Saturday, March 21, 2009

End of an Era - Spoiler Free BSG

Well, that's it for Battlestar Galactica. It's been quite a ride. When I was first advised to check it out ('awesome mini-series, Jim, you gotta give it a try'), I was skeptical. So skeptical that I basically skipped it. It wasn't till after I heard a bunch of cool things about season 1 that I broke down, bought the DVDs and gave it a shot. Well, I'm glad I did. BSG offered terrific space opera, compelling characters and a surprising amount of fealty to some of the better ideas and concepts of the classic show.

The series finale was, well . . . hard to get into without too many specifics. A lot of the mysteries were answered. A lot more were touched upon, or merely left unresolved. At least one plot point that started just a few episodes ago was quietly forgotten. Overall, it wasn't a very cerebrally driven ending to the show. One character even acted quite out of character in order to serve the needs of the plot.

That said, the reason the head wasn't driving the show was because the heart was. Ultimately the emotional resonance was amazing. I didn't cry, but I did get a little misty-eyed at parts. Its message of cyclic conflict rings true to me. Oh, not the robot/human bit specifically, but it sure does seem like the same wars get fought again and again and again. All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again. And the very last minute or two went in an unexpected but quite clever direction. Perhaps worth a bit of hand waving.

Overall, (and please keep in mind that I've not yet fully digested the episode, let alone the series) this is a show about emotions. Vast, sweeping emotions, larger than the characters themselves. The plot was interesting, but ultimately secondary. Contrast it to some of my other favorite space-opera: Babylon 5 is all about plot; Farscape, character; Star Trek (TOS), friendship; Star Wars, adventure; Macross, love. These are all great topics, worthy of exploration. I'm glad I watched BSG, and look forward to watching it again, from the beginning, to see what I can pick up.

So say we all!


Hans said...

I think the biggest complaint one could have about BSG is that the pacing is uneven. The flashbacks in the final two episodes I felt didn't need to be in there, and a lot of time was wasted there. The characters are already so well fleshed out, we didn't need the extra background stuff. Well, okay, except for Baltar and his dad, and the Boomer piece.

But all in all it sure gave food for thought. I love the fact that at first we're led to believe the show takes place in the far-off future (Earth burned to a crisp), and then 10 episodes later it turns out to be the disstant past. Very well played.

A haunting show. It's been days since I've seen the finale, but I'm still thinking about it :)

Hans said...

Oh, and before anyone gets the wrong impression: when I say "the biggest complaint is the pacing", that basically means I think it's one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. Probably the most well-filmed, well-acted and well-written show, actually. Season 3 was a bit of a letdown, but boy did the miniseries and seasons 1, 2 and 4 rock!

Jimtron said...

I thought the flashbacks added a lot, including thematically tying into the miniseries. I *DO* think that there were some big logical leaps at the end that could have been avoided a bit with shrewder writing, but overall a heartfelt episode.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I thought that the show lasted about a season to a half season too long. At the end, it all kinda felt like the writers were scraping the bottom of the barrel asking themselves, "What kind of moral/emotional dilemma can we throw at character X this week." And I agree about the pacing. I was hoping for things to gradually build toward the final conflict and resolution, but instead they dicked around and we were left with a slingshot ending that didn't really start until the last 5 minutes of the second-to-last episode. Overall, the show was enjoyable to a point, but the ending left me dissatisfied.

PS- I also thought that the religious aspect was unnecessary, but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same as the online game of Battlestar Galactica?