Battlestar Galactica Official Site

The Time:
Fridays, 9:00 PM, Sci-Fi Channel

The Show

this reimagining of the 1978 space epic, the human survivors of the
Cylon massacre of the Twelve Colonies struggle to survive in a ragtag
fleet of ships led by the last human warship, the Battlestar
Galactica.  Shepherded by Admiral William Adama and President
Laura Roslin, the Colonial Fleet are under constant threat of attack by
the Cylon Armada, who seek nothing short of their
extermination.  Adding to the danger is the fact the Cylons
have infiltrated the fleet with twelve models that look
human.  Eleven of those models have been discovered, but one
still remains.  The quest to find Earth, the mythical
thirteenth colony, has just been fulfilled, with devastating
results.  As the joint human / renegade Cylon alliance
discovers a destroyed planet, the question remains of what to do next
as this storied television series counts down its final ten episodes.

The Stars

•  Edward James Olmos – Admiral William Adama
•  Mary McDonell – President Laura Roslin
•  Katee Sackhoff – Captain Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
•  Jamie Bamber – Lee “Apollo” Adama
•  James Callis – Dr. Gaius Baltar
•  Michael Hogan – Colonel Saul Tigh
•  Tricia Helfer – Cylon Model Six / Caprica / Natalie / Head 6
•  Grace Park – Cylon Model Eight / Sharon Agathon / Boomer
•  Aaron Douglas – Galen Tyrol / Cylon Final Five
•  Tahmoh Penikett – Captain Karl “Helo” Agathon
•  Allessandro Juliani – Felix Gaeta
•  Lucy Lawless – Cylon Model #3 / Deanna
•  Dean Stockwell – Cylon Model One / Cavil
•  Richard Hatch – Vice President Tom Zarek
•  Kate Vernon – Ellen Tigh / Final Cylon

The Episode: “Daybreak, Parts 1 & 2″

This two-part wrap-up to the series’ four-year run finds many storylines and characters receiving their denouement as Adama leads the wounded Galactica into a last-ditch effort to end the Cylon threat once and for all with a perilous assault on the Cylon stronghold known as the Colony.  The first half features an epic battle on many fronts, both internal and external, which many will not survive.  The last half features a surprisingly touching resolution to the journey of the ragtag fleet as they search for a new home.

The Lowdown

(Oliver’s Note: Sorry for not getting this up this weekend, as the old flu bug caught me.  But I couldn’t let this beautiful piece of television-making pass without giving it the recognition it deserves.)

Who could have figured six years ago that a remake of a 25-year-old cult sci-fi series that was long on premise but all-too-painfully short in execution or timelessness would turn out to be one of the greatest examples of the promise of genre television in the history of the medium?  One that took that high-concept premise and delivered on it in a way that survived not only the pre-release griping of fans who were either resentful that the long-pending Richard Hatch and / or Glen Larson versions hadn’t achieved fruition, but also the 180-degree white hot scrutiny of those same fans that instantly became hooked on the property they once maligned and turned it into the most-debated sci-fi property on television?  It’s funny now that the echoes of “WTF?  Starbuck’s a woman?!!”  “Boomer’s also a woman?!”  “Cylons now look like humans???!!!” have long ago faded into the ether of the ethernet, to be replaced by awe and wonder.  Least of all by yours truly.  Battlestar Galactica has been a revelation.  One that will undoubtedly achieve the timeless quality its predecessor could not and be remembered as possibly the greatest science fiction television series ever.

It’s been a shade over four years since I got my hands on the original to review, but it now seems light years away from where the show began to where it ended up.  Looking back on the series as a whole, while it did provide its share of headaches, such as the delays in seasons / half-seasons, the at-times maddening delays in revelations of key plot secrets and character waffling (I’m talking Starbuck and Apollo more than anyone else), and most most recently issues of the last 10 episodes, it did deliver everything and more for which fans of the original and new fans of this incarnation could have possibly asked.  Most thankfully, there was no hint of Galactica 1980, which deserves an Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar or something for that reason alone.  But that was the original series.  This new show delved fathoms deeper than the previous one could have possibly dreamed.  It’s not only fair but mandatory to say that Battlestar Galactica 2.0 beats original recipe hands down now and forevermore.

After a four year journey, both for the Colonials and for us, we’ve arrived at “Daybreak.”  Bottom line, this is one of the most satisfying series finales I’ve ever seen.  Sticking just to the sci-fi arena, I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen one better.  Not even “All Good Things…,” “Not Fade Away,” “Chosen” nor “What You Leave Behind,” which is possibly my favorite finale ever.  It’s certainly levels above the laughably bad “The Truth.”  “Daybreak” wasn’t perfect, no.  Nevertheless, it provided nearly everything for which I’d hoped and if there were a string or two left dangling, I ultimately found that I didn’t care.  “Daybreak” ran the gamut from exciting space battles (something that was seriously lacking the last 10 episodes), to great internal fighting, gratifying character and story resolutions, heartbreaking goodbyes, and even managed a surprise or two. 

For the characters, there wasn’t an ending for which I had a problem, save perhaps that of Cavil.  I wouldn’t have figured him to be the type to just end it surreptitiously that way.  I figured he’d have gone down shooting, and he did, but at the enemy instead.  Very happy that Helo didn’t get taken down and that he and Athena ended up with their family intact.  They went through too much for it to go any other way in my eyes.  For Tory, Tyrol, Tigh, Ellen, and the rest of the supporting players I’m fine with how things ended.  I relished the character resolution for Baltar and Caprica, especially considering that I felt Baltar floundered for much of the show since his trial was resolved. 

Roslin’s ending was no surprise, since she was dying at the show’s inception.  Her flashbacks provided good insight into the detached nature of her character about which I never really considered, but now see in hindsight.  Her final resolution wax foretold long ago, yet it was nonetheless gut-wrenching.  I do wonder if Adama is going to indeed live the rest of his life alone as the show seemed to imply.  I was also happy to see Lee back in the service.  Civilian life didn’t suit him.  He belonged back on the front lines.  Apollo was always much more appealing to me than Lee.  I’m good with the explanation (finally) of what Head Six and Head Baltar were, the visions, the dreams, everything.  If you want it to be philosophical, it was.  If you’re looking for it to be spiritual, it was.  If you accept it merely on a plot device level, that also works.  It’s as debatable as religion itself.  To that end, Devin wrote much more eloquently on that premise than I could here.

Finally there’s Starbuck.  Simultaneously the most appealing and most flummoxing character on the show.  I won’t pretend to be completely happy with how she progressed through the run of the series.  I was frequently annoyed with her alternating from extroverted, joking badass to withdrawn social hermit, from her loving Anders to loving Lee to and back and forth.  Regarding the fact that Daniel served as more a red herring than anything else and Starbuck’s role was in question right up to the end, I was nonetheless very pleased with how Kara Thrace’s story ended.  Her revealing flashbacks meshed nicely with where she ended up I felt. 

The fact that they found “Earth” with 45 minutes or so left to go didn’t make for a letdown at all.  Whereas the first half of the finale was a rousing, action-packed adventure, the latter half wasn’t an introspective decompression that was no less enjoyable.  I knew they would probably find a planet at the end, but I didn’t see the twist of them finding this planet as the ultimate destination coming.  Someone might want to tell Clancy Brown that he was on the wrong Earth 2.  I also didn’t think that Galactica would make it to the very end.  I thought she’d be going out Pegasus-style.  Her final destination, along with Anders’, was a haunting acknowledgment to the show that came before and very poignant.  Beautiful even.

I leave it to the fans to debate the finer points and the (excruciating) minutiae of this show for years to come, and you can be assured that that will occur.  I honestly don’t know if I’ll be checking out Caprica when it premieres.  It has some gargantuan shoes to try to fill.  Similarly, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, a two-hour movie from the Cylon’s POV in the fall, might merely be an unnecessary epilogue.  For me, this show has been completed, and completed well.  The promise that was introduced six years ago has been delivered in full.  I salute the work of Ronald Moore, David Eick, and the cast and crew of this show.  It’s been a distinct pleasure.

 10 out of 10