Battlestar Galactica: Some Disappointment & Final Opinions

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 22nd, 2013 at 3:14 pm,

bsg comment post 00 p Battlestar Galactica: Some Disappointment & Final Opinions

The series finale of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) has come and gone. The fact that I’m going to talk about it means this article may contain SPOILERS for the seriously time-delayed viewer.

I’m sad. BSG was my favorite show and I really enjoyed writing about it and exchanging thoughts with all of you. Depending on your expectations and philosophies, the series finale either thrilled you or flat-lined your experience. For some, it did both.

Going into the finale I already had my conjectures and was looking for answers. We were told repeatedly that we would “know the truth.” Yet we were left hanging with non-answers when all was said and done. Between the network setting us up for “knowing the truth” and Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore planning on an ambiguous ending, we the viewers were caught in the middle of a writer’s vision and a newtwork advertising ploy.

When I wrote a post reviewing the finale of Battlestar Galactica, some of the reader comments ranged from fantastic perspectives to rather pragmatic thoughts, and the resulting conversation was pretty engaging. The finale had massive potential to confound and dissuade viewers but what I found it did is leave some viewers feeling empty.

I wanted to see if I could clear up or clarify some points, and to further that end I dug up some interesting things from the interviews various publications conducted with Ronald D. Moore in the last few years. Let’s get on with looking at those tidbits.

Our Promised Ending

Back in 2007, Ronald D. Moore indicated that Battlestar Galactica had a built-in ending. He said they made a promise to the audience of finding Earth and the creative staff was duty-bound to deliver.

Personally, I felt that the finale’s approach (finding a random planet and having Admiral Adama call it Earth because that “was the dream they were chasing,“) seemed to fulfill that purpose. Yet it felt fluffy. They had already found Earth and it was charred. The dream was (literally) fried. Try a new name!

This was so-so. I can live with this.

Daniel And The Rabbit Hole

The extra Cylon, Daniel, turned out to be a rabbit hole.

The intent behind the Daniel model was to create a polar opposite to Cavil. Instead, they drew us into another line of curiosity as we started wondering about Daniel.

I was definitely pulled into the premise of a Daniel model. Even to the point of noticing that there’s a Daniel in the prequel, Caprica. What gives people? So much energy was put into the final 5 that this Daniel model just seemed to be an extension of the premise of there being mystery Cylons.

Having a polar opposite to Cavil might have worked if they were in conflict with each other for our viewing pleasure. Cripes, that might have given us another Cylon to root for.

Quit doing that to us, Mr. Moore. Oh wait, the show is over.  In that case: I didn’t like this rabbit hole.

Other Rabbit Holes?

One other rabbit hole Moore admitted to was in a scene where Head Six physically lifted Baltar off the ground. I was completely sucked in by that scene (It happened, I believe, back in April of ’08), and I waited for this new contingency to develop.

But, it seems that it was some oops on the part of the show’s creators and they never wanted to go anywhere with it.

So why the heck show us something like that? Why are we getting these few, but HUGE mistakes from this seasoned staff of creators?

I didn’t like being led on and that was exactly what that was.

Not Holes, But Loose Strings

Egads, loose strings? Whole coils of rope is more like it!

Other Battlestar story details that were left dangling in the wind:

  • Why Roslin was in mental projections with the Cylons.
  • Why Roslin almost fainted when 4 of the final 5 became self aware of themselves.
  • Why didn’t they give Roslin more of Hera’s blood?

Sheesh, if I dwell on this, the list would go on and on (and I do add a couple later on).

I didn’t enjoy not having answers when I was told I was going to. Plain and simple.

What Happened To The Colony?

In case you’re wondering, everyone (Cavils, Simons and Dorals) on board the colony ship died.

At least that’s what Moore’s intent was. He wrote it so that when Racetrack hit the Colony ship with his nukes, the Colony ship gets knocked out of its precipitous orbital location near the singularity and the Colony ship gets pulled down into the black hole. SWEET!

But that scene was cut from the episode. Who was that editor? This feels like another rank amateur mistake on what could have been a piece of serious closure to that part of the show.

I’m not happy left having to scour for interviews to learn these things.

Cavil Offing Himself

Cavil offing himself was Dean Stockwell’s Idea.

Originally, Moore had Col Tigh and Cavil fighting. The scuffle was going to end with with Tigh throwing Cavil over the railing in the CIC and Cavil would die. Stockwell talked to Moore and said that he felt it more in line with the character if he took this escapist route out of the situation. Moore okayed that.

I would have liked to have seen Tigh kick someone’s ass… But that’s just me. Cavil’s method of situation extraction was, to some extent, perfect for him. Kudos to Stockwell.

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  1. It’s my own fault for reading so many BSG articles, but I’m a little sick of hearing about what Ronald D. Moore and his writers intended each scene to be about. I think they’ve revealed a little too much of the behind the scenes magic.

    For example, I read somewhere that RDM had a vision about Lee’s pigeon but he wasn’t sure what it meant. What’s the point of saying that? Once he said that, the bird just seems like something totally random rather than something symbolic.

    It reminds me of the famous Sopranos fade-to-black ending. David Chase didn’t go around telling us what he intended by it. He didn’t say that Tony ended up in a black hole but the scene got edited too much. David Chase kept his mouth shut and left the country that weekend. I kind of wish RDM would have followed his example.

  2. I was wondering about the pigeon. I figured it probably meant something, but I didn’t get it.

    LOL… yea, I hear ya Forrester. Finish it, and let it be.

    I was looking for some justification on different things.

    I like the issue on the Colony Ship being sucked into the black hole. This was an editing choice that shouldn’t have happened.

    That and RDM left so many open ended issues that it wasn’t just a simple fade to black…

    If he only had one or two things, that would have been fine. But the show had a lot of red herrings.

    Sorry about the overload Forrester! LOL.

  3. We discussed this last week so not to be redundant but I loved it. Too me the biggest hole was kara Thrase harbringer of death ect. Unless it was the Hybrids intent to prevent humans and cylons from merging and reaching the real Earth, ect. Hybrids as villians and lies ect I suppose i can get behind but that was never made clear all the while the prophecises said she was this enigma harbringer of death and doom four horseman thing.

    Still find it funny that so many are brokenhearten and offended that it was so heavily steeped in Judeo-Christain mythos. TO the point where many are actually trying to spin it as some non denominational religion mythos to accept it. Sorry folks it couldn’t have been layed on any more thick, pure Genesis Old – New Testimant stuff here down to the Angel Gabriel Starbuck and the angel and Demon (or fallen angels if you will) Head 6 and Baltar. Samuel Collridge could have written this.

    I too will miss it but as I post this I am sketching out sort of a What if sequel follow up comic book to the series. First panel teaser is done just have to scan it and sent it to my bro Vic

  4. I personally think that sci fi or (syfy) urged moore to leave some of these threads open because theres still more BSG is be seen. We have the Caprica thing coming up and then the cylon plan right? If you think that those 2 wont give us any more insight into these lingering questions your CRAZY. I beleive syfy is not only producing a great epic story, but they are also milking it.

  5. The loose threads bummed me out too. If they like to make it up as they go along, fine, but would help not to have characters talking about a plan!
    It just felt like they had pulled rabbits out of hats to amaze us and then couldn’t figure out where they came from.

    A lot of stuff didn’t work for me in the finale but I still enjoyed it.

    Cavill shooting himself just made me laugh. Would have made more sense for him to surrender and try to wheedle his way out of it, only for someone to kill him. Tigh or Adama. Or a Centurion!

    Didn’t need the stuff from Caprica. I knew enough about the characters already.
    In fact if there was one character throughout the show that could have done with some of that, it was Zarak. Always wanted to know what really motivated him and more about his past.

    But agree on the characters, if that seemed to get side tracked toward the end in favour of the mystical stuff. I wanted to see Chief after he knew he had been betrayed. Saw one clip of him in a cell denouncing humans and cylons – again, wanted to explore that turmoil more.

    For me the show was at its best when it was about characters conflicting. The search for Earth and the Final Five was just ok.
    I think I was into the show the most at the end of season one and start of season two. With Adama down, Tigh struggling in charge, and Roslin having broken off – intense and emotional.

    I don’t think any moment in the entire show beat Adama, having recovered and got back on his feet, declaring to everyone ‘We’re putting the fleet back together.’ :D

  6. While I absolutely loved the series and didnt even particularly mind the ending, I did feel cheapened by one glaring omission (unless I missed it).

    We were told about 3 times if I remember rightly, that Kara Thrace is the Harbinger of Doom. Sure I accept that we were also told she would lead them to their end, but I am stuck on the harbinger of doom bit. That was just washed over as if it wasnt made a huge part of the plot.

    Other than that though, ace series and it will be sadly missed, and I for one cant wait till The Plan, though Caprica I think will be short-lived and a cash cow.

  7. GOHAN: Good idea on the milking it part. And indeed they are. Just how many networks can make a 4 season show last 6 years!

    And that’s an interesting thought… saving things for the other shows. So you think we’ll see that plan in the movie then? Hmm, I was so caught up in this show, I didn’t think of that.

    GRIT: Ah, pulling the fleet together… true. Excellent moment of many!

  8. Pretty much in line with yours.

    BSG became a victim of its own excellence. For 2.5 seasons the show rarely made a misstep and was continually raising the bar on excellence for a TV series.

    Post New Caprica the show started to tread water revisiting themes from earlier in the series ie the Baltar trial and the mutiny, or wandering off the main path of finding earth. Some of those segments were well done but ultimately had no impact on the major storyline.

    My biggest fear was that the show would spend too much time on these threads and be in a rush to bring everything to a satisfying conclusion. And that is exactly what happened.

    It is most telling the more emotionally touching beats came in the first hour of the two hour finale.

    The scene between Roslyn and the doc being the most affecting.

    For a show that revelled in raising tough questions and examining the consequences of actions taken, the finale veered to far into the territory of things being decided by whim, or fate, or God(s).

    Sad. Just goes to show how tough endings are to write.

    Still the ride was the best, for the most part. BSG deserves all the kudos it has received despite the missteps of the final season and a half.

  9. Well from what ive gathered, the caprica story will give us insight into how the cyclons view the world, i dont know the exact phrase for it but its what they use to see trees on there ship instead of metal corridors. Some sort of virtual reality that leads to how the cylons were built. And as far as the plan goes, im sure we will see alot more characters having been knowingly, or unknowingly part of the cylon plan. And i wouldent be suprised if they at the very least, hint at who daniel is.

  10. [Two Cents]

    I think the finale made sure damn near everyone is gonna tune in for any movies they make after this.

  11. Bruce, you keep those BSG articles coming! I certainly didn’t mean that the overload was coming from you! I’ve read that the DVD release have 20-30 minutes of extra material including more of the black hole scene. Maybe more of the holes will be filled in then.

    @Shane Woodhouse: Starbuck was the Harbinger of Death… to the Cylons. It was Kara that found Leoben and the rebel Cylons. By following her and joining the Colonials, they lost the Ressurection Hub and thus they became mortal.

  12. My hypothesis is that either Kara Thrace is Daniel or her father was.

  13. I loved the first few episodes of Galactica…but after that, lost interest because of the stories. It was clear that while the tone, acting, casting and effects were outstanding, the writing quickly sucked. It was literally all over the place.

  14. You right,but many sci-fi let us with many unanswer questions ! its so,the show final was Brillant anyway ,i love every scenes,it sad soem die ! don’t search too mutch with the writers ,its finish now,i love the show as you since SE1 !

  15. Edward James Olmos is directing The Plan for SyFy aand he has said once the fans see the film , they will have to watch the series all over again.
    So, I expect the The Plan to contain quite a few answers.

  16. Man you guys… that’s some pretty harsh words for what I thought was one of the best finales I’ve ever seen. I mean, how many shows make it to this point, where they get to end the show on their own note. And then how many shows do it right? When all was said and done I didn’t give a crap about the various loose ends (though I think you guys are missing the point on Kara being the harbinger of doom. She is, in the way that she leads civilization to the new planet where they subsequently abandon their entire civilization. Essentially, she leads them to their ends.) I personally loved it; for me BSG had been steadily loosing its relevance and I was slipping away in my connection. But the ending brought back all the connections I had with every character. I can honestly say that the part where Adama and Roslin leave in the raptor was the only time I have every cried while watching a TV show. Man I’m gonna miss this show to all hell. Ahh well… there’s always the DVDs!

  17. Daniel was Kara’s father. It is unfortunate that they didn’t explore this a little further, but it was pretty obvious from the interplay between them and the fact that her father “disappeared” (to be killed by Cavil). Kara (just like the other cylons) created a mini-world in which her father lived specifically to flesh out the song. Hara, being just like Kara as an offspring between cylon and human, could also see the music.

    In terms of the finale itself: it was awesome. The only thing I probably would have changed would be to have them enter Earth’s history a little later instead of at the time of the Neanderthal. Every ancient religion has a story about people coming from elsewhere that teach reading and intellectual pursuits. This is the sort of “Chariots of the Gods” meets BSG (the story of Atlantis is an example for instance). That would have been cool. But, as it stands, I can deal with the 150K.

  18. Well as finales goes it was one of the better ones. Just not up to par with the best the series itself had done.

    As I said before, the show was a victim of its own excellence.

  19. I have a feeling that we will get an extended finale on DVD. What we saw felt incomplete.

    Remember “Razor”? the TV version was not half the amazing movie the extended cut was. Same goes for the “Pegasus” episode.

    I´m holding back on my final call. We may be in for a surprise and a few less open loops.

  20. Bruce,

    I finally got around to reading this – GREAT review/look-back at the series and the finale.

    Vic

  21. I think Moore’s biggest problem was overestimating how many people would know what a “harbinger” was. i.e. “one who announces or heralds something.”

    [Kara] is the harbinger of Death. [she] will lead them to their end.

    She heralded death, and what was after it because…well, she herself was dead. She led them to their end – her coordinates led them to earth, the end of the journey and arguably the end of cylon and human in their original form.

    Seemed pretty clear to me. Oblique, yes, but not too hidden. Certainly, sci-fi TV has been much guiltier of obscure foreshadowing, prophecy, and the like in the past.

  22. FORRESTER

    I never looked at it that way. Nice twist to the tunnel vision I was precipitated down. (Kara being the harbinger of doom – to the cylons)

    In my article I neglected to add that someone likened Moore’s cameo to the moment he might have gotten the idea to write BSG… probably wasn’t the Moore’s intent, but I like that possible interpretation. – Which I believe was you FORRESTER. Nice.

  23. Thanks Vic!

    TO ALL:

    Moore has hinted of late that there will be extended scenes in the DVD.

    So we may get more answers, of sorts, to some things….

    But as a lot of you are saying, you don’t mind the ambiguity and I’m starting to get that. (I really hate seeing both sides of the coin. If confuses me sometimes.)

  24. The pigeon was Kara. She was always right there, but he could never catch her. In the end, she just flew away.

    At least, that was my immediate thought.

  25. The finale is one hour longer on the upcoming DVDs so I hope we see the black hole scene among others!!!

    As for Kara I think that she wasn’t supposed to die in the maelstrom,before she completed her destiny but since she did, she got sent back. Kinda like Gandalf.

    I always new someone would become a hybrid but i had thought it would be Roslin. And I’m pissed about the Opera house getting basically pooed out.

    I believe that the flashback scenes also served the purpose of acclimating us to the style of Caprica as well.

  26. Lance,
    Daniel was NOT karas father .
    Ron Moore has specifically stated in his latest podcast that the revelation about Daniel was intended as a Cain and Abel allegory .
    It was about Cavill,
    Not Kara .

  27. i think kara brought doom in that she carried all the human races social problems too a new evolving world. the inhabitants never had a chance, and if we look at the world today we face those social problems in worse ways than ever before. i think kara being called the angel of death for a social commentary of the death and suffering we see today. wasn’t that the whole point of the finale.

    all this has happened before, and will happen again.

  28. I loved the Galactica 1980. It’s a good family wholesome good morals show.

    Plus that ending with finding Earth is more credible, they try to speed up Earths Science and Humanity.

    The Ron Moore one is all immoral, they distroy the technology. How we gonna learn from past mistakes if Adama burns all the books of history. No because of the distruction off all Science, we ended up making all the same mistakes the Capricans did.

    We ended up enslaving people, bigotry, religions mumbo jumbo, and nukes and military robots aks Terminator soilders.

    So Adama should have kept all the ships and Science, so that we could gide the primitive cavemen and teach them love and Universal Brotherhood, Like the Great Sikh Faith of India’s Punjab.

  29. The show was really great??

    When the Finale DVD is coming out??

    Is there a chance of follow up??

    What about http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1383701/

    Any ideas?