• Farewell, Battlestar Galactica

    I just got finished watching Monday night’s special on the cast, crew, and making of BSG. The final episode of the series airs tomorrow.

    I was admittedly leery of the series when it came out. The main reason was that it was being produced by the SciFi Channel, which I have always associated with horrible campy science fiction shows with no-name actors, thin plots, and terrible writing. The other main reason was that I had watched reruns of the original BSG series as an adult, which thoroughly shattered my rose-tinted memories of watching the show during my childhood (Dirk Benedict, for Christ’s sake… awful).

    And yet, like so many others I gave the pilot a shot, and was rewarded with a totally new take on the series and a gem of a show in the making. The Cylons-as-humans thing was a little hard to swallow at first (and smacked more of keeping the budget on CG for the Toasters in check than anything else), but as the series has evolved they’ve justified the choice. After all, BSG is more about the characters in the story than the robots, spaceships, and special effects surrounding them.

    And what characters they are: gritty, dark, and all with secret (and not-so-secret) flaws that drive them through their individual story threads to be challenged, tested, broken, and saved countless times over. We were talking at work the other day about how we’d happily watch an entire series about Gaius Baltar living out his daily life; he’s been such a delightfully selfish and complicated bastard through the whole series. It’s been mentioned many times before, but I have to heap some hefty praise on to the show’s writers for keeping it real all the way through and not being afraid to send a TV series (and a sci fi one at that) in to morally questionable territory that would send even the most battle-hardened TV executives running for cover.

    In a time when 8 out of 10 TV shows on the air these days either seem to be about 10 spoiled brats living in an $8 million house and yelling at each other, or are centered around the pursuit of an aimless goal with trite elimination ceremony after trite elimination ceremony, BSG has provided some actual entertainment by people who have proven themselves to be masters of their craft. As a result, it’s just that much more tragic when a show of this calibre has to go off the air.

    Even so, while I will miss seeing new episodes pop up on the DVR, I must thank the management at SciFi for letting the show end gracefully; it was certainly time. All the major story arcs have played out, the characters are clearly tiring out following the ordeals of their journey, and the impending conclusion has been well-primed by the writers for a solid end to the series. There’s nothing worse than seeing a good show die a slow painful death by ratings. The powers over BSG are doing a great job of avoiding this and letting the show go out at the top of its game.

    It is with anticipation that I look forward to tomorrow’s closing chapter. My final request to the makers of the show will be that they release the entire series on Blu-Ray in a magnificent box set with loads of special features. After that, I’ll just have Breaking Bad (another fabulously dark show) to keep me amused until something else half-decent hits the airwaves.

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