So, it’s over. The greatest TV experience of science fiction in history. Finished. Story told. ..What do we do with Tuesday nights now?
I saw a friend’s status update the morning after the final episode of Battlestar Galactica had aired in the US, at the weekend, and it said he thought it was ”all a bit… meh.”
This meant I was secretly set for a bit of a disappointment lastnight, as Laura and Chris joined us for the ceremonially last getting together for our favourite show. But this can, I find, sometimes enhance your discovery of a film or program. Low expectations – good life lesson, kids.
For, in the end, lastnight’s episode essentially rocked. But gently.
They did all the right things, really. Well, almost. Two things that disappointed for me were the limp disappearance of one of the most dynamic characters in the dynamic ensemble, Starbuck – “Right, so bye then.” >pop!< – and the end of the eponymous heroine, Galactica herself.
I reeeally wanted dramatic closure. I wanted to choke up manfully as we watched an unwarranted amount of CG man hours pull apart the old girl’s every nut and rivet – because to me it would have been warranted. Symbol of hope and safety and fighting chance, Galactica was ending her life and service. Off into the sunset wasn’t good enough – I wanted a phoenix end with surging score and way too much screen time.
..Although, on that score (as it were) they did deliver. I’d always hoped, since pretty much the beginning, that in the last ever episode someone would have the courage to deliver the original colonial theme. It’s just a great theme. And thankfully, after what amounts to probably the greatest musical build up in screen story-telling history, Bear McCreary finally got permission to surge in with Stu Phillips’ stirring motif. As the fleet broke orbit around Earth for the last time and in came the tune, I cheered. Annoyingly.
Hooray for great tunes. Well done, Bear – you did the right thing. Though you have a silly name.
Interestingly though, the young composer has said that LA is a great place to find musicians who play odd things. By which I assume he means unusual instruments, rather than Daft Punk on the tuba, or something. Though I’m sure you could get that too.
My point is that Bournemouth is not a great place to find musicians who play odd things. I could really have done with finding an oud player for Sophie at least. Or even better, a vocalist. But, as much as I’m having to fake it, I should say that the pieces coming together for Ben’s little show are cute and groovy. But still more to write and arrange before next week when he delivers the first of it.
Short weeks like this often seem to attract more deadlines than normal weeks, I’ve noticed. Pulling my hair a little leading up to time away on the boat – during which I’ll probably be thinking about all the music I’m not doing leaning over in the middle of the Solent.
Still, I had to pay homage to the most impressive thing on TV. Ron Moore did the right thing with Galactica’s last episode, apparently writing on a white board in a production meeting: ‘it’s the characters, stupid’. It was the right thing to do to amble around and say goodbye and tie up loose ends for these people – they deserved it.
I would say, however, that there was so much to practically get through, it was hard to pack a real wallop of an emotional punch. Too many places to apportion your emotion, really. So there were no tears as we said goodbye, though a good number of emotive moments – especially President Roswell’s thankyou to the doctor – just a feeling of satisfaction.
Well rounded, damned interesting story. Seemless cast of powerful performances. Writing that pushed TV drama hard, but with compelling integrity. And production values that were frequently bloody amazing.
How do such things come into existence? How can TV get things so right occasionally? It’s a little miracle of creativity.
But that is the key – commitment to creative integrity. When suits trust the creatives and creatives trust their instincts, you get a smash hit.
So say we all.
(..Unless the creatives turn out to be crap. But don’t spoil the noble mood. Shh.)