Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bringing it all back home

Finally caught the ending to Battlestar Galactica on DVD. It did not disappoint.

First, they actually ended the series. That in itself is an amazing accomplishment. They didn't leave the poor bastards stuck in space like the folks on Gilligan's Island.

More than that, the ending was actually satisfying. Storm and fury and mythic themes and spectacular deaths do not alone make for a satisfying series ending. (See X-Files.) But they pulled it off.


Essentially, they come back to earth -- our earth. Dylan's song leads them all back home. Pretty much, the series creators could either make the Battlestar humans our (A) decendents or our (B) ancestors. The answer is (B).

Ultimately, it's divine intervention time. Deus Ex Mechanae, yep. Now, it may be disappointing to some to drag God into it just to settle your plot points. But frak it. Until very recently -- going back to Oedipus -- the point of dramatic fiction was usually WE'RE ALL THE PAWNS OF DESTINY.

In this case, the shadowy entity guiding the show isn't all-powerful, as the angels representing Him/Her/It seem to imply. God nudges things along, but the humans/robots being nudged can still screw things up. I'll buy that for a dollar.

Up until that hallelujah moment, the series maintained a gritty believability. On the DVD commentary, Edwards James Olmos was quoted saying something to the effect, "If I see any three-eyed aliens, I'm off the show. If this is an honest extension of the implications of Blade Runner, I'll consider it." That's exactly what it was.

The series creators set a tough goal for themselves and pulled it off. In the process, they exceeded everything that came before. (Too bad Fox aborted Firefly, but there it is.)

For now, Battlestar Galactica is the gold-standard in televised science fiction.

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