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Petri Wessman's weblog

Battlestar Stargate Voyager

I’ve long liked the Stargate TV series (both incarnations, though SG-1 kicked Atlantis’ ass). Not a rabid fan, but I have enjoyed it… and damn, the original series ran for an incredible length of time. As someone noted, it’s sort of the U.S. “Doctor Who” in that regard. It never took itself too seriously, but neither did it go all slapstick… and I think that worked pretty well.

Stargate Universe, as noted previously, is the new series in the Stargate universe. The pilot 3-parter left me with a really positive impression. It’s darker than the previous series, and I get a definite Battlestar Galactica vibe from it at times. It’s not quite that grim, but it’s a lot more moody than the predecessors. It’s also a bit slower paced and focuses a lot on the characters. I personally love that. The basic setup is of course close to the old Star Trek Voyager… but thankfully that’s the only similarity to that piece of crap. This series has those “actor” things, and something called “plot”.

Well, last night I watched the latest episode, “Light”, and… wow. Ok, now I’m officially impressed. That was good. Very good. So far, I think this is my favorite Stargate series – though that is only based on five episodes. We’ll see how it develops.

It’s a different show from the earlier ones, with a very different feel. I hope it keeps that up.

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There must be some way out of here, said the Joker to the Thief...

So now it’s over. I just watched the final episode of Battlestar Galactica (“Daybreak, part 2”).

I’ll avoid spoilers here, because most people in Finland have yet to see even most of season 4, let alone the series finale. I will say this: it’s a fitting ending, and it doesn’t compromise. It’s also a happy ending, but since this is BSG that also means it’s far, far from a saccharine one. It’s hopeful, if only because most of the series was so totally dark and desperate. “Bittersweet” might be the dominant emotion.

Like most of the series, it’s slightly uneven. The writers try to wrap up everything… or, well, everything that they want to wrap up. Most of it works, though there are small stumbles here and there. I’m still unsure if the final scene was worth including, I would personally have ended things a bit earlier. Still, it does underline one of the major themes, so… dunno. I’m pretty sure this will be a pretty controversial series end; I liked it quite a bit (though it was far from perfect), but I’m quite sure some people will hate it – for various reasons. The religious themes actually didn’t bother me much, even though I’m quite strictly an atheist myself; they were there from the very beginning of this show, and I think they were handled pretty well here. We’re never given 100% solid explanations for various things, we only have various character viewpoints. And that works. The difference between a “god” and a “highly advanced being” is, after all, tenuous if you take it to the extreme.

I liked the resolution of Starbuck’s storyline, though I’m certain some people will hate it. That final scene with her was well done… no flashy effects or other distractions.

In hindsight, it’s obvious that the writers made a lot of stuff up as they went along, as they freely admit in interviews. It’s actually surprising how well the whole thing holds together, despite that. Sure, there are nitpicks to be made, and not everything makes sense. But it feels like a coherent (if messy) story, and that’s what matters in the end.

If there is any justice in the world, this one will be remembered as one of the great scifi TV epics, like Babylon 5. Both shows had their share of stumbles along the way, and both transcended those stumbles by just being so damn good as a whole. I’m still amazed that Ron Moore managed to take something as cheesy and vapid as the original BSG, and turn it into a smart, ultra-dark and desperate story of humanity’s survival and eventual redemption (of sorts). That’s one hell of a hat trick to pull off.

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Winter hibernation

Still alive, though the recurring flu of this winter is (was) back for a short while. Feeling much better now, but we spent the weekend in Jyväskylä at a wedding and Sunday morning had me feeling like something the cat dragged in… and I didn’t drink that much. Decided to stay home and vegetate yesterday, was feeling pretty crappy – and it was worth it, now back at work and more or less ok. Managed to watch some small bit of my tv show backlog when I wasn’t horizontal in bed, so at least something good….

Otherwise it’s life as normal; nothing spectacular has happened but I manage to keep busy and entertained. I bought the board game Arkham Horror and most of the expansion packs, and we’ve been trying that out. Fun game, and even though it is complicated we’ve mostly managed to figure it out. FFG really does publish some brilliant board games; the newer Battlestar Galactica board game is also very, very good and a huge amount of fun.

Been playing a bit of EVE now and then, but it comes and goes. The new expansion does sound very interesting, I have to admit; I’m busy brushing up on my exploration/scanning skills so I can go try out the new “wormhole” stuff once it goes live. At the moment nobody knows how the new Tech3 stuff will work out. I suspect the devs are clueless there, too, and the “let’s tweak it as we go along” model is in play. I’m ok with that, as long as they do balance things eventually.

Oh, and I do have to mention my new (work) phone, the Nokia 6210 Navigator. Now, it’s not often that I praise anything done by Nokia, I’ve usually found their hardware to be ok but the software abysmal. Well, this thing is actually pretty sweet. Nice, compact form-factor, a navigation suite that actually works quite well, and software (on both phone and PC side) that doesn’t utterly suck. Even the PC Suite thingy was usable now, instead of the mind-eating horror it used to be. Go figure. It’s not a total home run.. the GPS reception is patchy at times, and in true Nokia fashion the menu choices and “which button does which logical thing” seem to be randomly assigned at times. But I don’t want to bitch too much – this is a very nice phone. I’m especially loving the combined A-GPS navigation plus compass… having a GPS map on a phone which rotates according to your own orientation is cool. As is the walking (or driving) routing guidance it can do. I’ve already used it as a car navigator a bit, and it works. Pretty well, in fact.

Tampere By Day

Not much luck in the Tampere ECQ last Saturday, but it was a lot of fun. Got a grand total of 1.5 VPs, which surprisingly enough almost got me a qualification – as far as I know, I was just below the cutoff point for that. Surprising for such a low VP number, but of course we had a few already qualified people there and they also made it to the finals, bringing the qualification barrier down. Oh well, I guess my last chance to qualify is the aptly named Last Chance Qualifier at the EC.

Can’t really blame my deck this time, it’s working pretty well (though I do have a few small tweaks I still want to do, I need to add a bit more bleed power still). It was more a matter of game luck and how I played… I didn’t catch myself making many mistakes, but just didn’t get lucky enough – the first game gave me ridiculously few wakes and deflects in the beginning, and with a stealth Presence bleeder as my predator I was forced into defensive mode, letting my prey grow strong. Things would have worked a lot differently if my grandpredator had gotten his rush deck to work, but he didn’t. The second game had my prime vampire get torporized and diablerized early on, which seriously put a spanner in the works and lost me a significant amount of forward momentum. The third game actually (barely) got me a VP, plus half for timeout. In this game I finally managed to put real pressure on my prey, which made all the difference.

I was at a friend’s “polttarit” (would be “bachelor party”, but this was a girl so I’m not sure what term to use here) on Friday, that proved to be a lot more fun than I expected – my plan was just to drop in quickly, since I had the ECQ the next day. We had another friend as DJ and he did a really good job with a great playlist, I ended up dancing and socializing until pretty late… which resulted in me getting just 6+ hours of sleep before driving towards Tampere the next morning. Yawn. All that combined led to a Sunday spent in recovery – I didn’t do much except watch videos, plan Wednesday’s game a bit, made some lunch, and read a bit. Finally got around to watching the season end of Battlestar Galactica, which was very cool; some surprises there and I’m looking forward to seeing what direction they take things for the last season. Also watched some of the last episodes of Veronica Mars, which continues to entertain… it’s a real pity that this show didn’t get renewed, leaving the third season as the last one. Sigh. Why do all the good shows get cancelled, and the crap get s renewed?

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