Ok, this isn’t a movie per se…. but the finale was an hour and 35 minutes long (without commercials) and quite honestly it was better than a great deal of the features in the theaters today.
For 5 years I have tuned in to this amazing show with excitement and wonder at how Ronald Moore and David Eick had managed to turn a campy, pop-sci-fi “classic” from my childhood into one of the most amazingly rich and relevant pieces of modern storytelling.
If you haven’t followed Battlestar Galactica since its mini-series 5 years ago you’d be very well served to go out and BUY or rent the mini-series and Season 1 RIGHT NOW. The scale of this monumental piece of storytelling is stunning. Especially when you realize it was done for TV, on a TV show’s budget. (And not on the traditional networks mind you… it was done on Sci-Fi! Sci-Fi! Home of crapfest, campy TV movies and low-budget garbage series like “Ghost Hunters.”)Yes, unbelievably Battlestar Galactica became one of the darkest and most sophisticated tales of technology and man. Faith and Science all mixed into one. For those who recall the original series, there wasn’t much to it… each week the fleet found itself off on a new adventure full of camp, children and silly old west style shoot outs. In the new series, gone was the camp, gone was the feel good endings each week…
No, this wasn’t your Galactica from your childhood. This was truly a re-imagining. Early on it was incredibly sexy (dude the cylons swooshing red light was an orgasm signal now!), it was packed with action (dude the vipers look like the old vipers, but on steroids and they totally “FLY” like they are “SPACESHIPS”) and it was deep in philosophical, political, spiritual and psychological debate. The fall of the 12 colonies wasn’t just felt in the mini-series. People actually died in this new series. That massive destruction carried through every episode of the series. Right down to a continually updated tally of the survivors in the opening credits. A number that started near 50K, and ends in the 30K’s.
I don’t want to tell too much about the story here and spoil it for those of you who haven’t yet discovered Galactica for yourself. But let me say this… People often say that there’s nothing good on TV or that there’s certainly nothing worth watching. I say to those people, “You haven’t seen Battlestar Galactica.” Usually these people have stopped, stared at me and laughed. I’ve yet to know any of those people who didn’t end up loving the show when they finally gave it a try. This show never was never shy about really pushing the debate between faith and science. Between seeing and believing. You, as a viewer, were constantly pushed to ask yourself… “What do you believe?” At first the questions were rooted in, “Who’s a cylon?” The constant fear of “is he or isn’t he” carried you from episode to episode as the various models of cylons were slowly revealed to us. But as that question was answered they started to raise the questions of who’s responsible for the robots going berzerk? Is it the robots, or the humans who raised them and then ultimately enslaved them and ignored their right to live their own lives in their own way. Regardless of their original intended “functionality.” It was amazing how much the story grew and evolved from season to season. And it was a tremendous achievement that with as textured a story as they were telling they managed to craft a very complete and fulfilling series finale that both answered our questions, and left us making some leaps of faith of our own in their wrap up. Brilliant.
So do yourself a favor. Rent/Buy/Steal (from a friend not online!) the mini-series and seasons 1-4 of Battlestar Galactica and prepare to be taken on a journey that is surprising, deeply layered and so rich you’ll actually kick yourself for not having seen it all when it aired!
By my command! So say we all!