Steven endorsed this nitpicker post about the Cylons on the new Galactica show, so I feel somewhat compelled to respond.
But the bottom line about Galactica is that it’s classic literary science fiction, not camp. In other words, it takes moral and social issues of relevance to our society, translates them to a en exotic and futuristic setting, and then investigates them in a way that – because of the alien setting – allows that examination to be largely objective and free of the real-world partisan nonsense. That doesn’t stop partisans on both sides to try and claim the show for their own purposes: the left thinks that New Caprica was a metaphor for Iraq, the right thinks that Cylons are muslims, etc. But these are shallow analyses, and not limited to Galactica. The real point is to examine things like democratic ideals, the tension between military and civilian rule, the ethics of resistance and suicide bombing, and reason vs faith, all within a “neutral” frame. In doing so we can return to the basic principles that define us and test them to see how they fare against each other. Its good that Galactica inspires such political commentary. It’s a stimulator of debate, a fresh perspecctive, that upends our assumptions while remaining true to our principles and ideals. It is a show that makes you think, and if you’re watching it just to critique the technobabble, you’re not watching the same show we are. Which is fine; to each his own.
But with respect to Galactica that I’m watching, it’s the truest heir to Heinlein, Asimov, Dick, Ellison, and the other giants of literary science fiction that has ever made the jump to the screen since Star Trek: The Next Generation. Those who nitpick it remind me of those who dismiss anime as “japanese cartoons” or who insist that if you didn’t like Anime series XYZ it’s because you “didn’t get it”.
Heck, forget defending the nitpicker with regard to the cylons on specifics. If you watch the show, you see the flaws anyway. The argument above is the more important one.
UPDATE: Otto mentions that my link to his post was only to the extended entry – the correct full link is here. I’d read the full post myself and anyone reading his post will immediately understand that Otto is a fan too. As he himself emphasises, it’s a nitpick, not an indictment.