Tag Archives: Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica, or, Who’d You Rather?

We’re behind the times with television. We have one, but gave up cable three years ago because it isn’t worth the expense.

Battlestar Galactica was on from 2004 to 2009. We rented the discs and watched it all at once. Between the cliffhangers, the commercials, and the long waits between seasons, it’s the best way. I’m also a big fan of captions and the ability to rewind.

We became addicted immediately. As far as who I’d rather, well, any of them except Baltar or Tigh. The dialogue is lean, the people real. The Cylons, a race of machines who develop human form, destroy the human planet Caprica and its colonies just as Battlestar Galactica is about to be shelved as a museum. The people on Galactica, a few survivors that managed to flee onto ships, and some civilian ships were spared because they were in already space.

The 50,000 humans left alive are now at war with the Cylons and face extinction. As each key character’s personality is revealed, you begin to respect them as soldiers and officers, especially the ubersexy Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos), whose word is law.

BSG was gritty and raw, unlike any other science fiction show such as Star Trek. I expected a show about spaceships, but got a show about people facing death on a daily basis who happen to be on spaceships. It captured the best and worst of humanity. They smoked, drank, and swore constantly (“frak” was their substitute for “fuck”). They were unwashed, had meltdowns, made mistakes, but above all they were soldiers with hearts. As more humans were wiped out, the pressure to train new pilots and other personnel was critical, and those were my favorite seasons. Each episode brought gutsy drama, sex, death, murder, executions, suicides, and destruction.

Their mission was to find Earth, revealed to them in “prophecies” as their future new home, while dealing with infighting, shortages, and traitors. The suspense was delicious, and key personalities stayed in character.

As the show progressed it began to lose focus. Toward the last few seasons, it got too surreal and confusing. Just because a drama is sci-fi doesn’t mean it should become unbelievable. It became a jumble of visions, flashbacks, and unanswered mysteries. There was much evangelical talk of god among the Cylons in an inexplicable way that I still do not understand.

The ending of the series caused controversy among many fans. I did not like it, and watched the final episode with disappointment. I don’t like loose ends. They do find a habitable planet, but we didn’t need to see them arrive there, destroy their own remaining ships, decide not to build a new city, and become hunters and gatherers in what appeared to be early Africa. The mystery of Kara Thrace was never explained, she simply disappeared. The final scene is 150,000 years later as Baltar and his Cylon lover walk through the streets of a thriving city, mumbling disapproval of what it had become. It never explained who Baltar and his lover really were.

I think the series should have ended when they knew they’d found a new home, and everybody’s cheering. There was no need to add the superfluous final episode. But as a whole it was damn good.