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By Brad Cook | January 31, 2009

If you’re a “Battlestar Galactica” (or just “BSG”) fan like me, you know what I’m about to say: This is not only the best science-fiction show to ever air on TV (sorry, “Star Trek” and “Star Wars Holiday Special” fans), but it’s also one of the best dramas in history. All fans of genre stuff have their own litmus tests for when something transcends its bounds and appeals to non-natives, so I’ll give you mine: Early in season three, when Colonel Tigh kills his wife after discovering her involvement with the Cylons. It was a gut-wrenching scene, one so intense that it caused my wife, who wouldn’t notice if all science-fiction and fantasy disappeared tomorrow, to stop in her tracks as she was walking by. It was a moment that could have taken place in just about any other drama, in terms of the emotional impact; as we all know, it is just one of many similarly weighty scenes throughout this show’s run.

Yes, “BSG” has had its ups and downs, but all classic series experience ebbs and flows, even “The Sopranos.” Such is the nature of TV, where it’s hard to create much of a long-term game plan because people are never sure if they have a job next year, especially during the early seasons. As a result, “BSG” has its share of clunky episodes, and the overall narrative flow isn’t as smooth as one would like. However, Ron Moore and company are smart to end while they’re on top, rather than try to hang on and find themselves potentially making poor compromises in the future, when ratings inevitably decline and the Sci-Fi Channel decides to pick up viewership by doing crossovers with “Doctor Who.” Plus, we have another TV movie (“The Plan,” which promises to straighten out the Cylons’ admittedly incomprehensible master plan) to look forward to, along with a spin-off prequel series, “Caprica.”

Fans have no reason not to pick up this latest DVD set. It includes the previously released movie “Razor,” complete with all of that DVD’s bonus features (commentary track, deleted scenes, and a couple featurettes), so, yeah, you’re double-dipping if you already have it. And, yes, like you I’m waiting for an excellent retrospective documentary about the series, but seeing as how it hasn’t concluded yet, I’m willing to wait. Hopefully we’ll see something like that, preferably in the two-hour range, in the DVD release for season 4.5.

This Season 4.0 set, however, has plenty going for it, including commentaries for all ten episodes with Moore, who is joined by other producers and writers on some of them. Each episode also has a smattering of deleted scenes, so right there, you’ve got enough content to keep you busy for a while. Moore in particular is fun to listen to, because he obviously enjoys talking about the show, whether it’s a storyline decision or a production difficulty.

But wait, there’s more: disc four has three featurettes: “The Journey” (21 minutes), “The Music of ‘Battlestar Galactica'” (23 minutes), and “Cylons: The Twelve” (16 minutes). They’re all self-explanatory, although the music piece goes for laughs by having everyone pick on the composer, Bear McCreary. It’s amusing, although it goes on a bit too long. At least it demonstrates, though, that not everything “BSG”-related has to be somber.

Disc four is rounded out by a sneak preview of the upcoming “Caprica” mini-series and the two-minute long “Season 4.5: The Untold Story.” The latter, of course, reveals nothing in the way of spoilers. You’ve probably seen the former by now; I think it looks intriguing, although the proof will be in the pudding, as they say.

On disc three, you’ll find 10 of co-producer David Eick’s video blogs. I won’t bother to list all of their titles, but they run about 40 minutes in total and give us a nice behind-the-scenes look at the series, complete with many light-hearted moments. It’s obvious this is a cast and crew who really enjoy working together. Either that or they’re all Cylons, and “BSG” was their way to prepare us for the coming invasion. If that’s the case, I say bring it on; maybe then my wife will watch this show with me.

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