I love my KODI box.
Very few shows suck me in on the pilot. LOST, Caprica, and S:A&B are on that short list. I haven’t seen it since it aired. It got dismissed by most as “StarshipTroopers 90210”. It’s far, far deeper than that.
In light of recent conversations and posts, I’ll say that this show is pretty honest about playing out both the perceived and reality of now-hot topics like racism, privilege, xenophobia, etc. The various perspectives played out over the “tanks” in the series stabs directly at the very same perspectives we are now having with minorities.
The “in-vitros” are the “African-Americans” of the next generation. Yet, in daily conversation, the “tanks” are the other words we use now to otherwise refer to those same “African-Americans.” Coop’s chip on his shoulder because of how that word is used against him is the reason why it’s not cool for others to use that word around him. Sure, he’s a screwed up kid, but the show does a pretty good job of explaining why, without having to patronize an obligatory quote from MLK or X or JFK.
I love how well the show captured the military’s official intent to get rid of all other labels and brand you and everyone else as simply soldiers first and only. Race, religion, hometown, class, whatever, didn’t matter. Anything that you felt defined who you were was dragged out and stomped all over the floor the very first day of boot camp. The rest of the experience is spent making sure you got your priorities straight. I like how the show deals with that ideal image it boasts through the drill sergeant, and also the reality of “it is what it is.”
For all the characters that had their issues with Coop, and how the various issues stemmed from or were related to his birthright, it does show how we can be racist and not realize it. “Do tanks dream?” “It ain’t easy to recognize a helping hand.” Some in-vitro issues are malevolent, serious animosity, on both sides. But much of it is relatively benign, ignorant misperceptions that feed some pretty shitty behavior.
I’m speaking on race because it’s been a frequent topic of conversation for me lately. But that’s not what this show is about. Racism is just one thread in this tapestry. So is xenophobia (and not just from the aliens).
Most importantly, Morgan and Wong made this about dreams, ambitions and hope. Even with the tragic ending of the series, it still rock n roll episode after episode, from pilot to finale. Just think how boring it would have been if any one of the characters caved in and said “fuck this”. The same can be said for life. Parts of this show hits me in the feels about what it’s like to wear the uniform, both good and bad. And what it’s like to be an American, both good and bad. I had barely been out of training when it aired. Visually, the show doesn’t hold up very well, at least in the vfx department. Cinematically, it’s still great television, now wishing it had SyFy BSG budget rather than FOX “you could get canceled at anytime” budget, despite being one of the network’s most expensive bets at the time.
And while it lacked genre mecha, this is still my favorite American take on Robotech-ish anime. And until SyFy finally blew us away, it was also the BSG revamp I’ve always wanted.
The way everyone lost it when Firefly wasn’t renewed, was how I felt when I saw the season finale of this show. You could tell that the writers had a multi-season arc being setup by the prior few episodes, and were blindsided by a very last-minute WTF Briscoe County Jr/Profit heartbreak.
I love this show for the same reason that I hate it: while it’s more intelligent than it gets credit for, it’s still a young adult version of an after school special.