Bye Bye Battlestar

How can one encapsulate in a blog post the finale that brought to an end one of the most fascinating shows on television in recent years? A show that took a show from a couple of decades earlier and reinvented it rather than simply remaking it? [That in itself should have made us think twice about the sense in which “All this has happened before, and all this will happen again”]. A show that was discussed at the United Nations recently, not least because it tackled tough issues like torture?

In many respects, the show’s finale confirmed some things I suspected quite some time ago – for instance, that the events of the show would be in our past, and that the inhabitants of our planet would turn out to be the offspring of humans and cylons. This nicely illustrates why intelligent design doesn’t get us out of the problem of regression and answer the question of origins. Even if it turned out that we inherited characteristics from beings that had been designed rather than merely having evolved, we would only succeed in pushing the problem back one step, onto another world, where we would then confront the same question: where did the original designer come from?

I was happier than some about the religious element of the finale. It didn’t try to wrap up the question of God, but left a fair bit of mystery. For fundamentalists, religion is about answering life’s questions. For other religious believers, religion is about hints of a mystery, pointers to transcendence, and a whole lot of symbolism. And the finale did some provocative things in this vein, like emphasizing that God is not on anyone’s side, calling God a “force of nature” (as opposed to a person in some anthropomorphic or cylonomorphic sense), and saying at the very end about God that “It hates to be called that”.

Anyway, goodbye Battlestar Galactica – for now. Thank you for tackling serious issues and making us think. And thank you for ending before you ran out of good ideas. The worst thing one can hear from viewers of a TV series, after all, is “All this has happened before, and all this will happen again”.

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  • Luke

    i frak’n love BSG. best show ever.we’ll have to see how Lost ends.. but i just loved how BSG went about the finale. wonderful stuff. Religious stuff, giradian philosophy all over the place. wonderful!

  • David B. Ellis

    I suspect that the “God” in BSG was an omega point god rather than a creator god. Think the Overmind in Arthur C. Clarke’s CHILDHOODS END.Maybe the new series (or is it a mini-series) will reveal whether I’m right or wrong.As to the debate over the finale, I fall firmly on the “hated it” side. Ending the series with a variation of an idea that was already a laughable cliche 50 years ago? Silly and pathetic.Driving your starships into the sun and living in huts? Even worse. There are few things I hate more in SF than an anti-technology message.There needs to be a script writing contest for best alternate finale.

  • Dave R

    James You need a SPOILER ALERT!! at the top of the article – I started reading it and we haven’t seen the finale yet!Thankfully I stopped just in time!You must know your blog is read in other parts of the world where the season finale hasn’t been shown yet. So take pity on us Europeans and warn us before we step on the blogging equivalent of a landmine!!DavePS Have you sent Paul N a copy of your book????

  • Bill

    In general, I liked the ending, except the “driving your starships into the sun and living in huts” thing. I suppose they had to do it that way, wouldn’t fit with our history any other way I suppose.I enjoyed the series and while I’m sorry to see it go, I’m glad they ended how they did rather than drive it into the ground (ex: Stargate SG-1).

  • James F. McGrath

    Sorry, Dave – although I would have thought that the title might give some indication that it is about something you might not have seen! ;-)I would have thought that you’d spent enough time in Eastern Europe to know how to get those episodes without having to wait…I always assumed that Paul runs out and buys my latest books. What do you think he would do with a copy if one was sent for the library there? :)Keep in touch!

  • BSM

    Baltar and Caprica…angels?I loved it!And I did not think Chief would actually kill the Cylon who killed his first wife. I agree: They went out on a high note.

  • Mel Schriver

    I liked that the last “laugh out loud” moment in the series was Adama knifing Baltar about a) his lack of humour and b) Baltar’s near Kirkian desire to mate with anything female.

  • BSM

    Makes you wonder who was the first BSG transplant to “mate” with primitive human.

  • randy jensen

    I share all this enthusiasm for BSG, even after the finale. And I think I’d even say that I liked the finale rather than hating it. But I do have issues, as I’ve explained on my blog. Mainly, while the finale “left a fair bit of mystery,” it didn’t leave quite enough. We’re *shown* more than I’d like of the truth about Starbuck and the angelic beings that the head versions of Baltar and Six turn out to be. I appreciated the BSG that left room for Adama’s cynicism as well as Roslin’s faith and vision.Maybe my complaint is that BSG has indeed become a myth itself, as you said in another post. I’m more interested in the ways BSG has explored how ordinary people (of whatever kind) grapple with the uncertainties of the myths that confront them.