So Edward managed to get me hooked onto Battlestar Galactica. I have seen the whole series and for season two I even checked out a couple of the podcasts done by the writer behind the show, Ron Moore.
Listening to those podcasts was kinda interesting as it gave me a impression of a person who cares about his show in ways very similar to how we care about our projects like GNOME and GStreamer. The similarities in feelings towards ones labour of love is of course one of those things which are in many ways obvious when you think about it, but having it confirmed by listening to such a podcast does make it more ‘real’. Another interesting parallel is the often difficult to manage relation with the community of strong feeling users. ‘Battlestar Galactica was great until you did X’ or ‘Battlestar Galactica would be great if only you did Y’, has a great similarity to ‘GNOME was great until you did X’ or ‘GNOME would be great if only you did Y’.
Anyway to make some specific comments on the Battlestar Galactica. I think one of the reason I like it is because they do fairly clever storylines and characters. Ron Moore and the others behind the show are smart people and it shows. That said, even if I think Season 2 is better than most other current television made it do feel a little less good than the first season. The reasons for this is probably complicated, but Ron has pointed out in his commentaries that some of the episodes turned out less well due to time contraints. As they increased the number of episodes per season the time pressure increased leading to more glitches in the storytelling. For instance one thing they did better in season one than in season two (especially second half of season two) is keep some final truths from you. For instance take the ghostly ‘number 6’ that follows Gaius around. For a long time they held us from being able to conclude on wether she is ‘real’ or a figment of Gaius’s imagination. As long as she was only telling him about the past or about things a genius might have been able to deduce himself you where kept guessing. Some of the things that has happened during this season doesn’t rhyme very easily with that uncertainty but has instead ‘cemented’ her a bit as an actual entity. The same with Laura’s religious prophercy fulfillment where I feel they wanted it to be unclear for the viewer if there really is a supernatural prophercy at work or if it is just a person that belivies in the prophercies making them true by acting them out. There was items in this season pulling strongly towards the first option. Of course Laura being cured from her terminal disease did make things a bit murky again to the show makers defence.
Of course it is possible to ‘correct’ these items by adding things to story patching over the glitches in the storytelling making the ‘other’ option in both cases seem much less likely, but my general feeling is that the ‘stress’ of the higher episode count has simply given them to little time to think out each scene well enough to keep the option for multiple interpretations there. So while the Ron and Co. are smart, even smart people need time to think to come up with clever stuff.
Anyway, I still think its a fun show and will be tuning in for Season 3 in the fall.
You always have more liberty to play with things early on though. The miniseries has already come under some serious criticism for apparent inconsistencies which completely didn’t matter at the time, for instance: Tigh adlibs “Jesus” as an expletive at one point.
I think the ending was extraordinarily brave. No reboots, no deus ex machina… a solid base to launch future series which doesn’t leave the audience going “are we nearly there yet?”