Thursday, March 26, 2009

Obviously, It's Not Just Me.

Steven Grant, on the BSG finale:

(You have to scroll down a bit, but it's well worth it. Highlights below.)

"Lemme get this straight. After four seasons, during which Ron Moore and the other writers have all prattled on about how the show is genuine hard science fiction, no alien races or trad space opera or like that, and "down to earth" except for a handful of technological advances, it all turns out to be warmed over anti-technology "back to the earth" (literally) hippiefied twaddle by way of the Bible belt?

The end message: forget science and put your faith in nature and the supernatural, because God (though he doesn't like to be called that) loves you and will provide.


And this bit is also funny:

"The problem of bringing God into it is the problem of bringing God into anything proposed as "destiny." In terms laid out by the conclusion, the entirety of the series can be seen as the machinations of a "loving" God to bring 38,000 some-odd humans and assorted Cylons to a new promised land. That's fine, but it involves a cosmic mechanism so detailed as to require His hand going back at least decades, at least as far as the Final 5 contacting the Cylons and Starbuck as a little girl receiving the benediction of The Music from her father. If you conceive the series as God's rescue following the destruction of the Colonies, that's one thing. But all the machinations means God willingly turns a blind eye to the horrific deaths of hundreds of millions of people – their society as presented doesn't exactly smack of Sodom and Gomorrah – in order to "save" 40,000. Even if the ultimate goal is the creation of a new species – us – no God capable of juggling that many balls and guiding that many events would need to go to all that trouble. If it all comes down to God's will, then God is either rather cruel or something of a dope."


Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

The most damning - and painfully accurate - phrase comes at the very end:

Meaning ultimately it's not science fiction at all, but a religious fantasy with sf trappings. Whether it was Moore & co.'s intent all along or a sop to SciFi (whoops, I mean SyFy... which I'm told is Eastern European slang for syphilis, though I've yet to get that verified) management, which notoriously hates science fiction, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, despite production values, writing, acting and directing that for four long years were heads and tails beyond all the other low rent, brainless, derivative original material SyFy craps out in the end was only as good as that.

Which is really the bottom line, isn't it? Arguably one of the best TV series in recent years, and it goes out in such a sub-par way. Very disappointing.

Kazekage said...

Well, far be it from me to say "I told you so" but really . . .would a little bit of pre-planning have killed them? Just a little, just the slightest idea of something to work toward so that the ending of the series would justify the time viewers put in to it to follow it through all the ups and downs . . .really, would it have killed them?

Seriously--sometimes you have to just shut up and put your cards on the table. Stop talking the talk, and walk the walk.

I don't care how many people come out of the woodwork and sand say "well, Moore doesn't have to answer any question, he wanted to leave it to the viewer"--no he didn't. He didn't think that far ahead and it showed through in the final product.

To assert any less is to piss on my leg and convince me it's raining.

It speaks to poor anger management skills on my part that it's a couple weeks later and I'm still annoyed at the the way BSG finished. :)

Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

I don't know... the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to think that this was the plan - certainly not from the beginning, but at least from the start of the fourth season. Mind you, that's not to say it's a good plan - constructing a Myth Arc is not, in itself, a guarantee that the emerging story will be worth watching - but there's too much thematic consistency and closure for me to believe that they just cobbled it together during the last hiatus.

Kazekage said...

Well, if it was the plan then, it was three years too late to be any kind of meaningful payoff for anything, and four years into things is not the the time to be building the Myth Arc, because it's sort of like humming along in leather bucket seats without bothering to put wheels on the car.

Mind you, it does have a certain unity of vision and it makes sense . . .but it only makes sense to me as "well, this is the best explanation they were able to half-ass."

Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

Someone on the TWOP forums suggested a much better alternate ending:

150,000 Years Later, we see Leoben in a uniform, limping down a hall. He enters a holding cell, sits down at the table and asks "How many Cylons are there in the Fleet?"

The camera turns to see Starbuck handcuffed to the table. She smiles. "We haven't been properly introduced. I'm Kara."

See, that's the kind of full-circle ending I'd find appropriate.

Kazekage said...

It's not great, but it's certainly better than what we go. No robot montage=A+ from me. :)