Compared to official guides for other shows, the companions to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA simply cannot be beat for enhancing the enjoyment of the episodes. Most official guides tend to do two things. First, they provide a critically neutral description of the episodes individually and the season as a whole. Second, they tend to repackage pretty much whatever one as a viewer can pick up on their own.
If you look at the official guides to BUFFY or FARSCAPE you'll see what I'm talking about. The best route with BUFFY is to get the unofficial guides. These unofficial guides are written without much contribution by the creators, producers, writers, or cast, but they at least have an independent point of view. The BSG official companions, however, while not critical from the author's viewpoint, are remarkably frank in providing critical assessments by the producers and directors and actors and writers as to what did and did not work in an episode. Any fan of BSG will recognize upon watching that "Black Market" and "Sacrifice" are not highlights of the show, but it is incredibly refreshing to read statements by Ron Moore and David Eick and Jamie Bamber that indicate that they, too, believe "Black Market" was not a successful episode. Take the official guide to BUFFY and read what it says about "Beer Bad" or "Some Assembly Required." You'll get no hint that these are considered among the worst BUFFY episodes ever. But in the BSG companions you'll not only see the creative team agreeing with you on the weaker episodes, but they will provide additional insight into why they don't work. So on the first of the two points mentioned above, the BSG guides are head and shoulders above other official guides.
On the second point, i.e., the regurgitation of stuff you can get yourself on an alert viewing, the BSG companions also shine. Probably 80% of the contents of the books are not directly accessible to a fan of the show. For instance, in reading about the casting of Admiral Cain, I was unaware that they first approached Sigourney Weaver, Jessica Lange, and Angelica Houston before asking Michelle Forbes if she was interested in the role (though I have to add that it is inconceivable to me that any of those fine actresses could have been more effective than Forbes, who was simply outstanding). As with the first companion, there are substantial interviews with all the concerned parties about how an episode came together.
My lone disappointment with this volume is that it possibly contained less information not directly concerned with specific episodes. The reason for this is obvious. Whereas the Season Two companion was restricted to the same length as the Season One companion, the second season featured 20 episodes as opposed to the first seasons 13, along with the miniseries. This volume thus had more episodes to discuss.
Still, I think many fans will find this as enjoyable as I have. I'm aware that there are some who prefer the kind of guide that I abhor, one that gives a glossily regurgitated summation of what happens in each episode. I generally find these kinds of guides worthless. Give me one like BSG any day! I want behind the scenes scoop, not a repetition of what I can easily see for myself.