I sat down last night and watched the hour-long final Battlestar Galactica behind-the-scenes special entitled, oddly enough, Battlestar Galactica – The Last Frakkin' Special. As you know, as we all know, Battlestar Galactica concludes its run as a series with a two-hour finale this Friday night. Oh sure, there is already a TV movie scheduled, but this is its final episode as a “regular” series.
No, I don't put the “regular” in quotes above because BSG was an extra special truly swell series. It was, but that's not why I put in the quotes. I used them because to suggest that the series has had a regular run, with nearly a year between the first half of the final season and the second half certainly makes it an irregular run.
When I watch BSG these days, I'm amazed at how dark it feels the series has gotten; it actually feels more bleak now than it did when it began, and it began with the near-total destruction of humanity. I've come to decide though that it's probably not more bleak than that, but it certainly is darker than the moments when it appeared that humanity was going to make a huge comeback, when they destroyed the Resurrection ship and seemed on the right path. They still had troubles at those moments, but it looked like everything was going to work out in the end.
Where are they now? Well, the Galactica, the big ship that protects them all, is falling apart, and Adama and his loyal band of followers are going to be taking the ship to the Cylons' base this week in a last ditch attempt to rescue a human-Cylon hybrid. I'm betting that they don't get blown up five minutes into the two-hour final episode, but anything is possible — it is, after all, the final episode (of the “regular” series).
It was suggested on the special last night that they were going to be far more concerned with the characters and what happens to them than the overarching story here in the finale. Apparently the actual plot was a tough nut to crack, so the writers used something of an end around approach to it. That seems to make sense as an idea; after all, if viewers didn't care about the characters they wouldn't have stuck with the show for so long.
Make no mistake, the show may be a sci-fi based one, but as everyone who has worked on it is happy to tell you, it really is so much more than that. It's a show with characters at its heart, and while the series may take place in the future, there are episodes where it's certainly incredibly easy to forget that little piece of information. It may always have been a funhouse distortion of our world, but it was still possible to figure out where they were drawing from a lot of the time. Yes, that's true of most good sci-fi, but BSG really does seem to have taken that notion further.
I really do believe – and hope I'm not wrong – that the final episode will be a no holds barred affair, that the producers won't hesitate to eliminate characters if their arc calls for it. The upcoming TV movie is actually Cylon-based, examining their “plan,” and what their goals have been before and during the time the series takes place. It would, therefore, be completely possible to eliminate everyone on board Galactica and still have them appear in the movie; they'd just be there at a moment before they died.
I'm not saying that we will lose all the characters, I'm not even saying that we'll lose any (I'd bet though on one or two meeting their makers), just that it would be possible. Future TV movies (if there are any) can always continue to fill in the gaps with the story as the producers did with Razor.
I really don't know what will happen, but I am excited to find out. The producers have proven themselves, repeatedly, to be clever people; in fact virtually everyone on the show has acquitted themselves admirably. What will happen on Friday night? We'll have to tune in and find out.