The science fiction world presents a forum for what could be, a portal to the unimaginable filled with mysterious creatures and mind-boggling technology. Escape to far away galaxies tends to be the biggest draw for many great science fiction shows and movies, but the fantasy removes viewers so far from the real world, typically the biggest criticism of the genre is its lack of relevance to our reality. Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica successfully bridges the gap between the two, presenting us a fantasy which parallels our real world problems.
The main conflict of the story is between humanity and a mechanical race of robots known as cylons. They were created by humans, but after they rebelled against them, they disappeared into the far outer reaches of space for forty years. Their return is the beginning of this story, and we see their sleek chrome fanged minions flanked by a striking blond female, apparently one of twelve models designed to appear human. The sixth version, played with sinister charm by Tricia Helfer, comes in to seduce scientist and genius Gaius Baltar (James Callis), a worker for the colonial defense whose arrogance (and sexual appetite) makes him the perfect target for espionage.
Our protagonists on Galactica are preparing the ship for decommissioning. It is a relic of older technology, with corded phones instead of wireless communicators and computers which look ancient by comparison to our current offerings. This approach is refreshing, as this world presented to us doesn't seem so distant or hard to believe. The characters are well-rounded already, each with their own set of conflicts, presenting the viewer with a seemingly infinite number of sub-plots. Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) is confronted by his estranged son Lee (Jamie Bamber), with each one of them having their own unique perspective of the death of the Lee's brother. Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) has an authority problem, causing a testy exchange with her superior Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan), who happens to have some marital issues and drinking problems. Each actor plays their character with a swagger and confidence, and the situations are written well enough where each moral conflict reveals to be a debatable scenario.
The strength of the story is the complexity of the situations we are presented with, giving the viewer infinite shades of gray. each person's issues can resonate with our own great difficulties in life. Throw that together with the ethereal soundtrack and expressive cinematography, and Battlestar Galactica paints a beautiful picture of a world dealing with complex problems and imminent danger.