This past summer I watched the 2003 Sci-Fi (or SyFy *shudder*) Battlestar Galactica television show at the prompting of my friend, Bill. That is, I watched ALL of it. The miniseries. All four (or six, depending on how you count) seasons totally about 75 episodes. The movies, The Plan and Razor. And the multiple series of webisodes still available online. I watched it all. In one summer. If you do the math, I watched about an hour a day on average.
As you can guess, I was instantly hooked. What a FANTASTIC show. I can't recommend it highly enough to any fan of science fiction.
It's action packed. As you're watching, you never get the feeling that these characters as "safe" because in some metacognitive way you realize that they're the main characters and they can't die. It's got you on the edge of your seat the entire time. What's going to happen next? You just have to check out the next episode to find out. I was glad I didn't have to wait to find out because that would have been torture! There are quite a few ninety degree turns in which the show goes in a completely new direction out of the blue. They always kept it fresh.
It's gritty and mature. Star Wars and Star Trek are both very sanitized worlds - Star Wars is meant to be accessible to children and Star Trek represents a Utopian society. No so in BGS. The "heroes" are often forced into choosing between the lesser of two evils. Sometimes well meaning characters come into conflict with one another when they're both trying to do the right thing. The characters swear, drink, and, well, frak. Quite a lot of fracking, actually.
And last but not least, the characters. FANTASTIC characters brought to life by a fabulous cast. In numerous flashbacks, these characters (and there complex interrelationships) are detailed. Every character is distinct and unique. The cast is quite large (20 or so primary characters) and throughout the series characters that first appeared in the background become quite significant.
Some fans (bitter Brian) have expressed disappointment at the series finale but I thought it was a fitting end to the series. Perhaps my perspective is different than fans who watched it live on television, but I loved Battlestar Galactica from beginning to end. The only problem? The series is so great, no matter how hard you try your BSG role playing game will never be as cool.