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Last blasts for 'Frakkies'

Admiral Adama and Capt. "Starbuck" are having trust issues.

Sci Fi Channel's signature series, Battlestar Galactica, won't be long for this world.

It returns for its fourth and final season Friday (9 p.m. central), with sinister Cylons still standing in the way of a return home for Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos), President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and assorted underlings aboard the good ship Galactica.

The "select few" TV critics with review copies are warned not to spoil any "What the frak?!" moments coming your way. Frak is a way for the show's characters to drop f-bombs with impunity on an advertiser-supported network. But having not seen a whole lot of episodes, I'm a little unsure of what the frak I'm getting into.

Suffice it to say -- or say it to suffice -- there's a pretty showy space battle between the good guys and the Cylons, who then suddenly retreat to the puzzlement of Adama. This allows Capt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) to jet back onto the mothership with the belief that she's only been gone a short while.

But no, Starbuck has been missing for more than two months, and therefore presumed dead. So just about everyone is suspicious and distrustful when she says, "I did it, boss. I found Earth." Yeah, right. But might she really be a Cylon in disguise?

Meanwhile, Gaius Baltar (James Callis), previously found not guilty of war crimes, finds himself among a new group of followers who see him as a God-like figure. One impressed young woman gets religion by taking him to bed. But he's soon presented with a deathly ill child in need of healing.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger note. Those who haven't been watching all along also might find themselves in need of Cliff's Notes. Here's a good place for that.

Devoted fans of the show in contrast will revel in every nuance and then fire up various chat sites. It's always a risk, of course, that Galactica will let them down in the end. But Friday's re-launch seems fairly well-grounded and for the most part decently acted. The special effects are OK, too, although not really out of this world.

Before it's all over and done with, maybe the writers could lighten the mood a bit by throwing in a bit character called Frick N. Frack. Perhaps he could be an irksome mad scientist or something, prompting other characters to grouse, "That frakkin' Frick N. Frack really frakkin' pisses me off!"

Just a suggestion.

Grade: B