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Thursday, March 19, 2009


Departing The Battlestar

I know that I should probably be more upset about Natasha Richardson, or even Alexis Grace, at this particular moment in time. But the end that I've been mourning all week, and the one I'm feeling most palpably, is that of my beloved Battlestar Galactica, which ends its four-season run tomorrow. I've been a relentless champion of the show, and have always argued that if new viewers would just try it, they'd love it.

That is not the case for tomorrow night, people. Sure, you can watch the all-day marathon and try to catch up, but at this stage, the mythology is just too dense and complex for newcomers to grasp the nuances. (My advice? Wait for the DVD box set, which I hear will hit in July.) The mantra of this show is "all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again"...and with an epic mandate like that, you know it's more than a casual viewer can take in.

Now the eulogy. I've loved many television shows over the years. Twin Peaks. Murder One. Six Feet Under. Heck, I was a Fame junkie when I was twelve. But I have never been so enamored, so entranced, so captivated by a television program as I am by Battlestar. It is partly its vision, coupled with its superb execution, dynamic performances and design. But if I am truthful, it is because Battlestar -- as a post-9/11 New Yorker, who cannot stand the divisions of race, religion, and gender that have trapped humankind for the last eight years -- dealt with the issues of our time with dexterity, helping me discover my own truth. As Baltar and Six passionately ripped apart the bonds of faith, as Roslin and Adama sought refuge in their personal moments, and as Starbuck and Sharon muddled through wars both romantic and real, I felt like I was being shown a third path. A path that saw through the falsity of the Bush Administration's demonization of Muslims. A path that recognized value in all kinds of life, whether they be gods, men, women, or even machines.

I'm sure that I'll love another TV show again...someday...why just this week, I became glued to Breaking Bad, the suprising (and incredibly well-written!) cable drama I've been catching up to on DVD. But I fear that we've lost something more important than entertainment with the demise of Battlestar Galactica. Yes, it was a frakkin' good time. And as The Film Experience points out, the guys were smokin' hot. But it was also a prophetic vision of how to make the most complicated machines of all -- and that would be US -- better. So Say We All.
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