All will be revealed as the thrilling final episodes of Battlestar Galactica 4.5 land on DVD. From their initial action-packed battles against the Cylons to their desperate attempts to find the fabled 13th colony, Earth, a... more » determined band of human survivors has captivated audiences everywhere with their desperate quest to find a new home for their dwindling numbers. Join them now as the fleet journeys into the furthest reaches of unexplored space and faces a crucial decision that will change all of their lives irrevocably. Presented uninterrupted in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, this epic 4-disc set contains over 10 hours of intense, groundbreaking DVD features, including extended episodes that never aired - a must own addition to every fan?s collection. Relive the anticipation, the action and the excitement of this groundbreaking series that is destined to live on as ?one of the best dramas on TV.? (TIME)« less
An absolutely brilliant ending to a glorious series
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 03/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warning! Spoiler alert! The following review contains very signficant spoilers, including several regarding the final episode of the series. If you wish to remain spoiler free, do NOT read the following review.
In the words of the immortal Butthead, forewarned is . . . uh . . . something.
I am astonished that the finale of BSG is proving to be controversial. I watched the final episode with a sense of excitement, delight, and deep gratitude. I found it moving and appropriate to the series as a whole. I would rank it with the best series finales that I have ever seen, alongside BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and SIX FEET UNDER. In particular I found the final 20 or so minutes to be especially gratifying, as we see the final 38,000 some odd survivors of the long journey from the 12 Colonies to New Earth finally find their new home. Did everything end precisely as I wanted? Of course not. But what is important is that it ended the way that Ron Moore clearly intended it to end. I had long suspected that one of the first things that had been conceived was the role of Hera (or someone like Hera) in the overall scheme of things. That she would indeed prove to be "The Shape of Things to Come" was something of which I was confident, and I found the role ascribed to her -- essentially the DNA mother of our own humanity -- as both powerful and fulfilling of the great importance assigned to her. [And Ron Moore's brief cameo as the gent reading the magazine about what is obviously Hera's remains was similar to J. Michael Straczynski's cameo at the end of BABYLON 5.]
The 2008-2009 television season has seen the ending of a string of truly great series. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, THE SHIELD, and THE WIRE managed to end on their own terms, with their overall arcs ended on their own schedule. Other equally great series like PUSHING DAISIES were stopped in mid-stride. That a show as great as PUSHING DAISIES could be cancelled makes me all the more grateful that some shows like BSG manage to make it all the way to the end. My own television viewing will now be greatly diminished by the end of BSG. No show of the past five years has so consistently obsessed me. It wasn't always as consistent as I would have liked. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is a far steadier, more consistently brilliant show, but while it has never had anywhere near as many as weak episodes as BSG, neither has it ever reached BSG's best moments. Never, ever have I had a series (with the exception of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) at its best so completely shock and amaze me. No other show (except BUFFY) has managed to astonish me so frequently. And it did this by almost never recycling stories seen on other series. BSG not only never recycled stories from other shows, but never recycled its own stories. Any stunning plot twist, once used, was never used again.
Rarely do series redefine their genre, but BSG has done more to alter what one can do on a television Sci-fi series than any since STAR TREK first debuted in the late sixties. No future serious series in the genre can ignore the achievements of BSG. They might decide not to take up the challenge that BSG has laid down, but even that is a way of acknowledging the new standards it has laid down. Series like STARGATE SG-1 now seem oddly simplistic in comparison. Ron Moore stated in his initial mission statement that his goal was to completely redefine TV Sci-fi and in this he was supremely successful. It is impossible to overstate the importance of BSG in taking TV Sci-fi to the next level. Many have noted that it was the first important Sci-fi series that was made for adults rather than teens, but it is also the first that was directed to thinking adults instead of only Sci-fi geeks. BSG expanded the audience of those interested in Sci-fi, with thousands of people who had previously been determined not to watch any show in the genre obsessed with the fate of those on Galactica. And it has also been a huge hit with academics and intellectuals. The only television series that has received as much attention from academics has been BUFFY, and the only show to attract as much attention from nonacademic intellectuals has been BUFFY and THE SOPRANOS. Who would have thought a show based on the passionately maligned 1978 series (a show that has a small but dedicated cadre of fans, but which is otherwise attacked by TV critics and serious Sci-fi fans and writers as one of the worst series in TV history) could have ascended to such heights?
I have started rewatching the series from the very beginning in light of the series finale and I am amazed at how good it all feels knowing how it will end. The series finale of BSG fit the rest of the series so perfectly that it managed retroactively to make the rest even better. I frankly have long suspected that Ron Moore is a big, fat liar. He has often stated things that were not true or at least were only partially true. I think he had a great deal of the overall story planned from near the beginning. I believe he had many of the main arc details in mind from the beginning. I do think that he left a lot of room for alternation and development, but I believe he knew from the time of the miniseries that he intended to have the remnants of the human race align with the Cylons to become the genetic ancestors of our own human race. One of the first moments in BSG of note was when Caprica Six looked at an infant with amazement, shortly before she broke its neck (an act that is one of the most effective mission statements I've ever seen -- after that, you knew the show was capable of anything). And the crucial moment came when President Laura Roslin stressed to Commander Adama that it was crucial that they leave that part of the galaxy to find a new home where the survivors could "start having babies." Early in the first episode of Season One Head Six asks Gaius Baltar if he would like to have a child. We then soon learn of the mission of the other Sharon on Caprica to try and make Helo fall in love with her and get her pregnant. In retrospect, we see that "The Plan" was to perpetuate the Cylon race by biological reproduction.
Similarly, from early on the show was concerned with ever deepening religious themes, as God (though Head Baltar in the finale tells Head Six that he doesn't care for that name) directed the fate of both Cylons and humans to their eventual fate. Even Starbuck is shown to be an instrument of God, as she is sent back to the fleet after her death in order to help them find their way to their new home. Until the finale we had no idea precisely how deep this idea that God had a plan for them truly was, but as the series comes to an end we realize that Head Six's words to Baltar in the first regular season episode were absolutely true: this all was God's plan. To what degree this God coincides with a Christian or Muslim or Jewish god is very much open to debate, but that it unceasingly is at the core of BSG cannot now be questioned.
BSG begins with the question -- put forward by Bill Adama as he participates in Galactica's decommissioning ceremony -- whether humanity had a right to survive. The answer to this is delayed for the length of the series, as we see the fleet undergo a series of trials. The parallels with the account in Exodus of the Children of Israel departing from Egypt to the Promised Land increase as the series nears its end. Just as the Children of Israel undergo a series of temptations, so do the members of the fate. Likewise, the fleet's Moses, Laura Roslin, is allowed to see the promised land but not enter (she dies as Adama finds the spot upon which to build the cabin she longed for). That humanity has earned the right to survive comes as the crew of Galactica undertakes the ship's final mission, the rescue of the Human-Cylon hybrid child Hera, whose DNA becomes the foundation of a new humanity.
So, the show's many rich and deep themes are successfully and beautifully resolved at the end. Those who found the ending unsatisfying seem not to recognize this. But I'm baffled. What more can one ask of a series than to resolve successfully all its major themes?
While I loved the end of the series, I can understand some of the uneasiness some felt. In order to break the cycle ("All of this has happened before; all of this will happen again") of death and destruction, Lee Adama persuades the survivors to embrace a nontechnological culture. I understand this on a poetic level even as I question it on a psychological level. And like many I found the departure of Starbuck, one of the great iconic characters in the history of TV (it is funny now to remember how upset some were that Starbuck was going to be played by a girl), both too sudden and less than satisfying. But this is nitpicking and should be recognized as such. To carp on something that wasn't quite done to one's satisfaction while ignoring the massive number of things that were done so exceptionally well is petty.
Sadly the end of BSG signals the disbanding of one of the most wonderful and largest casts in the history of television. Only LOST can match BSG in the size and richness of its cast of characters. I'm going to miss Adama, Laura Roslin, Lee, Kara, Sharon (in whatever form), Helo, Hera, Tigh, Tyrol, Baltar, all of the Sixes, Dee, Ellen, Duck, Kat, Billy, Tory, Anders, Racetrack, Cally, Doc Cottle, Jake, Elosha, Sgt. Mathis, Captain Kelly, Zarek, Gaeta, Seelix, Hotdog, Romo Lampkin and all the others (all the way down to the tattooed Asian guy who never had a line of dialogue and whose main function seemed to be to keep Galactica's card games going) -- not to mention the Cavils, Dorals, D'Annas, Simons, and Leobens. And I'm going to miss Galactica itself. For five years this show has been one of the great presences in my life. I won't be saying goodbye easily.
We do have the BSG prequel CAPRICA to look forward to next month (the pilot film is being released on DVD in April and will go to series in January 2010) and the film BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE PLAN appears in the fall. The latter will almost certainly resolve one of the final remaining mysteries of BSG: who Caprica Six saw in the miniseries and uttered the words, "I've been expecting you." So, while I'm heartbroken that this great series is leaving us, its departure is eased by the new series and the upcoming film. And I am intensely grateful that such a great series ended so marvelouslyl. I believe that those who are complaining about the finale are way off base and I also believe that as they rewatch the series and reassess the finale in light of that they'll recognize what a brilliant ending it was."
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, with a warning for the future.
Marian M. Matsunaga | sequim,WA | 03/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's all over. Bummer.
BSG in it's latest iteration carried those poor survivors a heck of a lot farther than the original series (there are still die-hard fans of the original series out there, who absolutely HATE this series, but theirs is a minority, I believe).
For a series that had only three well-known actors surrounded by fresh new Canadian, Australian, English and American actors, The talent pool they were taken from is rich indeed, and it showed in their performances. I believe we will be seeing much more of these young people in the future. Of course, they wouldn't be as good without quality writing and directing, either. This series had it all! For once, the network heads decided to let BSG run WITHOUT too much network interference, which ALWAYS destroys the show in question.
I have to give kudos to Edward J. Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Dean Stockwell and all those relative unknowns they acted beside, and the Writers and Directors, as well as the crew for bringing such a quality program to Network TV. Now, I may be just a little bit biased, but I have to say that BSG was (is?) the best show I have seen in the 55+ years I've been exposed to TV. The fact that we have a drama in space turns off some folk, but believe me when I say that I would rather watch a GREAT space drama than a crappy show on Earth that is predictable and boring, with performances on par with a 7th grade reading class!
With all the extras and websites devoted to this series out there, including SciFi Channel, the storyline is now complete, but boy, was it ever difficult to predict what was going to happen next! In four years of predictions, I was right only ONCE, and that came at the end! Ron Moore and David Eick are the next wave in QUALITY storytelling. There seems to be TWO new series coming soon on SciFi Channel that are tie-ins to BSG. One is called "Caprica", and the other is "Battlestar Galactica, The Plan". I believe that these two new series will tie up most, if not all (hopefully)of the plot holes and apparent dead ends seen in the new BSG series. If Ron Moore and David Eick have a hand in them, I'll be watching!
My hope is that "Hollyweird" finally gives breathing room for those forward thinking folk like Moore and Eick, and other Writers and Directors who are well past the "status quo" of Hollywood storytelling, which has grown old, fat, and not without the ubiquitous olfactory signal to let you know how bad what you're watching REALLY is!
BSG broke the mold, so all you Hollyweird knuckleheads are on notice!"
Brandon J. Smith | Philadelphia, PA | 04/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While I would give the series as a whole (and each individual season preceding this) 5 stars, I feel compelled to drop this final chapter to 4 stars. Battlestar Galactica is a brilliant, gutsy show, and the risks it took are part of the reason we fans got so intense about it over the years. It was called the most subversive show in television history by Rolling Stone magazine, and, given the plot-lines about terrorism and insurgency at the height of the Iraq War, I think that's a fair assessment. The final season (4.0 and 4.5) become more about the internal mythology of the show, and this is where a few problems sneak in. As shows like Lost demonstrate, it's easier to set up mysteries than to resolve them. Battlestar resolves many of the plot-lines brilliantly (I love the choice of the final cylon in particular; and one character's suicide is truly haunting), but others leave me wanting. Starbuck, one of the best characters in this all-around extraordinary cast, gets muddled. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, so I'll just say that the resolution of the mystery surrounding her character is not satisfactorily handled. Ron Moore's decision to leave her conclusion ambiguous is, in my opinion, a glaring error.
The series finale is naturally the focus of this set, and I must say I've had mixed feelings about it since it aired. On the one hand, it was an intense, emotional experience, never boring for a moment, and brought nearly every character and plotline to a conclusion. However, I think it may have over-reached, beating us over the head with its "message." Battlestar Galactica was often a reflection of ourselves and our world, but never before had it been didactic, as it is in its final scene.
With another movie on its way and a prequel series for next year, Battlestar Galactica isn't over yet, but this is the end of the story as begun in the 2003 miniseries. It's been a remarkable journey and absolutely essential viewing for sci-fi and non-sci-fi fans alike."
There must be some kind of way out of here...
Manny Calavera | 09/09/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"SPOILERS BELOW. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE SEEN ALL OF DAYBREAK!
I can picture Ron Moore in a round table discussion with his writers after the end of their strike allowed for a full final season of BSG. "There must be some kind of way out of here," he probably muttered to David Eick, referring to the trap they set for themselves by rushing to finish the series in a dignified fashion at the end of 4.0. I'm sure the fear that there would be no further episodes pushed the team to find a degree of closure in finding Earth in a hurry and by writing things like Mr. Gaeta's line, "known constellations are a match." Combine that with referring to actual names for the constellations (i.e. Sagittarius instead of Sagittarion) as their "ancient names" in the tomb of Athena in Season 2, killing off your heroine without a concrete plan to explain her return, and pigeonholing the writers into finding a planet to call Earth at the series end, and the result of trying to end the show a second time without the plan that guided Mr. Moore thus far may as well include Fonzie water-skiing.
These abundant, but individually forgivable issues turn into major plot holes when the second Earth, our Earth that we are standing on now, is not the one they were referring to all along. They chose to show that the second Earth was truly ours with our continents, and even our Times Square... but apparently our real constellations are something of a paradox as both planets wouldn't have the same view of them. The names of the colonials' ancient constellations of the past somehow was to spring up again to become terms from our ancient past rather than their modernized versions of the words. By placing them 150,000 years in the past, we guarantee that absolutely no one from the fleet will successfully teach mankind living on Earth anything about civilization, language, or culture, as the sloppy time-line is set about 100,000 years too early for that to be a possibility. Not even Hera/mitochondrial Eve gets a happy ending as her life ended quite young according to National Geographic. Most of the continents that the 30,000 spaceship-dwelling survivors would have dispersed between were devoid of humans or protection, yet they chose to leave every trace of their technology and conveniences on a collision course with the Sun. If it is not the logic or minutiae of these incongruous events that should give a viewer pause, than it is the abandonment of the ultra-realistic characters' personalities and souls that should concern us.
Admiral Adama chose to leave his only surviving family member behind for good after spending the last 4 years trying to keep him close; his son is left alone to "explore" the globe on foot after his soul-mate turns out to be no different than Harvey the pooka, vanishing into thin air. The soul of the fleet, Kara Thrace is abandoned by Mr. Moore just before she can have an appreciable end to her story. No version of the word "frak" can define how uninspired and cheap the story becomes when arbitrary snap decisions must be used to determine the fate of an entire story that has already ended once. Albeit the first go at finding Earth left us with empty stomachs, but at least it retained a semblance of dignity for the exceptional staff that tirelessly worked on BSG for almost 5 years.
Let me make this clear: I love Battlestar Galactica. It had an incredible run, which included countless moments of brilliance and art from its amazing actors, inspired directors, and visionary writers. Unfortunately, as BSG has told us on numerous occasions through its plot lines, those visionaries can be wrong; can let us down. Ultimately, it is up to us to carry on and decide what makes sense for ourselves rather than listening to those who would rather drop the ball at the finish line rather than following Starbuck's mantra of "fight 'em until we can't." I challenge any and all fans to rewrite Daybreak, or alternatively the entire of Season 4.5 so that we may find a more logical, fitting, and challenging end to what may be one of the greatest television shows in recent history until its final moments. So say we all.