Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn more Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

77 of 165 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Best Ever SF show?.......I don't think so., 20 July 2009
By 
This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Complete Series [Blu-ray] [2004-2009][Region Free] [1978] (Blu-ray)
Warning! There may be spoilers in this review...

BSG has been an infuriating roller coaster ride. Often it has been a truly great TV series and at other times it has lost the plot completely.

My review of the standard series version still stands......This BD version is patchy at best. The pilot was filmed with a grainy effect deliberately, so there is little difference between that and this version. Things do improve later and the cgi effects are notably more detailed than the standard version. They went for a shaky, grainy camera effects to add realism so this doesn't always transcribe well to the BD version, especially the interior shots.

What could have been a truly great show has fallen flat on its face with the fourth series and the final episode. The plot threads we all hoped would be at least partially explained have been written off as the work of God.

RDM has used "deus ex machina" to tie the series up. This plot device is the ultimate sin of any writer and has to be ultimate cop out in a show of this stature.

Basically this means that RDM can finish off the story using the absurdist teleology "God did it in his mysterious way."

As H.G. Wells himself said regarding the deus ex machina, "If anything is possible, then nothing is interesting."

Well, with God, anything can happen. Aristotle also said something similar way back when.

The story was much richer and open to more interpretation when the gods were portrayed through faith as metaphor, but the Gods are cast as real and cannot be really interpreted in any other way.

Season 4's religious infatuation was a huge indicator of the direction this whole thing was falling into. The religious cliched chocolate box picture lid dreams of cancer victims sailing on the boat over the river to meet the loved ones on the other side etc. Surely a program of this stature could add more substance and pragmatism to such dark occurrances of dealing with terminal illness?

Many have said that the religious content was implicit from the start. This is true, but one can criticise the way the religious subtext has been handled throughout the series. Galactica's God is an interventionist God whose machinations and interference only devalues all the great work put into the characterisations and great acting. The motivations of the characters loses all meaning in this deterministic universe. The characters lose all responsibility for their own actions...remember this is God's plan. So 4 years of brilliant character driven plots and motivations gets flushed down the cosmic toilet.

Even earlier prophecies made by the Cylon Hybrids were ignored or just passed over without further mention.

Any reasonably explained scientific rationalism has been ditched completely, so those looking for any self consistent rules to be played out will be disappointed. Hard SF fans will be disappointed. Especially those wise enough to understand that the universe is not a deterministic clockwork one in the Newtonian sense but intrinsically indeterminate in the quantum paradigm/chaos theory..

If you try to analyse the show through the religious route it fails even more spectacularly and shoots itself in the head throughout the whole 4th series. There are far too many variables where God has to work in mysterious ways to get the characters to where they finally end up. This just confirms the lack of a truly coherent and consistent story arc.
The final hour of this tragedy dismantles anything built up over the 4 years of hard graft. The only way the religious theme worked at all was that the Cylons belief in the one true god gave them motivation to ethnically cleanse the immoral humans and their false gods (sound familiar?)

There are also many bad mistakes along the way. The major one being the position of stars in the constellations in the tomb of Athena way back in season 2. The constellations (position and names of the stars) indicate they are the same ones we see in our night sky. The constellations on scorched earth matched these. This meant that scorched earth should have been our Earth. When our Earth is eventually found the constellation idea has been quietly dropped. And this was supposed to be a major event.

The references which places BSG to our culture like greek gods mythology, telephones, radar, turns of language etc is ignored by placing the finale in the deep past. There is no way these references could have survived to have an effect. RDM uses the ridiculous unprovable idea of collective consciousness to cover that one. Anyhow God wrote "all along the watchtower" (not Bob Dylan sorry)and implanted it in various characters over the series.

The 7th Cylon was also an error and had to be hastily passed over. (whoops someone forgot how to count to 12!)

The evidently important opera house vision was passed off lamely in an ill thought out couple of minutes. It therefore became totally meaningless. This too had been built up to be a major event.

Even if the constellations matched our earth's or any other, the position of the stars would be very different (not even close)because Moore decided to use Earth 150,000 years ago. It just doesn't pan out at all. By using the star patterns depicted this should have meant that the end of galactica should have been in our future - not in our past as presented here. There are many, many other examples of these kind of mistakes littered over the 4 seasons.

The ending using Mitochondrial eve idea was cliched beyond belief. The Mitochondrial Eve of 200,000 years ago is NOT our common ancestor, or even common genetic ancestor. She is the most-recent common ancestor of all humans alive on Earth today with respect to matrilineal descent. That may seem like a mouthful, but without even a single one of those qualifying phrases, any description or discussion of the ME reduces to a lot of nonsense. ME is an ill named genetic based mathematical model and nothing to do with Adam and Eve pseudo scientific creationism as depicted by this show.

Basically it was stated that the 12 colony humans were highly compatible with the early humans found on "Earth." This meant that Hera's DNA,Cylon DNA and 12 colony DNA was practically identical. This is absurd as the 12th colony was stated (inaccurately) to be a million light years away from earth. This would mean that for the 2 species of Earth and 12 colonies the DNA being so close was well nigh impossible. And there is no way that the evolution of both worlds be so convergent (or as in this case identical) This is at least openly admitted by the show but swept under the carpet with the "God's will" magic wand. Basically this just smacks of pseudo scientific creationism. If the DNA was different enough to Earth mitochondrial DNA it would mean that we would not now be related genetically to our primates or anything else in our evolutionary past. We would be genetically tied to Hera instead. This is absurd. The main point is that if Hera's DNA was so close to human DNA there would be no importance or reason whatsoever for her to be the basis of our own human-ness. It is totally pointless. So why bother at all?

The rest of Galactica's crew from the pragmatic view of human history must have been wiped out completely anyway. The galacticans ironically all agree in a consensus never seen in all 4 conflict filled series to destroy all their technology and settle all over the globe.... to die out with a whimper. maybe RDM thought he was still writing for Star Trek and invoked the ridiculous concept of the prime directive subconsciously? The Hominids didn't leave Africa until 60,000 years ago. and modern humans evolved there 150,000 years ago. So how do the galacticans help humans and give them the best part of them for the future? No records, no archeology, no technology etc. mass suicide...yes.

The survivors suddenly just become thoughtless consensual drones of a religious god as in Python's satirical warning in "the life of Brian."
The weekly conflict between factions is swept under the carpet.

One of the main themes of this show was "are we worthy to survive?" and this brought in many valid questions as well as answers to this in a religious context. The religious content WAS implicit from the start, but there was a better balance between gritty stark reality and religion in the first 3 seasons. The series has really gone off the rails since mid way through series 3. The last season taken as a whole had few highpoints and it wasted a lot of precious time on nonsense which was never expounded consistently. ie: the final 5 cylons, who was the 5th cylon? (who cares? It didn't matter a jot anyway to the plot) How did Starbuck return from the dead? Why did they find her body/viper many light years from where it met its end? Why write her out and then bring her back? A lot of these elements felt like mere dramatic plot devices and didn't go anywhere. This just devalued Starbucks meaty role into that of a mere pawn.

When the show was good it was the best there's ever been. The mini series, the episodes about the Pegasus, the New Caprica plot lines, the rise of Tom Zarek, the collaborator witch hunts, the black market, the insurrection, scorched Earth et al.

The final episodes are entertaining in a superficial way but just fall apart under any kind of scrutiny.

The cast gave exceptional performances, some of the writing was excellent, some dire and the cgi was of feature film quality.

Many episodes in this final set felt like mere padding. It would have been a much better ending if they had finished the series half way through when they found scorched Earth. It would have been BRAVER. But no the ending RDM used renders the actions of previous seasons pointless. Re watching the series becomes a redundant act - knowing what you know at the end.

It became ever more apparent as season 4 imploded in on itself that they were just making it up as they went along.

I know this review may upset some fans, but after checking out the BSG blog sites a lot of fans feel let down. I have been a big fan of the show and found it to be at its best when it was most pragmatic/political/sociological/psychological. But this is my opinion which i have a right to exercise.

If this is the best RDM can do i feel inclined not to buy the final season and will probably give the forthcoming "Caprica" and "The Plan" a wide berth. If RDM can incurr a miraculous creationist interventionist God here there's no reason he won't use it again down the line.

BSG had great potential which it failed to recognise. Like many TV shows before and i suppose many more which will follow this will happen again and again and again.....

The real tragedy of BSG is that the series was built upon great characters grounded in a real world political social context. The first 3 seasons and part of season 4 built strongly upon these compelling themes. The final season dismantled these great themes and made them utterly pointless. The finale is probably the most disappointing end to a series i have ever seen. It is all the more disappointing because the show WAS so brilliant to start with.

BSG will sadly be remembered as the show that started off great but had the stupid ending.

If you don't like that idea, then please do give it some thought at least.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail
Tracked by 1 customer

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jul 2009 00:26:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jul 2009 00:27:28 BDT
K. Fleischer says:
You actually tell it like it is...
I also feel let down.
So much potential flushed down the toilet.
And I am not sure I could actually rewatch the series while knowing how it ends.

Posted on 29 Jul 2009 22:53:01 BDT
I totally agree with you that probably the best television i've watched bsg ep. on new caprica.I gasped at the real world comparison to the war in Iraq.To the sh**t of all the ep. after Starbuck "died".A feeling of being ripped off,the whole Razer DVD and season 4/5 DVD's.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2009 00:15:50 BDT
I didn't bother reading your 'review' just as you haven't reviewed this item as the (as yet) unreleased blu-ray.
Review the item as purchased or shut up.

Posted on 30 Jul 2009 10:27:01 BDT
your !ALWAYS! waffling on about this man! ffs give it a break, you have wrote this on every battlestar page ever made (obviously not being literal here so don't try to throw it back at me).

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2009 13:38:55 BDT
If you had read it you would have discovered that he was reviewing the series as a whole as opposed to the product. I trust you agree reviews such as these are important, or do you only care for picture quality and sound clarity in the multimedia you purchase?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2009 17:29:49 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 1 Aug 2009 17:43:20 BDT]

Posted on 6 Aug 2009 11:44:15 BDT
jaytei says:
I didn't read your whole review. Your written English is too complicated and involving for me. I am very fond of the show and consider myself part of the cult. I agree with some of the stuff you said though I feel you might be thinking about it too much!? Personally, I felt the plot began to weaken mid 3rd season but to be fair, the plot was wound up so tight and had become so intricate and immense; that something had to give! Remember, this is science fiction not science fact...
BSG has and always will be, one of the best forms of visual escapism ever made. I look forward to finding a job so I may save my pennies and buy the Blue Ray box set. (And a Blue Ray Drive for my notebook to play it on).

All this said, I have become very interested in who YOU are! At the risk of inflating your ego. It is bound fully obvious that you are a very knowledgeable and gifted writer. And I wonder what a fantastic show such as BSG would have turned out like, should you have written it!?
I wonder what you thought of the other great Sci-Fi escapism extravaganza show known as Farscape?....(Don't answer that).
I do agree with you regarding "The Wire". Excellent show. Would you write a review on "Dexter" next pls?

Posted on 8 Aug 2009 19:41:59 BDT
Boogle says:
Thoroughly agree with everything you said. The thing I liked most about BSG, and Babylon 5 is their gritty nature that has real people and politics. BSG started out so well, disgruntled survivors who wish they died from the nukes; real physics in space, etc. It really went off the rails half-way through season 3 though, and season 4 was a farce. It seemed to me that they had a great deal of material, realised they couldn't fit it into 4 seasons and then just re-wrote it all. Badly.

The finale was worse than the final episode of Enterprise, and that's saying something. Someone becomes president, but just does whatever Lee says. All the colonials are happy to just follow the lead and settle on this random planet without making a city. It reminds me partially of New Caprica where they're complaining about the lack of antibiotics. Why aren't they making more antibiotics - that's one of the easiest drugs to synthesise. Then at the new planet they're happy enough to give up EVERYTHING. We're talking all medical advances, all technology beyond a log cabin... I don't think many people in the West would give up heating, electricity, drugs, clothing etc. They also send the fleet into the sun. I'm no physicist, but I'm not sure that's a great idea either.

Such a great series, ruined.

Oh one final comment on the HD stuff. The HD-DVD version of season 1 was very good, so I'm sure the Blu-Ray version will be immense. In '33' the crew look dead, while in standard def they just look a bit tired. Not sure it's worth the extra cost (which is pretty extortionate given only 3 seasons of quality viewing) but if you want the best this is definitely it!

Posted on 9 Aug 2009 01:19:10 BDT
Jonathan says:
Ho hum...

So, is it worth buying the Blu Ray after all? Especially for those who own the dvd's?

And don't forget, it is useful to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, if you are writing. For example, tell us what you are going to talk about, talk about it, and then tell us what you told us. Just so that we remember the point at the end.

Posted on 10 Aug 2009 01:47:08 BDT
Also you mention the fractious factions but the abandonment of tech doesn't fit with individual characters either, such as the Doc. What really got to me though with the abandonment of tech to live a simpler less dangerous life makes no sense in and of itself. They abandon tech to abandon war but whistle past the consequences of disease, and injury.

Also the series could be interpreted as god punishing humanity for the creation of artificial life. Which gives the ending a far religious right flavour, It's like biting into dark chocolate to find it has a booze filling, that only ruins the taste of chocolate and gives a horrible aftertaste of hairspray.
‹ Previous 1 2 3 Next ›