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The online journal of Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon.

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a quick nerdy post for the weekend

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 by billsimmon in awesome, Emily, gaming, the nerd life, TV | 2 Comments

First of all, Alan Tudyk, (Wash from Firefly/Serenity) just bought one of Emily’s dissected frogs. I know that Mr. Tudyk is a real live person and not a fictional character, and yet I still like to imagine Wash playing with the frog along with the dinosaurs on the Serenity’s dashboard. Yay!

Secondly, I had intended to write up a bitter eulogy to commemorate tonight’s passing of BSG, but I don’t have the time to devote to give such a post the attention it deserves. However, if you read the comment thread under this post from Sunday, you’ll get a clear sense of where I’m coming from on the subject.

This game is really trying to destroy my productivity (thanks a lot, Gerry)

Verizon is bad at math. (They probably don’t like Instant Runoff Voting either.)

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  1. On March 20, 2009, Lev said:

    Luckily for you, Bill, I’ve written an obit for BSG, though it’s probably less caustic than what you might write (though only slightly). I did pay tribute to the good early seasons, as I know you do, too. Here’s an excerpt, if you’re craving a little BSG hathos:

    In fact, the fulsome praise directed at Battlestar Galactica requires something of a pushback. BSG is not the current generation’s equivalent of Star Trek. In fact, it is doubtful that the show will stand the test of time in any sense. Galactica has its merits, which have propelled it farther than anyone could expect a basic cable remake of an awful 1970s Star Wars knockoff to go. But, especially in its later seasons, it has proven to be much less than the sum of its parts, getting in over its head exploring weighty themes and abandoning the engagingly pulpy-but-brainy style that made it as popular as it is. In fact, during its run, the show has become more listless, cyclical and self-indulgent than The Sopranos was at its worst, though Sopranos was never nearly as dull.

    Battlestar Galactica sprung to life from a miniseries that debuted in 2002. Its premise was simple and compelling–humans have been essentially eradicated from existence. Only a 50,000-odd set of survivors, in a ragtag space fleet commanded by Bill Adama (Edward James Olmos), has survived and is trying to find the mythical human colony of Earth. The miniseries had its weaknesses, as virtually every character scene fell flat–the conversation between Adama and his estranged son, Apollo (Jamie Bamber) felt very TV, too earnest and stagy to pass for real life conversation. The interaction between Apollo and his dead brother’s ex-fiancee and ace pilot Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) felt roughly the same–lacking in verisimilitude. But there was good stuff, too: Galactica combined some jaw-dropping special effects with some interesting ideas, and the themes introduced in the miniseries were initially explored in the series: how do people continue on after such profound loss? Does Earth really exist? If cylons look like humans, can they be stopped? What level of free will do they have? The series examined other themes as well, in particular the extent to which religious beliefs affect one’s actions, tensions between the military and civilian government, and, that old sci-fi mainstay, what does it mean to be human?

    And the show’s forth season–less dull than the third, at least–has gone to great lengths to try to convince the relatively few people still watching that they should never have bothered in the first place. Wacky twists are now routinely introduced to the show in order to set up an ending that seems to be something less than the sort of grand finale that the miniseries suggested. We find out, randomly, that the child of one of the cylon characters isn’t his child, but is actually fully human, because his late human wife cheated on him. This was done to make the only other half-human child the only one in existence in order to set up the kidnapping plot around which, incredibly, the show seems set to use as its swan song. Cheap, insulting, and silly, but the bad writing doesn’t stop there. Boozy Tigh is reunited with boozy wife Ellen, both of whom are actually cylons, and she gets miffed to find that her husband–who thought she was dead for years–has impregnated another cylon. This coming from a character primarily defined by her infidelity. Pot, meet kettle. After spending the better part of two seasons being bombarded about who the final cylons were, we’re effectively told that there is no difference between cylons and humans. Nicely done, we say, as we rub our rugburned knees. Baltar, the man who nearly managed to get the human race wiped out, is able to extract guns from Adama to enhance his own power, and the old man decides that giving more power to the least trustworthy character in the show is a good idea. Evidently the Galactica is commanded by an idiot, though Adama performed nearly as dumb a move earlier in the season by giving a command to an unstable and perhaps reborn (and suspected cylon) Starbuck to find Earth. That subplot ends with a mutiny and a character losing his leg, and yet there are no consequences for either action. And Adama decides it’s a good idea to keep known cylons like Tigh on the crew before and after the mutiny. This is to say nothing of the fact that humans can jump through space faster than light but use corded phones, and the amount of references to Shakespeare and Dylan, among others. Oh, I could go on and on (they just abandoned the cylon detector? No questions asked?), but I suspect the point is made. The show has been retconning like mad in hopes of trying to make it seem like the show went right from day one, when it clearly isn’t so. Inconvenient little factoids like the ones found here are enought to prove the point, though because Ron Moore enjoys talking about the show, there are little nuggets like this one, from the early days of the show:

    Human-like Cylons are better from a creative standpoint because the backstory now is that the Colonials created the Cylons. The Cylons went off and developed
    on their own… and then they came back in this new form.

    As one can see, this was the original concept of the human cylons–that the mechanical cylons had created human models. This was also hinted at during the miniseries, when Leoben the cylon ponders whether God took souls out of humans and put them into cylons. Here’s what I think happened:

    The plan was that mechanical cylons–or some sort of cylon authority figure, like a queen–created the humanoid cylons.

    The episode “Downloaded” showed humanoid cylons in the cylon society, but since only seven of them had been revealed–and Moore didn’t want to reveal any more at that time.

    Because with all those cylons around there would have had to be a few of the unseen models, there had to be an explanation of why the others weren’t present.

    Hence, the mysterious “final five”, but what’s so special about them? Why are they excluded? And why don’t the other cylons know about them? I don’t know what Moore’s original plan for Earth was (I suspect there was none), but I suspect Moore decided at some point that the final five were from Earth. Why not tie the big revelations together?

    And this led to the idea that the final five were not only not created by the cylons, but that they created the other humanoid cylons.

    The rest is here.

  2. On March 22, 2009, NickC said:

    Viva Bluegaria!

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