DVDs in Review #65: Battlestar Galactica - The Final Season

Category: , , , By Rev/Views

[Note: Apologies if this one is a little taciturn and not as verbose as normal, I've been forced to type it one handed due to an injury]

So the re imagining of Battlestar Galactica is over and the final season is out for DVD on general release. Battlestar Galactica is one of those shows I've had something of a love/hate relationship with, when it's good, it's very good, but when it's bad, it's horrid. Season Three was the biggest culprit for this, containing huge swathes of episodes filled with stuff I just couldn't care less about. Fortunately the final episodes of the third season more than made up for this, and Razor followed by the fourth season continued with many fantastic moments and episodes. It seemed that slimming things down and combining them with the sense of urgency that the end of the line brought really resulted in

At the end of the fourth season boxed set the crew of Galactica along with the human fleet had found Earth a dead planet, destroyed and torn down to ruins and dust. This leaves the fleet without direction and as such the despair is so palpable you can taste it. The final season goes to some truly dark places as humanity, morale and even the fleet begin to fall apart. Some of the episodes in this season are BSG at it's absolute finest, the acting, directing and script all have a sense of urgency and desperation to them which hasn't really been palpable since the start of the third season (and before that in the mini-series & season one). There's a real return to the struggle for survival, but while the Cylons were the largest threat before, now it's the nature of humanity and the stresses of prolonged space travel which rise up.

This season features rebellion, religion, racism and so much more as it touches upon real life issues in the way which BSG does best, true at times the show has in the past handled things a tad ham-fisted, but the final season (for the most part) is a more elegant creation and far more subtle. The show remains true to itself all the way up until it's final moments, but the best episodes are not the final one.

Which brings me to the final episode, which is something of a disappointment, while it does include some fantastic moments, it also suffers from 'repeated endings' a symptom of poor editing which Return of the King also has. This is where a scene is provided which is pretty much a perfect ending, then the show cuts to black for a little too long before opening up with another scene. The final moments of BSG had so many of these that I found myself getting increasingly more irritated as time passed and wishing that the show would just 'hurry up and finish'. That's not really the kind of reaction you want to inspire in a viewer - in comparison the finale of a show like Six Feet Under brought out a profound level of sadness and loss in the viewer, most people who saw that were emotionally crushed and uplifted by the events. BSG's finale instead just brings out irritation and impatience. Which is a shame, because the individual scenes are fantastic and heartfelt - they're just put together badly.

I can't let the massive spoiler sat right on the front cover of this DVD pass without remark, while the 'last supper' imagery used is a spoiler in it's own right it's the tag line which really ruins it. I hadn't seen the last six episodes of BSG when this set was released, and while I could easily make an educated guess as to how it would finish once I read the tag line I knew exactly. Needless to say this spoilt my watching, not as much as the old '24' DVDs which spoiler the events of each disc in the bleeding menu, but still, it shows a lack of thought and concern for the viewer who might have not already watched the season.

So I guess the question remains, is this season a great one and does it close out Battlestar Galactica as well as the show deserves? Fortunately, for the most part, it is. The show remains true to itself all the way until the final moments, it might have a few hiccups near the end but I'm sure knowing how it is edited will make re watching a far more pleasurable experience and BSG is a show worth re watching. Likewise this DVD set is a piece worth having for anyone who's already got the earlier seasons - for the rest of you I'd suggest picking up the complete collection instead.

Deleted Scenes
Caprica sneak peak
An unrated version of the episode 'A Disquiet follows my soul'
Ten minute wrap up called 'What the frak is going on with Battlestar Galactica'
A look at the show's sound track with composer Bear McCreary.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Rating: 15
Regions: 2, 4 and 5
Soundtrack: English 5.1 and English Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH


2 comments so far.

  1. Dan 8 June 2009 at 11:24
    I didn't have too much of a problem with the multiple endings. Unlike LOTR, we've spent HOURS with these characters, so I'd have been even more upset if they'd just jumped to a quick ending for the sake of brevity. I actually wanted to know what happened to every single person, and I did. And online furore over the final scene just infuriates me. I loved it. I haven't heard a single argument against it that I can understand. S4 had its problems and the finale's storyline wasn't great, but.. loved the last 30-mins.
  2. Rev/Views 8 June 2009 at 11:29
    I had absolutely no problem at all with the final scene. Considering the tag line on the box, the general philoshopy of the show and my own predictions it was exactly what I thought it would be.

    It was the cut to black editting between each final scene which irritated the heck out of me. I don't mind finding out what happens to each core character at the end, I do mind when each scene is broken by a second or two of fade to black.

    It won't make my top five finales, but it was mostly satisfactory.

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