So… Next up: Battlestar Galactica. Not the original series, but the remake from a few years back. This is a pretty amazing programme even without the fact that it definitely passes the Bechdel-Wallace test. The basic premise is that humans, living in an alternative world called the Twelve Colonies, invented robot servants called Cylons. The Cylons eventually revolted and left the twelve planets, no-one knew where. Then, tens of years later, they reappear, with the intention of wiping out their human masters.
The series begins just after the Cylon invasion and total conquest of the Twelve Colonies as a motley fleet of survivors in a variety of civilian spaceships are fleeing the Cylons into deep space. They are guarded and guided by Battlestar Galactica, a superannuated space battleship which was due for scrappage, under the command of William Adama, her last Captain, on the verge of going into retirement. Amongst the civilian fleet is Colonial One, the equivalent of Airforce One, on which the education secretary, the highest ranking remaining member of the cabinet, is sworn in as President of the Colonies and of the fewer than 500,000 remaining survivors of the human race.
The series opens just as the humans are jumping deeper and ever deeper into space in a desperate attempt to escape the pursuing Cylon armada. The conceit is that after each jump, they have thirty minutes before the Cylons track them down and the enemy fleet starts to flash into existence around them. So we start with our human heroes desperate, griefstricken, traumatised, and driven to edge of insanity by exhaustion and the demands of relentless thirty minute jumps. It’s a corker, all right.
*Thanks John Kirk for letting me know that Alison Bechdel would prefer it to be known as the Bechdel-Wallace test, after Liz Wallace who came up with the idea.