It’s taken me a few days to process the final episode of Battlestar Galactica and place it within the context of the series. The initial controversy over the changes they made to the 70’s series, and the subsequent controversies they encountered over the balance of the series all seem like hollow voices now. I feel like I’ve just witnessed something that will never be repeated again.
I still don’t know how the creators managed to keep such a dark tone throughout the series and present such adult themes without network executives or activist groups sticking their unwelcome and ignorant opinions into the mix. HBO and Showtime can get away with more, but I challenge you to show me a series that deals with the modern zeitgeist better than Battlestar Galactica. Torture, paranoia, the cost of war, religion, rape, cruelty, honor, deceit, sacrifice and the sum total of the human experience were all addressed in one way or another throughout the series. Galactica was very much a product of the mood in America following September 11th and they never compromised on that.
It was abundantly clear that everyone involved in creating Battlestar Galactica was heavily invested in what became a five year long movie. Galactica benefits from a level of cohesion that almost every series lacks. Every epic series I can think of either loses its way on the journey (X-Files), goes on too long (ER), or gets the plug pulled too early (Firefly). Galactica flew straight from the beginning and ended at the perfect time.
The series finale was deeply satisfying. The action of the first hour was intense and thrilling. In fact, it was better than most action movies, but even more importantly, because you knew this was the final episode, you knew everyone was vulnerable (not that Galactica ever had a problem with axing a character). The second hour was a pure character study that both wrapped up their lives and answered all questions. The answers to all the mysteries took Galactica to another level entirely.
I’ve purposely removed any indication of how Battlestar Galactica ended, in the hopes that if you haven’t seen the series that you will invest the time to see how good television can be at its height. I doubt if we’ll ever see a series that performs as well from beginning to end and absolutely represents the time it was created, better than Battlestar Galactica. The finale took a fantastic series and made it eternal. Thanks to the creators, cast and crew of Battlestar Galactica.
- The Beefboy
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