Kill Your Television Series

The bittersweet, dignified demise of Battlestar Galactica
by Mark Holcomb   posted Jan 29, 2009

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@TimeFire1986 "What if there was a show that you could follow all your life, that was always with you, and it was always new?" You have that show... it's called Law and Order. All kidding aside, Battlestar Galactica does define this generation, the 9/11 generation, in a way lordhadrian doesn't seem to grasp. It has an urgency, immediacy, bleakness, and unpredictability that recalls that sad day (the shock of Dee's recent suicide still hasn't worn off). And like our government's knee-jerk response to the attack, some of the humans' response to the Cylons have been provocative rather than preventive. The show does seem to be informed often by a previous sci-fi series Moore worked on, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I say this because even at its least predictable, Galactica's events have paralleled that other show's twists and turns. So while I've been surprised by much of what's happened thus far in season 4.5, I then often recall a similar event in ST:DS9. That brings to mind the question, will this series end on a similar note to DS9's finale?
Tony Dayoub   posted 03.02.09

M*A*S*H* was a show that went on for quite a number of years and just got better with time, and it ended with the greatest finale in TV history. An accomplishment for a classic TV drama I doubt any other show can top. I have to say that, in reading this article, I have to admire all you internet/magazine critics who placed so much praise on a show that basically did themes you could watch with a more entertaining angle on a rerun of Babylon 5, but I understand how people can burnout on bloated star trek and clueless Star Wars. It's the old cliches you guys cannot stand. But I get the feeling BSG was a fluke, supported by the creative persistance of Ron Moore and the desperate PR of magazines like TV guide. "Bionic Woman" was a show that fit the same mold, and it tanked upon entry. I suspect the same fate will fall on Caprica, which will shuffle along for an undetermined amount of time on the one Network that has truly jumped the shark- Sci-Fi Channel. I'm not trying to be insulting, for I respect your views and those of the critics who are tired of what they see as cliched space battling styled scifi. But the whole anti-hero, ambiguous morality themed show is probably at an end. I, for one, welcome that end. I'm not a fanatic of the old show, but you guys sure did your best to step on it with words like "kitsch" and "cheesy", never considering that the 70s show inspired a generation in ways your highly praised Moore variation will not. Richard Hatch's Apollo was the older brother model, and we, growing up in the cheesy 70s, tried to become better because of the thematic efforts the old show presented. While the new BSG's cup overfloweth with great writing...These characters are a bunch of whining babies. It's all perspective, I suppose, but these characters have no magnificence and have missed the point of the tremendous predicament they are in. But at least you have your award winning character stuff. It's not even about a female starbuck. I think that's a great idea. But these characters never have any levity, no fun, and God forbid we should have a space battle. But, the show comes to an end, and so too will end the present debates between fans. With all due respect, I sincereley hope to hold on to my other cheesy 70s heroes like Buck Rogers, Wonder Woman, etc wthout Moore destroying their childhood value. And I hope that, as BSG passes that online magazine critics like yourself will be forever disappointed and dismayed at future science fiction shows because they do not fit your criteria that you have lovingly cherished with this program.
lordhadrian   posted 31.01.09

Mark, You're probably right in your essay on the demise of BSG. (Okay, you are right.) You've uttered an artistic treatise to cap what artistic treatise on sci-fi TV. However, as a counterpoint, I've always wondered what it would be like to think of a TV show in just the opposite terms of our impatient, less-is-more culture. Remember, most people simply have a short attention span. It's hard for me to love a show, like LOST, yet want it to end so desperately like most. I find such fans' desire confusing. So, what if we let a show go, say, 50 years? Okay, it would become a soap. Or would it? THE TRUMAN SHOW comes to mind--what if we had a fictional character to grow up and grow old with? I'm just pondering. I'll actually miss the Thursday night staple of ER. Sure, it floundered around Season 10 when they had to go and jump the shark by killing Dr. Romano with a Christine-like vengeful helicopter that just wouldn't let him go. Still, it found itself again and has been great these past two years, balancing the comedy of Scott Grime's character with the emotionally obstructed Angela Bassett character very well. I get what you're saying, and for the most part I argee. A show needs to know when to end. (For art's sake.) But what if you don't care about art? What if there was a show that you could follow all your life, that was always with you, and it was always new? Just a thought.
TimeFire1986   posted 31.01.09


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Courtesy SciFi Channel
The cast of Battlestar Galactica


Mark Holcomb is a contributor to Time Out New York, and has written for The Village Voice, Film Quarterly, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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