Skepticism

Battlestar Galactic Postmortem

***THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. DO NOT READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW***

SciFi’s Battlestar Galactica ended Friday. Having written about the show here before, I thought I’d weigh in on the much anticipated finale. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that from the first episode right on through the penultimate show last week, this was some of the best science fiction I had ever seen. The writing was consistently flawless, continually engaging, and always unpredictable. The characters were interesting and felt real. The special effects were cool. I absolutely loved everything about it.

And then, in one fell swoop, Ronald Moore destroyed it all.

I’m not even sure where to begin. This ending has me completely at a loss. Over the past year or so, everything coming from Moore and the cast on how it would wrap up was about how bleak and nihilistic and unhappy the ending would be, and this seemed consistent with the general no-punches-pulled attitude of the series. The way it actually closed seemed pollyanna-ish compared with what was expected; and that’s not to say that I wanted to see everyone die. It’s just that this ending did not feel right. It didn’t fit with the tone of the show.

The whole anti-science, destroy all technology and start over thing was annoying, but I could almost understand why the characters would make that decision after what they’d been through. At the same time, it was such a disjointed thing to do after just a few episodes ago making my science-y little heart sing with Anders’ speech about wanting to be connected to the mathematics of the universe (among other things).

Then there’s the part that really pissed me off: answering every deep and intriguing mystery with a shrug and a simple “God did it.” WHAT THE FRAK?! (That is the last time I will ever use that word.) It felt cheap, like they took the easy way out. To end such a well-crafted story with that kind of cop-out resolution (if you can even call it that) is beyond infuriating. I feel so cheated. I know it’s just a TV show, but I’ve invested a lot of time in this story and these characters and to have them sold so short feels like a betrayal. They were owed more than this. When Ronald Moore showed up onscreen at the end, I wanted to punch him in his smarmy little face.

Even more than that, when you start to really think about it, this finale is full of plot holes and inconsistencies. It’s almost like he thought people would either love it and overlook the fact that the story didn’t make sense, or they’d hate it and not care. I know I’m repeating myself, but it just doesn’t fit. 4 years of great writing only to be wasted in a lazy wrap-up. If I worked on the show, especially as a writer, I would be profoundly angry. Well, I guess I am pretty profoundly angry as it is.

I wrote last year that Battlestar Galactica was and could be a great show despite its roots in Mormon mythology, and it was, almost to the end. I was deceived. It ended as Mormon propaganda after all. I just wish I’d seen it coming. I wouldn’t have wasted my time. I am finished with this series, and will not be watching any subsequent ones. It’s dead to me. Congratulations, Ronald Moore, for alienating your fanbase. Tim3P0 was right on when he called you George Lucas, jr.

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80 Comments

  1. So say we all. :(

    I would even have been able to handle the ‘God did it” explanation if it was done with any thought at all. As it was, it seemed like it was just a way to get out of complex corners that the writers had painted themselves into. It made for poor narrative (true in literature and in life!)

    I think there are two options:

    1. They simply didn’t know how to get out of the convolutions and plot holes (a problem I call X-Files syndrome). This is the more likely explanation.

    2. They wanted to keep some questions open to keep us watching the follow up movies. I doubt this is the case; but if it was, they could definitely have done it in a way that accomplished both. Babylon 5 is a prime example of a show that closed out with most of the threads closed out well but with enough open storylines to make for a healthy set of follow up books and a couple of movies to follow.

    Now, like you, I am so annoyed that I don’t think I even care about the remaining movies.

    What a disappointment.

  2. Thank you so much for this post !

    I watched it last night and then spent an hour reading various reviews on the web, being appalled that I seemed to be the only one bothered that the show turned from subtle and complex (with religious undertones, sure, but still subtle !) to some kind of Chick tract about the evils of science and immorality.

    Also, while the massive space battle was still decent, it was a far cry from the amazing moments in previous seasons (the destruction of the resurrection ship, the rescue on New Caprica).

    Just so this post brings something to the discussion, I will suggest the perfect (for me at least) antidote to the crapiness that was friday’s BSG : friday’s Dollhouse. Even though I liked the previous five episodes, this one, for the first time felt like I really wanted the series to feel from the start : it felt like Joss Whedon :D

  3. I wasn’t really disappointed. This entire series was an amazing story from the beginning. It was all about the characters and how they handled the most difficult situation ever.

    The theology of the show was present from the beginning as well, and it was a very important part of the plot. I wasn’t really surprised that the series culminated in a supernatural explanation, especially since a few of the characters seemed to have been receiving divine guidance throughout the series.

    I don’t get upset by religious mythologies or divine explanations if we’re talking about a TV show. It’s all fiction, it’s all made up. It’s a good story that entertained me.

    And in the end, I’m not Mormon because of this show!

  4. @Bethor: i actually watched that dollhouse ep yesterday :)

    after getting over my initial residual bsg annoyance when seeing romo and helo in the first scene, i loved it. i’m really digging where it’s going, and there was a great twist that i totally didn’t see coming.
    i’m glad we have joss whedon.

  5. @Swami: let me be very clear about something: i wasn’t upset because it was a supernatural culmination. there are many ways such an ending could have been done satisfactorily. i also have no problem with religious ideas in fiction when they fit the story.

    i was upset at the apparent lack of thought that went into writing this ending.

  6. @carr2d2: Okay, I understand the reason why you didn’t like the ending. But are you really truly never going to have nothing to do with the show ever again? It was a great show for many years. There were some episodes in seasons 2 and 3 that I really hated, but I still watched. I skip the ones that I don’t like. I can go back and see the ones that I do like.

    I guess I’d be more frustrated if I didn’t like the ending, though.

    I now have to start watching Dollhouse. I can’t believe I haven’t been watching it yet!

  7. @carr2d2:
    @Swami:

    You haven’t missed much in Dollhouse if you just started watching it. The first few episodes weren’t good.

    As for any BSG fans who feel that this ending will ruin their love of the show, stop watching the finale after they find Earth 2.0 and Baltar talks about having sex with the natives.

    Carr2d2, I do feel your pain about the show, but have grown quite jaded about Hollywood sending the same message that Technology is bad. I think they were looking at an easy way to make the BSG universe the beginning point to our own and destroying their tech and starting from scratch really would be an easy way to do that.

  8. Carrie: Fucking YES.

    The whole thing about God at the end annoyed the crap out of me, especially the way that they spun Baltar around into the wise guy who had to tell Admiral Atheist what really has been happening for the past four years. Of course the man of science turns around to become the man of faith. Apparently, the 12 Colonies had a Templeton Prize as well…

    But even that, I could almost let go. Almost.

    But then they landed on Earth. Our Earth. And interbred with the natives. What? No. And spread 12 colonies out across the continents. What?? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It might have been more appropriate for them, if they were going to end up on our Earth in the end, if they decided to watch over the new human species and see where they went on their own. You know, “break the cycle” in a biological sense.

    Oh, but then all the fucking emo over Hera this whole time would have been pointless! So she has to be Mitochondrial Eve! Wait… this doesn’t actually make her non-pointless, because it could just have easily been anybody else from the landing party? Or any of the native humans? Without changing a goddamned thing? Yeah. That’s what I thought.

    Fucking stupid.

    Maybe by saying the ending is bleak, they meant that 11 of the 12 colonies ended up dying out within the year. Because that’s the only way we don’t have archaeological evidence of humans showing up 12 times in the fossil record, 150k years ago…

    Stupid, stupid, stupid bullshit.

  9. I was pretty unsatisfied with the ending as well, but I find it’s not ruining my memories of the rest of this amazing series for me. I guess all my years as a Braves fan, where the regular season was awesome and they would fizzle out in the playoffs season after season, has helped me compartmentalize.

    I didn’t like the anti-science message either, but nothing I’ve read about Ron Moore makes me think that’s really how he feels. The bulk of the entire series tends to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    So, much like the forward glance at the end of the last Harry Potter book, I’ll just not include the last awkward hour when I revisit this show. :)

  10. The show was dead to me as soon as Baltar’s speech to Cavil began. I was half-expecting Dean Cain or Adam Baldwin to suddenly appear as the mentally-damaged Cylon model 7 (as both actors are mentally-damaged and seem to be in everything on the Sci-Fi Channel). What, did the writers of the show just do a circle jerk while reading the Mormon tablets and thought Kara would be a good Joseph Smith?! C’mon now…

    In all seriousness, the show took all four seasons (and one mini-series) and ended it all with one three-part episode that completely ruined and tainted all that came before it.

    Sigh… at least we still have the brilliant Dollhouse on Friday nights.

  11. Well, I wasn’t “happy” with the end, but it didn’t ruin the rest of the show for me either. There were 4 seasons of outstanding episodes and one bad ending can’t erase that for me. That said, I think it was a little lazy to end it the way they did, and I could have done without the appearance of six and baltar “angels” at the end. Actually, if they had just left those two characters out of the finale altogether it would have been much better and would have removed much of the proselytizing in the end. Fact of the matter is, with a show as popular and with such a large following, Moore was up against a wall no matter what he did. No one would be happy. I am, actually, looking forward to Caprica and hope it will be as good.

  12. I chose not to watch because I capitol “H” Hate the LDS church, and the Scientologists too, but thats another story …

    Anyways I had a friend who tried and tried to convince me that no this wasn’t hidden mormon propaganda and that no it wasn’t going to disappoint me … well I finally watched more than 30 seconds of an episode when I watched the finally, and I was right.

  13. Yes yes yes, thank you. I found it deeply unsatisfying.

    The mission to go after Hera was unbelievable- they just had a mutiny and all of a sudden it’s “let’s take this dying ship on a probably futile mission that will end up killing everyone who goes”? What?

    And then 39 thousand people all together decide to give up all technology? After all the drama and political intrigue?!
    That means they gave up medicine. In one fell swoop, they created new disabled people and guaranteed deaths for others. What happened to those without good vision or hearing that was previously fixed with glasses and hearing aids? What about the diabetics? What about those with curable cancer?

    Blegh, and that’s just the tip of the WTF iceberg.

  14. I totally missed the whole Mormon angle. My reaction to them settling on ancient Earth was, “Galactica’s the B-ark?”

    I was kinda hoping that the Cylons’ “one true god” would turn out to be Saul and/or Ellen Tigh, or Hera, or even Baltar.

    I’m also a bit upset about the implication that “All Along the Watchtower” was written by some ancient alien robot.

  15. I was thoroughly annoyed by the ending as well, but I wasn’t thrilled with the show over the past few years. It seemed like they were building up too many questions over the seasons than they could possibly write their way out of.
    I saw this list prior to the finale: http://io9.com/5174139/12-plotholes-that-must-be-filled-in-the-battlestar-finale and I suspect they didn’t even satisfactorily answer half of the plot holes (and there are likely more to be added to the list).
    I’d rather they just ignored the plot holes than throw in the lame cop-out, god’s plan explanation.

    Ronald

  16. I read/watch sci-fi because it usually allows me to enjoy fiction without supernatural influences…as soon as I smelled that crap in Galactica I stopped watching. I quit reading Stephen King at a young age because of the god thing, and I now enjoy Scott Sigler and John Scalzi (among others) for their skeptical views. I’ll also echo carr2d2’s sentiment on Joss Whedon…Firefly, take me away!

  17. Also, if we’re going to throw in stupid plot points in the finale (like giving up science and tech) – I like the fact that the BSG survivors were suddenly going to become ‘farmers’. Unless they were going to bring their own crops (which I assume they gave up when they flew the ships into the sun), how were they going to become farmers w/out domesticated crops?
    It took humanity 10’s of thousands of years worth of artificial selection on plants before they could really become farmers (and the time frame in the show, 150,000 years, is well before that point in human history). Dumb.

  18. Meh, that ending was just WTF.

    I’ve tried to look for a different way of reading it but the whole God thing is pretty explicit there. I’d have been happy if they’d just cut the last five minutes, flash-forward part. But that would have left even more holes.

    The God thing bothered me less than the ham-handed anti-tech message. Was that supposed to be chilling or something. I have the feeling the RM just had this great idea for an ending, and has clung to it even when everyone pointed out it was crap or didn’t fit with where the story had gone.

    It seems like a rushed ending, the whole finale seemed to break the flow of the show. Given what had come before it’s very odd.

    It’ll not stop me watching anything else RM does, I can take what I enjoyed from it and ignore the WTF ending. To do otherwise just seems a bit of an overreaction.

  19. @Amanda:

    That means they gave up medicine. In one fell swoop, they created new disabled people and guaranteed deaths for others. What happened to those without good vision or hearing that was previously fixed with glasses and hearing aids? What about the diabetics? What about those with curable cancer?

    Good point. I wonder if the original scene had Apollo saying “let’s give it all up” and then shooting Doc Cottle right in the head. Seems a little odd when earlier in the same episode, the President had just been thanking him for going above and beyond the call for his cancer treatment.

    The science adviser for BSG was interviewed on Amateur Scientist several months ago. I wonder if he’s still taking calls.

  20. @phlebas: And then shooting Chief. And then ALL THE FUCKING CYLONS, BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL TECHNOLOGICAL !$*)^!*_#(T!({[email protected]

    SO. FUCKING. STUPID.

    The more I think about the finale, the more pissed off I get.

    @Tim3P0: Baltar’s speech pissed me off, too, but it was at least in character. He had a long arc taking him to that point, so while I was annoyed it didn’t bother me overmuch. I don’t automatically balk at portrayals of the divine in fiction. I do, however, balk at fucking ridiculous anti-technology Aesops. I also balk at forty thousand people who we’ve been shown, time and again, cannot agree on what to have for fucking breakfast, never mind any huge decision that will radically change their ways of life, all up and getting rid of every piece of technology they had just because Lee fucking Adama had a hippie conversion.

    STUPID.

  21. I saw nothing in the finale that wasn’t consistent with the rest of the series. The characters behaved in a way consistent with their beliefs. Those religiously inclined accepted a supernatural explanation, those otherwise inclined accepted their good fortune. We don’t really know where those coordinates came from, considering Starbuck’s provenance (you did figure out who her dad was, right???). Nor do we know what the Cylon god is, nor what the “angelic” 6 and Baltar really are. I don’t think the series wrapped up with a “religious” explanation of things, so much as an ambiguous one.

    In the end, there was no possible ending to the series that would satisfy everyone. And, the TV show doesn’t owe you a thing. Watch it or not, either way you are not entitled to have it end the way you want it to.

  22. I was just talking to a co-worker about this and got all riled up about it again.

    It’s not about the supernatural or religious elements at all. It’s about poor narrative. You can build excellent narrative around religious concepts. You can build excellent stories and plot lines around supernatural concepts.

    This was a literary cop-out, plain and simple. They chose not to think about the story and provide a clean, satisfying ending.

    Then they tried to disguise it by adding a heavy-handed, anti-science message which basically went against what the whole show had been about up until then (It’s not about the tech, it’s about the fact that people are assholes and will screw things up).

  23. I knew the show was going to have a religious ending ever since the projection in the Temple of Athena. There have simply been too many plot elements that can’t be explained with reason and/or the show’s fictional science. This ending was extremely obvious to me, and I wasn’t surprised as I saw it unfold.

  24. If I ignore the last half hour of the finale (well, whenever Apollo makes that Ludditic statement), I can say I enjoyed the finale.

    I’m still going to watch some of the follow up stuff (The Plan, Caprica), but, to paraphrase another famous skeptic, “I reject your fantasy, and substitute my own.”

    The colonists don’t reject technology, but rather build Atlantis. At some point, they find out that their “God(s)” go by the names of “Ron Moore” and “David Eick” (who some argue are really just one and the same entity).

    Then later on they realize how bleak and dark their lives are due to the twisted minds of their “God(s),” and so destroy themselves to be free of the oppression.

    I like that ending much, much better.

  25. @phlebas: If one more Braves fan complains about about the dearth of WS titles in the fourteen year run from 1991 to 2005, I will…

    Well, I won’t do anything. But you know… I am annoyed that you would make this comparison. I don’t recall Chipper Jones ever saying “God didn’t want me to hit.” The Braves are (publicly, anyway) all about personal accountability, and the BSG finale clearly was not.

    I would argue that this episode violates the very spirit of professionalism that permeates the Bravos. The rhetoric from the front office is all about using new tools, exploring new opportunities, and coming back next season better, stronger, more prepared, and ready to win. Which is the polar opposite of giving up all your technology to become a hippie loser on a bug infested unsanitary hellhole in the uncharted backwaters of the Milky Way.

    Of course, I didn’t watch the show. I saw this coming several years ago, when someone described the whole cylon/god relationship and why it made the show so cool.

    This is why my TV drama watching is limited to Torchwood, Numb3rs, and Chuck.

  26. @supercheetah: Dude, the Atlantis thing would have at least made sense. Actually, I think that could have been a pretty cool story.

    Ok, so among the many, many anthropological problems with the 12 colonies plan that the Adamas inflict upon the Fleet, I just realised this. In the flash-forward, we see that modern humanity has discovered the fossilised Mitochondrial Eve. Who is a little girl. Actually, a little girl of pretty much the exact same age as Hera was when we left her. And people say kids mature fast these days! Not to mention, it implies that Hera, Helo, and Athena all died shortly after we pan away from that last shot of the three of them. And that they died simultaneously.

    So, clearly, what happened is that the 13th Tribe of rogue Centurions came back and wiped out all of the humans and Cylons from the Fleet because they had independently developed the Prime Directive and decided to enforce it violently. But not before extracting Hera’s mitochondria and injecting them into all of the Earth humans. Or maybe God did the last bit, just for kicks.

    Ok, so there’s still a hole in my theory, but AT LEAST IT MAKES SENSE.

  27. What is wrong with writers who can’t close out a series decently? Some shows, like MASH had a definitive ending (the Korean War ended), but the ending worked massively well. The Shield ended well too, with all of the loose ends tied up and a couple of new threads left hanging.

    Then, there was the Sopranos ending. And The L-Word. And now BSG. Dammit, we’ve watched these shows for years, spent $$ on DVDs, and so on, now give us the fucking payoff. Give us a good ending, something that will make us want to re-watch the shows instead of getting so pissed off we put the DVDs in a pile in the closet. Treat your fans well. We remember how you treat us…

  28. Most of you have mentioned my major concerns with the plot, but I also find no motivation for why they all split up like that.

    “Been nice knowing you son, but I’m off to bury laura and I never want to see you again.”

    “No worries dad. I’m going to explore the world by myself with no provisions or equipment or even a single soul for company”

    “Catch ya later bill, have a nice life. I’ll be off with somewhere with Ellen even though throughout thick and thin I’ve always shown myself to be more loyal to our sub-textually gay bromance.”

    So close, so close, why did they have to jump the shark in the last frakking episode?

    Sadly it won’t be the last show to do so. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.

    So say we all.

  29. @Joshua:
    I agree with you saying that Baltar was always somewhat prophetic. My problem with it was that thru the mini-series and all but the last episode, we were lead to believe that there was a chip in his head or some wiring that connected him to Caprica Six (or lame “angel” six, or whatever), and to say it was just angels seems like a propaganda cop-out just to make Mormanism/religion seem hip or cool. I also am bothered now that when I look back and think about the times when Bill Adama was talking to his dead wife, was that just another “Angel” on the show too? sigh….if only Joss Whedon had written BSG, then we wouldnt have been cheated. ~

  30. I liked it.

    It was a cathartic release to a group of people who have had unbelievably sucky lives.

    I long ago reconciled myself to all the religious overtones of the series because the whole premise is biblical: 12 tribes of Isreal, Sodom and Gomorra, angels, prophecies, messiahs , and so on. It’s been religious all this time people, if you’re not used to that by now then you’ve been ignoring an important part of the plot.

    It didn’t bother me because fiction (even mythological) is fiction, and as long as it’s a good story I don’t mind. I don’t get bent out of shape over deus ex machina in other series, why should I get bent out of shape for a series that’s been built on it all along?

    If it had been built on Hindu myth would you have been less bothered? Is it just because it’s so clearly built on Jude0-Christian myth that it’s a problem?

    Kara Thrace was a Messiah – raised by a single mother (and the implication of a virgin birth is all through that episode) to be something special. Her “father” is in fact never seen, and while she sits at a piano learning the song from him, we only see a hint of his body. The piano player is like Virtual 6 in that only she can see him. She died and returned whole in body, but is not a Cylon – the hints were there all along, we only just got a confirmation at the end.

    Cavil is the biblical Cain, murdering his brother Daniel. He also killed the Final Five and boxed them, returning them to Caprica slowly as he planned the Fall of Humanity, all to teach his parents the folly of Human life and the superiority of his artificial body. With all that background, with the bad guy seeking a totally artificial existence, you’re surprised that there’s a “anti-science” message? He’s also the serpent, claiming that knowledge can be a harbinger of suffering. It’s an old theme in myth.

    All they did is take mythical themes and built the show on that. Just because it’s Christian myth doesn’t make it bad – unless you have a bias against those themes.

    Now I’m a atheist too. All myth is myth regardless of the source. That doesn’t mean it’s not a powerful story or a good literary device.

    One last observation; It’s a TV show people, not a validation of anyone’s philosophy. It’s just a story, for entertainment. I was entertained, and I liked the mythic aspects of it. I’m sorry you didn’t.

  31. Oh and how bad was the “oh look it’s a dead pilot’s hand randomly launching a bunch of nukes to destroy the colony” moment.

    And why the fuck did calvin just decide to eat a bullet? That’s totally against his character!

    Sorry for the comment spam, but I just finished watching it and can’t stop typing.

  32. I had an interesting experience with the finale. I watch the show off of iTunes, so I downloaded both parts of the finale not realizing there were three. When I watched the finale last night I thought the ending was just the compromise between Cylon and humans. No final leap to earth, no revenge killing, no anti-science screed. And not a bad ending, even if everything wasn’t all cleaned up.

    Then this morning I realize after starting to read another website’s breakdown of the finale that I had only seen half of it. Wow. What a way to ruin an ending. Seriously, if the finale was cut in half it would have felt unfinished but at the same time more complete and respectful of the series.

  33. I was unsatisfied how many coincidences came together to form a “miracle”. I just found it all unrealistic. And the anti-science screed at the end left me cold. It seemed like as son as I got over a particularly bad scene, there was another one waiting to hit me over the head.

    I’m not as upset as carr2d2, but I definitely felt like the ending was a rushed, heavy-handed affair. My husband, who only saw a few episodes this season, was completely baffled by the direction the story took.

    I had problems from the point they all went to the bridge and somehow made nice through a leap of faith. Many characters acted out of character.

    Who the hell elected Lampkin as President? I mean, I like the character, but it didn’t fit. He’s always stayed out of having responsibility. And I saw no great change even after he helped Starbuck and Anders.

    Why didn’t anyone try to stop Tyrol and is that why Tigh had that idiotic statement at the end (I mean he did kill his wife).

    Why did Cavil kill himself? Wasn’t going to be tortured.

    The launching of the missles at the colony was just laughable.

    Why did they reject technology and science? They never showed the scientists speaking up? Where was Cottle?

    Why did we have to have angels? I could marginally buy this if it was written a little better.

    Why divide up on Earth? It felt.. artificial for everyone to leave each other after forming close bonds. (Tyrol I could understand).

    How did they survive without supplies when they didn’t know how to live in a primitive world?

    Ugh.. I’m going to make up my own ending like supercheetah.

  34. I stopped watching at the end of season 2.
    ——————-
    my feelings about BSG

    The first two episodes of this series were great. Really, really amazingly cool. But about midway into season one, and then for all of season two, it seemed as if the series’s creators and writers were continually re-inventing the characters (especially Starbuck) to fit an ever-changing model of what they wanted the show to be. That bugged me a lot. Reinventing the show is fine, but you shouldn’t treat the characters’ personalities and histories as some sort of play-do to be reshipped at your whim. Doing so destroys the suspension of disbelief and makes the show’s constructed reality look like a cartoon; albeit a dark and depressing cartoon.

    It especially bugged me that every episode started off saying: The Cylons Have a Plan. When it was clear that the series’s creators/writers did not. See, I know that if the people *writing* the series have no idea where it’s headed, then there’s no way that the evil bad guy characters can know either. And if they are gonna put that up on the screen every week: “… and they have a plan.” and it’s obviously not true, well that just takes the biscuit. In fact, that’s actually a lot like saying, “god did it” when you don’t know the answer, so it doesn’t really surprise me that, that’s how the series ended.

    Yes, I know the series brought up many important political and social issues, and to the extent that it did that, it really *is* great sci-fi. But considering the severe lack of actual foresight as to the direction of the series back from the get-go, I can’t say I’m surprised that it’s all ended in tears (from the skeptic fans’ perspective that is).

    Remember, if BSG had been “real” science fiction, it wouldn’t be on a channel that had the nerve to rename itself Syfy. Or is it SyFy? Oh yeah, I just remembered I don’t care.


    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  35. So say we all. :(

    I’m still seething over the catastrophe of an “ending” that they supplied us with.

    My husband and I ended up staying up an extra hour to watch a random episode of Doctor Who, in an attempt to gargle the bad taste out of our mouths. Unfortunately it only worked for the duration of the episode, and by the end we were back to complaining about BSG’s finale.

    I expected to be drawn to severe emotional depression over the loss of the characters I’d grown attached to and their failed attempt to maintain the human race. The only emotion I felt by the end was rage. Like you said, I feel cheated.

  36. @Steve: I’m also a bit upset about the implication that “All Along the Watchtower” was written by some ancient alien robot.

    Hahaha my husband and I thought that was so ridiculous in the episodes that Tigh and the others were “realizing” their Cylon-ness.

  37. @Zapski: For one, the same fucking thing, just not on Earth.

    Or, the colonists deciding that they could pass on culture and language and all that to the Earth natives without having to continue themselves biologically.

    But I think the best ending would be if Galactica wasn’t able to send a Raptor back to rendezvous with the fleet. The fleet continues on as it always did, but the volunteers who fought the final battle against Cavil would get to have the peace they deserve and live out the rest of their days on Earth.

    The whole silliness about scattering 12 colonies and forcing forty thousand people to give up all technology — not just “creature comforts”, as Lee implied, but life-saving technology — is what ruined the ending. It wasn’t necessary to wrap up the character arcs and just created a fuckton of loose ends, dramatically and scientifically.

  38. @SpaceDog: @Swami:
    i’m totally serious about never watching bsg or any ronald moore show again. why? because he had my trust, 100%, and he turned around and fucked me. am i taking this too personally and overreacting? probably. but i just flat out refuse to be taken for that kind of ride ever again. and he’s shown me that he can’t be trusted.

  39. I am with you 100% carr2d2.

    I don’t plan on watching anything else BSG related either.

    How can anything in the new show be interesting when it all ends with godidit.

    I should have gone with my gut and quit watching when they started in with all the religious crap being real.

    I assumed they would explain it in some rational way.

    They suckered me and I will not let it happen again.

  40. @Zapski: actually, if you read my previous post on bsg, one of the things i cite as a reason i enjoyed the show is its treatment of religion:

    The show seems to take a very comparative approach to the subject of religion. Characters of several different religious persuasions are portrayed as equally moral, or at least true to their own particular moralities. I think part of the reason I enjoy the show so much is that it is a sort of exploration of the sources of and ramifications from different types of religious belief.

    i’ll say it again: i didn’t hate the ending because of the religious elements. i hated it because i felt it was poorly thought out and didn’t offer a satisfactory ending.

    maybe the fact that i find “god did it” an unsatisfactory answer to the questions in life has something to do with that, but that is not to say that a supernatural explanation couldn’t have been done well.

  41. @Zapski: that’s just it. i had no idea where it was going and i loved that. i love throwing myself at the mercy of a writer i trust and being taken for a ride. but clearly this can backfire.

    what would i have been happy with? well, i was half expecting to see galactica and everyone on it get blown up, and have it end with the fleet going on without them. that would have been fine.

    i could have even gone with the whole colonization of earth thing if it had been written better, and actually made sense.

    i would have preferred to leave many of the questions open to interpretation rather than answering them the way they did.

  42. @carr2d2:

    OK, but how would you have ended it? What would have been better answers to the mysteries? That’s what I’m getting at. I’m not trying to be accusatory or anything. I just happened to like the ending a great deal, and I’m sad that so many don’t seem to feel the same.

    Oh well.

    Alternate endings for BSG please! ^_^

  43. @Zapski: no worries :)
    i’m glad you enjoyed it, actually. and i really wish i could’ve. this is an interesting conversation because it reveals how different people have been apparently watching the same show and seeing completely different things.

  44. I am so grateful I’m not the only one that felt like the last episode was a huge middle finger to the entire rest of the series. Ron Moore’s “it’s all about the characters” stance regarding the massive plot limpdickery in the finale seems like a car company taking an “it’s all about the engine” stance after it produces a vehicle with wheels made out of Laffy Taffy.

  45. I was not impressed with the final but I wasn’t that impressed with the whole show. I got sick of the soap opera-ee stuff.

    The final seemed contrived. He had to squeeze in a bunch of background stuff so we could attempt to make sense of it. Lots of continuity problems and the whole “god did it” was bullshit.

    Battledork Dumactica. Good riddance.

  46. I think this community might be overreacting to the spiritual sentiments in the show. Science fiction is filled with warnings about allowing technology to develop without proper ethical considerations. I read an interview with Ronald D. Moore where he stated he was an agnostic who had grown up a Roman Catholic and had previously been interested in eastern religions and also stated he was previously an atheist as well. He is clearly open to the idea of the spiritual, but is not endorsing anything specific. I think it would be reasonable to want to really start over without any of the psychological baggage associated with the technology and reestablish your culture and species free of that. I also think no one can really say what or who the spiritual force really is (a deity in the true sense or a sufficiently advanced society capable of guiding the fortunes of less advanced societies) and there is at least a nod (even if there are problems with the idea two separate evolutionary events on two different worlds leading to compatible DNA) at evolutionary theory and to Mitochondrial Eve. I think it was a satisfying ending for the characters on the show and that is really the most important thing.

  47. our little skeptical community met on Fridays to watch it for the intrigue and great story telling as a group, but this last one had me banging my head. from the constellation confirmation on the “real” Earth being forgotten, to the supposedly stable orbit in the frakking accretion disk of a black hole to the “god did it” excuse at the end it was a major let down.

    and honestly the rant against science and technology was just retarded, instead of learning from their mistakes they ran from them

  48. Sorry, well, not really. People who hated the BG ending got EXACTLY what they deserved! more of the same pompous, idiotic crap that was served up during the entire series (I watched on average one or two episodes a season just to see if the writers/producers had grown brains).
    I had hoped that all the idiot humans and synthetic humans would just kill themselves but the ending was better than that! 40,000 odd individuals voted to descend into barbarism!
    They’d be killing and eating each other with stone knives within 3 or 4 years! That’s BETTER than everyone being killed QUICKLY.
    Didn’t anyone catch the stupidity of the final jump being 1,000,000 friggin’ (perfectly good word, no need to make one up) light years!

  49. @coolstar: you know I would give you credit if you had bothered to follow the show….but since you didn’t you come across as somebody wanting to jump on a bandwagon.

    so you watched 6-9% of the overall story, doesn’t quite explain the anger that you are expressing compared to those of us who watched 100% of it.

  50. I’m going to have to go against the flow of people saying “I didn’t hate that it had a religious message, I just hated the deus ex machina” and just come out with it : personally, I did hate the religious message. Not all religious message in all works of fiction, but this one specifically, yes, I did have a problem with.

    I hated that, after four years of seemingly intelligent treatment of religion and myth within the BSG universe (see Carr2d2’s self quote @47, she said it better than I could), in the end, every character betrays what he had been so far, basically accept that its all magic and that science and technology will always be their undoing and go back to living in a cave, basically.

    Yes, I know it’s just a TV show. No, all fiction does not need to validate my worldview. But yes, this kind of thing still annoys me.

    It annoys me because fiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum (even space opera :p) : it’s a rare work of fiction that doesn’t say something about its author’s viewpoint and the opinions of the society that created it.

    It annoys because, by bringing the story to the ‘real’ Earth, it certainly seemed to be sending a message beyond mere fiction and the message I read from it was a ham-fisted ‘science needs religion to be moral’.

    It annoys me because I know that a lot of viewers will just gobble it up, blissfully unaware that there might have been other ways to end such a story, such as at least allowing characters to stay true to themselves and not buy into the whole ‘goddidit’ grand reveal.

    It annoys me because, as long as most fiction keeps treating religious themes this way, ‘goddidit’ explanations in real life will go over just a tiny bit easier with most people outside of the realm of fiction.

    It annoys me because ‘the skeptic was wrong, supernatural things do happen, haha’ is the sort of crap I expect from third rate horror/monster flicks (a genre that I really like and have a harder and harder time enjoying), not from a great show like BSG.

  51. I’m with northernskeptic on the whole, “we know it’s earth because the constellations are right,” thing turns out to be highly questionably. I’ll admit that I have not checked out the flags of the original 12 colonies to see if the constellations match up with the Greek equivalents. However, we are supposed to believe that humanities original constellations of Capricorn, Taurus, Saggitarius became Caprica, Tauron, Saggitaron, etc., *then* got carried to the pre-historic our-Earth, got passed on for about 150,000 years, and were taken up by the Greeks as Capricorn, Taurus, Saggitarius, etc. ??? Totally ham-handed writing.

    Also, I only had minor twinges about where the writers were going with the “reality” of religious ideas in the series, but turning the returned Kara Thrace into an angel was a slap in the face to the character. I do not think, even in the un-real world of science-fantasy, that an angel can have a destiny. The theme of a destiny for Kara Thrace (Starbuck) was solid through much of the series. I think that for her destiny to be dying while chasing a ghost ship and being replaced by an angel is solid BS, *not* BSG.

  52. I am a big fan of Science Fiction. I’m not sure if I liked BattleStar Galactica because it was a really great sci fi series, or is it because it is because it was one of the few sci fi series out there to choose from? At first I liked the ending. Then a little later in the day I subjected myself to Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Doing so has had a bad influence on my feelings for BSG ending. Expelled turned out to be one big anti-science, porn flick for young earth creationists. Coincidentally Expelled starts with the song “All Along the Watchtower”, the same song that activated the final five, and finally led them to Earth. It got me thinking. It’s called science fiction but more times then not it delivers the “Science and Technology are not are friends” theme. More often then not it’s about Science dehumanizing us, and in the end leading us to the brink of extinction. Movies an shows such as Terminator, IRobot, and Battlestar Galactica, and countless other examples. I understand that there is a need to explore the ethical implications, but too often sci-fi explores the ethical ramifications instead of the possible benefits. I have no plans to watch Caprica, and will really resist watching watching that two hour follow up movie/event. I was disappointed but not too surprised about the whole “Because God did it” ending. The whole series had deep religious undertones. The cylons being monothestic, President Roslin having holy visions, ect. This also slightly follows the original 70’s Galactica that was working that angle from the first season. Anyhow I told myself I was going to completely give up TV if Battlestar Galactica, and Lost ended badly, I’ve started making plans for the space my TV once occupied. Thanks for letting me rant.

  53. Two more points about the last BSG episode:

    1) If only I had stopped watching as soon as they jump Galactica and Earth rises over the moon, I probably would have been happy. Up to that point, the only thing that really bothered me was Cavil’s suicide. It seemed totally out of character.

    2) If even such a luminary as Joss Whedon (peace be unto him) can have a bad series ending (Buffy season 7 and, sorry, season 5), I am willing to cut Ron Moore some slack.

  54. Two things.

    1. I want to re-iterate that the ending was NOT in any way a deus-ex machina. Think back on all of the major plot events throughout the series that can only be explained with a powerful third party (Temple of Athena, Temple of the Five, Head Six/Baltar + the Head people the Final Five saw that warned them of Earth’s destruction, etc.). I’d been expecting this kind of an ending early Season 2.

    2. I didn’t think Cavil’s suicide was out of character at all. A member of the Final Five was dead – no possibility of resurrection. What point in living? He wasn’t going to get Hera, either. Better to bow out on his own terms than get gunned down in the battle in CIC.

  55. Voltaire,

    Do you know what deus ex machina means? An angel (Starbuck, a representative of god) saved the remnants of humanity by jumping the ship to Earth. I’m sorry if the soundstage on which they shot the final episode did not use an actual trap door/ platform from the rafters, but how much more deus ex machina could you expect to get??

  56. I don’t know if I see the ending as having an anti-technology bent. I saw it as more cautionary than anything. “Hey you Humans, you’re making robots now, so just be careful”.

    But yea, the theological answers they came up with in this finale were poor to say the least. Why the hell did they bring up the links between Daniel (the lost cylon model) and Starbuck if they were just going to ignore it 3 episodes later and have her be a ghost/angel/spirit/cop-out? And what happened to all that “harbinger of death” stuff?

    Honestly, I wish they had ended it in the episode where they found Earth. That was a way better ending for the show: bleak and fucked.

    I’d’ve been happier with no answers to the big series-spanning questions than the nonsense they cooked up. That said, I still found it fairly enjoyable. I just wish they would’ve laid off the bullshit.

  57. 1) I didn’t have a problem with the giving up technology thing. I guess I assumed the people of the fleet were not living in the best of conditions. Trapped in claustrophobic metal ships, eating algae, failing air and water recyclers, no more toothpaste, just to name a few. I’m sure they had some trained chemists in the fleet, but equipment, starting materials and, more importantly, time and a bunch of people would be needed to restock modern medicines. I always thought that sick bay having as many supplies as it did required a sort of suspension of disbelief – even with the initial stock up and subsequent requisitioning. I can totally see a new return to nature lifestyle as being really appealing. Sci-Fi/fantasy is filled with encounters with or stories about societies that gave up technology, so this didn’t bug me. I do think that they could be overcome with the idea and promise of a fresh start with fresh air and water and real food, that they would temporarily embrace the idea. I do think there would have been differences in what the groups choose to take with them and all 38000 wouldn’t agree. Perhaps most unbelievable would be them leaving communication and weapons behind.

    2) I’m okay with the virtual Baltar and Six on the ship. A shared hallucination does not require much suspension of disbelief. The modern day view of them was problematic to me.

    3) Starbuck: total cop-out. I do think they painted themselves into a corner. I think if they wanted to leave her as mysterious, she could have sacrificed herself with Anders, or flown off in a viper, the way she flew back in. The disappearing would have only worked for me if we suddenly realize she never actually interacted with more than one person – like in a cylon projection sort of way.

    4) I liked the way Laura Roslin died. I didn’t really need the flashback though.

    5) I thought the initial humans=pantheistic with some (or a lot of) atheists, and cylons=monotheistic with some atheistic models was interesting and I don’t think this story filled out that initial promise. It seems like the answer to how the cylons became that way was: well Ellen was monotheistic, so some of the cylon models she created were too. And why again did the final five set out to the 12 colonies to warn them? Of what? Of an impending split between cylons and humans, which they already knew about when they all left Kobal?

  58. Watching MORE of this pompous, idiotic, scientifically illiterate, god-from-a-bottle dreck would have just proved that I was as stupid as its writers and creators (and likely ruined my brain forever). In the time I did WASTE watching it I could have read two good novels, watched 4 good movies, etc. How could anyone sit through all the religious BS in the series and NOT know that the finale would be incredibly stupid? Saying that I didn’t watch ENOUGH just proves you know nothing about literature or film (if he can’t capture an audience FAST, a writer belongs in another profession). Aside from the sex and torture, it was on exactly the same intellectual plane as the original series (whose fans consisted mostly of pimply faced 13 & 14 year olds). I remember laughing hilariously at the idiocy of THAT series along with other science grad students in my dorm’s tv room way back when. Pick a random novel by Steve Stirling , David Brin, or John Varley and you’ll find more good writing and original ideas (oh, “planet of the apes” ending, how original) than in this entire series. Either the writers are laughing AT their fans (ala’ David Lynch and David Kelly (at the end of ALL his series) or they actually believe they have talent.
    I’m rather afraid it’s the latter. I actually had some considerable respect for M.M. and EJO
    (solid professionals, if somewhat over-rated based on their best known roles) before I watched the documentary of everyone patting themselves on the back before the finale. Lucy Lawless was the only cast member who had the right attitude (and she was an outcast among the cast and crew): it’s NOT high art, it’s a friggin’ paycheck.
    I’ll watch reruns of the two Stargate series forever before wasting another second on this POS.

  59. Bethor: you got it exactly right. The series wasn’t only anti-science (bad enough that any “skeptic” should be ashamed of watching it), it was fundamentally anti-intellectual. Do I have to remind everyone of the last 8 years to point out that these are BAD, BAD things?

  60. Oh come on, just because we follow a story it doesn’t mean that the storyteller has to be a frackin atheist. The God Did It thing… so what? God’s a fairytale, BSG’s a fairytale.
    FFS, it was bad enough having Americans In Space Pretending To Be Some Other Mysterious Race (With Token Oirish/English Accents), but this jaded Anglo still enjoyed it. It’s called “suspending disbelief”.
    Methinks many here have invested too much emotional capital in a.. ahem… story.

  61. @coolstar: thinly veiled ad hominems and claims of intellectual superiority again does not explain your anger over a show you profess not to have cared about.

    Clearly you did not get into the show so you will have little understanding of why many of us who were fans were disappointed in the finale

  62. I must have missed something in the ending, because I didn’t find it to be anti-science/technology. Indeed, I found the 150,000 years later ending to be quite good and interesting. The misunderstanding of what mt-Eve represents was annoying, but within the BSG story it was a nice touch. And I liked that ‘Angel’-Six and ‘Angel’-Baltar were there, musing on the Earth of today.

    Remember, one of the most important elements of the BSG universe is the beleif that “All of this has happened before; all of this will happen again.” Part of the reason the Galactica fleet make the decision they do is to stop the cycle; by colonising Earth 2 the way they do they believe they have succeeded in stopping that cycle. But it turns out that maybe they haven’t.

    And the rebuke by ‘Angel’-Beltar in reply to ‘Angel’-Six’s comment about God, that “It doesn’t like to be called that” was quite intriguing. Is ‘It’ a supernatural being? Maybe, maybe not. And I like not knowing.

  63. @Stephen Moore: A co-worker of mine explained the “angels” in terms of entities from the original show called “The Lords of Kobol”, and he chose to interpret the “angels” in the new show as similar Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.

    I can appreciate that perspective, but I’m of the mind that if you don’t put something on the screen it doesn’t exist. I don’t think that the idea of a third civilisation (capable of subtly influencing events but choosing not to directly interact for whatever reason) was foreshadowed in the new BSG enough for me to accept it as an explanation. The possibility certainly never occurred to me on my viewing, since there were no other alien species ever encountered on the show. Why would I think there might be one?

  64. I love BSG. It has had a track record of being the most innovative, unflinching, balls-out television show I have ever seen.

    It still is. I will continue to love my box sets.

    But the ending…needs tuning. It might even be possible to edit out a far better finale from what we have been given thus far and whatever is on the extended version.

    There was a lot to like. The battle and prep was good-too much green crap to see the style battles I have always loved, and absurdly close to the rock, but good. Gratifying to see Gaius finally leap and he and Six reconnect. Plugging Sam in made sense. Boomer was good. Kara being one final link in the mystic chain was well and good.

    Baltar’s god speech being made was fine. It being swallowed by Cavil was goofy. A colder appeal would have been just fine.

    The arrival at Earth (2) makes sense…except that the last Earth was shown with the same constellations (I will let the continent shot go since I can’t remember orbital shots when they actually arrived-the continent zoom in may have been to “our Earth”-which Kara did indeed know the way to.)

    The presence of hominids being a co-inki-dink was lame too, when any alternative- this being the original home planet of man, nuked back to the stoneage before an exodus to Kobol (with an exodus to the colonies…all this has happened before,) stragglers of the exodus to the colonies themselves that went feral, whatever, would have been tremendously better.

    The end was where things went off the rails. A show that has always brilliantly shown the tricky relationship between man and machine, and between the parts of the universe we can explain and the parts we can’t, coming down so hard on both sides of the line in the last 30 minutes of 80+ hours of show felt unnecessary. And it seems to me it would have been easy to avoid. Have some, and not all, of the colonials go back to the land. Have them settle on an out of the way island to be out of the way of their relatives-an Atlantis myth origin, maybe. Have them pull a ‘Prime Directive,’ gas up, and keep on moving to other hunting grounds, maybe the Cylon homeworld to crossbreed in the absence of resurrection, or somewhere else in the black. Maybe best of all would have been for them simply to settle, and leave it at that-high tech without a corresponding industrial base would tend to cease to be and rot away across geological time without any help. Baltar still could have done his farming bit (which I liked) next to the gutted Colonial One. Dig up a Viper as a coda, or find Galactica in the Oort cloud, with a note that the rest of the fleet has keep on going…

    It would have been pretty trivial to clean up the spooky side to be more in keeping with the themes they had been playing with before. Making the head people all appear and start chatting non-mystically was unnecessary and totally screwed the tone. Baltar ceasing to be skeptical of his own religious wanderings in his Cavil talk was another fail in this vein. Giving the song any manner of tether to the place-an echo from a previous cycle of exodus, or whatever, would have helped. Making Kara disappear was totally unnecessary-her death and arrival at least happened behind “curtains,” so to speak, but having her say she had completed her journey and she doesn’t hear ghost music or whatever, doesn’t know where it came from or where it went, and heading off into the wilds with Lee, would have been a way better choice.

    The opera house bit was cute, but unsatisfying. At least give the save more gunplay. Figure out some way for Hera to seem more like a child of Six and Baltar to settle out all the prophecy.

    And the coda was crap. The head people without heads, again, take us from the realm of spooky happenings to the realm of woo. And was totally unneeded.

    I love the series still more than I can say. And I got chills and grins at times. But this was an instance of very talented writers needing a few more episodes to work out their excellent setups and resorting to the deus ex machinas they had so carefully sworn off, or tastefully hid offstage.

    Just send Ron back to the editing room, shoot ten minutes of new stuff, and it would have been a fine capstone. But as is, it’s more than a little leaky.

  65. I really enjoyed most of BSG, but the ending to me was a stunning change of genre, followed by a bizarre change of tone in the coda. I had put a lot of effort into trying to figure out what I assumed would be forthcoming solutions to the mysteries, I didn’t expect the solutions to all be “god did it”. And that doesn’t even touch on the very bad science and anti-technology elements of the ending.

    I know some commenters have asked if others have alternative context for understanding the finale or alternative endings – I wrote a post on this topic – http://manifestomultilinko.blogspot.com/2009/03/bsg-finale-answer-to-question-we-didnt.html

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