After its nauseatingly tense premiere, Battlestar Galactica ratcheted back the drama in the second episode of its third season, “Exodus, Part One.” Penned by David Weddle and Bradley Thompson and directed by Felix Enriquez Alcala), the episode sported two of the season’s biggest action sequences (twin sieges, one pinning down the human resistance, the other obliterating Cylons who intended to execute 200 human dissidents). But the bulk of the hour that was quieter than expected, as various characters prepared for a battle to free the humans from the Cylon occupation and retake their place searching the stars for Earth.
Ursula K. Leguin (#1–10 of 2)
Friday Night Lights (tonight 8 p.m., NBC) is the most accurate and honest portrayal of contemporary small town life in the small screen’s history. Relocated from the 1980s to the present, the pilot cribs heavily from the 2004 movie (which, like the series, was written and directed by Peter Berg), yet it manages to stand apart from it. If you’ve seen any sports movie ever, you won’t be surprised by much that happens; Friday Night Lights marches through the expected cliches in its portrayal of the “big game,” and even repeats a heartrending moment from the movie (though it happens to a different character). Still, for anyone who has attended a high school football game, much of the series will ring true, and the emotions that Berg earns through sports movie cliche are genuine. And the overall emphasis is different. Unlike the film, where nearly every event was directed toward the climactic showdown, in the series pilot the game is almost an afterthought; bits of it even feel rushed and perfunctory. This time around, Berg is more interested in the town itself.