The BSG finale: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”


With the pressure mounting, Ronald Moore did what most of science fiction’s high-profile series-builders have done: he choked in the clutch. Sure, the conclusion of Battlestar Galactica was spectacular, with plenty of moments to remind us of what made this franchise the most compelling of the decade. . . but it was nonetheless still deeply—massively—flawed, in so egregious a manner that you can only wonder what the fuck he was thinking (besides licensing agreements and royalty checks).

Usually when narrative arcs fall apart, we get deus ex machina.  This time we just got deus.  Battlestar Galactica’s rebooting tried in so many ways to hold up a mirror to our own culture; in so many ways it succeeded, and this was certainly one of them.  Back in the year 2009, our world is moving out of control, and all we seem to be able to do is hope (however explicitly/implicitly) that God will save us from the results of our own decisions—or that the worst and most irrational of those decisions will turn out to be, miraculously, What God Really Fucking Wanted All Along.

There’s a name for this kind of thinking:  infantile.  Moore promised more, and we deserved better.  Particularly problematic was the anti-science back-to-the-land meme that engulfed the ending.  Again, an apt reflection of our own time—a kneejerk reaction against the technology that threatens to overwhelm us.  In our current crisis, science-fiction is the only genre that offers the scope we need to navigate our way forward.  Last Friday, we saw the genre stumble toward wish-fulfillment fantasy.  The scale of the missed opportunity is nothing short of breathtaking.

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3 Responses to “The BSG finale: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?””

  1. jW Says:

    Am in 100% agreement. The writers had an entire 22 episode season to set a new standard in science fiction and they opted for the easy out: we’ll tug at the heartstrings of the viewers, and punt every gaping plot hole off as God’s Plan. To add insult to injury, anyone notice that God fails miserably in the final minute? 150,000 years in the future, earth is built up and starts making advances in robotics. So what’s the point…God likes to torture humans ad infinitum?! I would’ve been better off reading frakkin’ Left Behind.

    Terminator only took 2 hrs to warn us about the dangers of technology back in 1984…we really needed BSG to take 70+ episodes in 4 seasons to warn us of the same, then tell us that it’s all God’s fault.

    The saddest part is the betrayal. BSG has set a new low water mark in science fiction and undoubtedly accelerated the dilution of the genre. Here’s a sneak peak into the Ronald Moore formula:
    – Hire the writers for Guiding Light and Days of Our Lives
    – Add a few technical consultants
    – Put all the actors in space uniforms
    – $$$ Profit $$$

  2. TechnoDestructo Says:

    The ending blew CHUNKS.

  3. John C Says:

    Man this one hurts. I love BSG to death and yes you gentlemen are correct. But I loved the cast, the drama, the dangers and most of all the flaws humans had on the show. Shit even the fracking skin jobs were nuts. In this case I am going to shut my mind and enjoy/remember the best part of the series.