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It is one thing in Battlestar Galactica I found so intriguing (along with the cut corner papers): how they consistently deformed radio speech

Ehh, there were plenty of nifty little details in that show, but they don't end up meaning much since the plot gets hijacked by a supernatural deus ex machina.

(And with The Expanse having shown such signs from Episode 1, it almost seems like nobody can make a good sci-fi TV show that has spacecraft but not the supernatural.)

The Expanse is a book series first, and the TV show follows it pretty well. The book series, still way ahead in the future, doesn't really pull this device. Turns out the first season/book of the series are just the precursor to an advance-alien-civ sort of plot.

The Expanse isn't hard sci-fi, but it's a pretty decent sci-fi thriller in my opinion.

Yes, one of the many little details that BSG did really well.

Given how the distortion sounds, the Fleet apparently uses single sideband (SSB) modulation for its radios. Amplitude modulation has a carrier and two sidebands; SSB suppresses the carrier and keeps only one of the sidebands (USB = upper side band, LSB = lower side band). That way, the transmitter uses bandwidth and power more efficiently. The downside is that it's harder to receive and there are some distortions. A good explanation of why there are those distortions: https://ham.stackexchange.com/a/392

Cool video showing SSB distortions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcX2Pdg35Co

Except.... there's no particular technical reason that each of the modulation techniques can't be good if you have the right filters for the desired bandwidth. I can adjust my Ten-Tec Orion II to transmit 3900 Hz bandwidth SSB - and it sounds glorious. Also, I find it interesting that aircraft still use AM. BSG? They tended to be fracked audio-wise by being slightly off-frequency in addition to various amounts of AM distortion that varied with the situation's distress. So say we all.

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