Tonight marks the end of Battlestar Galactica. BSG to those of us devoted to the exploits of Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, Roslin, Baltar, Caprica 6, Boomer, Helo, and the rest of the cast of characters that helped turn a cheesy 70’s Star Wars knock off into one of the greatest dramas television has produced. It’s amazing to think that this reboot by Ron Moore and David Eick has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Best Television Shows Of All Time, but the program’s themes of loss and belonging have helped it transcend what could have been its science fiction handcuffs. Everyone who watches BSG has their own reasons and their own favourites, so on the eve of the series finale I thought I’d share mine.
The Queen and I got together in no small part because of Battlestar Galactica. We were longtime friends, and on one particular Saturday she was over to hang out. She spent the morning reading on my couch while I sat in front of the computer, working on the rock documentary series I used to write. Once I was done and we’d hit a local diner for some lunch, we debated how to spend the rest of our day. I suggested we watch the first season of Battlestar Galactica, which had recently been released on DVD. Having not seen it during its initial run, the Queen agreed. We spent the afternoon and into the evening watching that first season. We watched Edward James Olmos’ Adama take command of the fleet. We watched as the amazing Mary McDonnell’s Laura Roslin went from schoolteacher to president of the surviving colonies. Together we were introduced to Katee Sackhoff’s Starbuck, a far cry from the one first embodied by Dirk Benedict all those years ago. By the end of our day, and the end of the first season, we knew there was something special going on, both on screen and off.
As for my favourite characters on BSG, well, it’s hard to choose. My immediate choice seems to always be Roslin. McDonnell portrays the dying leader with such grace and determination, it’s hard not to want her to succeed and lead the fleet to home, wherever that is.
I liked Michael Hogan’s Saul Tigh, a drunkard with morals and undying loyalty to both the ship and its captain. I loved the performances from the four hidden Cylons within the fleet, as they realized who they were and their quest to discover how much freewill they had of their own, and how much fate would determine their destinies.
That’s really what Battlestar Galactica has been about for me throughout its four seasons. More than a clash between humans and Cylons, it’s felt like the main point of the series was to try and determine who and what we are as people. Can we change? Can we accept that other people can change? Are our lives our own, or do we have a grander purpose? Is “All Along The Watchtower” really that universal?
I don’t expect to find the answers to those questions at the end of Battlestar Galactica tonight. I expect to feel some sadness, though, as the show jumps off into reruns and DVD box sets (though I hear there’s a movie in the works). I know my life is all the better for having watched it.
On that note, I leave you with this final story. Last summer, Edward James Olmos was one of the guests at the Hobby Star Fan Expo. After the Friday evening closed down, Japer and I made our way to the hotel lobby bar where the guests were staying. We ordered some food, grabbed some drinks, and were chatting with comic artists Steve McNiven and Ethan Van Sciver. At some point during the evening Edward James Olmos entered the bar with a few people. He seemed in good spirits, and I decided I would say hello. As we were getting ready to go, Olmos was up at the bar ordering a drink. I casually made my way up to him and said “Mr. Olmos, I just wanted to thank you for Battlestar Galactica. It’s a show that helped my wife and I get together.” For a moment he looked at me strangely, and then a smile came across his face.
“Thank you. God bless you,” he said in return.
I’m pretty sure he has. So long Galactica, and thanks for all the memories.
So say we all.