I finished off Season 2.0 of Battlestar Galactica - apparently this is the loosest sense of the term "Season" as the new episodes are due out next month, and do not following any sort of normal release schedule. That's cool, though, because that means that it'll be only a few months before those episodes show up on DVD as well. I'd rather wait and be a season behind than have to deal with a weekly schedule and commercials. That, plus I don't care to pay for cable when I barely watched it when I did have it. All I really have to worry about is Tim keeping his fracking mouth shut about spoilers... although I have to give it to him, he seems to have caught on to the fact that it really annoys me when he talks about them because this season was full of surprises, left turns and zigzags that I wasn't expecting, and he didn't ruin any of it for me.
While the Cylons remain threatening throughout the series, the external enemy begins to be only one of the problems facing the fleet. People are flawed, and a major aspect of this season was discovering a certain amount of the enemy within. The program is too smart to have any mustache twirling villains. In the original series, John Calicos' Baltar played that role and it really didn't amount to much beyond the fact that Calicos is really good at doing that sort of thing (see "Errand of Mercy," right suitboyskin?). On this show, the situation is never that black and white. Tom Zarek, for example, could easily have been a scheming crook, but while he acts according to his own motivations, and should on no account be trusted, he is extremely useful. And he has the wisdom to choose his battles as well, which is an interesting trait. See, he's a politician that acts like a politician.
I like how the show will be able to mount such intensity but maintain a very human dimension despite the most bizarre twists that develop over the course of the show. I was wondering where they were going with Gaius and was surprised to see the shape of how things were developing. Helo, Starbuck, Dee and many other characters are given a bit more depth, but I found that the second season had a tendency to revolve more around Chief Tyrol; this is a good thing as the character is one of the most realistic on the show, and it was very interesting to see not only how he becomes a compass in the show, but that he also demonstrates the inspiration that Laura gives to the survivors. There are some characters who get kind of passed over; I think that a bit more information about Cally would have been nice, especially considering some of the things she does in this season, and Gaeta seems to have more going on than we have yet seen (what's up with that tattoo...). There are others whom we could have seen a bit more of as well, but those are the two that I'm really curious about at the moment.
The sense of despair that is beginning to set in throughout the Galactica is well illustrated; this is a dark show, but what it is about is one of the themes that was closest to me about Lord of the Rings as well, which is the need to continue on despite how bleak the situation may get. It may be ironic to brand a series that opened by killing off billions of people and reducing the human population of the universe to around fifty thousand people or so a humanist program, but the way that the series has of reminding that life goes on, that every a single birth can be a momentus occasion, that each person matters counters the grittiness of the show with a sense of the preciousness of life. Even, surprisingly enough, Cylon life.