(UPDATED 3-15-07 10:52 PM)
In this post Star Trek, post Buffy the Vampire Slayer world, three shows have risen to capture the hearts of lonely geek souls yearning to fill the empty genre-TV void deep within them. LOST, Heroes, and Battlestar Galactica bring in millions of viewers each week with their unique blend of sci-fi, large ensemble casts, intriguing mysteries, and compelling drama. But which one is the best geek TV show on the air? Well, luckily I’m here to answer this question for you, and I’ll break it down into five distinct categories.
Primary Male Character: Jack Shepard vs. Peter Petrelli vs. Lee Adama
It’s a three-way war for male supremacy! We can’t really decide this battle in a physical fight because of Peter’s obvious super-powered advantage, so we’ll simply have to base the outcome on who oozes the most machismo. This leaves Peter out, since he’s always whining about something, pining over Simone, and has that terrible emo hair. So it’s now a one-on-one between Jack and Lee. Both of these guys are natural leaders with major issues with their respective Fathers, both of whom hold prestigious positions. Jack basically lives his life in an obsessive quest to gain the approval of his Father, while Lee struggles to escape the shadow of his Dad, the big-shot Admiral. Lee gets bonus points in this area for recently telling his Dad to shove his orders up his ass, choosing to pursue fighting in courtroom as his Grandfather once did rather than fighting in a spaceship.
Jack and Lee also share a love of blondes. A little too much love to be healthy, really. Jack’s love for his wife Sarah turned into obsession when she left him because of his work habits and constant need to “fix things”. He resorted to stalking her and it tormented his life so much that he left his high paying surgical career to become a tattooed drunk in Thailand. Lee, meanwhile tried to deny his attraction for the untamed man-devouring Starbuck, but eventually succumbed to it. He laid his heart on the line and she proceeded to trample it, marrying another man. Soon after this Lee feel into a depression, gaining weight and losing his edge as a leader. He began to cheat on his wife Dualla with Starbuck, but when faced with a choice to leave Dualla, he decided to do the honorable thing and stay committed to his wife.
Bottom line here? Lee Adama is a straight-laced soldier, sometimes going against authority but always trying to do the right thing in the right way. Jack has a bit of a dark side and isn’t afraid to explore it once in a while and fight dirty. That’s why he wins this one.
Winner: Jack (1 point for LOST)
“Bad Girl” Female Character: Starbuck vs. Kate vs. Nikki/Jessica
Again, we’ll have to disqualify Nikki/Jessica from a physical melee due to her freakish strength when she becomes Jessica, although both and Kate and Starbuck can kick ass with the best of ’em (see the boxing episode of BSG and any Kate flashback episode of the first season of LOST). In terms of hotness, it’s also way too close to call, as Ali Larter, Evangeline Lily, and Katee Sackhoff are all absolutely smokin’ (yes, even Starbuck with the short hair). So, I think we’ll have to judge this contest on which one of these fiery ladies causes the most trouble.
Nikki is a fairly timid woman who just wants to raise her child in a safe environment, but her alter-ego Jessica is a violent hell-raiser who is an expert at hand-to-hand combat and all types of firearms. She steals cars and money, and doesn’t bat an eyelash after horrifically slaughtering anyone who crosses her.
Kate blew up her abusive drunk Father, went on the lam for years robbing banks, seducing men, crashing cars, and beating the crap out of cops before she was finally apprehended by the feds and ended up on the island where she continued to lie, shoot guns, and seduce men. Kate has a heart of gold but there’s still a lot we don’t know about her and now she’s wrapped in a love triangle where she’s guaranteed to trample over at least one guy’s heart.
Starbuck smokes stogies, drinks men under the table on a regular basis, gambles, bucks authority, is wild, unruly, disobedient, promiscuous, flies rings around every other pilot in the fleet, beats the crap out of men, messes with their heads, has a serious Mommy Dearest complex (her Mom once slammed Starbuck’s hand in a door), and is an all around hot, trouble-making badass.
Winner: Starbuck (1 point for Battlestar Galactica)
All three of these shows are notorious for huge mysteries that go mainly unsolved for multiple episodes (and even seasons). Most of Battlestar Galactica’s mysteries stem from the robotic Cylons and the fact that they look identical to humans, which means any character on the show could potentially be one of the “12 models”. So far seven of the twelve have been revealed so the big mystery during the third season has been figuring out who the “Final Five” are. We also don’t know the Cylons true motivations for wanting to destroy the human race, who their “One True God” is, or why they are seeking Earth as intently as the Colonial fleet.
Heroes has the big, overlying mystery of the impending destruction of New York City. Hiro traveled back into the future in the first episode, and barely teleported back out before New York became a giant fireball. Recently, it was revealed to Peter Petrelli through dreams and Isaac’s premonitory paintings that he may be responsible for the destruction of New York. There are countless other mysteries on Heroes, however, such as who may be behind these people’s mutations, why Mr. Bennet and his shady organization captures and conducts experiments on the “Heroes”,what role does the mysterious “Mr. Linderman” play in all of this, and tons more.
LOST has so many mysteries that even the writers of the show admit they lose track of the many convoluted threads from time to time. Even though there have been several flashback stories that explore the characters’ pasts, there are still puzzle pieces missing pertaining to their true motivations and connections to each other. Of course, the enigmatic “Others” garner most of the attention on the show these days. Who are they? Where did they come from? What are they doing on the island? Why do they abduct people? Why do they appear to be stronger than normal humans? You could go on for days asking these questions. The Others don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the shows’ mysteries, however. There’s the Dharma Initiative and their crazy hatches, the dreaded “smoke monster”, Hurley’s “cursed” numbers, Desmond’s time traveling, the cause of Locke’s paralysis, and…do I really need to continue?
Winner: LOST (1 more point for LOST)
Villains/Protagonists: Cylons/Gaius Baltar vs. Sylar/Mr. Bennet/Primatech Paper vs. “The Others”:
It’s often said that heroes are only as good as their villains. All three shows have pretty great baddies who love to torment and confound our favorite characters
On LOST, you have those child-stealing, lie-spewing, weird experiments- performing “Others”, and their super-creepy leader Ben Linus. Battlestar Galactica boasts the powerful (and sexy) Robotic race known as the Cylons, with their powerful armada of Basestar warships and deadly Raiders. Not to mention what may be their secret weapon, the weaselly scientist Gaius Baltar. Heroes has the psychotic Sylar, a powerful telekinetic who likes to slice the tops off his victims’ skulls and steal their powers. Also causing trouble on Heroes is Mr. Bennet (AKA Horned-rimmed glasses guy), and the shady organization he works for, headed by Eric Roberts.
Now, in a full-on, knock-out, drag-down fight, The Others and their smoke monster wouldn’t last long against the awesome firepower of the Cylon Centurions, their mighty space fleet, or the unnatural strength and cunning of their “skin jobs”. They’d also get wasted pretty fast by Sylar’s super-powers. In fact, the Cylons would find a way to obliterate both show’s baddies fairly easily (they wouldn’t need to go to Earth to fight Sylar at all, they’d just fire a few nukes at the planet surface). Therefore, we’ll need to decide this category by evil deeds.
The Others kidnapped a few kids, stuck people in bear cages, and performed some freaky psychological experiments, but that’s about it. Sylar has killed a few dozen people in brutal fashion, and Mr. Bennet abducted some “heroes”, but the Cylons annihilated an entire civilization and Tricia Helfer’s nasty Caprica Six snapped a baby’s neck. A freakin’ baby!. End of story.
Winner: Battlestar Galactica (1 more point for Battlestar).
Finally, we come to the deciding category, the individuals that surround the primary characters and keep us tuning in every week to see what will become of them. These are the comic relief characters, the jerks, the junkies, the drunks, the pilots, the grunts, the con-men, the idealists, the politicians, the best friends, the wives, the children, etc. As mentioned previously, all three shows have large ensemble casts, full of talented actors and actresses who give these people depth and emotion. So let’s see who has the best cast.
Right off the bat, I’m going to eliminate Heroes from the competition. They can’t win on points anyway, and their cast hasn’t really gelled yet. Aside from Hayden Panterre as the indestructible cheerleader Claire and Masi Oka as the hilarious time-traveler Hiro, there isn’t much else to write home about with this group (although they are getting stronger with the recent addition of Malcolm McDowell). So, it’s down to Battlestar Galactica and LOST for the coveted title of “Best Geek TV Show”.
Both shows have absolutely unbelievable supporting casts. It’s almost unfair, in a way. They are like two all-star teams playing against a field of regular-season squads with two or three great players. Having the likes of Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama), Mary McDonnell (President Roslin), Michael Hogan (Colonel Tigh),Terry O’ Quinn (Locke), Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), and Josh Holloway (Sawyer) backing up your main characters is an embarrassment of riches. Both programs also bring in the best guest stars when they need someone for a single story arc or a flashback character. Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Bruce Davidson (X-Men), Lucy Lawless (Xena), Cheech Marin (of Cheech & Chong fame), and tons more have appeared on LOST and BSG. You know what? This category is a complete draw.
Well, we’ve ended in a 2-2 tie. Looks like we’ll have to go to a tiebreaker, and that’s where you readers come in. You’ll have to decide the outcome of this one. Vote on the poll by clicking here. I’ll post the results in a future entry. Democracy lives!
All right kids, I’ve removed the link to the poll because 1) it wasn’t really functioning properly, and 2) I’ve received some criticism for not having “cajones” and naming a true winner in this battle royale. So, to appease my critics (*cough*Oliver Klosov*cough*), I am going to man up and pronounce LOST as the winner…just barely. When it comes down to it, LOST eeks it out by a slim margin due to slightly better writing, more humor than Battlestar Galactica (Hurley anyone?), and if both shows were on the same night and same time, I’d go with LOST. Oh, and one more thing… simple mathematics, folks:
Claire + Black Hair + Goth Outfit = HOT