Saturday, March 21, 2009

Battlestar Galactica- The Best of American TV

Battlestar Galactica is the best completed series ever shown on American TV. And Friday night's 131 minute finale was befitting.

In the simplest sense, I liked the Mash ending and this one because both demonstrated "life went on" which is always a boring thought. The 1950's I actually lived through, in the case of Mash. In the case of Battlestar Galactica, pre-150,000 B.C. now seems almost plausible.

The whole series is an allegorical tale heavily into mythology (and/or religion depending on your point of view) within the framework of a highly technological society.

The "reality" created by the ending was on "our" Earth in the approximate year 150,000 B.C. Given the limits of what we know in genetics, it offered that mankind has a common ancestor who was "half-machine" and "half-evolved human". It offered an evolving concept of hope, that each time "we" do it over again, there's a chance we'll get it right this time. And it reminded us that we are here again because the passion for vengeance is the "evil" that limits possibilities, even for machines we create "in our image" which is what we are doing now, both for domestic chores and for war.

Series creator Ron Moore did use plot devices to wrap things up. Some fams are disappointed that he didn't explain everything. But he promised only that all would be revealed. There is a certain paradoxical situation that so many expected an explanation when the offer was to reveal - revelation is not explanation. In the context of an allegorical tale full of religion, it seems so perfect. We have a tale biblical in scope (old testament), with moral lessons explained in an illusive manner, something akin to parable using metaphors.

And he did it all within the confines of the early 21st Century American TV medium using the combination of two late 20th Century TV constructs - "action adventure" and "soap opera".

Using the TV medium, no team has as been as successful accomplishing this as the Battlestar Galactica team. And no broadcast network would have let them offer such things as humans worshiping "gods" while machines believe in the "one true god" or even the regular use of the invented euphemistic "frak" term. So I have to recognize level of support by NBCU's SciFi Channel.

My greatest fear is that we'll never see this kind of TV again. ABC's Lost might end up joining Battlestar Galactica as quality allegorical TV science fiction if the creators can thread their way through the complexities of theories of time. And I'm recording NBC's Kings because it has this type of potential but it's so limited by the constraints of being on NBC. If NBC pick's it up for a second season, we'll watch it as a season shifted show.

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