Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Will It Ever End? (More thoughts on Battlestar)

The Volokh Conspiracy's Ilya Somin and the always enjoyable Abigail Nussbaum blog on the end of Battlestar Galactica from two very different perspectives. Law professor Somin enjoyed the series as a whole more than critic Nussbaum, but both were underwhelmed by the series final resolution, when technology, government, and every semblance of modernity was rejected and humans and Cylons alike scattered amidst the primitive peoples of the newly discovered earth.

Perhaps it was my own politics seeping through, but my initial reaction to the show's resolution was not horror at the apparent ludditism, but pleasure at the outright rejection of government. For a show that made it's living dealing in intense realism, I can see how some could have a problem with an ending so heavy in symbolism, but it was so reflective of the show's thematic elements that I can't find real fault in it. However you hashed it, the political system was an abject failure and technology was literally failing before our eyes. Man created the Cylons and precipitated their own destruction, again and again and again. This self-destructive nature of man wasn't just about technology, it was pervasive throughout institutions and relationships. The decision to abandon "civilization" and start over was reflective of these failures, but I never saw it as a critique of modernity and the complexities of life, but a struggle over the very nature of man.

But don't take my defense here and or praises elsewhere as evidence of the show's greatness. I've laid out my critiques before, but to hit on the major ones again, much of the plotting was poor, major character story lines were not adequately followed through, and the politics were stilted and inconsistent. But in the end, Battlestar is worthwhile, if only because so many different people have so many different opinions on it, start to finish.


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