This is not my Battlestar Galactica. I remember in 1978, laying on the floor in the living room, excitedly waiting for the first episode of the original BSG and having the President having a news conference and pre-empting it. I remember hoping that they wouldn’t join the show, already in progress. Luckily, it was just 20 minutes late and I got to see it all and I thought it was amazing.
Now I’m not going to pretend that the original series was high art or anything, but since I just did a post on why I think Firefly sucks, I thought I’d continue the trend with the 2004-2009 series Battlestar Galactica.
This is another one that people either love or they hate. I come down on the hate side. That’s a shame because I really, really wanted to like it and I really did like the original mini-series, but as time went on, the show decided it wanted to hit every bad bump in the road, every single plot element that I personally detest and it wasn’t long before I just couldn’t take it anymore.
So where did it go wrong? Here’s my list of things that I hated:
1. The setting. Yes, I know this is post-apocalyptic and I don’t like that, but Battlestar Galactica got to be absurdly dark. Sure, they’re on the run from the Cylons, trying to survive, but they were doing that in the original 1979 series too and it never got that dark. No matter how bad things got, there was always hope.
2. The characters. There isn’t one damn character in the whole show that I would piss on if they were on fire. They’re all horrible, disgusting, awful human beings. Again, sure, it’s after the majority of humanity got wiped out, but these are not the kind of people I want jump starting the species. They’re all a bunch of immoral, irrational assholes, reprehensible in virtually every way. I might make a slight concession that Adama has a few decent ideas, but for the rest? They’re horrible.
3. The Cylons. Cool concept, I guess, just horrible execution. Even fans of the show have to admit just how badly they were done. Okay, you’ve got humanoid Cylons who are supposedly completely and totally indistinguishable from real humans, but they do things that should make them painfully easy to identify! What about that stupid glowing spine orgasm thing? Worse yet, what about the transmitter in the brain that sends all experiences back to the Cylon motherships so they can implant those memories into new versions? How can either of those not be plainly obvious in any medical scan?
4. The metaphysics. I hate religion anyhow, I think it’s something that all advanced societies are going to outgrow and therefore, it really doesn’t belong in science fiction. The humans had religious beliefs that got stronger as the show went on, which was when I decided I wanted the Cylons to win. Then the Cylons decided they wanted to be religious too. After that, I just wanted both side to fly into a star and die painful, horrific, searing deaths. Worse yet, the religions were actually true to some degree, you had angels and shared dreams and divine intervention. That’s not sci-fi, that’s stupid.
5. The ending. Pretty much everyone agrees that the ending of Battlestar Galactica sucked, mostly because it made no logical sense whatsoever. It’s like the writers had no clue what to do and they were out of time so they made up the most ridiculous thing they could think of. Sure, everyone goes native but apparently, nobody had any futuristic weapons, no tools, no nothing that would ever have been found by future generations. Flying the Galactica into the sun? Really? The writers had so many dangling plot threads that they decided to pull a religious ending and declare “God did it!” Yeah, fuck you all.
Add to all of that, the fact that BSG was essentially a quest-show and quest-shows all have inherent problems. They’re out looking for Earth. Eventually they have to find it. There’s only so long that the writers can dangle the prize before the characters, only to yank it back at the last moment, eventually they have to achieve their goal, but in achieving their goal, the show has to end because the quest has been completed. This can’t go on too long or the audience gets bored and the importance of the objective gets muted. It’s the same problem that shows like Star Trek: Voyager had, they have to get home but they can’t actually do it or the show ends. However, I never really cared if BSG got to Earth, in fact I actively hoped it never would. I don’t want those idiots to be our ancestors.
Oh, and shaky-cam sucks. Just sayin’.
Come on guys, when is this “dark for the sake of being dark” nonsense going to go away? Sure, things can be bad, but if there’s no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel, what’s the point? Why not stick a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger? Far too many TV shows out there today are gritty, not because they have any good reason to be gritty, but because gritty is “in”.
I hate gritty. I hate badly written, dark because dark is cool, awful characters, badly plotted, shaky-cam, stupid stories and Battlestar Galactica was all of these in spades. Nothing was better at the end of the show than it was at the beginning, in fact, I’d argue that it was worse. Oh, and all of those idiots wandering around the woods? They’re going to end up with every disease in the book because they have no natural immunity or antibodies against any of the Earth diseases. And yes, before you say those diseases wouldn’t affect them, these Galactican asshats are supposed to have been able to interbreed with the early humans. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Someone ought to tie up Ron Moore and stop him from ever writing anything ever again, he’s never done anything actually good in his life. This show was awful on every level. If you want to try to defend any of it, feel free in the comments. Good luck.