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GUEST BLOG #2: Welcome Another New Contributor, with a Spoiler-Free 'Battlestar' Preview -- Ed Martin
March 19, 2009  | By Ed Martin
 

As part of the imminent (well, semi-imminent) expansion of TV WORTH WATCHING, here's another sneak peek at a new contributor. This time it's Ed Martin, who offers, in turn, a sneak peek at Sci Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica finale.

I'm thrilled to have Ed on board -- I love his writing. And, like the other TV critics and analysts already here, or soon to arrive, I'm impressed by his experience and reputation as much as his taste and writing style. Please welcome Ed, and send a comment, before and/or after you see the finale. (And compare his BSG take to that of resident TVWW critic Diane Werts, which you can read HERE.) When it comes to reputable, entertaining, informative opinions, the more, the merrier... and Ed's starts with his account of the New York critics' screening...

"Battlestar Galactica" Finale Is One for the Ages

By Ed Martin

As critics and reporters settled in Monday afternoon for a preview screening in New York City of tonight's [Friday's] super-sized Battlestar Galactica finale (a full two hours and eleven minutes starting at 9 p.m. ET), executive producer Ronald D. Moore asked everyone in the room to raise their right hands and repeat after him, "I swear not to reveal any of the spoilers I see here tonight."

He further requested that those of us planning to write about it refrain from posting our columns until today and, in addition, not expose any details until after the official telecast. He didn't mention any time zone restrictions, so expect the Internet to explode at 11:12 p.m. ET

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For those of you who live in central, mountain or west coast zones, keep your computers off and stay away from your mobile devices until after you experience it, because even the most spoiler-happy viewer will later agree that the many pleasures to be had watching BSG reach its endpoint are best enjoyed without advance knowledge of anything that is going to happen.

I have a lot to say about the show, but I don't want to violate Moore's trust, so I'll be as explicit as I can while remaining as vague as possible. The BSG finale is so unexpectedly powerful in so many different ways that it may turn out to be the scripted television event of 2009. I find it hard to believe that anything will come along to unseat it, but the year is still young.

Further, it belongs on the short list of unforgettable series finales that are passionately discussed for years after they are first seen. (What a great decade this is turning out to be for outstanding series finales, from Six Feet Under and The West Wing to The Sopranos and The Shield, and now BSG.)

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Watching the BSG finale in that screening room, I had to repeatedly remind myself that it was "only" a television show, not because the screen was so big but because everything about the episode itself was so frakkin' cinematic. The special effects were dazzling, the action scenes thrilling, the suspense unrelenting (especially one battle sequence involving little Hera).

The emotional payoffs came fast and furious' many so massive they would easily flood a movie theater. Best of all, the long-established intimate relationships between many of the characters were further intensified throughout.

Post-show blogs will be bursting with detailed descriptions of the many shocks and surprises in this production, extraordinary even by BSG's own high standards, and their comment sections will be overflowing with uncommonly thoughtful praise. I suspect there will be a handful of complaints, as well, because while the finale (as teased in on-air promos) does reveal the "truth" about what has or has not been going on throughout the run of this franchise, it doesn't necessarily answer every single question its most ardent fans may have going in.

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In fact, it arguably raises a couple of new ones and leaves them hanging. But it all felt quite right. We can't know everything! (It would take all the mystery out of life, as Monty Python might say.)

Admittedly, the full BSG journey hasn't been an easy one for me. There were times when the story became so dark and violent that I wanted to turn away or stop watching altogether, but I never did -- until a sequence in an episode during the first half of this final season upset me so much that I had to take a break. (I recorded the episodes that followed, but I waited a while to catch up.) The events in that sequence struck me as so horrific on so many levels that I was forced to re-evaluate my interest in and loyalty to the show. Such is the unapologetic power of BSG.

I can't identify the sequence, because it comes back into play in a big way during tonight's show, and there will be no spoilers here. I bring it up in this admittedly obscure fashion because the way this past plot turn is worked back into the narrative perfectly illustrates the storytelling genius that has characterized BSG from the beginning.

It is one of many reminders that every single element of this sweeping saga, no matter how disturbing, has had a specific purpose in the meticulous master plan of executive producers David Eick and Ronald Moore. I still hate what happened in that fateful sequence, but I can accept the horror of what I saw then based on what I know now. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it.

When the final credits roll, most of the faithful (and I use that word deliberately) should feel completely satisfied -- and how often does that happen when a TV series comes to an end? You may, in fact, be eager to pull out your DVDs and watch the entire saga all over again, because the ramifications of the final revelations (and there are several) will make everything you have already seen seem different, if not new.

Such is the thrill of a grand story well told; one that, when it ends, leaves you thinking as much about yourself and the world you live in as any of its characters and the places they inhabit.

[NOTE: The BSG finale repeats next Friday, Mar. 27, at 7 p.m. ET.]

----

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Ed Martin is the television critic and programming analyst for the media industry Web site JackMyers.com. The former senior editor of the award-winning, much-missed television and advertising trade magazine Inside Media, Ed has also written for USA Today, Advertising Age, Television Week, Broadcasting & Cable and TV Guide.
Earlier in his career, Ed was publicity director for the independent feature film production and distribution company Vestron Pictures, where he orchestrated publicity campaigns and produced electronic press kits for dozens of movies including the one and only Dirty Dancing. The fact that it is now referred to as a "classic" makes Ed feel old.

 

6 Comments

 

Diane Werts said:

Wow, Ed -- great piece! So wonderful to have you on board.

Comment posted on March 20, 2009 2:01 PM


Michael N said:

Hey ... great to see another terrific TV analyst on board here!

Comment posted on March 21, 2009 11:23 AM


Carina said:

And now I have to know to which sequence Ed was referring. I guess I didn't know when I saw it.

Comment posted on March 22, 2009 2:25 AM


R. Orr said:

Was the sequence you referred to when Callie was murdered by Tory?

Comment posted on March 22, 2009 10:29 AM


Ed Martin said:

Yes, that was the sequence. It was deeply disturbing to me, especially because the last thing Cally saw before she died was her baby in the clutches of the traitorous Cylon that was about to kill her. But I now understand that it took an event as horrific as this to send Tyrol into so intense a rage that he would kill Tory when he did, aborting the attempted peaceful resolution between the humans and the evil Cylons, at first for the worst and then for the better. Without Tyrol's moment of violent revenge/justice the fleet would likely not have jumped to our Earth in the way that it did.

Comment posted on March 23, 2009 9:56 AM


Carina said:

{spoilers}

I see.

I, too, was horrified and upset at Callie's demise; shocked was more like it (especially as a mom with young children.) I was very satisfied with Galen's response and the resulting actions.

I know that when Tori started qualifying her participation in the linking (?) I started rifling through my mental index of 'What Has Tori Done?' As soon as I remembered Callie, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Galen's reaction. Well done, Moore and company

Comment posted on March 23, 2009 4:53 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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