Respectful Insolence

From a variety of sources, I’ve learned that the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica is probably going to be the last and that the beleaguered humans will find Earth. Here it is, right from Admiral Adama himself:

iF MAGAZINE: What’s coming up for season four?

EDWARD JAMES OLMOS: It’s fantastic. I think they’re going to discover some very important issues about what the fan base really, really wants to see and what’s to understand about this show. We’re heading into the final season. This is the final season as we speak. All of us are very saddened by that, but we always knew there was going to be a conclusion and we would find Earth, so we will be finding Earth this season. I wish it would [keep going]. I could do 10 years like this season. I think that this is some of finest usages of television that I have been a part of in my life. Bar none. I’ve been doing this for 42 years. I’ve done some really good work in television and motion pictures but there really is nothing like this show. I can honestly tell you that this is one of the finest dramatic pieces work on humanity I’ve ever seen in my life.

[...]

iF: So anything special we can expect for the new season?

OLMOS: You can expect lots of energy. The closer we get to the discovery and the understanding of what this show is really about, the more intense it’s going to get and the more difficult it is to watch.


You can also see video interviews with Edward James Olmos and Katee Sackhoff here.

Last season was probably the weakest of the three thus far. It started out with a bang, with an intriguing premise, namely much of the colonial fleet’s personnel occupied by the Cylons on New Caprica. Oddly enough, that would have been a premise worth exploring for several episodes, but the producers seemed in a rush to get everyone back in space and so wrapped up the occupation storyline in only four episodes. After that, the episodes were variable in quality, and in general not up to the level of previous seasons, and the writers seem to have painted themselves into a corner with several plotlines, such as the capture and trial of Baltar (what do you do now with Baltar’s character?), the “death” of Starbuck and her mysterious reappearance, the return of President Rosalyn’s cancer, and the revelation of who four of the Final Five Cylons were. It’s probably good news for us Battlestar fans that this is likely to be the last season, because the writers can stop treading water and start wrapping up major storylines.

After all, we don’t want Battlestar Galactica to turn into another Lost or The X-Files, where the overall plot never seems to get resolved and the show is stretched out too far, do we? To me, Battlestar seemed to be threatening to do that last season.

Comments

  1. #1 Ted
    May 13, 2007

    …where the overall plot never seems to get resolved…

    There are not many things in life (or ever) that get resolved with complete finality. Death maybe, although even death of one organism mostly leads to a recycle.

    This preoccupation with tidying up everything into a neat bow seems so Hollywood contrived.

  2. #2 Bartholomew Cubbins
    May 13, 2007

    Ted, I agree, but imo the other end of the spectrum is equally annoying: the rebranding of an open-ended question or something ill-defined as being deep and significant. I think the Matrix fanboys are the worst about that.

  3. #3 Bartholomew Cubbins
    May 13, 2007

    btw, did anyone read about Olmos’s ad-lib prop ship smash that turned out to be a historic display on loan from a museum? I’m sure someone got fired.

  4. #4 ordiarygirl
    May 13, 2007

    Last season was probably the weakest of the three thus far.

    I agree. It was a pretty hit or miss season for me. After the pilot I missed the first season and spent most of the second season catching up on the first. So the third season was the first I didn’t see purely on DVD. I thought maybe that had something to do with it. Simply because I had to wait so long for the storyline to arc (as opposed to a week or two on DVD).

    But I think the first half of season 2 was definitely the best. I’m sad it’s ending, but I’m happy it’s ending this way. I’d love to see mores series where the story arc is planned out ahead of time (similar to Babylon 5) and the writing is of this caliber.

  5. #5 Julia
    May 13, 2007

    Um, no.

    (Brought to my attention here.)

  6. #6 Aziz
    May 13, 2007

    Julia, make that a maybe. I don’t buy it, to be honest; Eick is just blowing smoke.

  7. #7 Cain
    May 13, 2007

    I read somewhere (sorry, can’t remember where) that part of the problem with this season was Sci-Fi’s insistence on the show having a few stand-alone episodes this season. They realized now that having those doesn’t gain them new viewers and just pisses off the ones they already have, so they’re scrapping that for season four.

  8. #8 James
    May 14, 2007

    Meanwhile, here in the antipodes we are still waiting for season 2 to hit TV (though it is on DVD) and we are probably 6 months away from season 3 on DVD.

    Did I mention that Sci-fi gets no respect from the TV netowrks in New Zealand? (bastards)

  9. #9 Ginger Yellow
    May 14, 2007

    I thought this season was pretty good, actually. Maybe not as good as season two, but better than season one, which at times was a bit monotonous. This season went off the rails a bit with some of the “personal, not political”, storylines, but some worked really well. As for wrapping it up, this has to be a good thing in the long run. The major arc of the BSG story drives the narrative far more than in broadly comparable sci-fi like Firefly, Star Trek or Babylon 5. Not to make palpable progress in that arc over several seasons would be intensely frustrating as a viewer. Obviously, I’m going to miss it when it’s gone (I’ve only just finished watching season 3 over the internet and I’ve got withdrawal symptoms already), but for the sake of the show it needs to have a proper ending.

    After that, the episodes were variable in quality, and in general not up to the level of previous seasons, and the writers seem to have painted themselves into a corner with several plotlines, such as the capture and trial of Baltar (what do you do now with Baltar’s character?), the “death” of Starbuck and her mysterious reappearance, the return of President Rosalyn’s cancer, and the revelation of who four of the Final Five Cylons were.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. There’s tons you can do with Baltar. The trial and surrounding shenanigans have at once granted him and denied him his favoured yet feared self-image – the martyred messiah. Now he gets to continue his fight against Rosalyn and Adama as part of the shipboard resistance, in an ironic twist. Starbuck’s return was silly, but at the same time inevitable – tell me with a straight face you didn’t know it was her as soon as the dredis blip showed up. Rosalyn’s cancer was brought up deliberately, so I’m sure the writers know what they’re
    doing with it. Probably more visions to take the fleet over the finishing line. And finally, after the third season finale, isn’t it obvious who the fifth Cylon is? Bob Dylan!

  10. #10 usagi
    May 14, 2007

    Good. Hopefully the team will go back to smoking whatever they were in season 1 & 2 and ditch whatever inspired them to screw up season 3 so badly. It’s tragic that SciFi doesn’t have the resources to support a series that becomes successful (see Farscape).

    Now if they’ll just cancel The Dresden Files before that goes any further off the rails. The first half was well done on a tight budget; the second half graphically demonstrated the producers don’t know what to do with the character (read the books–they’re much better).

  11. #11 Ted
    May 14, 2007

    I prefer the unresolved dead-stop to TV shows, particularly if they are pretty good but unappreciated because they can be resurrected at a later point in time if the interest develops. The dead-stop-drop model happens sometimes — Duckman, Invader Zim, Adventures of Brisco County, Max Headroom as well as some darker science fiction stories over the years. Popularity and arc conclusion has often been the death-knell to quality — as the audience reach extends, the story becomes less dark, less subversive, more obvious. Bah.

    Why isn’t the mormon/religious angle of this show played up more?

    Firefly?

  12. #12 Ginger Yellow
    May 15, 2007

    Why isn’t the mormon/religious angle of this show played up more?

    Huh? It’s played up plenty. Rosalyn as Moses, the conflict between her (and others’) faith and Adama’s hard-headedness, the fundamentalist, anti-medicine colonists, Baltar as false(?) messiah, etc. And that’s before we get into the whole monotheistic Cylons vs polytheistic humans twist and all the issues the Cylon have with their own religion. Or the way the show deals with the fundamental moral and metaphysical questions that underpin religions. In fact, I doubt there’s a more thoroughgoing and sophisticated treatment of religion in mainstream TV drama today.

  13. #13 Ted
    June 12, 2007

    Ha!

    The dead-stop strategy played out. When I watched the Sopranos this weekend, it made my heart glad to see David Chase be brave enough to go for it. Damn, but that was a cool ending.

    @Ginger Yellow:

    I meant why aren’t sci-fi watchers making a bigger deal out of the mormonism angle? If it had an obvious Christian or Judaic bent I think the audience would have assigned it less quality and dissected it for political influence. Watched Romney tried to shake some old guy’s hand in a restaurant, when the old dude turned around and loudly said in front of the camera, “I’ll never vote for a mormon.”

    Never saw a politician run away faster from the camera than Mitt at that moment. It was like someone speeded up the film comically. It was an alien moment.

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