Battlestar Galactica: The Final Season DVD Review

"She was a grand old lady"

Perhaps the most shocking thing for me about the grand finale of Battlestar Galactica wasn't the controversial Starbuck revelation or that fan dividing Time Square coda. It was that after all the heartache, all the pain and misery, after all the darkness, death and destruction, the most shocking thing about the ending of Galactica is that it was a happy one, pretty much just about everyone lived. Admittedly it was no Disney level schmaltzy happy ever after. There was pain, suffering, death, some serious shit being blown up and one final heartbreaking, but inevitable, loss.

I just never expected as series as unrelentingly bleak as Battlestar Galactica would end on a positive note. I was fully expecting a Wild Bunch-style last act blood bath. Sure, we did lose some good people in these final episodes, some by their own had others facing a firing squad, but the death toll was never to the extent we were all dreading.

It’s a given that no matter how Ron Moore and co decide to end the series they were never going to please everyone. It is strange, fans often shout and scream to TV executives that creators and showrunners be given the freedom and the chance to end their shows on their own terms. But then fans grumble and complain when those same creators and showrunners end their shows the way they wanted but not exactly the same way the fans wanted. Its a no-win scenario even James T. Kirk couldn't scheme his way out off. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I’m not sure what narked off the fans more but if I had to guess I'd go with the entire Kara/god/angels hullabaloo. It seems that to some there is just no room for the spiritual in science-fiction. Many wanted cold, logical, if no doubt convoluted, answers to all their questions not a load of mystical mumbo jumbo. Personally I like the ambiguity of it all. So what if Kara Thrace is an angel of whatever supreme power is pull all the universal strings. Sometimes giving everything a clear and logical explanation can often just end up making things worse not better. Just compare the ambiguous end of the original (and still best) Life on Mars with the more cut and dry finale of the American remake and tell me which is best.

But enough of this rambling, lets get down to the nitty gritty of the matter, is this final half season any good? Answer: defiantly! This final batch of episodes is consistently stronger than the first half of the season even if the emphasis remains more on character than action. Admittedly there are some bumps and one uncharacteristic soapy misfire (“Deadlock”) along the way but the quality rate remains high, especially in "The Oath"/"Blood on the Scales", the two part mutiny storyline, by far BSG’s strongest since the Cain/Pegasus arc in Season Two.

Without a doubt Galactica’s most consistent asset has always been its phenomenal ensemble cast. If there’s one thing I’m going to miss most about the series it is seeing all those wonderful actors together. I'm feeling like one of my favourite bands has broken up. Special mention must go to Alessandro Juliani, undoubtedly the star of the season, who would’ve thought Felix Geata would become the tragic Judas of this saga.

Battlestar Galactica started with the ending of the world as we followed the last survivors of humanity from utter heartbreak to crippling depression and bitter disappointment. No one expected there would be a bright, shinning light at the end of that dark tunnel but Galactica was never a series that aimed to be predictable. It was a show that took risks and set out from the beginning to do things it own way. I seriously doubt we’ll ever see its like again.

But, you never know. Apparently all this has happened before and if we’re very lucky maybe, just maybe it might happen again.

So say we all.

Rating: * * * * *