I Just Now Saw: Battlestar Galactica

Welcome to I Just Now Saw, a new column in which I attempt to conduct conversations about television shows you watched ten years ago and I just now saw, in their entirety, for the first time.

So, Battlestar Galactica. The final frontier. The sci-fi franchise y’all have been begging me to watch for years, and which I attempted to watch a few times before finally investing in it, at which point I became pretty hooked and watched it constantly for months, until I’d completed all four seasons. During that first watch I abided by my self-imposed media blackout (refusing to read anything about the show until I was done watching it). Then I read a few things, and then I went back and watched the whole series all over again so that I could write this, and now HERE WE ARE.

Before we begin — SPOILER ALERT FOR EVERYTHING. If you’ve yet to watch the show and plan to, I strongly encourage you not to read this, because some secrets (like the identities of the Final Five) are worth waiting for!


 

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8. Starbuck Feelings

Here’s the thing about Starbuck: she’s a lesbian. Kara Thrace is a lesbian. I mean, she’s not a lesbian, but I think there’s a thing we see in a person — in a real person too, like it’s a thing I think we’ll see in Kristen Stewart and Ellen Page when they get older, that we saw in Jodie Foster — this toughness, this hardness. It’s not just toughness, but whatever the word is for this, it would be in the same general linguistic web as “toughness.” And I think it’s a toughness that is uniquely appealing to women, and attractive to women, and it’s got nothing to do with gender presentation, femininity or masculinity, although it shows up almost universally amongst “hard femmes.” This whole theory is essentialist, sure, but damn this quality makes a really fucking sexy lesbian. You know what else Starbuck is? She’s toppy. She’s fucking toppy, even when she’s not being a top. As a feminist, I appreciate that she meets men eye-to-eye and I like how she does heterosexuality, but as a queer I just want her to dyke out. Regardless, I wasn’t that into Starbuck after the first season, because…


 

boomer

7. Number Eight Feelings

Hey-o Sharon / Boomer / Athena! So many Number 8s, so little time. Remember when the Sharons didn’t all know about each other yet? When she was still brand new and didn’t know her spine was on fire. But meanwhile all these other eights did know. The Sixes seemed intellectually torn between humans and cylons, whereas the Eights seemed more emotionally torn, and therefore less consistent or predictable. In turns I was so mad at them (especially when Boomer was sleeping with John), but my heart-strings and sweatpants-strings got tugged again and again.


 

Battlestar Galactica

6. It’s Raining Men

There are SO MANY DUDES IN THIS SHOW. So many male faces. Here’s the thing about grown men: they’re not really all that interesting to look at. I mean it’s variations on a theme. Show me a bunch of middle-aged men and I will show you to the door so I can walk out that door, walk into a dimly lit room with a bed in it, lie down, and take a nice long nap.

But it wasn’t just that the male:female ratio on this show is criminal, it’s that the men on this show SUCK. However, I watched Battlestar twice all the way though, and my feelings about Gaius Baltar changed dramatically on the second run. Knowing the whole arc enabled me to finally see how fucking hilarious he is, in his megalomania, and to comprehend the source of his vulnerability and the insecurity that laces all his sociopathic self-preservation. But the first time through, his scenes were nails on a chalkboard and at first I hated Caprica Six by association.

Men from Battlestar who I hated a lot, in order of how much I hated them:

  1. Colonel Tigh
  2. Al from Quantam Leap
  3. Gaius Baltar (the first time I watched it)
  4. Blonde Cylon guy who could’ve been in Trainspotting
  5. Dark-haired Cylon guy who looks kinda like Keivn Spacey

Also, why were these douchebags always bedding hot chicks, like (as aforementioned) John with Boomer and Tigh with Number Six? Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK WAS UP WITH TIGH AND NUMBER SIX?


 

Don't worry he'll be better in about two minutes

Don’t worry he’ll be better in about two minutes

5. High-Impact Television

These people are basically Vampire Slayers. They get thrown around and are subjected to explosions and electrical wires exploding and getting punched in the face and they just persevere. I mean seriously if I fell really hard on the deck of a ship when we got hit by a Cylon Raider, I would be in severe pain for days. These people leap out of the way when an explosion rocks the entire hall and kills three people and they’re in ship-shape like two minutes later. Was anybody else disturbed by this.


 

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4. Does BSG Have a Race Problem?

There’s some weird shit going on in this show w/r/t race, because in a way the entire story is an allegory for racism — the human race vs. the Cylon race. Post-9/11 xenophobia as well as issues of prejudice, discrimination, classism and arbitrary divisions between people based on country-of-origin are arguably the show’s fundamental struggle. Furthermore, race as it’s defined in contemporary American society is never mentioned on the show, but how could it be when our words for different racial groups are so tied to countries and continents that don’t exist in BSG? That all being said — in my opinion, when you’ve got an opportunity to create a brand new world, why not make it as racially diverse as possible?

These things are true: Edward James Olmos, who plays Commanding Officer William Adama, is Latino. The two actors who play his children, Jamie Bamber and Tobis Mehler, are not. (Olmos’ actual son, Bodie, plays “Hot Dog.”) Kandyse McClure, who plays Dualla — a character made relevant primarily due to her relationships with high-ranking white men, and who eventually kills herself — is a light-skinned black woman. Sharon is played by Korean-Canadian actress Grace Park and Tory is played by Indian-Canadian actress Rekha Sharma. Colin Lawrence, who had a small role as “Skulls,” is black. Tahmoh Penikett, who plays Helo, is multiracial, as his mother is First Nations. So there is quite a bit of racial diversity in the cast, but especially because race as we conceive of it is never talked about, I did wish that there could have been more visually apparent racial diversity.

I started thinking about how Sharon and Tory do, arguably, fall into certain damaging racial tropes, but then I realized that honestly, so many of Battlestar’s characters are so flawed that it’s difficult to think of a character a person of color could’ve played that would’ve broken retrograde racial tropes, so I gave up on that paragraph. For example, the abusive alcoholic asshole womanizer Saul Tigh was played by a black man in the original series, so would we have been better off if they’d kept it that way for this incarnation? It is a fully formed character, after all, and a plum role. I’m honestly not sure.

Regardless — although casting was allegedly color-blind, I think the show could’ve benefited from a non-white-passing person of color playing Sam, Lee, Billy, Doc, Tyrol, President Roslyn or any of the pilots (e.g., Racetrack, Hardball, Narcho). Why not, you know?

Admittedly, it was Bulldog’s episode that sort of thrust the specific issue of lack-of-black-people (and lack of dark-skinned black people specifically) in my face — he’s sacrificed by Adama, and then he returns to Galactica after spending three years IN A CAGE on a Cylon ship, only to attempt to kill Adama, at which point an old white guy beats him dead with a pipe.

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Then we have Simon, who’s first introduced as the guy who kidnaps and enables the rape of a white woman (Starbuck), and later is seen near-death being lead onto the ship in chains with a restraint around his neck in order to be ruthlessly interrogated. Aside from Dee, the only black women on the show are the Geminon representative who wants to outlaw abortion and the personal priestess/oracle to Laura Roslin. So, I don’t know, but it’s something to think about.


 

NOW KISS

NOW KISS

3. We’re Here, Where are the Queers, Get Used to It?

Seriously, it’s the motherfucking future. I know sci-fi has a strange track record in this department, each franchise alternately presenting us with ahead-of-its-time homosexual possibilities (see: Lost Girl, Buffy) and retrograde heterosexuality  (see: Star Trek) eons into the future. But the only lesbian in four seasons of Battlestar was Cain, who appeared for two episodes and who I hated even more than I hated most of the men on this show. Although many of the Cylon ladies are presented as being interested in sexual liaisons with both men and women, their romantic interests seem strictly male-oriented.

Gaeda is queer though, right? Everybody hated him, but I didn’t hate him as much as everyone else did. I thought it was brave what he did on New Caprica.


 

you and me both, baby

you and me both, baby

2. This Show Is Smarter Than Me

See, I didn’t even hate the ending, because I didn’t really realize that the ending didn’t resolve everything, because I’d only barely been keeping up with The Shit That Needed To Get Resolved.

I was so confused by the end that I was not even bothered that the end was also confusing.

I figured that I was just missing something, as I’d been all along.

I think writing this “I Just Now Saw” has taken forever because I feel like I’ll be taken less seriously as a television writer if I don’t have any deep thoughts about Battlestar. But then I realized that I could write about it, episode by episode, it’s just hard to write about the entire series all at once.

And to be honest, so much of it remains unclear.

Yet… I still loved it? And the story felt so huge, even if I couldn’t draw a map of it, I knew I was looking at something vast and ambitious and that’s the best kind of feeling you can have when you watch a story unfold before your very eyes.

But back before I educated myself, I had the following commoner opinions about the ending: I liked that Helo and Boomer got to raise their child in a place with air and grass, and that Starbuck and Lee had a final moment, and that Gaius said “I know how to farm” and started crying. I’m sentimental every 15 or so days.


1. But It Is Not Smarter Than Jacob Clifton

But you know who does have a shit-ton to say about Battlestar and who made my head explode with his Television Without Pity recaps, particularly those of the last several episodes of the series? Jacob Fucking Clifton, duh. His recaps are what all recaps dream of being; it’s a re-telling so good it begs the obnoxious question I’m often asked, which is why are you using your talents talking about this show instead of writing one/something else? But whatever, let’s just be grateful, eh? That he wrote so beautifully of this masterpiece epic of a show to begin with, that it has been done justice.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2674 articles for us.

57 Comments

  1. i’m so so so glad you finally watched this. i really enjoyed your commentary, especially because all of the people that i know and have talked to about this are generally straight white males and it’s super gr8 to see thoughts from other kinds of people.
    i still am bitter about the handling of some characters and plot lines, even what 5 or so years after it ended? [disclaimer: i’m among the bunch that watched the finale as it aired and have lingering bitter/anger at the lack of resolutions]
    either way you are inspiring me to go back and rewatch the show, because as much as i hate certain characters and parts of the story, overall bsg is a fucking blast and pretty amazing.

    ooh also, riese, are you considering watching caprica?? it’s supposed to be a prequel, but it has a completely different feeling than bsg, and i think it was pretty great. it didn’t fulfill it’s potential, but it was barely given a season before cancellation.

    [add it to my list of show cancellations that i’m bitter about. firefly, dollhouse,and kings are among some others]

    • Oddly, I actually watched Caprica three years before watching Battlestar! Taylor, who used to be our Tech Editor, recommended watching the pilot for geeky holiday solace and so I did because Taylor said so. I didn’t know anything about Battlestar besides that everyone had a crush on somebody named Starbuck. I think I ended up watching maybe 4-6 episodes of it, possibly more? I should re-watch though, it just makes me so sad to watch shows that I love that I know only last for one season! (Which is why it’s taken me so long to get to Freaks and Geeks, my next IJNS). I bet I would like it even more now considering that I really, really liked it then.

      • i’m glad you liked it! it was actually probably better that you watched it first because i know that a lot of bsg fans found it jarring how different the tones and stories were for caprica and were unable to keep up with it.
        it’s definitely worth the rewatch with the new information that you gained from watching bsg though.

  2. Riese, I didn’t read this entire article, because I have been meaning to watch this show for YEARS and I heeded your warning about spoilers, but now that I know you loved it, I’m moving it to the front of the line, and will watch it as soon as my exams are over!

  3. Erm…Helo/Tahmoh Penikett is not white. He’s First Nations, White River, via his mother.

    But your main point definitely still stands. Also I can’t even handle how much I love Dualla and how much I sobbed my face off over her.

    And Cain…oh Helena Cain. I hate her but I also LOVE HER. She’s just an incredible character and Michelle Forbes killed it (and gave me pants-feelings).

    • I think I was still mad at Michelle Forbes for her behavior on True Blood? I think in general I tend to dislike the villain automatically and then I find out later that everybody else loves the villain for being badass (like Regina in Once Upon a Time) and then I feel like a softie.

      (Also I fixed the graf, re: Tahmoh Penikett. I had no idea, so thanks!)

  4. The Geminion representative who is against abortion and the priestess who assists Roslin are *two different people*. Lorena Gale plays Elosha, the priestess, and Patricia Idlette plays Sarah Porter, the representative for Geminon. You wrote about them as if they were the same person.

    Also, Tahmoh Penikett, who plays Helo, is mixed race (First Nations on his mother’s side).

    Otherwise, I agree with most of your points. Though re: #6 I sort of adore all the characters on the show, even when they suck, because they are all gloriously flawed in very real ways. And I basically am Starbuck so I don’t think it’s my place to hate people for being frak-ups. (Also Starbuck and Tigh have an Understanding, as they’re much the same in a lot of ways, so I really can’t hate him.)

    • Yeah I know they are two different people! It wouldn’t make logical sense for them to be the same person? Sorry I fixed the sentence, I think I probably wrote a confusing jumble of words that was fixed by a copyeditor in a way that made it say something else, but it has been fixed now, sorry about that and thanks for the heads-up.

      Also Erin already told me about Tahmoh Penikett in a comment upthread and I updated the post to reflect that an hour ago. Sorry!

      Also I think my point/questions still stands, regardless.

      • Glad I was able to give you a heads up about the typo re: Elosha and Sarah.

        Sorry about the rawr!, I got incensed on Tahmoh’s behalf because I’m also mixed race (American Indian on my father’s side) who passes for white annnnnd yeah. Sore spot with me. (Also my mom is sort of friends with his dad? So even though I haven’t even met him he is connected to my family, kind of, so I get extra defensive of him. It’s weird.)

        Thanks for fixing both bits. 🙂

        I definitely think your point still stands — I think overall with sci-fi and fantasy there could stand to be a hell of a lot more racial diversity and fewer tropes. I still think BSG is ahead of the curve of a lot of SFF on that front, but they could have done much better, it’s true.

  5. I love BSG! I watched it for the first time a few years ago and marathoned it again over the summer. I mainly loved it for the female characters (particularly Starbuck, Roslin and Number Eight); a lot of the men got on my nerves. I especially disliked Tigh and Baltar, they never grew on me, but the constant Adama Sr./Jr. daddy issues thing, plus Lee’s general smug sanctimony, was also pretty grating.

    I was disappointed with the last season – it was a bit of a mess and just wasn’t a fitting end to the show.

  6. BSG is my favorite! All the Starbuck feelings.

    I also felt that Gaeda got an unfair bad wrap, he was brave and was trying his best!

    I want to rewatch and see if my hatred of Baltar and Caprica 6 is as intense.

  7. Gaius Baltar is still at the very tippy top of my most hated TV characters list. I wanted him to die the entire time I was watching but the showrunners seemed to love his worthless ass. By the time they had him fucking women who hated his guts (and filmed it in excruciating detail) I was done with this show. It was great for two seasons but to me it became full of itself and had no real idea where it was going. All the Christian mumbo jumbo got really hard to take as well.

  8. I’m really glad they gender flipped Starbuck and Boomer. I loved this show, and I don’t think I could have watched it without them. I tried watching True Detective a few weekends ago and just… couldn’t. No women.

    Starbuck <3 <3

  9. I loved Jacob Clifton’s recaps of BSG almost as much as I loved BSG, which is to say, a lot. I loved Gaeta, too. He was doing what he thought was best.

    Also, this: “a toughness that is uniquely appealing to women, and attractive to women, and it’s got nothing to do with gender presentation, femininity or masculinity”
    Does this mean I can start calling myself a Starbucksexual?

  10. Riese, I’m so glad you finally finished BSG. Twice. I have been waiting for this article. BSG is one of my all-time favorite shows. I did have some issues with it though. Mainly the ones you already mentioned, the race issue and the lack of queer characters. It still did a lot of things right though. Especially those first two seasons. I still haven’t gotten around to watching Caprica yet. I have so many shows to get to.

    Jacob’s recaps were the first recaps of any show I ever read so they pretty much spoiled me for future recaps. I still haven’t found any that are quite up to his level yet. Especially on TWOP.

    Might I also make a recommendation? You should also check out my other all-time favorite Sc-fi show, Farscape! That was some good shit back in the day. I was heartbroken when it was cancelled.

    • Okay @turkish I will add Farscape to my watchlist! Chelsea is gonna recap Orphan Black for us when it starts back up — I watched the first season but to be honest I was usually doing other things at the same time, so I think I’m going to re-watch it before the next season starts. But I think I really like it! I had no idea what it was going to be going into it, I just started watching it ’cause I’d heard there was a queer character, and then I was like, holy shit this is like a whole entire universe.

  11. I loved this article and I love Battlestar! Baltar is the Jenny Schecter of this show, and like she was in the l word, one of the most entertaining characters, to me. Starbuck is just a bamf. Has anyone else seen when the cast/creaters of Battlestar did that special at the UN? It’s pretty good and its on YouTube.

    • Yeah, Gaius Baltar was actually my favorite male character on the show, I know he’s generally unpopular. I thought the actor playing him was a great physical comedic actor, and the character is so complex–repulsive, self-justifying, unforgivable, but also relentlessly upward striving with a compelling back story. Frank Underwood-esque.

    • Oh, you are right – Baltar is the Jenny Schecter of B-Star-G! For a long long time I hated him because he was such a weasel…and then the whole cult leader business…ugh what a manipulative self-serving sonofabitch. But he is also a relentlessly human character. It was easy to dislike him because he embodied all these unsavory parts of being a person that I prefer to pretend do not exist within myself – the hunger for power, the deeply-rooted/pathological need to be noticed and loved, the bald-faced hubris, the delusions of grandeur. He was rarely noble, but also never black-and-white, which I think is why I grew to appreciate him so much by the end of the series.

      For me it’s the most infuriating, complex characters who end up becoming my grudging favorites. I don’t WANT to relate to them, but I cannot honestly deny how very much we have in common.

      Also his scene with Gaeta near the end of season 4, when Gaeta’s having his last cigarette, and Gaius says “I see you.” Unf. LOVE IT.

      All of my BSG-related passion/insanity, which has been dormant for 5 years, apparently never actually dissipated – thanks Riese!

  12. STARBUCK!!!! She had me hooked from the first episode when she flips over the poker table. I love love love her so much. It was such an awesome choice to make her a woman in the re-make. Maybe I’m a romantic, but I really felt the relationship between her and Apollo (who I actually liked until he became a politician).

    Also, I loved President Roslyn and thought the portrayal of her was a really fascinating look at women in positions of power and politics. She was so badass.

    Also, I really loved the music on the show! That song that Starbuck plays in her old apartment when she and Helo go back there is so haunting.

    Also, how could they kill off Billy? He was my favourite man on the show.

    Uh, basically I love this show.

  13. YESSS SO many feelings. I started watching this show in college when I had access to ALL OF THE THINGS. But then the writer’s strike happened so I never finished it till this year. You hit on so many things. I seriously rewatched the entire series this time around pretending Jamie Bamber was a lesbian, and it totally worked. Also yes the whole race/lack thereof issue was on my mind too. Pretty sure all contemporary Asians today, if we were to follow the story, descended from Boomer. Thanks Boomer. Because I’m pretty sure the only other Asian I saw (other than the ones mentioned here) was that one lady from the Quorum of Twelve and we know what happened to her. And YES that whole shackling Simon scene was very WTF ughhh. That is all. Thanks for this. Also I fully intend to watch Game of Thrones in my 80s so I’m going to hold you to an article on that a few decades down the line.

  14. If Jacob’s recaps are what all recaps dream of being, I would never read another recap as long as I live! Seriously, he is not as smart as he thinks he is and I could only take so much inane rambling about “grace” before my eyes rolled so far back in my head I could see my brains. Plus, in a couple of instances he made scenes up out of whole cloth and inserted them into his recap. I don’t know if that was intentional or if he just assumed that had happened because of his personal interpretations of later related scenes. Also, I got really soured on Jacob because of his abusive behavior toward some of the posters on the message boards who had the nerve to disagree or who had different interpretations than he did. Seriously, give me Price Peterson’s photorecaps any day!

    I loved this show so much, right up through the Razor movie, but after that it just became so painful to watch. Like, I had to watch new episodes in 20-minute chunks because eventually my rage became too much. One of the things I loved so much that Pagans *finally* get to be the good guys! We’re real people, in modern day-ish situations, whose beliefs (in the context of the show) are treated as real. Totally awesome! I never, EVER get to see that on TV! That’s even more rare than good queer representation.

    So imagine my anger at the later seasons with the mass conversions to Cylon monotheism. Leaving aside the MASSIVE inconsistencies with the internal logic of the show, what’s most insulting about it is *how* people were converting. Sure, after something like the attacks, it makes sense that people would question their faith. But (as we have seen in situations like the aftermath of 9-11) way, way more people would actually turn to their faith for comfort. Yet here, all we see are lots and lots of people questioning their faith and converting at one word out of Baltar’s mouth (someone the entire fleet wanted to murder, without even knowing he’s a mass murderer and Cylon collaborater!). The only ones who were strongly clinging to their faith are the Sons of Ares, a violent criminal group. Lovely.

    And then there are people like Roslin and that one other lady with cancer (Major Kira, no!). They’re facing death, and all of a sudden are looking around for anything else besides what they’ve believed all their lives. It’s nauseating. Plus Roslin hates Baltar so fraking much, she wouldn’t believe him if he told her the sky is blue, why would she believe this, especially after she LIVED her role the in the Pythia prophesies?!

    What is so insulting about all of this isn’t just that it’s dumb in the context of the show. It’s that there’s such a strong history of this kind of bullshit in Christian proselytizing efforts. “Oh, if the heathens would only need to be told of the truth, and they’ll immediately recognize that we are right and that they’ve been wrong all these millenia, the poor stupid things.” “Oh, they may pretend to believe, but when they’re actually facing their own deaths, they can’t hide from the truth anymore and the fear will set them right.” I cannot tell you how many times people have assumed that just because I’m Pagan, I’ve never heard of Jesus (I’m American! It’s not possible!). And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had people ask me if I can still “claim to” believe in my Gods on my death bed when I’m facing eternity.

    Sound familiar?

    Why, yes, fuck you very much. I have heard all about Jesus. And all about the many other monotheistic religions. Not interested. You do you, I’ll do me. And at my death, provided there is time, I will say a prayer to my Gods and be on my way. It’s insulting to see this bullshit played out on a show that had previously been so groundbreaking in its refusal to adhere to such old clichés.

    And don’t even get me started on all those in the fandom who were actually saying that if Baltar really was a prophet for the One God, then both he and the Cylons and their attack on the colonies actually must be right after all. Just because they follow one god and not many, I guess. My mother was one of those people, actually, and I can’t tell you how uncomfortable it was to have to sit there while she actually clapped and cheered when Baltar and his cult broke into the chapel during a worship service and busted shit up and screamed at and threatened people.

    Well, shit, apparently I still have a lot of feelings about BSG. Sorry, y’all.

    P.S. – What the fuck was it with EVERYONE hallucinating in S4? I think maybe I would have been more prepared for where Ron Moore was taking this show if I’d seen ‘Carnivale’ first….

    • You are so right about the awful slinking towards monotheism in the last season. Not just monotheism, but the more extreme, exclusive, literalist crap. It was never clear to me what exactly Ron Moore et al were hoping to accomplish with that in the grand scheme of things. Were they trying to critique how crazy that kind of thinking is? Fail. Were they trying to portray how easy it is to want something to believe in in a crisis situation? Fail – as you said, why not turn to your culture’s dominant belief systems first rather than the belief system of your robot enemies? Also, the Cylon Father God stuff felt kind of ret-conned to me, like a bandaid slapped on there for no good reason. The writers really missed some enormous opportunities to explore the why’s of faith. I wonder how much, if anything, the original series’ Mormon background contributed to the show’s focus on religion.

      Plus, I always felt the “This has happened before, and will happen again” motif was such an excellent opportunity to situate this story in a Buddhist understanding of the universe. Whoops.

      • I definitely didn’t think it was supposed to be a critique. Like, they could have gone that route easily, because of what a reprehensible human being Baltar is, but like you said, even if that’s what they were going for, they failed. But I think the last scene of the series said to me that they weren’t trying to do that at all. It’s Baltar and Six as the kind of “angel/avatar” things in the future, and it’s presented as a positive and triumphant kind of thing, not a negative critique at all. Very disappointing.

        I don’t really think the original creator’s Mormonism had any impact on the new series. I think it’s just that the writers, and especially showrunner Ron Moore, are just way more familiar with Christian mythology, traditions and tropes. Like I said, I’d have been less surprised with late S3 and S4 if I’d seen ‘Carnivale’ first. There was A LOT of dark twists on Christian mythology (and hallucinations! Lots of hallucinations) on that show and suddenly it made a lot more sense to me that Ron Moore went to that well. He’d played in that sandbox before. But it was much more appropriate and successful in ‘Carnivale’ though.

  15. I just now watched BSG, too. I’d always thought “Starbuck is a lesbian” from various still shots I’d seen here and there. Watching the pilot episode, my queerdar reaction was, “Nope, Starbuck is a trans man, and Apollo is bi.” I couldn’t not see them as a twinky gay couple. For the whole show. Even on the episode where Kara wore a dress, it was like, “Aw, that’s cool, Apollo’s boyfriend came to the party in drag!”

  16. I’m not sure why so many people I admire like Riese and Heather Hogan seem to think Jacob Clifton is the best recapper ever. He’s incredibly supercilious and seems to think that if he puts enough literary references into his recaps it proves how smart he is. He’s dismissive of fans and he shits on certain characters viciously. He always wants people to know how smart and well read he is and he word vomits about mediocre shows until it sounds like they’re the greatest pieces of art the medium has ever seen.

    • I think you must know a lot more about him than I do! I read his last season of Battlestar recaps, and I used to really love his Pretty Little Liars recaps but stopped reading them when the format changed to be just imagined dialogue. I also read two interviews with him that I really liked as well. What else does he recap? I feel like actually I did read his recaps of another show… one thing that drives me nuts about TWOP is that there’s no page where Author bios link directly to all the shows they’ve ever recapped. Anyhow, yeah I guess he must be very polarizing because I think his work is pretty fucking rad.

      • I know he also recapped some Doctor Who, which annoyed me a lot. It’s been about a century in internet years, but I think it was either the Doctor Who recaps or BSG where he invented entire scenes that weren’t in the actual show. I can’t remember if he recapped Firefly, but he did recap the movie and DIDN’T EVEN COVER THE MOST EMOTIONAL SCENE IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE! You know, the “leaf on the wind” one. Didn’t even mention it.

        The biggest thing that really soured me toward him, though, was his abusive behavior towards posters on the message boards who dared to have different opinions. Like, he posted some screeds about how people who don’t love the Cylons are racist against Arabs in real life and then banned a bunch of people and erased their posts when they were like “Um, actually, no. And I think equating actual Arab people with a bunch of identical robots who are disguised to look like real people but are literally programmed to wipe out humanity is actually totally racist.”

        His recaps for ‘Manband’ were fucking PRICELESS, though. That show had absolutely no redeeming artistic value, so he couldn’t find any in for his rambling pretensions and he totally hated the entire show, so the recaps were straight up hilarious skewerings.

  17. Am I the only one who loved loved loved Stephanie Jacobsen’s Kendra Shaw from the Razor movie and would have happily watched a whole series just about that character if she hadn’t been killed off?

    • I also really appreciated her character. In fact, I missed the first two seasons entirely and it was when I almost randomly saw the Razor special episode (or whatever it was called) that I became completely hooked on the series (well, until the last season at least).

    • No, you’re not alone! She was brilliant and I really wish she’d lived, so she and Starbuck could have been rivals who eventually come to be prickly BFFs.

      I’ve made a point to keep my eye out for Stephanie Jacobsen since then. She was amazing in Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and I hope she shows up again on Revenge.

  18. Kara? Lesbian? So much disagreement from me it could form a new galaxy, made completely from disagreement. Agreed Kara’s posturing reads queer at first – but gets more and more hetnormative all through.

    Now Six is another story entirely, that’s how you do queer femme. Even if she hadn’t had the best line in any film ever.

    Gaius: So you’re a machine…
    6: No. I am a woman. AND a Cylon.

  19. Riese i agree with pretty much everything you said here. BSG had so many problems but i loved it so much anyway.

    Can someone please talk to me about Laura Roslin though because i loved her more than anything else about the show? She was so fascinating and complicated and badass and sexy and smart.

  20. I’m glad you wrote about this Riese… for me this show brings up so many mixed feelings I’m almost not even sure how to put it into words. It’s weird to me how something could start out so fresh and original and by the end it feels like it’s just feels to me like it’s just chasing it’s own tail.

    For me, the problem with the ending isn’t that it leaves things unresolved so much as that perhaps it leaves some things unresolved, but other things are wildly over-resolved. Mainly, the idea that a ragtag group of humans and cylons who have barely survived this desperate, violent journey through space would all land on “new earth” and for some reason just spontaneously decide, “Hey, let’s all split up and go in different directions, and cut ourselves off from contact with other sentient beings for the rest of our lives!!” Like, um, that is just stupid and would never happen? It goes against basic human psychology, am I the only one who sees this??

    Also I felt like the writers became too attached to their main characters, so that the last episode turned into this grand introspection into how they all related to one another (as if we hadn’t figured that out by this point?) rather than at least an attempt to deal with the much more interesting philosophical questions that the show had brought up by that point.

    And yes, the men on the show were generally assholes (though in fairness many of the women were as well). Also, I think that in ways the early part of the series hinted at a kind of queerness to the cylons (at least the women cylons, as you pointed out in the piece itself) that the show just never followed through with. Looking back, part of me thinks maybe they were trying to play the show as ‘edgy’ in some ways, but didn’t really have it in them to follow through with that.

  21. Last year I went through the same process as the author. Hearing for years what a “great show” BG was, and how my gf and I were really “missing out” on stimulating/entertaining television by passing BG up. After watching the last episode a few dear friends had a lot of explaining to do.

    1. This show seemed to follow the trend of throw up a bunch of plot lines in the air and let them drop to the ground. Next,choose five plots off of the floor, and call it a show.

    2. As with other t.v. shows that follow #1, the next step is to add ambiguous philosophical backgrounds that are never anything more than something to keep the viewer watching until the end. The end of the show in which nothing is revealed that relates to the philosophical background of the story.

    3. What we felt BG did right is by making Guias the WORST, most incredibly obnoxious, and ridiculous character that he actually did a 360 and became very funny and it was fun to route for him to continue with his horrible choices.

    4. Totally agree with all of the racial/hetero/christian comments.

    5. There should have been a Starbuck & Sharon fight scene where they end up having sex. Maybe in the shower room? OMG YES hot hot hot

    Thank you for sharing your story. It feels so good to read that other people had the same feelings and that we can all share them together. So good.

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