OK – I have waited till the morning after the night before, to allow me to reflect on the finale of the Battlestar Galactica science fiction television series. As television series go, for me this one was at the top of the heap and I enjoyed every episode of this dark, sometimes even bleak sci-fi show in which one would be hard pressed to describe any of the characters as being ‘nice’ people. The series had an almost true to life moral ambiguity that made for very good drama allowing all the various textures of human behaviour to be explored, together with enough sci-fi content and action to be true to the genre. It was a ‘remake’ in that the story has been told before in the original BSG series of the late 1970’s, but it did so without being just a duplicate and while it certainly borrowed many of the elements of that original BSG series, it also honoured it with the little touches such as including the old style Cylon centurians in scenes with the ‘current’ models.
Series finales for television shows in general I think have been a very hit and miss experience – the one for MASH I thought was great, whereas the one for Seinfeld I thought was a total flop. Of the science fiction ones, the series finale for Star Trek’s Voyager was ‘OK’, while the one for Star Trek Next Generation was embarrassing to watch, the one for Babylon 5 was satisfying and tidy, and the one for Star Trek Enterprise was a cheat. Star Trek Deep Space Nine, which is my preferred Star Trek series, ended respectably while Lost – well lets just say that Lost lost me long ago, and I honestly do not know or care if it even is still running. With this sort of background, I was fully prepared to be disappointed but, given the quality of the BSG series as a whole, I was at least hopeful.
Any series like this has a huge task at hand when trying to wind up its affairs – deciding which loose ends to tie up, which characters and plot threads to possibly leave open for potential sequels, whether to stay true to the arc of the story being told (assuming there was in fact a story arc to follow), and if so, whether the final episode is an end or possibly some new beginning. I found this last BSG episode satisfying on many levels and so for me at least, I rate it as an 8 out of 10. As such, I consider it to be one of the very few that I think can be said to have made its exit on a high note, although I do have this one small, niggling complaint. I can’t help but wonder whether the writers included some fans of the BBC television series ‘Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ as the ending seems to have borrowed a key element at the end, in that the survivors of the colonies and of BSG become our ancestors much as the Golgafrinchan’s did in THGTG. In some respects, I guess this is just another reinforcement of the tag line from BSG that ‘all this has happened before and will happen again’ !
At any rate, for the same reasons I bought the Babylon 5 series DVD’s, I know I will be buying the Battlestar Galactica ones – both series were largely consistent in their vision, their story arcs, and both managed to close off their production runs with grace. Now that BSG has finished, I find that I have a serious gap in my science fiction viewing schedule, that will be very difficult to fill.