Here lies much silliness:
Hard SF Take on a Moon Made of Cheese
I just watched the season premiere of what may be the best show ever: Battlestar Galactica (new version, of course). I had forgot how thrilling it is and how well written. Every two minutes there seems to be a new dilemma that you can't imagine how they'll solve. I would follow Edward James Olmos anywhere. Tricia Helfer plays the Cylon temptress and also does a superb job playing a tortured prisoner.
I watched a little of Stargate: Atlantis, which doesn't really turn my crank (too self-conscious). Mainly I was looking for the "next week" promo because Connor Trinneer (a very good actor from Enterprise) is supposed to have a guest role -- well, I thought it was next week, but on reflection, I think it's in February. Anyway, I had forgotten there's a delightful Scotsman (the actor is, I believe, Scots-Canadian) in a secondary part. Yummy accent!
Hee! Mr. b also calls BSG the "best show ever". And he's totally serious, not a shred of histrionics.
I love the Gates, personally. But they are candy compared to the sumptuous feast that is Battlestar Galactica.
I'm constantly amazed at how good BSG is. I'm aware that there are stylistic choices that some people don't agree with -- the hand-held camera "documentary style," for example. For me, it heightens the sense of reality. For others, well, it's difficult to present a point of view I don't understand, but I believe it has something to do with the fact they're used to seeing everything in a shot, like in a play. Also, some people want every little detail explained. I, personally, do not.
"The Gates" (great shorthand, bel) is funny and irreverent and very aware of being sci-fi. They can make in jokes about it and everyone gets it because the audience is well-read and well-(whatever the TV/movie version of read is) in the genre. BSG can't do that, because to do so would be to break the illusion of reality.
I think they are just really two completely different styles of shows. I agree with your candy/feast analogy, without the implication that one is better than the other. (I'm sure you didn't intend that implication, I'm just clarifying. :)
I'm beginning to even find stylistic differences between SG1 and Atlantis. Even though the original Gate is the one with the Farscape actors, I'm seeing a lot of the pop culture references that Farscape did so well sprinkled through Atlantis. Whereas SG1 is becoming much more serious. I used to think it could go one indefinitely, like ER or some procedural that's also undergone multiple casts changes, but unless the tone changes, I'm not so sure anymore. I reserve the option to change my mind though!
Mr. b and I have noticed that *everyone* is starting to watch BSG. Not just genre fans anymore. And I think the things you listed are part of the reason. But also, the drama is really very real and humanistic. It just happens to be in space and have killer robots!
When Ben Browder came on SG:1, I watched a couple episodes to see what he was like. I had missed the whole Farscape phenomenon, since I didn't have access to the channel it was on. I noticed that SG:1 was kind of darker than I expected.
In watching BSG's commentary, it seems that they didn't really have A Plan. They have a general direction, but they didn't know where characters were going until a seemingly random plot choice raises a character up or reduces a character to nonexistance. It's kind of the anti-Babylon 5. I think it makes the stories more unexpected and more organic. More realistic. When there are "arcs," they do not follow the Hollywood pattern. I love that.
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