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Life is good — Battlestar is back

After a looong hiatus, Battlestar Galactica kicked off its final season tonight. It’s a great start.

There aren’t many network television shows we’ve planned our weeks around in the ten-plus years of our marriage: Millennium, The X-Files, the short-lived Brimstone, The Simpsons (until about three years ago, when the show ran out of gas), and for the last couple of years, Doctor Who and Battlestar.

The common thread is great writing and character-driven plots. (Yes, including The Simpsons.) The science fiction setting of most of the rest of our favorite shows is simply the backdrop against which the characters interact.

Galactica ranks as one of the best sci-fi series — if not one of the best dramatic series, period — in television history. Can’t wait to see who turns out to be the twelfth Cylon.

And next Friday, we get The Sarah Jane Adventures from the producers of Doctor Who. Elisabeth Sladen reprises the role of the Doctor’s companion, Sarah Jane Smith. I watched her and Tom Baker — still the best Doctor, although David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston come pretty close — every evening on Chicago’s PBS station as a kid in the ’70s.

Then the fourth season of the revived Doctor Who series premieres the Friday after, and with it, the Sci-Fi Channel will have assembled the strongest Friday night TV lineup in ten years, since Fox aired Brimstone and Millennium back to back.

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