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BSG Finale

So-o-o... "All of this has happened before." They weren't lying.

I actually did like the bit where Starbuck, Invisible-Friend Caprica, and Invisible-Friend Baltar turned out to be angels.

The rest of the show, though, was a big steaming pile of clichés and inexplicable behavior, with a side dollop of squick:

* They're going to give up modern technology and become hunter-gatherers or primitive farmers? And this is a unanimous decision? And it remains a unanimous decision, even after everybody's had a week to realize that being a contestant on Survivor sucks rocks?

* They're going to scatter their tiny population across the globe rather than sticking together? Also, what's the point of keeping records of where everyone's gone to, if you're no longer going to have the technology to travel between continents?

* They're going to fly the whole starfleet into the Sun? And this is another unanimous decision? Why throw away all those resources? And why does Sam have to play kamikazi pilot? Granted, in his current state, he'd make a really crappy hunter-gatherer, but that would seem to me to be a strong argument for not becoming hunter-gatherers.

* Adama's reaction to Roslin's death is to permanently abandon the rest of his friends and family? It's one thing to take some alone time after losing someone dear to you, but quite another to decide you're never going to see other people again. I found that really weird. I found it even weirder that Lee, having somehow guessed that his father had decided to go be a hermit forever, didn't try to talk him out of it. "At least leave me the damn Raptor so I can come see you on your birthday, Dad!" Also, no goodbye for Tigh? Dude, that's cold.

* In order for Hera to become the Mitochondrial Eve, one of two things has to happen: either the Galactica survivors have to wipe out and replace Earth's existing humans, or they have to interbreed with them. The finale strongly implies that the latter is what happened, which is pretty creepy if you caught the bit where Baltar says that the native humans haven't developed language yet. So Hera, and presumably a bunch of the other cast members, are going to go off and have sex with people who can't talk? But wait, isn't Dollhouse a FOX show?

I also didn't understand why the writers spent so much time on flashbacks to life before the destruction of the Twelve Colonies. Lisa proposes that by showing us how unhappy the characters all were in their former, civilized lives, the writers were trying to gin up a rationale for their final rejection of civilization. I think Lisa may be onto something here, but it still doesn't really make sense.

If there's a moral here, I think it's that you should decide how your story is going to end before you start telling it, so you can build organically towards that ending rather than retconning like mad in the eleventh hour. I realize this advice is a lot easier to follow in the context of a novel than with a TV series, but still -- the Cylons shouldn't be the only ones with a plan.

It's also worth saying that I wouldn't be nearly as disappointed with the way BSG turned out if I hadn't been so impressed by the first two seasons. Hopefully when they do the Space: 1999 remake, they'll get all the way to the finish line without getting lost.

P.S. No, I haven't heard anything about an actual Space: 1999 remake. But back in the days when I was still madly in love with BSG, I asked myself what other old SF series would be fun to try and redo, and that one was at the top of my list.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
vee_ecks
Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
They're going to give up modern technology and become hunter/gatherers or primitive farmers? And this is a unanimous decision? And it remains a unanimous decision, even after everybody's had a week to realize that being a contestant on Survivor sucks rocks?

It's stupider than The Prime Directive, even, because you can send your whole fleet into the sun and strip down naked and run off into the bushes and you're *still* going to be way more advanced than the natives and have an effect. You're going to build better structures and better tools and treat illness and wounds better and have better laws, and etc., and you're going to be running around *talking* to each other all the time. And you will have to do all this because if you don't, the less advanced and more numerous natives will gang up and destroy you.

Just...eh, to the whole thing. Never could get into the show, really, but I caught up and decided to check out the finale. Eh.
vee_ecks
Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, and as your comment points to: some people are going to break the covenant, and they're going to be able to get far enough ahead of everybody else, probably, to take over the world eventually if they want to.

And some of them will want to. Not a lot you can do about it when you gave up all technology past rocks on sticks and somebody else built a forge, first thing.
bsdotrand
Mar. 23rd, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Space: 1999 would be cool but I'd love a good remake of UFO. I loved that show. Of course I was 9 or so at the time so there my be a whole lot of nostalgia in those memories
matt_ruff
Mar. 23rd, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
In general, I think the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson productions are better remembered than rewatched.
mondyboy
Mar. 23rd, 2009 09:09 am (UTC)
Excellent review. Though I hated the Starbuck as angel thing as well. Mostly because wasn't actually an answer, it was just a bit or pretentious ambiguity.

Oh, and I kept expecting Lee to bump into Arthur Dent.

belmikey
Mar. 23rd, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
I could actually buy the whole giving-up-technology thing for one key reason: most of the 37,000 survivors have been living in essentially primitive conditions for years, now. They were surrounded by technology that kept them alive, certainly, but they weren't really users any more.

The problem is that we didn't see enough day-to-day life on the ships to fully grok this.

For some reason, it comforts me to know that I'm not the only one who thinks that one could remake" Space: 1999 and make it make sense this time :-)
(Deleted comment)
mleiv
Mar. 24th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
While I was miserably watching the last hour I logged in to the Onion to read their review and cheer myself up. Because I was pretty sure the AV Club must have hated it as much as I did. I compiled my favorite quotes here: http://mleiv.com/mt/writing/daily/battlestar_galactica_finale/

I was a little shocked at the commenters who really loved it. But then I had to remind myself that I waited two years before I allowed myself to be pressured into watching the show, because I hated the Mormon overtones of the first series so much. But all those original fans came back in droves for the revival. And it was no doubt the perfect ending for them, seeing as the dark, cynical parts of the first seasons angered them so much. :/
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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