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Farewell BG

April 5, 2009

Just a few thoughts on the finale of Battlestar Galactica, a terrific show — though perhaps not that terrific — especially for those who were boys of a certain age in its first outing nigh-on thirty years ago.

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I was worried — very worried — that it was running out of steam as it neared its end, that the producers were running out of ideas. So much so that I began to come up with alternative ideas for how the show might end, one of which has now been filed away for a future project of my own. Well, happily, I couldn’t have been more wrong. For those who have watched it throughout its four seasons, everything came together in a really satisfying conclusion, all of the story threads we have been witness to were tied together neatly, the dream sequences in the opera house, the identity of the invisible Six forever whispering in Gaius Baltar’s ear, the importance of Hera, and so on.

And yet.

It was flawed – by erratic pacing.

In the final episodes the story seemed to be drifting, there was a sense that the producers were stalling, padding out the episodes until The Big Climax — strikingly so in the three-part finale itself. Suddenly we get extended flashback sequences to give us backstory of the main characters — after four seasons of the show?! Everything that was worth knowing we should have known by now. And nothing we discovered through the flashbacks was particularly relevant or very interesting. This was about the End Of A Franchise, and the producers clearly decided they would give the fans a little more of the characters they were soon never to see again.

And it got in the way of the story, and watered down the tension, undermining the climax.

The coda was plagued by the same problem, too long spent seeing what happened to the cast after the story finished, retrospectively leeching tension from the climax even further. This was made all the more redundant by the big reveal itself: the child Hera was ‘Eve’, the woman in Africa 150,000 years ago from whom all of us are descended today. That means that everyone else on the planet at the time, all of the survivors that were shipped around to different destinations on the globe to start a new life, they all failed, no-one else managed to establish themselves successfully. They all died, or where they managed to prosper, their descendants were wiped out in competition by the descendants of Hera, by us. It was a neat way to tie up the series, but not a particularly cheery one.

By the way, is it just me, or did it also feel like the set-up for a movie? How is that possible, with everyone dead? Ah well…

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