Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Battlestar Galactica Finale

I've been mulling over the Season 3 Finale of Battlestar Galactica, the topic of several previous posts (Battlestar Galactica Redux, God and the Machines, and Postscript to God and the Machines), and here are some thoughts about what is coming next.

The season finale makes it pretty clear that they are about to find Earth, and this pretty much fits in with the way the series has moved. The miniseries gave us the Cylon invasion and genocide, with the 40,000 odd survivors escaping in a "ragtag fleet" led by the last battlestar. Season 1 was all about surviving Cylon attacks, and embarking on the quest for Earth, not knowing where it is or even if it exists, but the season ends with the survivors finding the planet Kobol which was written about in their sacred texts, and which points the way to Earth. The quest continues in Season Two, but at the end of the season the survivors find a planet that can (barely) sustain human life and is hidden from the Cylons, and they decide to settle on it, after which they are discovered and occupied by the Cylons. Season Three has Galactica rescue the survivors, and ends with the promise of finding Earth.

In other words, each season advances the plot significantly. Unlike other series that have stretched plot lines out, and consequently lost their way (and I'm thinking here about Lost, and Alias for that matter), Battlestar Galactica advances the plot line in a significant way each season, making each season move in a fresh and exciting new direction. This is a series where the creators seem to know what they are doing, and where they are going. That's not to say that every episode holds the same significance--this is not a miniseries, after all, and each season retains some episodic qualities and includes some digressions. But viewed on a season by season basis (or even half season since they tend to be broken up in that way), it is clear that advancing the plot takes precedence.

So, we can expect to encounter Earth in Season Four. And the producers of the series have demonstrated a commitment to quality. Now, here's another hint. The original 1978 series was canceled with the first season, and consequently the survivors never reached Earth (and I have to again say what an achievement it is to have remade that mediocre program into this outstanding new series), and there were only 22 episodes made. And it was recently announced that the Season Four order for 13 new episodes was increased to 22!

Now, I'm not trying to go all numerological on you, no conspiracy theory here, but maybe a touch of some sentiment or homage?

So, putting the pieces together, we have a series dedicated to quality, but also expensive to produce and with ratings that (sadly) are not all that great; we have a plot line that promises to bring the survivors to Earth next season, which represents the fulfillment of their quest; we have a sudden 40% increase in the number of episodes for one season, and we have a total number of episodes for next season, 22, that matches the total number of the original series.

My conclusion: Season Four of Battlestar Galactica will be the last. I go on record with this prediction: 2008 will bring the series finale for Battlestar Galactica. Remember that you read it here first. I am not saying that I want to see the series end, mind you, but I would rather see it bring the story to its conclusion than leave it hanging or inflate it until it bursts. And it seems as if the creators of Battlestar Galactica have too much integrity and sense to do that, and for that I applaud them.

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