Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5

It’s an exceptional series that rises above a genre’s clichés to emerge as the best of the best of its time, genre constraints be damned. Yet such is the accomplishment of Battlestar Galactica, the "revisioning” of the original, cheesy ’80s sci-fi series by noted Star Trek: TNG alum Ronald Moore. From the mini-series to its successful first and now second seasons, with a third to begin airing in October 2006, Battlestar Galactica has unexpectedly and surprisingly, considering the furore that surrounded the initial "revisioning,” been pixel for pixel the best thing on the small screen. And Battlestar Galactica doesn’t succeed because of outrageous space battles or CGI leviathans, all though, granted, they are there, even if it’s in way fewer doses than you’d expect, but because of the focus on characters, both human and Cylon, the wants, needs, fears, strengths and failings thereof, the incredible drama and suspense it creates, the thespian acting of its fine cast, its impeccable knack for political and religious allegories and yes, its large amounts of sex and titillation. The set-up of the series is simple enough: man made robot (in this case, the Cyclons), man fought robot, man won, man got complacent, Cyclons came back and destroyed mankind save for a rag-tag feet of less than 50,000 people searching for the lost world of Earth while being pursued by the Cylons. Oh, and some of the Cyclons now look human. Split bizarrely into two sets, the second half of BG’s second season, 2.5, picks up by revisiting the cliff-hanger that ended 2.0 with an "extended” version of the "Pegasus” episode, where Galactica and fleet discover a more advanced Battlestar, the Pegasus, thought to be destroyed, but their reunion quickly sours. This episode begins one of the best arcs in sci-fi history and is followed by "Resurrection Ship” parts one and two. But an episode by episode break-down isn’t the point — just buy it already — even if the season’s two-part finale, "Lay Down Your Burdens,” pulls a dreaded "one year later” leap of faith to set up its third season. Along with a group of featurettes and deleted scenes, and the longer "Pegasus” episode, BG 2.5 is laden with commentaries, both from Moore’s podcasts and specifically for the set, with partner David Eick (who contributes video blogs), and while they sometime get way too editor-oriented, are laden with geeky goodness and never fail to comment on what makes the show so special or give credit where credit is deserved. (Universal)