awesome display of drama against a backdrop of an incendiary space battle that shames anything in the new Star Wars movies for concept and design. Unfortunately, the show cannot sustain this level of quality and after the Pegasus Trilogy (which, surprisingly ends with the Pegasus not being destroyed, in contravention of the rules of TV script-writing) there is a sustained period of weak episodes: Epiphanies, Black Market and Sacrifice are less than stellar episodes and Scar, whilst dramatically satisfying with excellent effects, has a number of problems regarding consistency with previous episodes (such as why Scar wasn't mentioned before). The episode The Captain's Hand restores the show to its former glory, however, as the battlestar Pegasus is forced into a military confrontation with three Cylon basestars with no hope of relief.
The final three episodes of the season are truly jaw-dropping stuff, however, signalling a massive shift in the format of the show and a cliffhanger ending of monumental proportions. The wait for the DVD of the third season of Battlestar Galactica (the fourth episode of which is the best SF TV episode of the last ten years, no question) will be a long one.