Friday, March 10, 2006


New Caprica

Wow. Show-runners, take note (and JJ Abrams, I'm looking at you). That is how you switch up the status quo with a season closer. Every character's standing and their personal relationships completely changed, but all of it entirely in line with the trajectory of their arcs to date. And so much said with so little (Apollo's haircut, or lack of one, his softening jaw line, and the fact that his girlfriend just called him "Commander"... what does that suggest about the last year?).

It's going to be a long wait until October.

If you're interested in reading a Lost writer's take on that finale (with a defense of Lost included):
My reaction was also "wow," but only partially in a positive sense. I think Niall Harrison makes some good points here.
Actually, Dianora, I was thinking of Alias when I mentioned Abrams. The Everything-Changes-Now season closers and openers on Alias have basically amounted to We're-Returning-To-An-Earlier-Status-Quo, in the long run. I think Lost, on the other hand, did a much better job altering course in the second season, altering the equations just enough to keep it interesting without betraying anything that had gone before.

But thanks for the link! I'm a huge fan of Javier Grillo-Marxuach's Middleman comic series, which I've blogged about before, but I had no idea he had a journal online. I've added it to my bloglines feeds.

But you watched the BSG season finale without seeing the show previously, right? What was your take on it, coming in right as everything was being changed up?
Ted, while I don't entirely agree with Niall (I think I liked this season better than he did, for one), there's certainly a number of thoughts in that post I share. In particular, the idea that BSG has a tendency to burn through stories at the wrong rate. This was my first reaction to the resolution of the episodes with Admiral Cain and the Pegasus. It seemed to me that the audience would have been better served if those few episodes had instead been the better part of a season, and we'd been given the chance to get to know Cain's crew a bit more before everything went south. Of course, from that point on, getting command of the Pegasus had the career life-expectancy of a Hogwarts professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts or a drummer for Spinal Tap.

That said, in Ron Moore's defence, there are some practical realities that I think justified the One Year Jump. Principally, getting viewers to come back in October. If they'd merely jumped seven months ahead, and we got half a season of Roslin in the classroom, Gaeta's slow building resentment that he'd backed the wrong horse, the Chief and Callie's romance blooming, and so on, as much as I would have liked to have seen those stories, the dramatic tension would have been considerably less. This way, they get to end the season on the "Oh Shit!" moment, leaving audiences hungry for the next seven months to go by so we can see what happens next. If instead we'd ended on the colonists landing on New Caprica, I think it would have been more a "Hmm, that's interesting" moment, satisfying to long-time viewers but unlikely to win over new converts. If burning through interesting stories too quickly is the price of increasing the audience to the point where the series continues indefinitely, I'm all for it.
They could have ended on the nuclear explosion, which would have been a decent cliffhanger. Even ending shortly after the "One Year Later" title card would have worked.

One of the links off of Niall's post contains an interesting rumor: that BSG will be simulcast on NBC starting in October, and a reset of the series offers an easier entry point for new viewers.
Ted, I can see how that would have been a fairly effective hook to get viewers to tune in next season. But would it address Niall's concern about "burning" stories? It seems to me that would just push the burning into the beginning of the next season.

I hadn't seen that about the simulcast. It's an interesting idea. Sci Fi has gotten some mileage, it seems, out of simulcasting recent network genre series, but this would be the first time the flow has gone the other way. Though, having said that, didn't USA Network's Monk end up being simulcast on one of the networks during its second season or thereabouts?
The first few episodes of the next season could focus on the stories that were merely hinted at in the last half hour; then the Cylons arrive. To put it another way, the show jumps forward a year, but the Cylons don't arrive until a year and a month have passed.
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