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Friday, May 23, 2008

Battlestar Galactica: No Supernova Ending for this [Battle]star.

Most stars have a particular life cycle. They are born, they shine, they expand, and then they fade. However, a few–the more massive ones–follow another cycle. They are born, they shine, they collapse, and then they explode with a brilliance so great that they can be viewed in distant galaxies. They literally go out with a bang.

Battlestar Galactica as of this moment seems to fall into the former category.

After two superb seasons to start off the series and get it rolling, BSG began to show its age in Season 3.0. Whereas the first and second seasons were chock-full of both action and high culture displayed richly, by the third season–analogous to the expanding phase of a star–both the action and culture were a bit over the top. For instance, the Cylons kept on being killed and then resurrecting. It got old very fast.

So far, season four has been even more decrepit. There is little action, and–as is disturbingly common in science fiction–the show has taken on a more anti-Christian flavor, with Gaius Baltar being compared to Mithras (and hence linking him to Jesus). This was already seen in the third season with Baltar’s scruffy beard to make him appear similar to the common depictions of Jesus.

However, even on a secular level, BSG seems to have lost its energy. Several episodes have just revolved around internecine conflict within the human and Cylon fleets. The ‘moral’ endings, often with Adama and Roslin, although occasionally with other characters, are also getting a bit trite–they’ve been a common feature throughout the series.

The creators of the show have a lot of work set out for them to spice up the remainder of the series, not least in part because if they don’t, the upcoming Caprica movie will be a flop, too.

Battlestar is one of the most skillfully crafted television shows out there, science fiction or otherwise. The series deserves to end with a gloriously spectacular supernova that will be noticed for years to come.

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