Saturday, 1 June 2013

Why Foreigners Get So Confused By The British...And A Diversion

As I work for a company owned by French & Portuguese companies this seems rather familiar:

Some weeks ago a friend and I were talking about modern life and I commented that the advent of satellite TV and the proliferation of channels meant that, as a nation, our shared experiences were becoming more dilute. When I was a boy (in the late Sixties / early Seventies) there were just three TV channels (in black & white to boot) and the coming of Channel 4 was a big deal. What this meant was that, as a country, a good chunk of the population watched the same programmes - I fondly remember "The Likely Lads" and "World at War" - which gave all of us some shared references - these days we're all watching different things. I also seem to have a busier life than when I was seven or eight years old - missing an episode of a series seems to be very easy for me these days.

Anyway I said I had a list of TV programmes that I wanted to watch but hadn't got round to yet - "The Wire" being one such. Anyway, to get to the point, my friend said I should watch "Battlestar Galactica" - to which I replied "I'll bear it in mind" (see image above for translation). To my surprise a DVD of the pilot and 1st series arrived in the post a few days later.

Last week, as I cleaned some 15mm ABs I'd got from eBay (you know the kind of thing - "50 part painted AB figures" that you can't really see - so I get them and they are ABs, and they have been part painted. But whomever started them was presumably using a house painting brush.) I put the first DVD on. The pilot was a bit slow (scene setting, establishing the characters, all that c**p) but the first series itself was quite fun - it is a rather grimy military drama that is set in space and covers some fairly serious ground without beating you round the head with it. It also is about as far from "Star Trek" as you can get - no photon torpedoes or phasers, no shields, and intelligent storylines that stretch over several episodes. The show ran from 2004 - 2009 and is definitely a product of it's time - themes discussed include suicide bombers, responses to terrorism, religion, identity, all kinds of stuff. I'm planning to pick up the remaining series (there were four).

But, best of all, it features a Canadian actress / model called Tricia Helfer - who frankly, makes me stupid whenever I see her on screen  - believe it or not, she plays a Cylon - and she does it very well (and before you ask I'm not being sarcastic here, she actually is very good in the role). I usually leave gratuitous shots of good looking ladies to Legatus Hedlius but for this woman I'll make an exception!


  1. Other than Star wars, that's the only space opera I've watched all the way through. Excellent show and some surprising actors turned up too.

    I understand Ms Helfer was brought in primarily as eye candy, but turned out to be one of the strongest actors in the series. Good for her.


  2. That's a great piece, Malcolm. As a lawyer, I recognise some of the mis-translations (particularly the "I've only got minor comments" one). BTG is terrific - I was hooked on it 3 years ago, but then fell behind, and caught up with it again when on paternity leave in Feb. See you in a couple of days.


  3. Crazy Joe, I hated Star Wars (I saw it in a multiplex in America a few weeks after it was first released and walked out), and Star Trek strikes me as too clean and antiseptic. It doesn't help that my brother-in-law and his friends are Trekkies of the first order (when an adult seriously tells you that "Star Trek changed my life" you know you're dealing with someone with only the most tenuous grasp on reality - but as he worked in IT I should have worked that out earlier).

    I also rather enjoyed "Firefly" and was disappointed when the show was canned after one series - that also featured an actress who makes me stupid - Morena Baccarin - and one of the best fight sequences ever in the movie:

    I picked up the next couple of series of BSG cheap from Amazon - so I may well be boring my wife stupid with it (who doesn't really get it).