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Friday, March 20, 2009

This has all happened before and it will all happen again. In Syndication.

This evening we say a solemn good night and good luck to our friends aboard the Battlestar Galactica - for us, the journey comes to what I'm sure will be a bitter-sweet end.

It's been a bit of a harrowing experience for me - not so much watching the final episodes as steering clear of all the spoilers. Everyone's doing press right now, everyone's hugging and singing praises.

And hey, as far as I'm concerned, they're deserved all around. There aren't a whole lot of people who can bring Sci-Fi to a place where it's considered socially relevant enough to be heralded at the United Nations.

Now, say what you want about the U.N. but I think that's a pretty damn cool thing.

Together they sat there and compared the show - events like Starbuck torturing Leoben with a water bucket (in a display not unlike water-boarding, before the term was well-known) - to real life. How horrible acts like this - and more - were going on around the world even at this moment.

Interestingly enough, as horrible as these events are, I'm happy that there's a discussion. I'm happy that a show like Battlestar even got someone's attention, I'm happy that a forum emerged where there wasn't one. Say what you will, I also think that's pretty damn cool.

My favourite part about that UN visit? This little piece from the I09 article (linked above):

"The Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning, Robert Orr, admitted that he hasn't talked about terrorism or nuclear armageddon in a social situation since 1982 (although he talks about those issues daily at work). "We don't like to confront these issues in our lives, but they are real," said Orr. "If a show can get us thinking about it and talking about it, then Amen, because it isn't easy."

I don't know how BSG will be remembered, I don't know if it'll leave a lasting mark on the world or society as a whole (tho' I suspect there's been a marked change in Sci-Fi), but I do know that Battlestar made it's bread and butter by taking the hard road and making us ask the real question: "are we even worth saving?"

And that's always been the core of the show for me - that mix of the gritty, utterly Human will to survive versus the cold reality of ensuring that survival. At what point do you trade in your Humanity card for the right to keep breathing another day?

I'm sure Gaius would have a lot to say about that.

The world of Battlestar Galactica is complex, interesting stuff - and I really hope that BSG will be seminal enough to inspire the next iteration of that conversation.

We need that mirror held up to us, the ability to play out scenarios showing us just how far we can go wrong in our quest to keep living; Our quest to make our lives easier. It's important to role to fill - one I think Sci-Fi, at its best, does admirably - to try and see the missteps as they come so that we can endeavour to avoid them.

And that's what a show like Battlestar does. At its very best it transcends the glass and bone between you and knocks directly on your brain. It asks you to make connections and do the math and say 'so, if this... then... what?'.

Better yet, it leaves it up to you to decide what is right and what is wrong.

On top of that, it's entertaining and absolutely gripping drama.

Yeah man, sign me up.

Of course none of this journey would even be possible without having our guides, our analogues - people we trust to take us through this world.

And, truly, I'll miss them the most. The Adama's (Bill and Lee), Tigh, Kara, Baltar, President Roslin, Boomer, Chief, Cally, Helo, Doc Cottle, Caprica Six... man, I could go on all night.

Heh, I remember the first day I heard about the Battlestar Remake. How Starbuck was going to be a GIRL! (OMG the ruuuined it!) I'll admit that I was never a fan of the original series - and yes, I've seen a good number of episodes - but I knew, deep in my heart, it was going to suck. Don't ask me why (I call it cynicism!) but I just knew.

And then I saw the TV spots. And then I took a chance and watched the miniseries. I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to sit down and give up an hour of my time to watch '33'... and I was hooked.

If you've never seen the miniseries (or couldn't make it through), go watch '33'. It's tense, riveting stuff - the beginning of a journey that is monolithic and overwhelming at best. That they even survived to the point where they were discussing politics and Human rights, let alone trying to piece things back together, is astounding when you watch the first season.

Even moreso when you take in the entirety of those five seasons, to watch these characters go from doomed to fine and back again. To understand that at every step they have been the arbiters of their salvation and damnation - that the real enemy has been coiled around their hearts since the first nuke dropped on Caprica City.

It's intense.

And yet, in spite of it all, the journey has lead them here - to a final confrontation.

It all ends tonight folks. It's going to be bloody, it's going to be brutal and I'll be riveted every last second.

If you can make it out, drop by here and watch it with us.

Cheers,
Brandon

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