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'Battlestar Galactica': Let's get back to base-ics

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Is anyone else as bored and disillusioned as I am by this leaden final season of Sci Fi's "Battlestar Galactica"?

It pains me to write such things, given how the show's first two seasons were so exciting and refreshing. But after Season Three's confusing ending (Tyrol's a Cylon? So why no fuss about his baby?), this fourth and final season has been one long, bleak dud, lacking the common-cause heroism and universal Odyssean storyline that made this retooled drama so compelling.

Last Friday's episode, "Sine Qua Non" — the eighth in the 10-episode first half of the final season (whether we'll see the second half in the fall or next spring, who knows) — was one massive coitus interuptus. When last we saw our valiant crew of refugees, Roslin and company had plugged in the Cylon hybrid, which immediately screamed, "Jump!" and sent the commandeered base ship vanishing to gods-know-where. Finally, a supremely dramatic moment in a season that feels like nothing but marked time! So what happened Friday night on the base ship? Good question. The entire episode never went back to that storyline. All we got was more parental griping from Adama and some creepy old leech revelations about Col. Tigh.

Also, we plumbed the dragged-out depths of the Lee Adama subplot, getting to the heart of why the writers made the thus-far dreadful error of hanging up that hottie's flight suit. His utterly dreary life thus far as a diplomat seems to be leading now to a run for president in Roslin's absence — a plan crafted by ye olde Scottish lawyer Romo Lampkin. I can't help but agree with another reviewer who wrote, "I think the 'Galactica' writers like Romo a lot more than the guy deserves, as he's less a character than a collection of colorful tics." With our surround sound cranked to neighbor-annoying levels, we still couldn't understand half of what that dead-cat-carting weirdo was yakking about in his burbly brogue, and from what we can tell now he wasn't saying anything of real consequence anyway.

The ending, in which the elder Adama turns over the Galactica to Tigh so he can sit in a raptor and wait for his true love Roslin to return — well, in a word, ridiculous. We've been given plenty of clues thus far that a romantic bond was sublimating between them, but nothing whatsoever to suggest it had boiled to the degree that would make Adama give up his ship and sit alone in space waiting for Godot. Uncharacteristic, unrealistic, unfortunate.

The promos for this week's episode give us great hope, though ...

Looks like we're back to the base ship — and Roslin is beginning to get a better idea of her destiny. Deanna's "unboxed" — and apparently talks to someone who is our last mystery Cylon. The road signs have been pointing to Starbuck as this shadowy figure, but I'd probably lay money on Roslin.

Even the cinematographer admits, now that Deanna's back "it's coming alive again" ...

Here's hoping they inject some of that sense of humor back into the show!

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28 Comments

BSG was decent in the mini-series. It's gone progressively downhill since and now has become the most overrated show of all time.

Since when do they have Starbucks on Galactica? All you ever see them drinking is booze. And where the heck is Guinan this season?

I home that since the writer strike... the writers have had a chance to relax, take a break, and stop thinking so gloomy. Bottomline as i see it, if this were real life, Galactica would have been destroyed many episodes ago since it seems apparent almost everyone has no hope, no joy, no love for one another (aside from adama and roslin). WRITERS BRING SOME JOY BACK TO THE CHARACTERS... LET US VIEWERS FEEL CONNECTED TO THEM ONCE AGAIN.

I love it...everyone is a writer now...just like joss...

“What we really are” continues to be the core theme and it is timeless...

I wish I had a nickel for everyone of my friends who rolls their eyes when I mention BSG – what happened to them?

the hybrid is a trip, reminds me of the peeps i over hear on the street corners in SF and every once in a while a searing metaphor sticks in my mind...plus, i like when she recites from the maintenance manuals -- i dig chicks like that...

OK, what's with Deanna in her terry bathrobe (standard post-slimebath spa wear?) and if she can kill a One with one hand, how is she pulled along like a child thru a museum by a "human" to meet the Pres.? She seemed to be playing along as much as anything...or suffering from a serious download reactivation headache? (I get those too when I mix prescriptions)

and Baltar must be a Cylon to lose that much blood and stick keep ticking -- ughh

as far as loving it -- i'd pay more than I do for streaming Yankees audio games to get right to the extended uninterupted flow of the storyline -- future of TV anyone?

I think the Cylons are being deceptive about who is and is not a Cylon - that they've lied about Tigh, Tyrol, Roslin, Starbuck, etc. as disinformation to confuse and trouble the Galactica bunch.

Galactica, other than in the first season, has been confusing and boring to me, mostly.

There is no patience in a viewing audience anymore. I too loved the first two seasons and they were very different to the following ones. But shows have to evolve or die and audiences have to be more educated. Seems to me, the mistakes in the article are symptomatic of the type of "instant gratification" mentality I see amongst my students whose cognitive abilities are, shall we say politely, "changing" everyday. I am enough of an old fogey to appreciate story telling, development, and suspense and to enjoy actually thinking about what I read and what I see instead of wanting it to be delivered to me ASAP.

Do not mean to insult anyone. I just see the rift in the comments as a reflection of the way our culture is being altered by technology--for better or worse.

I found the comments everyone has made interesting, and agree with those of you who have found this season somewhat disappointing. In the first seasons the episodes seemed to stand on their own, but now it's more like an endless soap opera with characters I find myself caring less and less about.

I thought it was just me, so have been interested to see others feel the same. The final episode of last season with the big cylon reveal didn't ring true to me; it seemed forced or something, and the series hasn't yet recovered.

I want to like the program, but the truth is, to me, it's not the riveting show it once was. I remember in the first two seasons, I'd be thirty minutes into a slow episode and wondering why I couldn't stay focused. Then, invariably, the second half of the show would knock your socks off. Now, the credits roll and I'm still waiting to be dazzled.

Wow! Amazing how different people see things. I see a huge spiritual shift taking place. Humans and Cylons working together, loving, and trusting one another. There IS a spirituality quest going on here and that makes this season a real check on humanities meaning. With the latest episode you see the first major collective collaboration between Human and Cylon. Then you see Roslin save Baltar after he admits giving the Cylons the codes. So really, I think this season has really made me more connected to the story. It is fantastic save a few boring moments in the middle.

This season is soooooooooooo good... I think my favorite one. I think this show will be wrapped-up nicely.

I have to agree that this is by far the worst season. It is just so damn slow now. The Demetrius subplot completely took us off track. And how many times did they have to replay Starbuck screaming "We're going the wrong way!" The most cringe-inducing line in the series' history and they stick it in the promos so I have to hear it over and over again.

The first four episodes of Season 1 set a new standard for how great a TV show can be. Right up there with LOST's first few episodes. I can't believe that a show I was so excited about now sits unwatched on my DVR for days before I can drag myself into watching it.

THANK YOU. I've been complaining about this season up one side and down the other. I mean Lost had the same problem back in Season 3 but I didn't complain about it because you could kind of tell there was a direction. But, this mess that they are putting on with BSG is just completely directionless. The story lines are boring and in some cases completely unbelieveable. I mean there is no way that Baltar would be alive, much less have a "cult". They've divided the cylons, which is just stupid. And they keep weighing everything down more and more with religion. I don't see how they can save the next 12 episodes. I'll watch it but I've been very disappointed and I'm SOO glad that someone in the media has finally spoken up about it. It's really embarassing to me because I was pushing so many people to watch and if they just "started" they probably think I'm crazy.

Paul...I do hope you are joking about ACTUALLY believing that the next episode's promo shows that Roslin is the final cylon. Obviously, the video was spliced together to make you think that...duh. Which likely means she ISN'T the last cylon at all. I'd imagine that the unboxed Deanna is talking to Mr. Starbuck when she says the 'you are one of them' quote.

Absolutely agreed. I turned a couple friends onto BSG before the start of this season, and now I wonder if I shoulda even opened my mouth to them. Big, big mis-steps with the series including the surprising Cylon reveal at the end of Season 3, Kara's whacky vision quest, and Lee's turning fighter pilot into politician. The series has completely lost the spirit of the first 2 1/2 seasons. I'll keep watching only because I'm too much of a completist.

The way this season has been going sort of reminds me of the latter seasons of the Sopranos. There's a lot of ruminative stuff going on. There's not much action. Some characters have nothing to do (Dualla, Gaeta). Characters you may have liked display off-putting behavior (Lee, Kara). And there are utterly implausible sexual liaisons (Tigh and the Six? REALLY?!)

But the point of comparison I see is that the pacing seems off. BSG has what, maybe 12 episodes left, and they are dragging their feet, and not addressing the elephant in the room: the last of the Final Five. I just know they're holding that revelation until the last minute, but wouldn't it be nice for a change to have what follow-up questions we're guaranteed to have answered on the show, rather than in an interview with Ron Moore the following week? They need to tighten up the stories.

Look at Lost. With less episodes to work with, they've crafted a streamlined season that arguably the best since the first one.

Hey Tim, It's rather obvious that Starbuck is on the baseship since it jumped away with her, Roslin, Sharon, the Six, & Starbuck's hubbie inside. Did you even watch that episode? Her showing up in this episode seemed to be aimed at showing Adama is starting to crack since the love of his life is god knows where. There is no way she is on Galatica. Think about it, she showed up unannounced in the middle of the episode & talks to no one else but Adama.

As for this season, it's been fairly uneven. There have been some good one's & some bad one's, but I gotta say Tigh & Tyrol are cylons!? Please, that makes no sense at all to me. Tigh has been Adama's best bud for like 40 years, & Tyrol's parents were uber-religious about the Lords of Kobol. And Tyrol's baby? Wow, can we say gaping plot-hole, or even worm hole. However, the one character I absolutely hate is Roslin's assistant. Not only is she a horrible actress, but she really is not important enough be one of the final four. I can stand Mr. Starbuck being one, but he character is utterly useless.

Oh n btw, they already show on the preview for tomorrow night's episode that Roslin is in fact one of the final five. Wacth the preview, its right at the very end. Deanna says, "You don't even know you are one of the final five." Then cut to a surprised Roslin. Fade Out. Way to ruin it for us Sci Fi Channel.

I agree with your assessment. Battlestar Galactica, for all its exciting promise, has been nothing but a dreay weepfest this year. I doubt I will have the stamina to follow it to its conclusion.

If this wasn't the last season, I would have already stopped watching. I agree it has gotten painfully boring. I thought it was just me, especially after reading the previously posted comments. The recapper on TWOP thought the episode a few weeks back where Lee becomes a senator or whatever and Baltar starts going on about god for half an hour was just fantastic. His recap was some 15 pages long! For me, it was one of the most boring episodes of anything I've ever seen. Hey, let's take a fighter pilot (of which there are only a handfull left) and put him in a board room. Riveting. It took me 2 weeks to get through it.
BSG has gotten just dull. I'm glad it will be over with.

You are SO absolutely on the money. I hoped and waited and waited and hoped...until I haven't even watched the last 2 in real time. I will continue to watch, I guess, out of fondness for the previous seasons. But its not the same show. The worst part? Because of the writer's strike and the long, long hiatus, there was no gauging the audience's reaction to this lame mess, so there will be no fix. At least if they were writing and filming somewhat more in time with the viewership, there would be opportunities to correct wayward storytelling (in theory, of course.) We'll never know I guess.

I miss Lee, I miss Kara, I miss many of the original characters who are still "there" but have had next to nothing substantial to do this season (which is HALF OVER!!!) I want to see more interaction between them, I have watched three years to see it and this is my last opportunity. I don't understand why that was something to go by the wayside (along with the supremely stuipid decision to rid Lee of his flight status.) Also, as for your Kara comments, I understood you to mean that signs have THUS pointed to Kara. Not that this particular episode or the preview pointed to Kara as the final fifth. I thought that was pretty obvious?

I utterly disagree. This season is brilliant and I'm transfixed. Lee isn't my favorite character either, but I'm loving how everything keeps falling apart and falling further and faster. I'm really enjoying myself and I am dreading the end of this half of the final season, the long wait for the second half and then the end to one of the very best shows on tv.

Except for that last episode, this season has been excellent!

We've known about a bond between Adama and Roslin as far back as New Caprica, when they got wasted and spent a night together.

Also, that "another reviewer" (you can't even write "Alan Sepinwall"?) might take exception to his quote about being annoyed with Romo Lampkin being used to bolster your argument that this season sucks.

Here's another Sepinwall quote, from an earlier recap:

"... I've been loving almost every minute of this season."

Worst. Review. Ever. What a waste of 5 minutes reading this nonsense.

Lee is ALREADY President. He's not running for anything. He swore an oath during the episode. It wasn't that difficult to understand! ;) And the previous commentors are correct. Kara was shown several times on the Galactica. I do agree that Sine Qua Non wasn't the best episode, and is definitely my least favorite of the season. I thought Adama was absolutely in character, however. He just about destroyed the fleet looking for Kara earlier, remember. And he's tired. Weary. And he has no one he's close to anymore other than Roslin. Not even Lee. It's logical he feels he can't keep fighting alone. Could *you* after four years of watching your friends and "family" die?

The Lee storyline made the episode less enjoyable, I agree. Why was this necessary? His self-rightiousness is intensely annoying. And his lack of concern for his former colleagues/friends who were kidnapped was out of character.

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that is disillusioned as to what is going on. Just like the original series things seem to be getting lame in the last season. I was secretly hoping that when Galatica found earth it was in the time of Star Trek and the Enterprise joined the fight and beat the Cylons back to the dark ages. But that is just me, I'd like the unlikely hood of converging the two story lines. It seems now that there are no humans everyone is a Cylon, or is Baltar going to be Jesus when they find earth.

Damn, someone else figured out the plot problem with the Chief being a Cylon and no problems with his baby's blood work. Cylons do not have a blood type according to Baltar when he used Cylon baby blood to save Roslin.

If a reviewer can't even be bothered to note that Starbuck is on Galactica, not the baseship (hint: that is Starbuck next to the Raptor Adama will be taking in the PHOTO ON YOUR POST!!!!), or that Lee is already "acting" President not running for it in Roslin's absence, I guess said reviewer can't be expected to actually follow the plot points advanced in Sine Qua Non that make Adama's actions at the end at least plausable, if not completely palatable.

BTW if Starbuck is on the Galactica how can all the signs point to Starbuck as the one D'Anna is talking to?

Man, I don't think this season has been nearly that bad. Maybe a little uneven with some of the Demetrius stuff but that is about it.

Also, Adama leaving his post because he is too emotionally involved to lead in this instance and then staying at the supposed rendevous point for Laura and others to return (on a ship that has jump capability so he can return to the fleet if he has to) is totally in character.

That is an Irish accent on Romo Lampkin (North Dublin)....

You are simply wrong.

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