Last week I finished watching Battlestar Glactica for the first time. As I came to the end of the final season I had the following thoughts, in order: 1) Helo is perfect. 2) I'm glad that I blogged my love for the show midway through season 3 so any problems I have with the final season didn't prevent me from gushing about how much I loved it. 3) I'm glad I waited to watch this show when I could do it marathon-style instead of having it dragged out like special torture for weeks and months and years. 4) Tahmoh Penikett is so dreamy. Since the day I started watching BSG I have a lot of thoughts about Tahmoh Penikett. For this I am decidedly not sorry.
Anyway, my point is that while I loved BSG completely, I didn't love the last season as much as I loved everything that came before it. There was a sense of urgency and claustrophobia in the first 3 seasons that seemed to be missing from most of the final season. The show stopped being about the relentlessness of war and started being about everyone going cuckoo bananas.
It made a certain kind of sense for the tone to change but up to that point, everything had been so tight, so important, and so much in the service of surviving that there was no time to navel gaze or ponder - decisions had to be made now; action had to be taken without the luxury of contemplation. Sometimes haste caused them to make the wrong call but such are the risks in times of crisis. Then, near the end of the third season the pace was suddenly less relentless and by the 4th season they were adrift, meandering, and gazing at their navels with all their might while we waited, not for the next strike or in the war, but for the answer to a riddle.
And it turns out I didn't even care that much about the riddle. I wanted them all to find a place to set up a new civilization and live on the ground instead of in the fleet. I wanted the Final Five and the not-annoying cylons to finally defeat the irrational aggressors and learn to live side-by-side in peace. I really wanted the family Agathon to get a happily ever after and for Helo to take his shirt off (one track mind). I did not care why the cylons started the war against humanity, who the final cylon was, where in the span of history this story was taking place, or why everyone thought Hera held the answer to...everything.
Thank the Gods I didn't care about that stuff because the answers to most of it weren't all that satisfying anyway. If...no, when I watch this show again, I think I'll pretend it all ends 45 minutes sooner than it really does. I won't have to see anyone disappear improbably in a field and the apparitions of poshly dressed crazy people won't put a bow on it all.
However unsatisfying I found the end, or the lead up to it, does not tarnish or diminish my love for the show itself. It may be the most well-executed, genuinely entertaining allegory or work of social commentary I've ever seen.