Monday, March 23, 2009

Battlestar what?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Battlestar Galactica has jumped the shark. Now that the series has just come to a conclusion, the same post is getting quite a number of hits. Apparently, a lot of people seem to think so, too. (This comment sums it up.)

Yes, I was a fan at the beginning, but after a while it just became tedious, what with its forced political commentary and endless angst. But the crux of it, really, was that it didn't make any sense. Gritty realism, high-tech special effects, screaming and shouting: they won't make a poor unplotted story any better. Especially the screaming and shouting part -- but we know that from Philippine cinema.

The series has come and gone. I want to ask you: did it make any sense? Was it worth the five year wait to bring the story conclusion? In three sentences or less, can you tell me what the frakkin' Cylon plan was?

Or am I supposed to wait for another mini-series to explain it all?


  1. I thought I read somewhere that there was another mini-series / series based on the "Plan" aspect of the mythos.

    At any rate, I personally was glad it ended the way it did. I'm just easily pleased, is all.

    I did have to check my brain at the door somewhat. I stopped myself everytime I went, "But wait a minute, how could he..." or "How did she...". I just went along for the ride.

    But as to your questions: there was a lot of improvisation there in the end. I don't think that Moore and co. had all this planned to the very end but I think they did their best to tie everything up as much as time and bugets allowed.

    5 year wait was worth it. With so many shows I like being cancelled or "not renewed", it's nice to see BSG go out on it's own terms, so to speak.

    And no, I don't know the plan, so I can't get you your 3 sentences.

  2. Season One of "Battlestar Galactica" is the greatest single season of Science-Fiction TV in the last two decades. Sheer perfection.

    But they began to lose the plot in Season 2 (yes- that early!) and the seeds for its own death-by-self-parody were sewn certainly by Season 2.5.

    I persevered- nay, ENDURED- to the bitter end, not because I cared for any character (all of them have been completely destroyed by inconsistent writing / muddled motivation / endless reinventions, etc.) and not because I was curious about the plotlines (by Season 3, it was clear BSG was desperately aping "Lost", "Minority Report", "Star Trek: Deep Space 9", and a host of other sources- to the diminution of the once-great, once-visionary show premise).

    I watched it dutifully so I could honestly declare- as a one-time fan who laments the ruin it became- that I stayed with it to the pathetic end. And there can be no doubt- no argument- that the end of the show was, in fact, utterly pathetic.

    The once terrifying, gripping sci-fi survival drama- which pitted an imperfect remnant of humanity against a seemingly overwhelming enemy of their own making had turned into something even L. Ron Hubbard would've been ashamed of. A New-Agey, Pseudo-intellectual, Soap opera- populated with nonsensical characters lacking coherent motivations.

    That terrifying enemy? Oh- their mostly gone. And in fact they really weren't our enemies after all.

    The search for Earth? Oh yeah- we found it. It was in ruins. And then we found it again- a different Earth but the same- and it was a paradise.

    We found it thanks to a crappy, c-grade Wuss-Metal cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" (which, if you must know, Bob Dylan didn't actually write...

    It was written by a certain special class of Cylon humanoid that had previously believed himself to be a star athlete in an earlier incarnation...)

    The song provided the coordinates to Good Earth- thanks to the unwitting decrypting techniques of the first Human/Cylon Lovechild- who's doodles on paper were then interpreted by an Angel we once knew as Kara Thrace...

    The community of survivors- who had been through so much grief and suffering together? Now they just want to all be alone in their little corners of the 2nd Earth. Except those characters who were actually Angels... (Yes- literal angels. Or demons. Agents of the Deity who does not like to be called "God".)

    I watched the first episode of Season 1 tonight for the first time in years- after laughing, groaning, and eyeball-rolling my way through the finale. That episode,"33", was even better than I remembered it- gripping, poignant, frequently very clever, gorgeous. I plan to watch all of Season 1 again- savoring every beautifully crafted little gem- so that I can remember Battlestar as it was in its glory. If I can't completely purge the memory of the crap that it became- I will at least not let that crap be the last Battlestar I watch. I want that to be the show I fell in love with- and the show I will still argue to the death was the greatest sci-fi we've seen in ages.

    It had to be said.

  3. Thanks for the detailed comment and summary, A.

    You're right: first season was great. "33" really stuck in my mind. One other good episode, if I recall, was the "Scar" -- minus Starbuck's tantrums.