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Vincent S. Moore Presents:

“And in the end…”

I have a confession to make.

I definitely was not a fan of the recently ended Battlestar Galactica on the SciFi Channel.

It had more to do with me than the show itself. I was and still am a fan of the original BSG. I had just entered the double digits of age when it came on the air in 1978. It was a time of Star Wars and Studio 54 and an energy crisis. It was a great time. And the original Battlestar Galactica was a perfect fit, with its blend of Star Wars, Wagon Train, Chariots Of The Gods, and selected elements of Mormon mythology.

I loved it and watched every episode with wide eyes and a sense of wonder on overdrive.

Then along came the revamp for the 21st century.

I missed it when the new BSG premiered. I wasn’t interested, having little faith in the remake. But many friends along the way kept claiming just how great the show was and what I was missing. Those claims tempted me to watch the show and see what all the fuss was about. Except that every time I tuned into the new BSG i would end up not watching anymore episodes. Maybe I just had the misfortune to pick the lousy, middle of the road episodes. But to have that happen every time I tuned, I think, says more about the show itself than me.

When the end of this so-called great show was announced, the news didn’t affect me much. After all, I wasn’t a fan, I wasn’t invested in the show and its characters. What did I care about its coming end? Nothing at all, really.

Then, when it finally came down to the last ten episodes, I happened to catch the catch-up special that aired on SciFi. The producers and main creative geniuses behind BSG, Ronald Moore and David Eick, promised that for those who haven’t seen the rest of the show the last ten episodes would act as a complete story unto itself. That if any viewer took the basic information laid out in the special, he or she could watch the last ten stories and know what was happened, would be in on the grand finale along with faithful viewers who had watched (or endured?) all of the preceding episodes.

I took that as a challenge.

After all, if the new Battlestar Galactica was truly such a great show, then its climatic episodes would have to straight, no chaser or filler. That if the epic tale was to be ending, then everything would work towards that end without too many side trips.


It was with that expectation that I made myself tune in for the final episodes. To meet the producers’ challenge and to see if BSG was really the great science fiction TV show a lot of people around me said it was.

And now, it’s all over but the crying and lamenting.

Except, in some circles I run in, there’s still a lot of complaining about that very end continuing.

Which doesn’t strike me as odd at all. Especially since, as a late comer, the final ten tales of the new Battlestar Galactica were mostly typical soap opera dressed in science fiction hand-me-downs and leftovers. And the greatly promised final revelation appeared to have come from Revelations.

Overall, the last ten BSG stories told the tale of the end of things. It felt like a continuous, ten day long wake held for someone not particularly loved by those attending. Now, it’s natural to design the end of any TV series to tell the tale of the end of things from the perspective of major and minor characters. But in this case, with the fate of the surviving few thousands of humans and the Cylons both good and bad hanging in the balance, the apocalyptic overtones became oppressive. That things and people fall apart when the end comes is natural, however BSG took that as a literal mandate, with the ship itself slowly falling apart around the broken and breaking lives of the crew.

I watched with the morbid fascination of a looky-loo watching a ten car pileup on the freeway.

My overall opinion about the show didn’t really change while watching these episodes. I still think it was a mediocre drama that wandered into the realms of melodrama the way California teens wander into Tijuana, Mexico looking for a good time and end up seeing The Donkey Show. If anything, I felt sorry for these characters because they were cruelly played with by the producers/writers for so long that the series finale was a mercy killing.

Or it would have been, had the finale itself not turned into ashes and shit before my very eyes.

By now, I hope that anyone interested has already seen the finale for themselves. I think the Internets are alive with buzzing of bitching and whining and moaning about it. Debates are being held. And well they should be. For the end of BSG was a complete mess, so filled with mixed messages that if the cast of Lost had shown up I would not have been as completely taken aback as I was.

Suffice it to say, and here be spoilers, the final battle between the ragtag fugitive fleet and the Cylon tyranny took place in the final two hours. A great many computer generated ships and models were blown up. Much mayhem and violence ensued. And the humans won the day, simple as that.

Except it wasn’t.

By the end of the final hours, I had to keep telling myself I was watching a SciFi Channel show and not something on Christian Broadcasting Network or the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I know that I live in a predominately Christian country and the teachings and leanings are all around me, but I thought science fiction was generally devoid of such things. I know that’s wishful thinking on my part but I just couldn’t believe how many plot points turned on Acts of God or Angels. Isn’t that called Deus Ex Machina? I thought such things were unforgivable in drama. Whether it was the angel formerly known as Kara Thrace that ultimately led the Galactica to Earth not just once but twice or the magical firing of the nuclear missiles just in time to destroy the Cylon Colony ship, saving the Galactica’s ass, the producers set it up so that the main characters had little responsibility in their own destiny. It is almost contrary to the very nature of science fiction for a story to turn on elements of prophecy and dogma, angels and the Hand of God.

This isn’t to say the original Battlestar Galactica did not bring up such subjects. However, such elements were displayed openly, whether it be Count Iblis or the glowing, angelic aliens that showed up. Those ideas wore the clothes of science fiction much better.

The angels in the new BSG did not.

Be that as it may, the Galactica and the fleet did find a new home, a shining planet known as Earth. Except, through the magic of melodrama, the Earth the fleet had been searching for turned out to be a radioactive, charred wreck and the planet where the humans ended up was miraculously found by the angel Kara Thrace and looked surprisingly like our very own big blue marble.

Okay, to tell you the truth, it was our Earth as it was 150,000 years ago.

So here come the technological advanced humans of the 12 Colonies to a primitive Earth. And where do they initially land? Africa. Where they find genetically compatible yet technological inferior native tribes. Oh, joy. At least the producers had the decency (?) not to show the natives up close. Can you imagine the uproar that would have occurred if they had shown the predominately white Galactica crew coming face to face with black Africans? I can. And maybe it should still happen anyway.

Because I find it hard to believe, for all the complaint about the religiosity of the conclusion, that very few people picked up on the Eurocentric Imperialism of the colonists. When Lee “Apollo” Adama talks about leaving behind the high tech machines because humans can’t handle them properly while saying the colonists will give the natives the higher, more noble tools of language and culture and morality, thereby making them better, I nearly jumped out of my skin. To see that in the 21st century the arguments for European Imperialism and Slavery could be made so blithely galls me. Worse, I was witnessing a restatement of the Noble Savage argument. It still amazes me to realize that no matter how far human beings have come we really haven’t or really refuse to change at our core.

Which is the final argument of the producers themselves.

For in showing the angels walking amongst us today, talking about the possibility of further repetition of the war between humans and intelligent machines, the producers all but openly admit that we are merely pawns in the game of gods or the One, True God, however you want to look at it. While that was a justifiable conclusion to reach in by the dictates of science fiction, it came across as both heavy handed and ruthlessly hopeless.

But I guess that’s part of what made the new Battlestar Galactica a product of its times.

Born in the shadow of 9-11 and the new war between clashing cultures with equal claims on the true path of righteousness, BSG took the temperature of the times and gave back to the people what they wanted. A science fiction show where science was to be distrusted and blind faith was upheld and lauded. A show where it was more important to worry about how people reacted to events than how they dealt with them through reason. A show where even the light of God couldn’t brighten the world fully because of the fundamental darkness of the humans.

And now, it’s over.

I say good riddance.

Perhaps it’s time to start looking back at the stars in wonder instead of fear.

I know that’s a harder path to follow but I think it will lead to better places.

Goodbye, Battlestar Galactica. We hardly knew ye, thankfully.

Now, where are my DVDs of the originals?

Namaste until next time, folks. 

Vincent S. Moore

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