Monday, July 20, 2009

And speaking of BSG...

I didn't link to this essay on why the Battlestar Galactica finale was the worst TV sci-fi finale ever. Surprisingly, the competition for the title is fairly fierce. I personally thought that the two middle Star Treks, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, both had really good finales that more or less summed up the major arcs and major ideas of both shows, and that were both plenty exciting while doing it. BSG clearly didn't begin to tie up all the loose threads--to do so would have been impossible after years of fruitless meandering--and it had a tortured finale that would have summed up the ideas of the show, had the ideas in the finale actually been the main ideas of the show.

Brad focuses largely on the junk science of the finale--I'm not so sure why Ron Moore was so wedded to the Hera as Mitochondrial Eve story, but his dedication to it required him to create all sorts of silly plot contortions to make it work. And all that for what was essentially a misreading of the pertinent science and history that could have been cleared up by visiting Wikipedia. It's sort of a fitting metaphor for the show in its latter years: an idea that looked cool on paper, but that ultimately was half-baked at best and that was executed terribly.

What's more interesting is the issue with having God in the story. Or a god. I largely agree that removing the religious element from the realm of mystery and into the realm of fact (relative to the show) opens a huge can of worms. If God really exists, and if he planted the Dylan song into the Cylons' brains in such a way that it translated into numbers that led to Earth, does that mean that God has been controlling everyone's actions all along? BSG was much more fun when it was about military adventures, of which Ron Moore knew a lot, instead of religion, about which he knew nothing at all. Not only was BSG illiterate when it came to religion in absolute terms, but it was also illiterate on the subject relative to other sci-fi shows. DS9, B5 and Firefly all handled religion more deftly than BSG ever did. Seriously, BSG's later years felt like what would have happened if, instead of breaking up after Let It Be, The Beatles had decided that they were only going to do avant-garde French hip-hop from then on. And paid millions to be backed by the Paris Philharmonic on all concert gigs. Why would they do that?

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.