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Note: At the request of the SciFi Channel and Universal Media Studios this review is being kept as spoiler free as possible.

The third season finale of Battlestar Galactica was one of revelation, deep revelations as the series prepares for its final season and begins to bring all the threads of the Cylon/Terran war to a head. As we closed out last season in 2007 we were treated to the identity of four of the final five Cylon models, Colonel Tigh (Michael Hogan), Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas), Sam Anders (Michael Trucco), and presidential assistant Tory Foster (Rekha Sharma) and the return of the seemingly dead Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff). The fourth season premiere picks up exactly at the point when Starbucks returns to great Lee Adama (Jamie Barber) in the midst battle against a Cylon fleet who has found the humans.


The battle scene in the beginning of the episode is spectacular, really showcasing the programs special effects and cementing itself as a true sci-fi series. Up until this point the show has been about the characters, with the fact that they were in space, in a rag-tag fleet and a behemoth Battlestar just one piece in the overarching puzzle. Here though, the audience is treated to a great battle. As Starbuck claims at the end of last season, she’s been to Earth and can lead the fleet there, but here return is met with skepticism amongst most of the crew believe her to be a Cylon.

The events of last season also continue with the newly acquitted Gaius Baltar (James Callis) who, after being tried for crimes against humanity and the slaughter of hundreds of colonists on New Caprica, is seemingly doomed to exile with a group of devout followers who believe in his Cylon-inspired ideas of only one true god. This storyline is sure to get more and more interesting as the season progresses, the last 15 minutes, of which I’m legally forbidden to talk about, certainly change the game for Gaius.


Most of the episode deals with the return of Starbuck and her desire, nee, absolute need to direct the fleet to Earth while the newly revealed Cylons attempt to cope with their place in the fleet, and determine if they are a danger to themselves and the rest of humanity. The writers play around with some “alternate realities” that bring back eerie, chilling echoes of Boomer shooting Adama.

However, with all that said, the episode ultimately turns out to be a rather flat disappointment because it is mostly a launching board for the stories we’ll see in the final season, but there isn’t much happening here besides what’s been described above. The seeds of stories to play out in these final 20 episodes are easily sown but fans may still be questioning how people like Tigh could be a Cylon when he fought against them in the first Cylon War. I question if the writers really have a plausible reason for doing this, especially with how many plot holes it opens up. Still, the writing/producing team has kept me entertaining for three seasons of excellent, excellent storytelling and action and I trust them to finish out strong, I just wish the first new episode in nearly a year was more of a bang.

It’s Saturday and another disappointing B-movie from the Sci-Fi channel, this time capitalizing on the upcoming Halloween holiday with Headless Horseman. Forgetting everything that happened in the Washington Irving story of Sleepy Hollow and its terrified residents, Horseman puts a more sinister spin on the tale of the headless equestrian owing up his existence to a deal with the devil for some backwards, hillbilly town to continue to exist.

Of course, in the vein of Rob Zombie’s colorful collection of characters from House of 1000 Corpses, the town is filled with brain dead hicks that sabotage cars every couple of years so the horseman can collect seven heads and continue to be appeased. The seven teenagers (how convenient) traveling to a party are the standard, cookie cutter staples including the cocksure leader, bitchy girlfriend, closed off sensitive bookworm who becomes the hero, the girl the bookworm likes, the bookworm’s best friend, etc. With no surprise, each is picked off, one by one, in a series of been-there-done-that deaths that don’t even compare to the most mundane horror films.

The movie continually strings along the staples of horror films, but being on cable, keeps away the gratuitous sex and nudity which usually saves your two hours, just a little bit. Instead we get a side boob shot of one of the mysterious towns’ people curiously changing in front of a door.

The special effects aren’t even up to Alien Apocalypse B-movie standards with most of the CG work done by, what seems like, a graduate student earning credits at DeVry. When seeing a shot of the horseman carrying out a head, it’s almost humorous how the actor has to keep his hand steady and in the same place (a foot from his body) so that the effects could later be put in.

There’s a point in the middle of the movie where you just feel bad for some of the actors having to endure the dialog, most of which is nonsensical, usually equating to “we have to get to the bridge and get help” only, like all horror movie participants, they stick around, trying to fight rather than run. You, in the audience, if you made it this far, simply stare in disbelief at how people can still write scripts that feature such annoying and dumb characters.

Zachary Weintraub’s script could feature any number of antagonists in the role of a monster collecting heads; it just worked out well to have a headless horseman around Halloween it would seem. Couple that with color-by-numbers direction, drama school acting, and a general lack of cinematography and there just isn’t much to like about Headless Horseman. The film is yet another generic, cookie-cutter movie spat out by those who didn’t make it to Hollywood, finding a home on cable, and making the next two hours of your life purely inconsequential.

SciFi’s new Flash Gordon series takes a few pages from the highly successful relaunch of Battlestar Galactica and modernizes a classic series bringing in a new generation, but still able to bring in those nostalgic enough to give the series another look.

Starting as a comic before branching out into serials, movies, and subsequent TV relaunches, Flash Gordon has stood the test of time even while in the controversial eye because of its supposedly depiction of Asians, but none of that really relates to the re-imagined series which strives to put its best foot forward combining the cheesy effects and acting that we’ve come to expect from the serials of yesterday with the stories of today.


The 90 minute pilot introduces newcomers (and old fans alike) to the new Flash Gordon (Eric Johnson) and his sidekicks reporter Dale Arden (Gina Holden) and Dr. Zarkov (Jody Racicot) as well as introducing us to the not-so-merciless Ming (John Ralston) who is now more of a savvy businessman than dictator. He’s heartless all the same, but he doesn’t have the imposing image he did in some of the earlier visions of the series (and he’s not wearing spandex either).

The series plays out in a mix between comedy and drama never taking itself too seriously but never going for a punchline as well. There’s a fine line to be walked here, Firefly did it wonderfully while others have come up too much on the comedy side. It remains to be seen where Flash Gordon will end up in the delicate mix, and for that only time will tell. There’s an overarching storyline to find Flash’s father, who may, or may not be, alive somewhere on Mongo after being transported there thirteen years ago. Still the series will take on a story-of-the-week premise to move things along.

One of the strong points is capturing the atmosphere and lightheartedness of a serial in the form of a one hour series. What is bothersome though is the writing, particularly in the pilot, the dialog is almost cringe inducing at times and while it is suppose to move along at a brisk pace, simply writing off the fact that aliens now exist and I’ve been to another planet into next to nothing seems wholly unrealistic. How many people today are going to accept that fact so easily?

Even besides that fact, most of the character interaction is hokey, almost as if they aren’t talking like real people (maybe they’re the aliens). In the reviewable copy sent to the press not all of the effects were completed so only one can imagine if their cheesy nature falls in line with what we’d expect.

If you can sit through some poorly written parts, Flash Gordon is a fun way to spend a Friday night at home. Hopefully following episodes will be able to gel the characters better together and not sound like their lines were written by a ninth grade screenwriting class.

Flash Gordon premieres Friday, August 10 on the SciFi Channel with a 90 minute premiere. Check your local listings for time and channel.