Battlestar Galactica Season 4

Posted: June 8, 2008 in TV Stuff
Tags: , ,

Ah, Battlestar Galactica. I hold this show in high esteem and have thought of it as one of the best shows on television and arguably one of the greatest television series ever produced. As a show with a dark and serialized nature it has had and continues to have it’s critics who laud the show for it’s dark themes and some of its harsh and mature subject matter. Seasons 1 through 3 of Battlestar Galactica where focused and offered fans of serialized stories everything they expected. Everything from deep, complicated, and engaging story lines where there as where the cliffhangers one expects from this type of show. The writing and acting where both superb and with the exception of a few “filler” episodes during those seasons watching the show each week left you both satisfied and with a heavy sense of anticipation for the next weeks episode. So how has season four of this flagship series fared in this, its fourth and final season?

It is the very nature of this season that has prompted me to write today. There are many words and phrases I would use to describe the disappointment that is season four of Battlestar Galactica, however most of those being one word vulgarities and curses would do little to convey anything other than what many would perceive as fanboyism or immaturity. As I am far to old to be either of the aforementioned I will do my best to put into words, my feelings about the season thus far.

Where as I would use words such as focused, polished, entertaining, and incredible to describe the whole of seasons one through three, the vocabulary I would choose to describe season four falls on the opposite side of the spectrum. Perhaps disappointing is the word most befitting of season 4. Though I feel disappointing best describes this season, I might also choose words such as unfocused, boring, dragging, wasteful, and even horrid to help illustrate my feelings about such a waste of time.

For a television show that has entered its final season fans and critics alike have expected the drama to unfold at a quickened pace however revelations and payoffs are not only few in number this year but are often presented to viewers in an undramatic fashion and are lacking in impact. As serialized stories often create a myriad of loose ends that aren’t addressed until much later in their respective saga’s, fans of this show had high expectations of stunning revelations being unraveled early on in this, the shows final season. Though there are surely many answers of lesser significance that dedicated viewers deserve to and wait to have closure on, no other revelations carry the type of importance that the Final Five Cylons does. Season three’s stunning cliffhanger presented viewers with the identities of four of the final five Cylons and alluded to some big moments to come in season 4.

As the shows format has changed little over the course of the shows run, legions of hungry fans expected season four to open in an explosive manner much as the series’ previous openers had done. At the very least many held onto hope that the story would quickly root itself in a fast paced story line and that four of the final five Cylons would be revealed sooner rather than later. Of course with such an early revelation, fans would be treated to a season of chaos, distrust, betrayal, and broken relationships, the usual consignment of ingredients that have helped make Battlestar Galactica a fantastic show.

In the stead of these things however season four has yet to produce any main story arc revelations and has opted to place its focus on side stories and on some characters that some fans don’t have much invested in. As Battlestar Galactica has always been a character driven drama, fans should have expected rich character developments even in the shows final season but not at the expense of the big picture. While we have received such developments, very few if any have carried on their shoulders, resolutions or questions of any great importance. It appears though that the characters themselves have become the focus of the story rather than the events that are unfolding in front of them.

While it is entirely possible that the events we have bore witness to are simply a prelude to something of greater importance I often find myself wondering why the entire season is not being used to provide greater closure for the shows loyal fan base. It is also feasible that this endgame is what had been planned all along which if true, would not only be a shame but a disservice to viewers as well. If such is the case it is a sad turn of events as many fans now feel betrayed by a show that once gave them things other shows lacked. Those who produce Battlestar Galactica or have a hand in the show would do well to remember that while things like Laura’s terminal illness are extremely important so to are the pressing issues such as Earth, the Cylons, and the Final Five. I hold onto a foolish optimism in that the show will return to prominence and give us not an overabundance of meandering storylines but instead a more focused and streamlined drama as it did in years past.

A fair assessment that many share with me is that season four is akin to one long filler episode in a grand saga. An epic story should have an equally epic final act. What the future holds for Battlestar Galactica only Ron Moore knows for certain, however I find myself fearful that Battlestar Galactic will end in much the same manner that The Soprano’s did, which ultimately rendered that series useless. We read the final chapters of great works to get closure, to tie up loose ends, and to find the answers to riddles and questions these stories pose early on. There are few who would enjoy reading a book only to find that the last chapter does not exist and that we are to form our own conclusions on how the story ends. Good storytelling has three elements, an opening act, a middle, and an end. Battlestar Galactica currently looks to finish its run with little resolved. Let us hope that I am wrong.

Comments
  1. Karidian says:

    Scott, I couldn’t agree with you more. This season has been a huge disappointment. I fear that Ronald Moore plans to start a fracking movie franchise and thus plans to leave many loose ends open.

    Betrayal is a good word to describe my overall feelings about this season. The Baltar character is a huge mess. He shoule be dead by now. Ronald had a chance for greatness with this final season but instead he has apparently sold out. I hope to be proven wrong also.

  2. Michael says:

    Hmmmm. Perhaps I’m looking for something very different in the series but, thus far, this is my favorite season. I’ll agree that season for is more character than event driven, but this places it more in the realm of “reality” for me. I say that I lead a pretty interesting life. There aren’t a lot of monumental events happening in my circle every day, but the human interactions are infinitely varied and interesting. Even the most mundane of communications leads me to some new revelation about our nature as a species. And, I can say that there have been plenty of long “story arcs” in my life that did not come to a clear resolution. Such is the nature of existence. Given that, I’m not having a problem with this season of Battlestar Galactica. In fact, I find it intriguing that it is so chaotic. If you’ve every dealt with refugees from war zones and violent political upheavals, you might already have seen the chaos surrounding them in their lives on a physical, spiritual, economic and personal level. The characters on the show are starting to act as if damaged by the ordeal—as well they should. Their society is falling apart—as well it would in the “real” world, given the circumstances. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just a television show folks, a great one, no doubt, but still a television show. And, it is someone else’s vision. The entertainment in it for me is sitting back and letting that vision unfold. It doesn’t have to fit my idea of a perfect story. That’s one I’ll have to write for myself.

  3. Mark Peters says:

    Well, it’s better than the second half of season three… I kinda wish they’d spent more time on New Caprica. That story was incredible, but it was over in 4 episodes.

  4. Gary says:

    I enjoyed Scott’s very will written piece on series 4.
    I also agree.
    I was addicted to the show through 1-3, despite the fillers in the series. However, series 4 seems to be the old saying “all filler, no killer”.
    Please don’t do the movie route, and please don’t go down the Soprano’s route. Such a great series which ended without any real closure and so money grabbing in it’s approach to leave the door open for the “big” movie.

  5. David says:

    Ron cant do a BIG movie cause Glen Larson I belove holds the rights for Galactica movies
    and I don’t think he is very happy with this series. So I cant see a big budget movie ever being made. I gave up on the series right after new caprica. As far as I am concerned the whole show went into the toilet after that.
    You cant just write a series that is all “character driven drama” if the characters become the main focus at the expense of of the story its the same as putting all the work in a house on the main floors and ignoring the foundation eventualy the whole structure will colapse.
    The Characters have changed so much as to be unrecognizable to the people in the first season. And personally I hate the whole “dark tone” of the series umm you have to have a little light in there or you just writing 1st year university existentialisms and the whole point basically is to point out the pointlessness of everything.

  6. Michael B says:

    I want more Battlestar in my Galactica. Boo-hoo Baltar is sad again. (why didn’t he die in season one?) Whatever shall we do? And I’m going to kill myself if there’s another plot twist like Starbuck was actually Adama’s grandfather on Earth before the lords of Kobol built the first cylon on New Caprica after Xena was married to Boomer.

    The only thing we’re missing is a cameo by the original Starbuck, and the bombshell that he’s actually the first cylon god that created Earth the first time.

  7. Caspian says:

    I have finally watched the whole of this wretched season, and quite frankly I glad it’s finished. It stopped being an sci-fi adventure, half-way through season 3, and degraded into a soap-opera.

    The two most tedious characters (Laura Roslin & Baltar) remained to the end, which was a slap in the face to the fans, and the whole premise of the show became, mystical, esoteric and very, very boring.

    Some of the battle scenes were impressive, but that does not justify 20 episodes of sloppy writing, and pretentious plot twists. After watching this it makes you wonder how the writers had the temerity to go on strike

  8. a says:

    No fraking dogfights, no fraking firefights… looks like a soap opera or a sitcom. It´s fucked up. I found myself chewing and spiting episode 4.16 when Starbuck was with the piano man playing that ugly shit of instrument (BTW… who´s the mother fucker in charge of its sound?).

    Got 4 episodes more to watch… and I m not sure if I will make it…

    OH, by the way… they willl be releasing a series named “Caprica” by 2010. Looks loke Ron Moore needs money to ad an extra floor to his mansion.

    A real shame.

  9. DarkDvr says:

    Author, good article, but PLEASE go back to school and learn some grammar. Jesus holy Christ, you can’t spell if your life depended on it. I can see that you ran it through spell checker, since some words don’t even belong in sentences.

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