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Galactica ends on a high note

by Brad Trechak, posted Mar 22nd 2009 1:23PM
Battlestar GalacticaBattlestar Galactica ended with its highest ratings in three years, drawing 2.4 million viewers for its finale. Granted, these are early ratings for the live viewing and don't take into account things like delayed viewings or iTunes purchases. Still, where were all these people during the run of the series?

Something about series finales tend to draw out people with even a modicum of interest in a show. I guess if they weren't there in the beginning, they still want to be there at the end. Mind you, the ratings of Dollhouse still beat BSG with 4.13 million viewers, but there is a world of difference between network and cable. Personally, I used the DVR and caught both.

Of course, this isn't the end of the franchise. Between "The Plan" and the spin-off Caprica, something has to keep people tuned in and the ratings up while the Sci Fi Channel does something stupid like changing its name.

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@Mike: So, sorry you were disappointed, but they told the story they wanted to tell.

I don't think that's true. I think they told the story they were able to tell given lousy circumstances they had to deal with over the past 2 years.

Ron Moore admitted as much in the series "Last Frakking Special" when he stated he didn't envision Michael Trucco (Anders) sitting in a bathtub for the last five episodes. A car accident took care of his original plan...

And they certainly didn't count on a writer's strike interrupting the creative process. I can't tell you how many awesome shows went to pot because of that writer's strike (Pushing Daisies and Bones, just to name two of them.)

For what it's worht, I didn't hate the ending. I just thought they could have cut it down to a solid hour and a half and eliminated the last 5 minutes altogether.

March 23 2009 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What wasn't answered? I know there are a few things, and I'm not being combative, I'm just curious what you think wasn't covered.

As for the plot sucking, that's certainly your opinion, and that's fine. I don't have nearly the disdain for that than I do for people that make unfounded claims like it's now about God and wasn't before... And while I disagree that the plot sucked, I can see why you say that. However, it is their story, not ours. It's put there to entertain us. And if you weren't entertained, that's unfortunate, but feeling let down and bitching about it are two different things.

Complaints about execution, effects, acting, lighting, etc are all up for grabs... even the scripting is open... but the actual story? I think that's pretty much a take it or leave it sort of thing. So, sorry you were disappointed, but they told the story they wanted to tell.

March 23 2009 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mvdelaney77's comment

OK, how about what was Kara Thrace, and why did she show up in a pristine viper with the same call signs as her old one, even though it crashed on earth. Granted, if you say Kara is a reincarnated/risen spirit, then what is her Viper, a ghost ship? In the original series, there was a race of beings that travelled around in a ship of lights trying to interact on behalf of humanity--was it them? Or was it just that God did it? AND WHY DID KARA THRACE REAPPEAR SAYING SHE'D BEEN TO EARTH AND SHE WAS GOING TO TAKE EVERYBODY THERE AND THEY WERE GOING TO LOVE IT! God intended it right?

Or how about who really was the 7th cylon? We get told a name, a history, etc., but we're told (through interviews) that we're just supposed to accept it as interesting backstory? Aftere the significance the writer's placed on who was a cylon, identifying all the cylons, who were the final five, which model was which, etc. Daniel is just a passing reference? I still hold to my "NASA theory" (from when NASA crashed satellites on Mars because they calculated distances without converting feet to meters) that says, "the writers on this show simply lost count midway through and had to come up with an explanation."

Or, speaking of satellites on Mars, who left that satellite/beacon that contained a virus that only affected the Cylons? If the 13th colony was Cylon, why would Cylons not want Cylons to follow? Seriously, this was an idea completely aborted! And just who did build that temple on the Algae planet?

What was so special about Hera in the end? Yes, she was Cylon-hybrid love child. But she didn't add anything to the human line. She wasn't so important Cavil wouldn't just give her back for resurrection. She gave everybody a lot of dots--was she responsible for the code to earth (how? God again?) What about the piano player? What about the final five and All Along the Watchtower? All God again? This whole plot linw was just left ambiguous at best. (At least I am thankful that in that moment when Starbuck punches in the code, it wasn't Hera that jumped up on the table and punched it in, a la "V: The Return.")

And where did the code come from? (God again)? All we got was a montage of images and then, boom, boom, boom, Starbuck punches in the code? Anyone analyze that code and compare it to All Along the Watchtower, by the way? 1123... Plus, did it remind you of Charlie entering the code from "Good Vibrations" on "Lost" just before he died? He saved everybody too, in a sense. Wow, that's real original BSG writers. Could they have written that better? They could have written something! For example, Jody Foster in "Contact" recognizes the alien signal as prime numbers, Jeff Goldblum in "Independence Day" realizes the signal is a countdown, etc. I'm not saying, those are examples of great cinema, but they explain things with a nice mathematical twist. Kara Thrace just had flashbacks or memory+stress=coordinates for earth! No explanation necesary (other than God inspired her).

Or how about what happened to the colony after Galactica jumped away? I know that the interviews of Ron Moore answer this, but the whole point is, the show didn't! One scene of it getting sucked into the black whole would have sufficed (I think they just ran out of money or it looked cheesy so they cut it). And what about all those other cylons in the universe? What about the 12 colonies? Last we saw them, the Cylons had completely taken over, nuclear fallout and all.

God, the more you make me think about it, the more I can think of things that just don't make sense, and the less I like it.

Here's one for you to try and answer for me: defend this show and how derivative it was. Points to consider: (1) Galactica ramming the colony (e.g. Star Trek Voyager: Year of Hell, "Star Trek Nemesis") (2) Kara disappearing (e.g. this is what I call the "Sopranos" ending to Starbuck--just lights out!) (3) Adama and Roslin flying off together (e.g. Blade Runner's happy ending (this one hurt, Edward James Olmos or not, "Out of Africa"). Just for starters.

March 24 2009 at 3:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't mind the twist of time, or the idea that Hera is the missing link, etc. But I have a hard time believing that 38,000+ people are all going to agree to give up all of their technology and "go native".

March 23 2009 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DJ's comment

I'll start by saying that I am not a huge BSG fan. I watched it very casually because my husband enjoys it. I don't begin to think I know any of the details.

But my first reaction was, "All of these people are just going to give up their technology? And do what? Starve?" It just seems that they didn't think that through at all. Wander off with the minimal food rations? I'm not buying that at all.

March 23 2009 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Starbuck isn't, wasn't, and never will be an angel. She's the Messiah.

Head Six and Head Baltar were always Angels. EVERY time Baltar asked her what she was (except when he angered her by telling her she was no longer his fantasy, but that Starbuck was, so she messed with him by telling him she was a chip... which Cottle proved wasn't true...) and when all was said and done she had once again revealed herself as an Angel of God sent to ensure Baltar enacted the will of God. Period. This is nothing new, it isn't writing them into or out of a corner, it's a cornerstone idea of the entire series.

People think it used to be about Religion and only now is about God... not sure what series these folks were watching... or rather, I'm pretty sure I know the series that was on, but I also know the series they weren't actually WATCHING... because anyone that watched and understood what was happening knew this whole series was about faith, monotheism vs. polytheism, and involved metaphysical concepts much more than scientific ones... The 13th Lord of Kobol was God. The 13th Tribe of Humans went to Earth. We already knew that they worshipped a different God than the Colonials. We didn't know they were Cylons until the end, but it makes sense. God was in this concept from the mini-series forward.

But you geniuses continue to suggest that this all sucked and that they didn't know what they were doing. Was there a master plan? No, but there usually isn't with TV. The only 2 series I've ever heard of with an overall master plan were Lost and B5. Lost had a beginning and an ending, and until they set the end date we were getting filler with Lost, too, chums... The fact is, I don't really care how or why Jack got his tattoos, and neither did anyone else. But don't suggest Lost didn't feature filler... it just doesn't now.

And B5? You want to talk about making changes to the overall plan because of unforseen events??? Please...

Was it made up as he went along? For the most part, sure. Does that suddenly negate plot? Because it wasn't thought out before the first word went to paper, that means that somehow the plot isn't really a plot?

Once again, just because you don't like the show being about God... because you don't like who were Cylons and were weren't.... because they didn't write what you wanted them to write, you're all going to bitch and suggest there was no plot, that the introduction of God was an afterthought, even though it was there from before pen went to paper, etc... You want what you want, but here's the kicker: You folks aren't the writers, and thank God! Anyone that thinks this show just threw the notion of God into the mix at the end just never got it to begin with...... In fact, for all you idiots that feel that way, that BSG strayed into God territory out of the blue, I'm glad you hate it... afterall, we often hate what we don't understand........ must be some hate-filled folks out there... I mean, if you can't grasp, "I am an Angel sent by God," what can you grasp?

March 23 2009 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mvdelaney77's comment

Mike, you miss the point completely. Its not that there wasn't a plot, its that the plot sucked and the show fell short for want of budget constraints and the writers inability to deliver story ALONG WITH character development. And the character development, that was so strong for a long time, got lame for all the focus it got, and we got episode after episode winding down to the end that didn't lead us anywhere.

Let me put this in terms that even you can understand Mike. For Christmas, you've asked for five things that you've been talking about all year, and everyone assures you that your going to get them. And December comes, and you put up the tree, and all the presents are under the tree, wrapped up all nice--and low and behold, there are five presents with your name on them. And everybody is telling you how much you are going to love what they got you. But one by one, you open up each present, and not only is it not what you asked for, but each gift is something cheap or inexpensive, or its some gift that you can tell the person buying it for you didn't put a whole lot of thought into. And that last gift, is from someone you really care about--maybe its your wife or your mom and dad--and its a big present. And when you open it its not what you asked for for Christmas. But its close and its really nice--maybe its not the same brand or it doesn't have all the features that made you really want that one particular item--but its nice enough alright. Maybe you look at it and you immediately notice it isn't the right color, or the size is the wrong size (I mean, didn't this person KNOW what size you wear?) And the more you sit and inspect, the more you notice, and it just leaves you wishing that they would have gotten you what you thought you were getting.

Well, that's us. That's the people who loved Battlestar Galactica. And Ron Moore is the one who promised that we were going to have everything revealed to us. And the time came, and it didn't meet our expectations, and we can't help but be a little disappointed. But, just like Christmas, we still appreciate what people got us, we're thankful that we even got to have Christmas. Just like I'm grateful that someone finally took the original Batttlestar Galactica and removed all the camp and turned it into a bona fide space opera. They did a great thing, I applaud their effort in so many instances. But that doesn't change the fact that Christmas was a little disappointing this year.

And, I might add, not very well attended...

March 23 2009 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guess Who

I'm glad I am not the only one pissed about the "god did it" and angels among us ending - that kind of BS belongs to CBS on Friday nights. Plot does matter - as do LOGICAL explanations (at least some reasonable techno babble) when dealing with a series like BSG.

Yes, there are mysteries and forces in the universe that humans may never understand - but rather than exploring that - they slapped on some old dogma as filler. I guess they thought it safe, as according to ABC NEWS 90% of Americans believe in Angels, and that they play a role in everyday life (no comment).

I'm a forgiving Sci-fi fan - hell, overlooked so many things wrong with the Star Wars prequels, and can still love those movies, but the BSG finale kinda killed it for me - it was like finding out Jessica Alba has a penis.

March 23 2009 at 3:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the real point here is that this show was not supported enough (2.4 million for the finale, and that was an improvement?!) for this to be given the kind of budget they would need to really tell all the stories. I'm not giving the writers a pass here, I still think they did a mediocre job with season 4 under any circumstances. But you can look at this show and easily see that when its done well, its got to cost a hell of a lot to produce. And with those ratings, I guarantee they weren't making money on ad revenue. (DVD sales, DVR, HULU--I don't know how those things factor, and I don't think Hollywood has figured them out yet either, judging by the writers strike). If this show had been a huge ratings hit, it would have gone for more than 4 seasons, and some of the stuff about the plot going to hell might have been averted by being better developed. All you have to do is read a few interviews and you realize these guys were always hedging by saying, we wanted to do this and this, but we didn't have the budget for it. Clearly it was a HUGE issue in season 4.5, in which they basically mortgaged the last five episodes to have a lot of whiz-bang-pop in the finale. And even then it wasn't enough. (Did you see that Cylon colony spiral into the black hole? Neither did I.)

As for the comments about SciFi having the same access, that's not entirely true. You can't just crunch the most basic of numbers and call it an argument. There is a reason grocery stores put the expensive stuff they want you to buy at eye level. Every knows exactly where to find the networks. In almost every system, they are 3 thru 13, and they are ingrained in our psyche and popular culture. Scifi is like 62 on my cable and 244 on my satelite. You have to really want to go up there to watch a show--which is why I know where theye are. Like it or not, that's not the way most of America is.

March 23 2009 at 12:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just because you didn't like the plot doesn't mean there wasn't one.

March 22 2009 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mvdelaney77's comment

So you're saying Moore had plotted in mind from back in the mini-series that Starbuck and head Six were "angels" and Anders, Tory et al. were the final 5 when Anders was admittedly just a minor character meant to be the 3rd leg in a love triangle and Tory was added only after the actor playing Billy left the show?

It's not that there is no plot, it's that the stated goals and themes and conventions set up in the first seasons are much, much different and in some cases extremely inconsistent with where we ended up.

My complaint is that in the attempt to make the series open ended, by having a show runner(s) (Moore, Kring, Cuse, et al.) let a team of writers go off on tangents in make "filler" to increase episode count and pad the overall series length towards syndication, then they decided to set a deadline (a la Lost) and they now have to write themselves out of a corner they've gotten themselves in.

For BSG it's Tory, Anders, head Six/Baltar, prophecy of the opera house, etc.

March 22 2009 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Moore himself bragged about the lack of plot, how they worried about character relationships and let the plot write itself.

That is NOT science fiction. It's soap-opera-influenced drama, gas far as the genre goes. People need to stop accepting soap drama as scifi just because it has a robot or a spaceship.

Plot matters. So does planning. Most TV writers today simply aren't capable of balancing both plot and character. Moore is one of them. And I'm done with him.

March 22 2009 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget about Hulu viewings.

March 22 2009 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've usually watched BSG live if I were home, automatically recorded on DVR and bought the season pass through Amazon video on demand. I know a lot of people who watch it online so those numbers are probably low.

March 22 2009 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just looked it up and supposedly ScyFy has over 95 million subscribers. So getting about 3% of the available audience is a victory? Wow.

March 22 2009 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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