Before I get started, I’d just to mention that I totally called the ending back in January, so credit where credit’s due, bitches!
Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to tempt fate by admitting that I was mostly satisfied by Battlestar’s finale. I thought that the colony battle was spectacular, with some of the best VFX I’ve ever seen. There are only two possible ways that BSG could have ended. Everyone dies or the fleet finds “our” Earth. I was assuming that the show would end on the latter, if only because of the teaser at the end of the third season. Given that, the question becomes, when do they find Earth, and what condition would it be in? If the fleet shows up in 2009, the we end up with BSG:ID4 or V or something like that. Introducing an advanced alien, yet human element to our world would be incredibly destabilizing and could lead to an interesting story, but probably poorly executed. Having the fleet show up in the future would be even worse. You’d have BSG:TNG or BSG: Robotech.
Having the fleet arrive in the distant past is the best way to end, even though I would have done things differently. This is not what I have a problem with. Some things about the finale jumped out at me immediately, but that I was able to get over, but after a few days’ reflection (and a second viewing courtesy of The Pirate Bay), there are more things that bother me. I’m still not as upset as some people, but I find myself more than a little disappointed.
What the Fuck is Starbuck?!?
Since Razor, we’ve known that Starbuck is the Harbinger of Death. Wow, that’s pretty badass, especially since she already died and came back (never mind that Razor took place before she died in reel time). Three separate hybrids told her that, including Anders. I thought that there was going to be some huge shit surrounding her, but no.
While she performed admirably helping the fleet get to Earth (including jumping Galactica into Earth orbit), that’s not what I would expect from the Harbinger of Death. In fact, she kinda turned out to be the opposite of that. Lots and lots of buildup that became nothing. Especially when she vanished in the middle of a conversation with Lee.
As I said on Twitter: What. The. Fuck. Which leads me to my next point.
The Head Characters and Tech is teh Badz
Head Six and Head Baltar were really angels of God? God is really guiding humanity’s path? This whole show, which had some of the hardest science of any mass market scifi ever, was really a show about magic in space? The last scene in present-day New York City spelled that out pretty clearly. That’s so lame. Really, I can’t get my head around how disappointing and frustrating that is.
What they also made fairly clear is that technology and scientific advances are bad and will eventually lead to out destruction. Um, what? In typical religious determinism, human free choice doesn’t really exist. Apparently, if we build robots, they will rise up and kill us.
Well, all this has happened before, and will probably happen again. Why?
Because evil robot stories make money and because scifi authors and TV producers tend not to understand either how computers or the brain work. Why does AI always want to kill us? Why is it always this:
Instead of this
All these characters are equally unlikely to ever occur, simply because AI based on computer logic and hardware will always act like a computer. Asimo is not going to turn into a Cylon. I hold this notion in the same contempt that I hold singularity nuts. No matter how many computations per second that a processor can manage, it will still not act like a human brain. And this leads to to:
People have made a big deal out of the fleet’s total abandonment of their advanced technology, including the actual fleet. As much as people may not like it, it was needed for the sake of the story. If people had retained access to such advanced tech as artificial gravity, massive generation of electricity, FTL tech, communications, etc, then they would have been able to rebuild a robust space-faring society within a few generations. I’m assuming a while to rebuild simply because the fleet had little or no industrial capacity and after so long in space, I imagine that the civilian ships were in pretty bad shape. Not necessarily as bad as Galactica, but without serious time in drydock, all the ships would eventually suffer catastrophic damage, probably sooner rather than later. Additionally, Galactica herself suffered such intense damage that she was structurally unsound and would have been scrapped even under the best of circumstances.
I personally would not have gone with the Luddite route. There are plenty of conspiracy theories of ancient advanced civilizations that flourished thousands of years ago only to mysteriously disappear. There are even stories of ancient, global societies that build impressive cities using the same unit of measurement. I would have gone in that direction.
Certainly there are dangers with leaving unstable weapons of mass destruction in Earth orbit, but rather than shooting everything off into the sun, we could have left the fleet in, say Jupiter orbit? That way, instead of a human/cylon mitochondrial eve bullshit, we could have ended with the discovery of a mysterious fleet in deep space, which held the promise of an incredible story. That would be cool, and I think HAL 9000 would approve.