Voices: 'Battlestar Galactica' defies youth demographics
Michael Hogan, left, as Saul Tigh and Edward James Olmos as William Adama in "Battlestar Galactica."
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Older characters at the forefront of a prime-time drama? What is this, science fiction?
As a matter of fact, it is. Sort of.
Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" has always been more interested in politics and religion than it has in ray guns and spaceships -- call it "The West Wing" in outer space -- but what's become increasingly obvious in the current season is the writers' resistance to demographic-based storytelling.
Networks, catering to advertisers, generally prefer stories that put younger characters front and center, but "BSG" has done the opposite in its final batch of episodes that ramped up political intrigue and character drama in a tense, action-packed mutiny storyline.
That arc reached its zenith with a Shakespearean "let slip the dogs of war"-style soliloquy by 50-something President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) last month, after she believed her lover, Adm. William Adama (Edward James Olmos), was dead.
"I will use every cannon, every bomb, every bullet, every weapon I have down to my own eye teeth to end you! I swear it! I'm coming for all of you!" she threatened.
Viewers don't usually see 60-something action heroes in prime time, but that's what "BSG" viewers saw when Adama and Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) took up weapons to protect an airlock while Roslin escaped.
And when it comes to love stories in prime time, it's rare for viewers to see characters outside the 18-49 demo getting kissyface. There hasn't been a more touching, scripted scene on TV this year than Adama with his arm wrapped around a bald, cancer-stricken Roslin as the pair slept.
Even though the older characters have been getting the most face time and best storylines this season, ratings are up among young viewers, with the show scoring its best ratings since its season two premiere in 2005. Imagine that.
Hear that, network execs? It's not about the age of the cast, it's about the writing and performances. Young viewers will watch shows with older characters. And right now there's none better than "Battlestar Galactica."
First Published March 1, 2009 12:00 am