There must be something good about “Battlestar Galactica,” because in spite of how basically crap I find it, I tune in faithfully every week (though sometimes, like this evening, I do so belatedly thanks to the convenience of my DVR). Usually, I spend the hour sneering or rolling my eyes as the episode unfolds; the show is fascinating to me as an intersection between an old guard of cheap and not particularly good television making, and a new frontier of narratively — though not intellectually — complex and ambitious television writing.
Actually I think that I want to like it. But week in and week out, the show fails so spectacularly in its chintzy sets, its hyperbolic scripts, its crushingly serious sense of its own importance (has anybody ever cracked a joke on this show? If so, has anybody ever laughed?), that I can’t turn away. It’s too easy to compare it to a car crash that you can’t turn away from. It’s perhaps more accurate to compare it to watching a car that you know is going to crash.
Imagine some futuristic, fantastical auto dreamed up by some crazy genius. Except this mad inventor forgot to attach one of its front wheels, or just couldn’t afford to pay for the tire. Undeterred, the car careens down the street anyway, a kind of souped up, time-traveling Delorean with its wheel-less front bumper violently dragging along the ground, scraping a frightening wave of sparks off the ground as the metal chassis screams in agony. Sooner or later this thing is going to collide with a telephone pole. That’s what “Battlestar Galactica” is to me. How can I not watch?