Geekanology UK: Battlestar Galactica Finale
Posted: 21 September 2010 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Geekanology UK: Battlestar Galactica Finale
There are “SciFi” films & series out there that make sense, there are some that don’t ... in the don’t category I list series such as “The X Files” (the truth may well be out there but it’s got naff all to with this series), “Lost” (good title ... 15 minutes in and I had entirely “lost” interest). There are others that rely on techno-babble, Star Trek & Stargate (love them though I do) amongst them and that’s fine ... I can live with techno-babble by making a rational trade off, I switch off the normal world step into the scenario I’m presented with and as long as it is internally consistent I’m fine with it. To my mind that is the secret to enjoying a science fiction film or series ... I don’t mind whether it entertains me on a rational level or on an entertainment level but, if the film strays too far from rational I demand that it makes sense within the scenario presented.

So when I first saw the pilot for the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica first came on screen in the form of a 3 hour pilot I absolutely loved it ... sure it had flaws, which series doesn’t, but it was gritty & interesting in all kinds of ways; it had great characters including Commander Adama (James Edward Olmos), Apollo (Jamie Bamber), Gaius Baltar (James Callis), Number Six (Tricia Helfer) and the awesome Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff); it was stylish and it appeared to be, above all, rational by which I mean it was a scenario that made sense.

One intriguing thing was the religious relationship between the Colonials and their Cylon enemies ... the Colonials believed in Greco/Roman gods whilst the new model, humanoid, Cylons believed in “The One God”. Even as an atheist this was fine because the idea of gods are inherently irrational, there is never any proof so with two mutually opposed belief systems there could be no victor, no right or wrong so I had many, many hours of what looked to be an excellent, action-packed science fiction series to look forward to ... 3 seasons later I found out how hugely, mind-bogglingly wrong I was!

First of all a warning, this review is one huge spoiler, in order to deal with it as I intend to do it can’t be anything else. So, if you don’t want to know what happens, if you want to make up your own mind and do so objectively, without prejudice stop reading now. If, however, you want to be fully informed, to know the reason why I was so bitterly disappointed with it, a possible reason to (perhaps) stop before you start, before (as I did) you waste huge amounts of time and money on it ... read on.

Battlestar Galactica started well in the pilot introducing us the characters and the second war between Cylon and Human and the first season, with some baggage, went on well to expand on that fleshing out reasons for tensions between father, son and adoptive daughter (in order to preserve something for the wannabe viewer, I’ll try and keep some specifics out), why the military and civilian authorities didn’t see eye to eye, why the Cylons were engaged so determinedly in an effort to wipe the Humans out and on how determined (and why) the Humans were to survive.

Over seasons 1 to 3 there was some (inevitable perhaps) decay in the story, there were good episodes and ones that were not so good but when they were good it has to be admitted they tended to be very good and the bad episodes weren’t actually so bad as to be uninteresting. More to the point, as in often done these days, a story was being told ... a story that arced across each episode’s adventure, tying the whole series together, asking questions, sometimes answering them, telling a story of a lost people trying to find their way home and above all asking what they would find when they reached that home, the mythical planet Earth to which the thirteenth tribe of Cobol was believed to have gone. In some ways this was, for me, becoming a kind of new Babylon 5 ... in some ways it wasn’t quite as good (until the dire season 5 Babylon 5 just kept improving) but in other ways it was far, far better.

Season 3 ended with Starbuck returning from the dead and by half way through season 4 (with no surety it would continue what with the Hollywood writing strike) it appeared our fleet had reached Earth and, from the wrecked cities & all too familiar seeming skyline, at some point in our future. If only they had ended it there ... it wouldn’t have been a good ending, it wouldn’t have answered all the questions but if only, if only!

The writer’s strike ended and a little later the series continued and, god, was it depressing? Primarily dealt with a mutiny over multiple episodes which could, quite frankly, have been covered in one, maybe 2 ... there were lots and lost (and lots more) of “in corridor” scenes, person to person stuff and not a whole lot of FX/action. The impression many of us fans seemed to be getting was that they were saving their FX for one huge FX laden finale ... and that is exactly what happened but not quite in the way I thought it would.
[Read The Rest of This Review Here]

So there you have it ... what I really think of Moore’s awful ending to BSG!!! I’ve looked around the net and no one else seems to see it through my jaundiced eyes, do little but heap unwarranted praise on the man but ... where’s that damned baseball bat when you need it?

Keke

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Posted: 21 September 2010 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I saw the pilot and regarded it as OK but never watched anything after that.

Why would an Artificial Intelligence that has Faster Than Light technology and can go off exploring and colonizing an entire galaxy be emotionally fixated on its creators to have the slightest interest in destroying them.  It is necessary to have conflict for the show but where is the real sense.  It is just a question of what is plausible.

If the AI were trapped in a single solar system with humanity and had to compete for resources it would be a different story.  But with FTL and a whole galaxy, no.

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Posted: 21 September 2010 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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psikeyhackr - 21 September 2010 12:12 PM

Why would an Artificial Intelligence that has Faster Than Light technology and can go off exploring and colonizing an entire galaxy be emotionally fixated on its creators to have the slightest interest in destroying them.

I have never seen the show but I have noticed that the one thing SF usually gets wrong is psychology. As much as I love Star Trek, for example, the one science that the show gets completely wrong is the science of psychology.

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Posted: 21 September 2010 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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That’s why I like Lovecraft.  The psychology of his critters is so utterly alien it’s incomprehensible to us.

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Posted: 21 September 2010 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Quoting George:

As much as I love Star Trek, for example, the one science that the show gets completely wrong is the science of psychology.

First, I won’t be snide and ask how one can connect “science” and “psychology”, but could you give a few examples, George?

And, I watched about three episodes of BG when it first started and realized it wasn’t worth my time.

Occam

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Posted: 21 September 2010 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Occam. - 21 September 2010 02:59 PM

Quoting George:

As much as I love Star Trek, for example, the one science that the show gets completely wrong is the science of psychology.

First, I won’t be snide and ask how one can connect “science” and “psychology”, but could you give a few examples, George?

Psychology is the study of not thinking.

Mr. Spock was the only human being on the Enterprise.  LOL

Years ago I was reading Mastering the Art of War by Thomas Cleary. 

http://www.sonshi.com/cleary.html

There was a place where it talked about separating the mind from the emotions to solve a problem then merging the solution to the emotions to create HARMONY.

When I read that I thought, “Damn, the Chinese invented Vulcans 2500 years ago.

The whole suppression of the emotions idea is weird and “alien” but sometimes Star Trek promotes the idea of being"human” as just being DUMB.

psik

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Posted: 21 September 2010 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Occam. - 21 September 2010 02:59 PM

First, I won’t be snide and ask how one can connect “science” and “psychology”, but could you give a few examples, George?

Steven Pinker is currently writing a book on the historical decline of violence. You might want to read it once it comes out to understand that the Klingons can either behave like a bunch of savages or build interstellar spaceships, but they cannot do both.

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Posted: 21 September 2010 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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George - 21 September 2010 06:51 PM

Steven Pinker is currently writing a book on the historical decline of violence. You might want to read it once it comes out to understand that the Klingons can either behave like a bunch of savages or build interstellar spaceships, but they cannot do both.

That’s a good one.  I couldn’t stand Klingons since they were remade in TNG.

Stupid barbarians in starships that despise scientists.  YEAH RIGHT!

But it was all part of the multi-cultural tolerance propaganda of Star Trek.

Another peculiar thing was the Vulcans of the Enterprise series.  It was ONLY LOGICAL to think what the Vulcan High Command says to think regardless evidence to the contrary since the High Command must define logic.  Time travle is impossible regardless of time travel occurring.

Of course I agree that backward time travel is impossible.  But I haven’t seen contrary evidence yet.  LOL

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Posted: 21 September 2010 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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So this is a thread about psychology now?

Keke

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Posted: 22 September 2010 01:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Kyuuketsuki UK - 21 September 2010 06:19 AM

[So there you have it ... what I really think of Moore’s awful ending to BSG!!! I’ve looked around the net and no one else seems to see it through my jaundiced eyes, do little but heap unwarranted praise on the man but ... where’s that damned baseball bat when you need it?

Keke

Once upon a time, a friend of mine and I decided to start watching the episodes of this show.  We got to about halfway through season 2 when I decided it wasn’t worth keeping watching.  I though that the pilot was excellent, and it seemed to point to a serious attempt at actual science fiction, with a lot of feasible technology presented.  I predicted that the show faced a potential problem, that the invisibility of the cylons might make it too easy for writers to rehash the same problems associated with that over and over again, that the writing might get stale.

Sure enough, I was completely right.  The writing did get stale.  I got tired of the characters always going through the same problems over and over again.  The promise of good science fell off the wayside, too.  The cylons are impossible to detect by any technology except for the nuclear-related one Baltar invents then destroys, but they have otherwise superhuman abilities?  Hogwash.  Anything superhuman would show up immediately in the biology.  Especially when the cylon girl “plugs in” a fiberoptic cable to her arm and controls the ship.  Idiocy.

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Posted: 22 September 2010 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 22 September 2010 01:02 AM

Sure enough, I was completely right.  The writing did get stale.  I got tired of the characters always going through the same problems over and over again.  The promise of good science fell off the wayside, too.  The cylons are impossible to detect by any technology except for the nuclear-related one Baltar invents then destroys, but they have otherwise superhuman abilities?  Hogwash.  Anything superhuman would show up immediately in the biology.  Especially when the cylon girl “plugs in” a fiberoptic cable to her arm and controls the ship.  Idiocy.

Now that’s something I hadn’t thoight of ... good point(s)!

Keke

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Posted: 12 December 2010 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 22 September 2010 01:02 AM
Kyuuketsuki UK - 21 September 2010 06:19 AM

[So there you have it ... what I really think of Moore’s awful ending to BSG!!! I’ve looked around the net and no one else seems to see it through my jaundiced eyes, do little but heap unwarranted praise on the man but ... where’s that damned baseball bat when you need it?

Keke

Once upon a time, a friend of mine and I decided to start watching the episodes of this show.  We got to about halfway through season 2 when I decided it wasn’t worth keeping watching.  I though that the pilot was excellent, and it seemed to point to a serious attempt at actual science fiction, with a lot of feasible technology presented.  I predicted that the show faced a potential problem, that the invisibility of the cylons might make it too easy for writers to rehash the same problems associated with that over and over again, that the writing might get stale.

Sure enough, I was completely right.  The writing did get stale.  I got tired of the characters always going through the same problems over and over again.  The promise of good science fell off the wayside, too.  The cylons are impossible to detect by any technology except for the nuclear-related one Baltar invents then destroys, but they have otherwise superhuman abilities?  Hogwash.  Anything superhuman would show up immediately in the biology.  Especially when the cylon girl “plugs in” a fiberoptic cable to her arm and controls the ship.  Idiocy.

I think I accidentally saw a pilot (was it a TV special) a while back, where some young gal was a cylon but didn’t know it (does that sound familiar?)  Flash forward to a few months ago. I downloaded the first couple of episodes of Season 1 on iTunes and then realized I had not seen whatever was shown back in 2005 (save this one pilot episode or whatever). I just couldn’t get into it.  I made it to Bastille Day (where the dude breaks them out of prison, etc).

Is there anything worth downloading?  Babylon 5? Maybe?  Any good Sci-Fi, other than the obvious (original Star Trek and Star Trek NG)????

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Posted: 28 December 2010 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I’m a little surprised:

(1) I thought (the first season of) BSG was about the best thing on TV that year. Baltar was especially well done; a character whose evil stems from weakness - much better than the slavering stage-villain in the old ‘70s version. The psychology of his corruption was very well done imo: think of the episode where Baltar finaly does a difficult but noble deed, killing a soldier who’d become unhinged and was going to lead a little band of characters to certain death. A ship finally comes to save them, and Baltar pauses to see Number One in the trees. She twists the tale by suggesting what really made him mature was not that he made a difficult but moral decision, but that he’d killed a man. That scene is miles and miles above the utterly unconvincing temptation of Luke by the Emperor in The Return of the Jedi

(2) I also think that BSG was (again, first season) very much sci fi; it examined very big issues in a setting emphasizing modern technological life. (a very personal definition of science-fiction) True, it had a lot of personal stuff in it; but the lack of that was more a tic of the golden-age sci-fi writers - Asimov is famous for his two-dimensional characters, but no-one cared. (okay, he’s more Silver age than golden age.)

(3) I’d think someone here would have something to say about the steely-eyed religiosity of the Cylons. I’m not surprised we haven’t said much here about the humans’ religion, because the authors of the series didn’t seem to want to delve into it. It was just part of their lives, some good, some bad - which in itself seems remarkable in a sci-fi series.

I agree that the mini-series slipped a lot after the first season. I think they’d basically covered all the interesting issues.


Chris Kirk

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