I'm a fan of your great, great column, which is one of the best things on the Net when it comes to TV criticism. I'd like to have your opinion on the Battlestar Galactica
finale. The first part was really good, but the last part seemed like I watched the Season 2 finale and the first half hour of the Season 3 premiere. I wonder why the writers didn't end Season 2 with the nuclear explosion or with newly elected President Baltar crying at his desk. Maybe an explosion that threatens none of the characters' lives is not a good cliff-hanger, or the image of a madman leading the survivors of all mankind isn't spectacular enough to keep the fans chatting until October. When I saw "One year later" on the screen, I couldn't believe it. What a twist! This jump to the future could fit well with a six-month gap between the seasons, but here in the middle of an episode it doesn't really work. The Cylons occupying New Caprica is certainly a promising new story arc and it raises a lot of questions, so it would have been perfect for the first Season 3 episode. It seems to me like that part of the finale was a rush job. What was the point of airing a longer episode if it messes things up like that in 15 minutes? Has this anything to do with the fact that the Season 3 premiere was postponed until October? Anyway, this finale proves that the writers on this show can think outside the box. I'm not really disappointed; there are certainly worse ways of ending a season, and providing an ending that tops this brilliant season was a big challenge.Answer:
I posted my initial reaction
earlier this week, but the questions I've been reading in the aftermath have certainly gotten me to think more deeply about what a truly audacious leap it was to move the story so far ahead so quickly. One alternative, as Vincent suggests, was to end with a more traditional "disaster" cliff-hanger: the nuke explosion, Baltar being sworn in. This fast-forward leap works better for me for several reasons. I wouldn't want to sit through an entire season setting up the colonization of New Caprica, but flashing forward and setting up a situation that allows for pointed exposition and explanation in the season ahead (on matters concerning both humans and Cylons on both Capricas) will make for a brisker, tighter, more suspenseful and more illuminating series. By setting up the premise of the next season in the final scenes of the cliff-hanger, Battlestar
manages to reveal a lot about the fates of our characters while begging questions that will surely be answered amid the action of the new conflict and occupation.
To digress, I loved this line from a response by Karen B.: "I just can't wait for Roslin to go all de Gaulle on Baltar's collaborating Petain." How refreshing to get a cultural/historical reference that looks beyond our own present miseries. The greatest concern in the mail I got was that the ending felt rushed, so viewers felt cheated. I didn't get that at all, because I'm confident the show's writers will give us all the context and dramatic meat we desire as they play out this new, tense situation. Bottom line: I continue to be blown away by Battlestar Galactica, and by taking me where I didn't expect to go, the show more than lived up to my high expectations.
Finally, Christine asks: "I don't get Sci Fi Channel, but I do watch SG1, Atlantis and (more recently) Farscape reruns in syndication. So my question is: Do you think there's any chance that Battlestar Galactica will follow?" Haven't heard anything yet (not that I've been looking), but I can't imagine Galactica won't flourish in syndication, not to mention (my personal preference) on DVD, where the first seasons already exist.