Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.0

Universal, 2008, Not Rated

Last winter’s writer’s strike reeked havoc across the television universe. And while that hastened the demise of the likes of Back to You, a lot of good scripted TV suffered. Like many shows, this acclaimed series was forced to produce an abbreviated season (this show’s fourth), which concluded last June and just picked up in mid-January. The first chunk arrives in this DVD set along with the TV movie Razor. It doesn’t take long to see why this series is so beloved by critics and its loyal fan-base. It’s also apparent that Battlestar Galactica, despite its loose comparisons to Lost and Heroes, is much more at home on cable’s Sci-Fi Network. Maybe a little too gloomy for its own good at times, the darkness only serves to set it apart from its broadcast network counterparts. What at first seems understated in terms of direction only serves to heighten the drama — the exteriors of the spacecraft interacting for example. The series continues its mastery of the flawed hero as well, with Starbuck (Katee Sackoff) believing that she might have found Earth. The only weak spot is the episode “Sine Qua Non,” which starts out well enough on paper but devolves into an uninspired kidnap drama. It does, however, provide momentum for the very fine final two episodes in the set. Grade: A-