Friday, March 20, 2009


Hoo-boy! Well, I've just finished watching the series finale to perhaps my favorite TV show of all time, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Those of us holding out for the last-minute reintroduction of a revamped version of Muffit the Daggit were sorely disappointed. For those of you who are unaware of the gift of genius that was Muffit in the original BSG, it was a CHIMP in a ROBOT-DOG suit! Need I say more?

I'm gonna need to mull it over some more before I reach my final conclusion on the series wrap-up, but I was mostly thrilled and satisfied by how it all went down. Before I get into my ramblings, let me show you this:

I wanted to have some sort of "party" to celebrate the event, so we had a little cookout before the show (wherein we grilled hotdogs hamburgers and bratwurst) which I dubbed... wait for it... BURGERSTAR GRILLACTICA! Yes, that's right... I'm a complete nerd! That name came to me a few months ago. I had just watched an episode which featured the little saloon that had been set up aboard the Battlestar, and I thought they should open up some sort of neighboring burger joint as well. And what would be the perfect name for such a grill? That's right: BURGERSTAR GRILLACTICA! Don't even think of stealing that name and opening up your own chain of BSG theme-restaurants!

And here's a quick sketch I did before posting this -- just cuz I hate posting something on here without some piece of relevant art to accompany it.

Cylons are called "toasters" by the humans. Get it? I know, I know...

Okay, like I said I was largely satisfied and thought they closed it up nicely. A few things immediately disappointed me, though: I was expecting MUCH heavier losses from the crew of the BSG, and the final assault on Cavil and the Cylon colony came off as too easy because of it. I was expecting some very heroic and wrenching deaths, and everyone made it out pretty much unscathed. Anders' overriding of the Hybrids came off as cake, as well, and I wanted to see a bit of mental wrestling and effort put into his domination of their systems. They poor guy ended up spending the entire finale in a tub staring up at the ceiling with not much to do. I would probably also liked to see an extended shot of the Anders-piloted BSG disintegrating as it drew ever nearer to the sun.

Some of the CG effects of the various Cylon centurion models running about the dark corridors of the colony and the Battlestar were too obviously CG and stood out a bit jarringly at times. I never thought they truly nailed the Cylon centurions' movements -- especially their walk cycles, which always seemed just a bit too awkward to be fully convincing.

I can't decide if Cavil's sudden suicide in the face of defeat rang true to his character or not. I would think, given his intense drive for vengeance and survival, that he would choose any option he could to save his own hide and hope for a chance at revenge/resurrection further down the road. If he truly saw no way out, however, it's entirely plausible that he would take his own life rather than allow the slightest chance of dying at the hands of his enemies. I still would have liked to see Adama put a bullet in his head instead.

The biggest disappointment, however, has to be the sudden accidental firing of the missles by a dead Racetrack, which completely destroyed the Colony. Seriously? Racetrack was dead, her Raptor was adrift, a small asteroid smacks the ship, her limp arm is dislodged from its resting place on the controls by the impact and smacks into the button that apparently is marked "launch all missiles". The missiles fire and they all strike the Colony ship, blowing it to bits. First of all, that Colony ship seemed far too massive for a bundle of missiles from one Raptor to do that much damage, especially considering all the fire it was taking from the BSG herself earlier on, with little effect. Secondly, accidents are fine, but there are too many huge coincidences taking place at once there with consequences that so drastically effect the course of the story. I would have preferred if there was some sort of strike team send deep into the heart of the ship to destroy it, or perhaps Anders could have cause the Colony ship to turn it's own guns and missiles on itself. Accidental "heroics" like that always remind me of Star Wars: Episode 1 when Anakin "Yippee" Skywalker accidentally crawls inside the starfighter, which accidentally powers up and accidentally fires its way out of the hangar bay, then accidentally destroys the enemy base ship. I don't like being reminded of Star Wars: Episode 1. "Yippee" indeed.

The rest, I was perfectly happy with. For a minute there, near the end, I got the sinking feeling they were going to wrap it up the same way the original series wrapped up: with the BSG finding "modern day" earth. That would have totally sabotaged the vision and themes of the series, though, and I like the idea of them intermingling with and aiding prehistoric man to develop as a species. The final scene was a nice ray of hope in a series that had been quite overwhelmingly dark and hopeless at times, and served as a promising break to the repetitious cycle of "this has all happened before, and it will all happen again" that was one of the major themes of the series.

Laura's death was touching, as was Adama's role by her side, and I'm certainly glad they let her thread progress to its natural and logical conclusion, rather than pull some miracle Cylon cure or restorative Earth "magic" out of thin air to ensure a standard TV "happy ending" for her. Baltar's transformation into a less selfish, more heroic character was nice, as was his ending up with Caprica. The whole theme of God using such imperfect and flawed people, bringing them through desperation, doubt, disbelief, betrayal, pain and misery as part of his master plan to reach a better end goal was nicely realized.

The show had resonated strongly with me from the very beginning, as I was swept up by this bold new miniseries that soon turned into a series. It was unlike anything else that was on TV, and stood out amidst the adult network dramas that seemed more like the products of adolescents playing grown-up and retarded "reality" shows with their endless parade of narcissistic, devolved assholes. Science fiction on TV had never been handled so responsibly nor well-realized for as long as I could remember. BSG was about major themes and characters first and foremost with the "space stuff" as the frosting on the cake. You weren't guaranteed a space-battle or a gunfight in every episode, but when they did happen, there was a good reason for it, and it was gripping. There were no streetwise, quippy characters tossing off quotable one-liners while firing at the bad guys. There were no mustache-twirling bad guys or damsels in distress. There were no cute kids (well, except when they tried to shoehorn Boxey into the show early on, realizing he didn't belong and getting rid of him just as quickly) or robot-dogs, or aliens whose only distinguishing characteristic is some sort of funky skin-folds on their foreheads and/or noses (I'm lookin' square atcha, Star Trek).

The characters were imperfect, hard-headed, prejudiced and angry. They made mistakes, they got drunk on duty, they frakked the wrong person, they turned on their friends and fellows, they murdered. They were human and honest and real, and a great example of the realization of this is that, no matter who your favorite character was, it was almost guaranteed that they would go through a period or arc where you started to question why they deserved your admiration -- then you'd end up hating them -- then you were back to liking them several episodes later. The characters were put through hell and just when they'd arrived safely on the other side of the flames and everything seemed safe and sane, they would be jerked right back into the fire. The writing was always superb, the acting was always believable and engrossing and the effects were usually some of the best to be found on TV, considering the scope they were attempting with the budget they were limited to. It's a shame the series never seemed to get the recognition it deserved from the general public, but it was certainly a critical and industry darling, and deservedly so. I think it will go down in history as a true classic, and I'm very anxious for the upcoming CAPRICA spinoff, as well as anything else that showrunner Ron Moore and his team can conjure up in the future.

That's all I've got for now. I'm tired and I've rambled enough. I'm sure I'll think of more to blather about in the morning, but this is not the place to drone on about it. If you've never seen the show, you owe it to yourself to rent or buy the first season on DVD and give it a go.

Pop-Monkey, out. So say we all.


Chrissie A said...

I enjoyed reading your critique of the end of this terrific series! I'm still sorting my own feelings out, three days later... :) What an amazing show.

One of the standout features of the whole series for me has been the music. Bear McCreary is a genius; I do think his music had a lot to do with making this show so affecting and compelling.

"Burgerstar Grillactica" made me laugh. :D

Pop-Monkey said...

Arrgh, I totally forgot to mention McCreary's music! I thought Bear brought a lot of emotion and weight to the show, and I've snagged each of the season's soundtracks. They're great pieces of work, and I think he was a wise choice indeed to work on the show. Such a diverse range of sounds and themes -- the guy knows his stuff. I hope he'll be scoring CAPRICA, too, but he probably needs a break!

Tristan said...

Man I love BG , I am sad to see it go.

They sent it off with a bang though that's for sure.

The missiles firing from the derelict Raptor were nukes, so I could see it doing some serious damage to the colony, although it was a little extreme that ALL of the missiles made contact. I guess it was all part of the "plan".

Overall I was satifioed with the ending. It was definitely a happy/sad feeling to see them finally find "Earth" but sad to see them go. It definitely sucks that after all Adama went through he goes off into the wilderness by himself and doesn't get to share it with anyone. Same for Lee.

The only thing I was really kind of "confused" about was Cara. I guess she was an angel of some sort? Kinda crazy.

I am definitely looking foward to the 2 hour show "The Plan" to see this all from the Cylons view. Caprica looks interesting as well.

:sigh: My favorite show I have looked foward to watching for these last few years is over. I guess I will have to start watching something else.

You gonna take a look at the "warehouse 13" show they keep touting on the commercials?

Pstonie said...

I was expecting the finale to be frakking amazing and I was not let down.

The Racetrack/nukes deal was also my least favourite part of the ending, but after thinking about it for a while, it seems a bit naive to think that God could actively lead Baltar, Caprica Six, Kara, etc to humanity's salvation and then not be able to fire a couple of nukes with a random asteroid. Still.

It's only because of the show's high quality that something like that stands out so badly.

I have a feeling that The Plan is going to give us an angle that would invigorate the previous seasons with a new light that we didn't quite notice before. Like if you go back and watch the show again now that you know what Tigh is, everything about his story seems to work better and make more sense.

Like with the finale, I have a feeling that they will do this, but no idea how.

If they don't, it doesn't matter anyway. ;)

ChrisJB said...

was this seriously a chimp? this concept is far reaching and it blows my brain. they must have smoked the herb when they wrote the ideas down in the board room. also they ate muffins and licked some tabs of acid and listened to "Fantastic Mr Fox" audio books on cassette tape (cassettes were invented by Phillips).

I imagine they drank some cospacho soup into their noses out of a nicka bocka glory glass, using straws (two at a time). Breathing would be hard.