Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Canon: BSG Episode Rating-Palooza

Just like I did last week with Buffy, I'm offering up an episode ranking of TV's best current show, Battlestar Galactica. I used the same methodology and spreadsheets, so if you want to know more about that, revisit the Buffy post.

This is difficult, seeing as how I haven't seen the BSG eps nearly as many times as I have the Buffy eps, and don't yet have them on DVD (hey, birthday coming up. Hint, hint). And the series hasn't ended yet (thank the gods) so I'm sure at some point after the series is wrapped up, and I've seen them all mulitple times on a rewatch, I'll revisit these ratings and rankings.

A few notes:

  • Out of 54 produced eps (counting the miniseries as one), I've ranked 36 as a 9.0 or higher.
  • There are only three -- three! -- that I would call "clunkers" and rated below 8.0. Faithful BSG watchers probably know before reading any further exactly which ones those are. As I've said before, I would rather watch "Black Market" over and over again for the rest of my life before subjecting myself to one hour of Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy or October Road.
  • When there are only 54 episodes produced, the "bottom" rankings are kind of silly, especially considering the fact that there are only three I would consider subpar. And even in those, there is much to love.

Okay, on with the rankings.

Top 10 Episodes of Battlestar Galactica:

Due to ties, there are actually 11 here. First number is season/ep number, second number is my rating, third number is the ranking.

1.1 33 10.0 1
2.10 Pegasus 10.0 1
2.11 Resurrection Ship, Part 1 10.0 1
2.20 Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2 9.9 4
1.13 Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2 9.8 5
3.20 Crossroads, Part 2 9.7 6
1.12 Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1 9.6 7
2.7 Home, Part 2 9.6 7
2.12 Resurrection Ship, Part 2 9.6 7
2.18 Downloaded 9.6 7
3.9 Unfinished Business 9.6 7

Seven of the eps are components two-parters. Not surprising, given the marvelous serialized storytelling. Three eps from S1, six from S2 and two from S3. The last one from S3, "Unfinished Business" is a controversial choice, as fans either loved or hated the episode centered around a shipboard boxing tournament, with plenty of angst devoted to the Starbuck/Apollo relationship. I wasn't a huge fan of that relationship either, but loved how that ep, despite its contrivances, examined the characters.

Just "missing the cut" rated with 9.5s were "Water," "You Can't Go Home Again," "Exodus Part 2" and "Crossroads Part 1."

Bottom 10 Episodes of Battlestar Galactica:

2.3 Fragged 8.6 45
2.1 Scattered 8.5 46
2.16 Sacrifice 8.5 46
3.10 The Passage 8.5 46
3.16 Dirty Hands 8.4 49
2.13 Epiphanies 8.3 50
3.8 Hero 8.2 51
3.14 The Woman King 6.2 52
3.15 A Day in the Life 6.1 53
2.14 Black Market 6.0 54

The bottom three should come as no surprise. "Black Market" is notable for it's incoherent "noir" plot involving Lee, who has an out of frakkin' nowhere "relationship" with a hooker named Shevon. And it wastes good performances by Jamie Bamber, Bill Duke and Richard Hatch. I was seriously worried about the direction of Season 3 after watching the back to back misfires of "The Woman King" and "A Day in the Life," but fortunately, the series rebounded in a major way to close strong. The eps above these in the ranking are not really "bad" per se (how is an 8.anything "bad?"), but simply not as strong as others in the series. With the exceptions of "Scattered" and "Fragged" the lower rated eps have typically come in the middle of S2 and S3, when the writers seemed to struggle telling stories after starting strong, and before planning to wrap up the season.

Season 1 is notable for its consistent quality, having produced only 13 episodes. Still, I'd rather suffer through the occasional "Black Market" and get 20 episodes in a season, rather than have less of this Emmy worthy (and Peabody winning) show to brighten (and darken) my world.

As always, if anyone wants to see the entire list or use the spreadsheets for their own evaluations, let me know.

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