2.14.2009

A GRAND EPIC, writ small (NO EXIT - REVIEW)

I really hate that phrase "jump the shark" but I used the image of it in a post below because the little cut-and-paste I did looked so dern good when I patched it together. After No Exit and its Mount Everest-size pile of absurdities it is the only thing one can conclude about the formerly great Battlestar Galactica reimagined. Oh how it pains me to see this once wondrous and brilliant science fiction television series descend into a grotesque caricature of what once was. It's almost as if Moore and his writers are saying "fuck you" to the audience.

Just as I predicted well over a year ago we got the mad-scientist-explains-it-all-to-you crocheting of the story loops one-by-one in a single episode. They did split the explanation up between Ellen, Cavil and Anders but it's still one big sticky mess of connecting-the-dots. I just feel sad about it.

The ep looked great. The science fiction elements they do for the Cylons are terrif
ic - Ellen's goo bath awakening from her POV and the room she was in, the cool light-panels and light symbols that reflect off of their skin. Love all that.

I just hope you had out your graph paper and sli
de-rule and calculator that can run complex algorithms to chart the backstory of the Final Five. Gads, it was like a game of mental Twister, but after bending myself into mental pretzel trying to keep up with the Exposition Monster hurling bundles and bundles of words I just quit listening and started laughing:


So 4000 years ago you made us, but then the Centurions there believed in the one true god and so 2000 years ago another holocaust and the cycle repeated and new Centurions made new skin-jobs on Kobol but we closed the lab because John, er Cavil, was jealous and Ellen was the leader of the lab and we had a ship in orbit because our sensitive artist friend Daniel was poisoned by Cavil but not until thousands of years later when he polluted his goo tanks and he was a painter and Ellen was really close to him but Kara was glowing when Anders went unconscious like the Opera House glowing so maybe Kara is really Daniel but in a woman's body which is why she's so macho even though Daniel was a sensitive painter but Kara paints - she likes to finger paint and pour white gesso over Leoben who grabs her boobies and Cavil is bitter and wants to be more machine and Boomer gets to know about Ellen as a Final Fiver which I guess she keeps secret for 18 months and when she touches the watery interface I guess no one else including other 8 models taps into that knowledge and Ellen is held prisoner for 18 months by Cavil and Tory and Tyrol were married yet the Cylons on Earth could have children so resurrection technology fell out of use but Ellen figured it out and set it up for them to be saved but Cavil was punitive and boxed them all and implanted false repressed memories like Edwina had in her floatation tank in AbFab and so they lived as humans on the 12 Colonies until the next holocaust happened and yet all wound up living so they could reassemble during the exodus because the Centurions one true god is making it happen which makes Cavil crazy because he wants to smell X-rays and make love to supernovas and taste space dust.


Got it?



So why did billions of people get murdered again at the beginning of this story? Because the cycle of Cylon/humans building metal robots that eventually rebel and lead to skin-job robots which then confuse who's who and thus boom boom must follow. Still unresolved is
if this feedback loop is stuck or can become unstuck or if the power of love can stop it - because it's all about the free will Ellen gave the skin-jobs - to be able to love. Maybe the fleet should all move to the Base Ship and paint glow-in-the-dark flowers and it can be the Summer of Love on their way to their new home or real Earth, or wherever. We're goin' to Eden, hey brother!

And why was Kara suddenly so devoted to Anders? No lingering tensions among the crew after the civil war/attempted mutiny? Six and Tigh make baby-goo-goo talk? Yecchhh

The clear line between protagonist and antagonist was set during the miniseries, and it has been toyed with and blurred during the telling of the story - which is compelling and interesting when done well ... but with No Exit they simply ruined it. For it to work as irony it has to be held until the very end and then revealed that ... we are all the same. The Grand Story has shrunk into something rather trite. More's the pity.

The art critic Robert Hughes wrote the ultimate critique of modern art with his work The Shock of the New, which in hindsight is regarded as superior to its subject matter. Most modern art post 1960s is dreck and Hughes said so. His insights were so laserlike and precise and the depth and breadth of his knowledge brought such weight to bear on the subject matter that he essentially crushed it like a bug. He exposed the fraud that was so much "modern art" - he basically said the emperor has no clothes. Unfortunately, much of the fandom surrounding Battlestar Galactica reimagined at this point is putting far more passion into it than the creators and writers have for a couple of years.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Such promise...now, pure shit.

IcarusPassion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bschaar said...

To Anonymous:

If it's pure shit, then why are you still watching it? And also, blurring the line between Cylon and human has been a big point of the entire series right from Adama's speech during the miniseries. Are you just now figuring this out or something?

Anonymous said...

Or something. Nothing worse than unadulerated blind fandom that can't think critically. BSG can do no wrong with these people.

bschaar said...

No, Galactica can definitely do wrong. Whiny, bitchy Kara from Season 4.0 was annoying, and let's be honest, the standalones really suck. But no show is perfect, and Battlestar Galactica is the best frakkin' show on television.

And you never really answered my original question. If it's pure shit, then why are you still watching it? I stopped watching Lost because I thought this season went to hell (but the entire show isn't pure shit). The term "pure shit" is reserved for something that has literally no redeeming qualities. And if you find nothing redeeming (and I mean NOTHING) about the new episodes of Galactica, then stop watching the show.

Anonymous said...

@ Kara being Daniel

Whose to say Daniel cant be short for Danielle? I dont recall them mentioning a gender, just talking about them.

Anonymous said...

"And you never really answered my original question. If it's pure shit, then why are you still watching it?"

To see how this bloody trainwreck ultimately ends. Priceless to see the writers mailing this in.

radii said...

I'm with the OP ... I've invested this much time and attention to the show, might as well see how they wrap it up ... perhaps use it as an object lesson of what not to do