[Thesis]. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester; 2012.
Abstract The University of ManchesterAalia N. KhalidMaster of Philosophyâ€˜Re-imagined
Futures in the Wake of 9/11: Ideology and Aesthetics in Battlestar Galacticaâ€™2012Science
fiction has never been a stranger to post-war commentary. Since the world changing
events of the attacks on American soil on September 11th 2001, new global discourses
have reverberated throughout the world. Science fiction televisionâ€™s response to the
events of 9/11 has interestingly implemented these new ideologies and discourses into
its narratives and its aesthetics in fascinating ways. I intend to examine the re-imaging
of American science fiction television programme Battlestar Galactica (Syfy, 2004-9),
and investigate how it exhibits and reflects post-9/11 discourses within its narrative
and audiovisual design elements. Battlestar and its ideological and aesthetic elements
are grounded and important within a socio-historical context; it appeared at a specific
moment in history, in a post-9/11 world where notions of Western civilisation were
in decline, and emerged from an anxiety in Western culture concerning its relationship
with the rest of the world. In a world which appears to be shifting away from an American-Euro-centric
view, Battlestar, has decided to display these discourses through a nihilistic dystopia,
ruined by terrorism, political and military corruption and religious polarisation.
Battlestarâ€™s critical success must be ascribed, not only to the very current and harrowing
narratives it touches upon, but also to its innovative use of captivating production
elements embedded within its audiovisual aesthetic; innovative cinematography, misÃ©-en-scene
and set design; and its use of non-Western musical influences. Within American science
fictionâ€™s past, associating the future of humanity with the music of cultures other
than Western societies would perhaps be unthinkable. Thus, the very fact that these
elements are featured in an American television programme is extremely remarkable
and unusual, especially at this exact moment in American history. The non-Western
influences within contemporary science fiction television, which form part of the
core of the study, operate as signifiers laden with meaning and not just in terms
of authorial intent.This study examines Battlestarâ€™s audiovisual design in relation
to the socio-political ideologies that were produced in America in this post-9/11
period. I demonstrate that many design elements such as set, lighting, CGI, special
effects, music and sound design can be vital to a programmeâ€™s overall aesthetic interpretation.
Battlestar contains several aural and visual tapestries of textures overlapping and
interconnecting to produce deep and powerful meanings as well as creating beautiful
and interesting atmospheres unfamiliar in American science fiction television to date.
Battlestar showcases innovative aesthetic techniques and audiovisual complexity which
contribute greatly to the programmesâ€™ overall aesthetic, and in turn, its overall
socio-political themes and ideological stance.