Battlestar Galactica

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KB
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Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:44 pm Post

I have been loathe to mention this series here given that you in the US are a few days ahead and I don't want any spoilers.

Also - Matt, if you are reading! - I don't want to give any spoilers away myself.

But:

Battlestar Galactica (the re-imagining) has been one of the consistently most brilliant TV series I have ever seen (aside from a few episodes in the third series).

However. What a shame that series 4.5 has been so... Well, disappointing, frankly. The first episode (the "Earth" episode) was fantastic - shocks and revelations aplenty. And then, since then, we've had seven episodes of soap opera and fluff, with seemingly meaningless scenes (a Six saving a random crewman who disliked Cylons, with no follow-up on what he thinks afterwards; Baltar's group being given guns for seemingly no reason; well, I won't bore you). And even the episodes that I have thought were good, such as the last two (Someone to Watch Over Me and Islanded in a Stream of Stars), have struck me as rather empty on reflection. They have teased the viewer with the prospect of revelations only to leave him or left at the end with the promise deferred the next time.

Shame. I don't think any series has ever been able to come to a close satisfactorily save The Wire in recent years; I was hoping that Battlestar would prove me wrong. It may well yet - but now there is only three hours left in which they need to answer lingering questions such as the Opera House, the head-Six etc (and how she appeared in person in Season One), Kara and so forth. I have no doubt that all of these main questions will indeed be answered. I just wonder if, leaving all of them for the last three hours, on rewatching the series we will find that they have wasted these preceding hours and left a lot of niggling questions unanswered (the temple on the algae planet etc).

Oh well. It's only TV. But I like it.

All the best,
Keith

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Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:30 am Post

I've not really read your post because of spoilers. But: Just last week I got around to watch the mini series and Season 1. And I was blown away - what a great re-imagination, what great storys and scripts. Best TV produced SF I've seen in a long time. I'll soon be picking up the following seasons. (In the meantime I finally started to familiarise myself with something I've ignored until now - Babylon 5. Which already looks and feels unbelievably outdated ... or is that just me?)

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Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:50 pm Post

Babylon 5 kind of looked dated when it first came out, at least I thought anyway. We were seeing things like Jurassic Park back then. Those POV-Ray spaceships were just tacky. Excellent story though, and my favourite Sci-fi series.

I stuck with Battlestar Galactica until around halfway through the third series. Actually I did watch until the end of that season (and about four episodes of season four), but really only to see if the writing would ever pick up again. It seemed like they kind of ran out of script around this point in time, and rather than sit down and do a proper job of finishing the story with the same attention to narrative as in the first two seasons, just kept hammering it out as fast as possible. I'd say the first two series and maybe half of season three would be reason enough to watch it, though. There is some good material in there---even if you give up and never get "the ending". I'd rather know of an ending than watch it being poorly implemented, if that makes sense.
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Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:16 pm Post

My wife and I are watching the series now via Netflix disks. We've just begun season two. It is an exceptional series, great drama and themes for the ages. I'm looking forward to continuing to watch, though I don't expect it to maintain its high level of excellence. It is rare a show can keep the steam up that high for more than two or three seasons.

As for great science fiction series, my all time favorite (and maybe my all time favorite TV show of any genre) is still the short-lived Firefly. That series was funny, exciting and had a wonderful cast. It's a pity its network pulled the plug on it so soon. But at least they made a decent film to help resolve some of the lingering questions.

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Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:58 pm Post

Shark jumped; fridge nuked. What a shame, what a shame. One two-hour episode left which I will watch out of loyalty without much hope. What a waste of time this series has been. Such a real shame.

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Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:54 pm Post

I think last weeks episode killed my inner child :cry:

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Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:25 pm Post

signinstranger wrote:I think last weeks episode killed my inner child :cry:

I sure vic-k's wife will let you have his. She is probably tired of it by now.

Probably isn't fair to pick on him when he isn't here. I am in denial, so leave me alone.
Jaysen

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Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:44 pm Post

I will not read this thread because I stopped at season 2 and I haven't caught up yet.
:evil:
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:32 pm Post

Worst ending I have ever seen. I have wasted four years of my life. Four frelling years of my life on this - for what? Everything - everything - Kara's rebirth, the Head Six - comes down to a theological explanation? Ron Moore's head on a pike on London Bridge please. Then someone wipe the last two series of BSG out of my head and let me remember how it used to be good.

Chased. The. Pigeon.

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:50 am Post

Frack! I shouldn't have read this post! I'm still waiting for the second half of the final season to come out on DVD here in China (don't ask, access to media here is what it is...like it or not *sigh* :roll: ).

Guess I'll have to 'grin and bear it watching the last half. I found season three to be a bit disappointing and the bit of season four I did see didn't seem to be going anywhere. Oh, well...

Can we have Firefly back? Or maybe Farscape?

Cheers,

Jon
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Scientist: 'Ah, but what does the turtle rest on?'
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Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:54 pm Post

SPOILER ALERT

Okay, I don't want to open old wounds or anything, but my wife and I just finished watching the series finale last night. After sagging greatly during series 3, it picked up in series 4, which was, while perhaps overly bleak, still riveting. The whole Gaeta/Zarek mutiney arc was high drama and very exciting.

(FURTHER SPOILER ALERT)

As for the ending-ending, the whole colonization of OUR earth thing was pretty contrived and very hard to believe -- are you telling me 38,000 people are all going to go along with the idea of leaving all their technology and creature comforts behind in order to live among a hunter-gatherer society that doesn't even have speech! Please! Not to mention the fact that the whole point of surviving the Cylon invasion was to keep their civilization alive -- and then they just abandon it. Nope. Don't buy it.

And I agree with you, Keith, that it was a total copout to go the "angel" route in explaining what happend with Kara and the "imaginery" Six/Gaius. If there's someone watching over them, why the frack didn't He/She/It do something about the six billion humans slaughtered by the Cylons in the first place?

That all said, I don't think the whole reward of watching the series was finding out "what happens." I mean, with names like Athena, Apollo, and Helo, as well as all the zodiacal references, you could pretty much guess what was going to be the end result. But the true joy of the series was the drama of the journey. In that regard, the series is a big success. I still recommend it highly to anyone who hasn't seen it.

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Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:43 am Post

I'm glad it's not just me! I still get angry when I think about this ending.

Vermonter17032 wrote:After sagging greatly during series 3, it picked up in series 4, which was, while perhaps overly bleak, still riveting. The whole Gaeta/Zarek mutiney arc was high drama and very exciting.


I agree. Following New Caprica, Season 3 started really well, then descended into some very pedestrian sci-fi story-of-the-week plotting (apparently Skiffy -or whatever they call themselves these days - got nervous about how new viewers wouldn't be able to follow anything, so demanded some one-off plotting). And the ending to S3 was both great (Lee's speech about Baltar, who I always felt was abused) and worrying (Bob Dylan? Really?). One fan put it rather well on another forum: she pointed out that we really shouldn't have been surprised by the dire ending to the series, as it was pretty much signposted at the end of S3 when five completely random members of the fleet turned out to be Cylons against all ideas of logic or sense, after being activated by a Bob Dylan song emanating from a nearby star, and then Kara turned up back from the dead in a brand spanking new Viper. It was like they were telling us to give up on the storytelling from that point onwards. And yet S4 picked it up in many ways. Okay, all that fiddling around with Kara suddenly unable to remember where Earth was (despite her claims at the end of S3) and wandering around aimlessly on a ship was a bit stupid and boring, and I got fed up of hearing Gaeta singing and Bill and Tigh drunk all the time, but the mutiny episodes were as good as anything from S2 and the ending of the first part of Season 4, and the first episode of the second part - the original Earth - was fantastic and dark. But then we ended up with soap opera until the final episode (what was the point of Six being preggers anyway?) and insane exposition full of plot holes (Sam in hospital). Oh well.

As for the ending-ending, the whole colonization of OUR earth thing was pretty contrived and very hard to believe -- are you telling me 38,000 people are all going to go along with the idea of leaving all their technology and creature comforts behind in order to live among a hunter-gatherer society that doesn't even have speech! Please! Not to mention the fact that the whole point of surviving the Cylon invasion was to keep their civilization alive -- and then they just abandon it. Nope. Don't buy it.


Funnily enough, it seems that this upset as many fans as the whole "angel/God" explanation. Quite right too. There is a superb lengthy essay on Brad Ideas explaining exactly why this is so stupid:

http://ideas.4brad.com/battlestar/battl ... ce-fiction

Basically, the whole thing was twisted to have Hera turn out to be Mitochondrial Eve - for that to work, they all had to ditch their tech at the last minute. Only it turns out that Ron Moore completely misunderstood what MTE was, so it makes no sense anyway - MTE isn't our most recent common ancestor at all, that would have been much later. D'oh! Yes, mighty stupid, and as you say, a complete betrayal of the rest of the series seeing as these people had spent the past four years fighting to keep their culture alive - not to mention that if "all this has happened before" (a line from Peter Pan, it turns out), then how are they supposed to stop it happening again by giving up on technology and forgetting their past rather than trying to learn from it? Grr.

And I agree with you, Keith, that it was a total copout to go the "angel" route in explaining what happend with Kara and the "imaginery" Six/Gaius. If there's someone watching over them, why the frack didn't He/She/It do something about the six billion humans slaughtered by the Cylons in the first place?


This is what still makes me the maddest. The internet forums seem completely torn - there are those who loved the ending but just as many who hated it; to me, that's the sign of a failure. People are perfectly entitled to like the ending, but what really annoys me is how a lot of fans claim that anyone who didn't like this ending is stupid and couldn't have been following the series throughout, as it's always been about religion. But this is just naive and revisionist. I recently rewatched the mini-series and the first couple of episodes, just to remind me how good this show once was. And I started to get hooked again - it was once brilliant. Two things struck me immediately, though:

1) In the mini-series, the colonials aren't polytheists. They make no mention to "gods" - all of their mentions to deities are to a singular "god" - "We shouldn't play God"; "Oh my God!"; "God damn!" etc. And Baltar isn't at all surprised that the girl who turns out to be Six worships only one God; he is only amused that she is religious at all. (The Lords of Kobol get invoked at some point, but that's all.) This was obviously tweaked between the miniseries and the series after, and the idea of the colonials being polytheists added in for the series proper.

2) There is just no way that Head Six was anything other than a Cylon in the mini-series. She clearly has exactly the same consciousness as the Six that was destroyed in the explosion (which always made it highly interesting when that Six was downloaded later, as it made it seem as though there were now two Sixes - one real and one virtual - with the same consciousness... but no). Head Six tells Baltar about her mission, about how it was to infiltrate the computers but that she also had other motives - him. And when the colonials get away at the end, Head Six is clearly annoyed, and says, "You won't escape; we will find you." For anyone to claim she was an angel all along is a little dumb, really - it just makes no sense. It also undermines the whole thing that made BSG so powerful to begin with - the Cylons seemed like religious fanatics, prepared to commit genocide in the name of "God's love". This is how BSG got a reputation for being a great political drama. To have that god turn out to be real - in whatever way - and for higher beings in some way to be manipulating things in such a convenient way as to save the writers the trouble of having to explain any of the mysteries they spent two season setting up - well, it just undermines the rest of the show.

It's a shame. As I say, I started re-watching the first series, and really enjoyed it... But I didn't carrying on watching, because I knew that where it was going made no sense. A great ending that tied things up and made sense - and it deserved a much darker ending too, if you ask me, it's ridiculous that all the main characters survived the attack on the Colony - would have made me want to go back and watch it all again. Oh well. And now they tell us that The Plan will make us have to go back and re-watch everything, as it explains so much - such as Shelley Godfrey (remember the disappearing Six?). But who cares? If Gog (God of Galactica) could reconstitute Kara and a Viper and program the jump co-ordinates to a different Earth into a song that Sam wrote 2000 years ago, what is left to explain?

Don't even bother with Caprica. SPOILER: The first Cylon turns out to be created by downloading the soul of a whiney 14-year old girl. That adds to their menace.

It's not even that I dislike angels in my fiction per se. Take Supernatural for instance. Now that's how to do angels.

That all said, I don't think the whole reward of watching the series was finding out "what happens."


This is the really sad thing. It didn't start out that way. I didn't watch the first two series to find out any great mysteries. The only mysteries set up from the start were who or what is Head Six and will they find Earth - and if so, in what century? The story was really about watching these great characters on the run, trying to fight for survival against an unstoppable enemy; it was also about the fanaticism of that enemy, which resounded with circumstances in our own world. And it was about portraying the enemy with more depth than as just evil robots - they weren't all bad. This is what I watched BSG for. But it was the writers who decided to start piling on mysteries in Seasons 3 and 4 - who are the Final Five? What happened to Kara (they reminded us of this mystery at the beginning of every episode in S4)? Who are the Lords of Kobol? How was there a star map to Earth on Kobol? What happened to the Cylons in that diseased baseship? Who or what are Head Six and Head Baltar? What is it with the Opera House? What is so special about Hera? Why does Head Six say she is her and Baltar's child? And so on. We didn't need these mysteries - the show's central premise was strong enough to carry the plot without them. But the writers chose to bring them into the mix, and in so doing we as active viewers and fans of the show had no choice but to ponder and speculate on them, to wonder how the writers would tie them up.

When the writers threw their hands in the air and refused to tie any of them up, and instead declare, "Ah, a wizard did it - that explains everything," they also denigrated all of the great writing they had done up until then, casting great episodes and story arcs in a poorer light than they ever deserved. For this reason, I won't recommend it to anyone, other than to maybe watch the first series, maybe the first two, then stop and imagine an ending.

My only hope now is V. It has a great cast - Morena B from Firefly, Scott Wolf from Party of Five, Ellison from Terminator Chronicles, the main blond girl from Lost... And it has great source material. Having had my interest piqued in the remake, I just bought the box set of the original, and spent the past two evenings watching the original mini-series. I loved V as a kid, and fully expected to be disappointed by its datedness. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised - V is certainly dated, with melodramatic music, 80s hairstyles, wooden acting, dodgy effects and some evil-alien-explains-evil-plans-to-other-evil-alien-who-already-knows-them-so-hero-can-overhear type exposition, but in spite of all this it still stands up as a great show that in many ways must have informed the re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica. Here we have aliens that ask to talk to the president of the United Nations rather than just of the USA; scientists being persecuted in a Jews-in-WW2-like way, which is an incredibly interesting comment on the scepticism towards scientists from some quarters; some aliens not being evil at all; and a whole host of interesting characters that go into forming a resistance. Oh, and I love Diana. So the new show has a lot to live up to - I'm looking forward to it. I hope it can pull off a BSG without falling into its traps.

All the best,
Keith

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Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:52 pm Post

I am doubtless the only person on this planet, let alone this forum, who had to go to Wikipedia to learn what exactly BG is. Or rather, was. My idea of a great television series is something like Pennies from Heaven or The Singing Detective. I know how popular sci-fi is with a good many of the members, so please forgive my apostasy. My interest in the genre stopped when I was 15 or 16. About the time I discovered gurls? :shock:

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Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:13 pm Post

My interest in the genre stopped when I was 15 or 16. About the time I discovered gurls?


Careful there, Mr Apostate. The idea that sf is an adolescent genre or reserved for geeks (not that I deny being a geek) who can't get girlfriends is a bit of a cliché and rather snobbish (yes, you! Snob!). One can enjoy good sf without donning a costume and going to a convention, you know, and good sf done well can be as good as any non-genre material. BSG at its best rivalled The Wire as a great TV show (until its latter series - had The Wire ended with McNulty disappearing into thin air and announcing that his work here is done, viewers would have been justifiably angry; that's exactly why some are angry with the ending of BSG, because it was a gritty show that just happened to be in the SF genre until the later series, and it seems ridiculous that some viewers are more forgiving of its ridiculous ending just because it does happen to be SF). And some great literary novels - 1984, Brave New World, A Handmaid's Tale, The Road - have been written in the genre, while others - Slaughterhouse Five, Number9Cloud - have done more than flirt with it. You may have no interest in the genre, that does not mean that it is a genre reserved for teenage boys who can't get girlfriends. Personally, I can never get very excited about the Crime, Thriller, Mystery or Fantasy genres, but that doesn't mean I assume therefore that anyone with an interest in such genres must be over fifty with a love of Chintz or (in the case of fantasy) a tweenage girl with S&M fetishes (or was that the other way around?). And it doesn't stop me from reading the occasional crime or thriller novel if it looks really good (one of the best novels I read last year was indeed a crime/thriller novel, come to think of it).

Or maybe I'm just at an age where I can happily return to the genres that I always secretly loved after years of pretending to like French New Wave cinema to impress the ladeez? :)

Anyway, with a user name such as yours, shouldn't you be into UFO conspiracy theories and hanging around Glastonbury Tor during Summer Solstice? Methinks I should update your user name to "Ye Cantankerous One".

As for the Singing Detective, there's only so much psoriasis I can take in my drama.

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Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:30 pm Post

I'm wanting to try this series out of curiosity. I've watched most of Star Trek DS9 & Voyager, and I'm immensely fond of what I've seen of Firefly.

And I'm a tweenage girl. Who, despite her liking of sci-fi and dark fantasy, is disgusted by the Kushiel series.
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