Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Polarity of Narrative

(Warning: Contains Battlestar Galactica spoilers)

I've been thinking about narrative conflicts lately, what with the whole 'power shifting' thing - and especially with the latest ventures of one of my favorite TV shows, Battlestar Galactica, which is currently trying to give a 'Mein Kampf' feel to Gaius Baltar's position within the ship's politics and all.

And I was thinking about narrative conflict. Two sides, A and B, whether they be a single person each, or a whole party - army or otherwise - against another, both of which have conflicting views on a subject which concerns them both. And there really can't be a modern narrative of any kind without any sort of conflict, we all know that I suppose.

But what I actually realized, based, again, on the whole Hitleresque/misunderstood hero portrayal of Dr. Baltar, which gave some credible arguments to his side of the debate (the 'am I the worst man alive or not' debate, that is), is that - since, as I have advocated, there are always two sides to any given point - every villain can be a hero. 'Turning that frown upside down' is an easy thing to do on any given subject if need be, and narrative oppositions are always stronger, methinks, if each side has a valid point of view on the disputed matter but you, as a viewer, are forced to choose a side.

And in this debate, the Gaius debate, it seems like the only thing that's keeping us on the side-which-is-not-his is the fact that he used to be the straight-cut villain in the old series on which this one was 'loosely based'. A series which was as clear of narrative moral debates as, it seems, was typical of TV series coming out at a time like that, in the days when '
men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri', and for some reason that was considered a good thing. But it is such debates that make me 'enjoy' a story, struggles and conflicts that make me wonder about the nature of the world around me and about the human mind and society, that make me think and hence feel, well, a little bit smarter.

So, give me my plot-lines convoluted, please-thankyou. Apparently, it's what gives me the kind of adrenaline rush that only an overdose of shades of gray can.

1 comment:

Σοφία said...

I couldn't agree more. I love the new Galactica storylines, simply because they're so multifaceted. Gaius is a hell of a character, and the analogies to modern day villains are definitely thought-provoking.