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Looking back at Battlestar Galactica

I’ll pick up my series of explaining the boardgame next time. This is about the show because this idea was on my mind. 

Beware of Spoilers ye who enter

I’ve been rewatching BSG yet again and a new line of thought has crossed my mind. I’ve been looking at the show in two distinct categories: before New Caprica and after New Caprica. The reason for that is before New Caprica, there aren’t any answers, only questions and mysteries. After New Caprica, the shows realizes that it has to actually answer those questions. The end product is less than great; as a surprise to no one.  Still that doesn’t change the fact that what was made is still really good TV and is one of those shows from my teenage years that means…something to me.

Anyway, I can ramble on about the show or I can get to my point. Which is: that above stated categorization of BSG is not entirely set in stone. Instead it’s important to remember the context of the show, it is very much a show about the War on Terror. It’s nominally polytheistic religion* is really just paying homage to the original series and is ultimately about faith. A faith that is relatable to the average American viewer, in other words vaguely Christian. While the element of faith was always there, it really didn’t have the same prominence in the latter part of the series as it did in the beginning. Conversely the War on Terror elements basically disappear after New Caprica and it’s not subtle analogy for the Occupation of Iraq.  The hidden enemies paranoia, unsure of who to trust, and the questions of civil liberties and freedom, is mostly gone.** Yet the replacement of the Cylons hidden among us with the Cylons are an implacable enemy that are at the same time evil, threatening, yet more often than not doing their own thing has a certain degree of resonance with the cultural zeitgeist.  The paranoia gave way to weariness.

Applying this idea, loosely, as it isn’t a perfect match, does ameriolate some of the venom I have for season four.*** It even goes as far as makes me understand the final scenes of Earth in a way that isn’t incredibly insulting. Again, this only works so well because it’s not the story that they wanted to tell, and this perspective doesn’t really explain that much without further thought. Still it’s something worth considering that I hadn’t before. Anyway, next week I’ll hopefully be back in the right mindset to continue with BSG of the boardgame variety.

*This was something that Caprica did a lot better

**The last point does return in season four and results in some really strong storytelling.

***I specify season four as the problem that most of the second half of season 3 has is that nothing happens. Little of it is referenced again.

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