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Janet and I finished the third season of Battlestar Galactica this weekend, and I thought of Ashley’s comment (number 19 in this BSG thread from two months ago):

the line “all this has happened before and all this will happen again” gets repeated so many times you may eventually want to smash your TV, but it’s the concept that allegedly explains all the continuities between BSG and the present (i.e. humanity keeps inventing the same crap and playing out similar histories over and over again).  If it bothers you, prepare to be upset with the Season 3 finale.

So I did prepare!  And holy Moloch, who knew that Bob Dylan was a Cylon?  I sure didn’t see that coming.  Hendrix, sure.  But Dylan?

And Saul Tigh?  Excuse me, but didn’t the Cylons evolve into Cylons 2.0: Really Hot Humanoids over the course of the forty-year period during which they didn’t call and didn’t write?  How does Saul’s Cylonese heritage make any sense, time-line-wise?

Please don’t answer that question—we’re still planning to watch season four.  So far we give the series a B, with a special gold star for the episodes set on New Caprica, which reminded us that occupied territories such as, say, the Occupied Territories can be represented on US television only by way of science fiction.

In other late-adopter news, Cynthia and Janet have held a Lyon Sisters Summit and decided that they are in favor of Lady Gaga.  “The performer Madonna always wanted to be but wasn’t,” declared Cynthia, adding that Lady Gaga can actually sing.  I acknowledged the can-actually-sing part but pointed out, in partial defense of Madonna, that if Madonna had not happened a generation ago, American popular culture as we now know would not exist, and people would still be sitting around trying to burn their toast in such a way as to reveal the faces of Leif Garrett and Farrah Fawcett-Majors.

Posted by on 04/05 at 11:23 AM
  1. Stop watching now.  Seriously.  All of the questions you ask are reasonable ones, and the writers do attempt to answer them, but the answers start dumb, get dumber, and eventually reach a nadir of stupidity rarely seen even on American television.  It’s really best to pretend that the entire cast and crew were wiped out by an asteroid strike shortly after the 3rd season wrapped.

    Posted by Doctor Memory  on  04/05  at  12:52 PM
  2. OMG I’M QUOTED IN THE BLOG!1!11!!eleventy.

    It might be a measure of just how bad this weekend was (I have been trying to wrestle permissions from snooty archivists) that this made my day wink

    And all your questions will be answered, though the answers, as Doctor Memory suggests, are highly controversial. 

    Hint that really doesn’t really even scratch the surface:  The Final Five are of a somewhat different variety than the Cylon 2.0 Hotty Hotty Hot-Hots.

    Posted by  on  04/05  at  01:06 PM
  3. It’s not just that you were quoted on this humble blog, Ashley—it’s that I’ve been keeping your comment in mind all this time.  That plus Stephanie’s warning about Lee Adama’s acting skillz—though I thought he pulled off the five-consecutive-pages-of-dialogue courtroom speech on Baltar-as-scapegoat quite well.

    Posted by  on  04/05  at  01:29 PM
  4. Ah, Battlestar Galactica.  Such promise.  I slogged through countless subpar episodes, ridiculous plot twists, and “shocking” character moments trying to pass themselves off as character growth, all on the strength of the excellent miniseries and first season.  I was hoping against hope that the fourth season would resolve at least some of the problems I was having with the show’s characterization and storytelling, that the show’s central enigmas would be revealed in a way that would redeem an increasingly frustrating series.

    And then my wife and I watched the series finale, and I wanted to break my television.  I won’t ruin anything, but it’s just amazingly bad.  And then the coda at the very end brings the whole series down to so bad that it’s good again, but it doesn’t stop there, and loops all the way around again to insanely, obnoxiously terrible.

    Goddamn, what a waste of time that show was.

    Posted by  on  04/05  at  02:17 PM
  5. Speaking of late adoption, is BSG season 3 available in beta?

    Captcha: york. The prequel to Gotham.

    Posted by  on  04/05  at  02:34 PM
  6. Aaron: I think it’s a bit harsh to call the entire series a waste of time.  The miniseries and most of the first season stand as some of the best televised SF ever, the second season had intermittent moments of greatness and while the wheels fell off pretty soon afterwards, the first five episodes of S3 are possibly the single ballsiest thing I have ever seen done on television.  (Seriously: in 2006, in the middle of The Surge™, doing a protracted story arc where the heroes are murderous insurgents fighting against… monotheist occupiers? If this had been on network television, I would have expected the heads of NBC/Universal to be facing sedition chargers.)

    The plot only fell apart when they tried to start seriously answering all of the throwaway questions they’d posed as part of the show’s sci-fi trappings.  It’s sad that they couldn’t succeed on all levels, but considering what they did accomplish I’m not going to consider my time completely wasted.

    But seriously Michael, just skip season 4.  You won’t miss anything.

    Posted by Doctor Memory  on  04/05  at  03:20 PM
  7. Hmmmm.  My sense, so far, is that nothing will be lost and 18-20 hours of my remaining life will be gained if Janet and I simply read the Season Four episode guides on Ye Olde Wikipedia.

    And ditto on those opening episodes of Season Three—I’d forgotten, late-adopter style, that they aired during the Wonder-Working Surge.  Heroic depictions of murderous insurgents and suicide bombing?  You’ve gotta be frakking kidding me.

    Posted by  on  04/05  at  03:42 PM
  8. Yeah, you pretty much wasted your time after they got off New Caprica.

    Posted by  on  04/05  at  03:45 PM
  9. I thought the whole point of Cylons is that there’s no way to tell who is and is not one???

    Posted by Martin  on  04/05  at  03:45 PM
  10. Hey it’s the Monty Python zany-left! Back on the ~(Monty Python zany-left) site.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/05  at  04:13 PM
  11. Allow me to be a semi-dissenting voice re: Season 4.  Disappointing? Yes. Not up to the standards of Seasons 2 and 3, let alone Season 1?  Absolutely.

    The conclusion of the show was far from satisfying, I agree. But I still enjoyed watching it.  I suppose the show had slipped enough already that I didn’t feel betrayed by it.

    It was fun tv, if not much more. I don’t feel I wasted my time watching it. But as should be obvious from this thread, Michael, YMMV.

    Posted by Ben Alpers  on  04/05  at  05:52 PM
  12. If Madonna had not happened a generation ago, Cyndi Lauper would have won pop music in the 80s, and we’d all be living in some impossible utopia! Imagine!

    Posted by Tyler Bickford  on  04/05  at  06:03 PM
  13. ”. . . and people would still be sitting around trying to burn their toast in such a way as to reveal the faces of Leif Garrett and Farrah Fawcett-Majors.”

    You’re right. Thanks to Madonna’s existence I stopped trying in 2007. My toaster could do Lee Majors, but not Farrah. And somehow Leif Garrett always looked more like Carly Simon coming out of my toaster.

    Posted by Jason B.  on  04/05  at  06:10 PM
  14. Thanks, Ben, for your (as usual) semi-dissenting views.  I did spend an hour this afternoon reading the episode guides, and I have to say I came away confused enough to consider watching season 4 after all.  I mean, the Final Five turn out to be the original creators of cylon cable television who survive after Bruce Dern dies in Silent Running and gives the last remaining droid the key to finding Earth, except that Earth is already devastated, so Starbuck finds someone with her dogtag on the remains of the Pequod just before the Ones, Twos, and Sixes rebel against the Threes, Sixes, and Plus Sizes with the exception of the Boxed Three and the Crazy Eight?  Have I got this about right?

    The only reason I’m hedging on the time commitment is that I have a New Task as incoming Institute for the Arts and Humanities director—putting together a lineup for the first-ever IAH Film Festival, to be held in the lovely State Theatre in downtown State College October 15-17.  (I can’t believe we got the perfect weekend—no football home game, and all three days were open!) Over the next few weeks I’ll be screening at least a dozen movies for that thing (as it happens, the idea came from the same place as that BSG blog post linked at the top of this post), and I can really use the extra hours for even better things than fun TV.  Not that I have anything against fun TV.  Odd side note:  Janet and I agreed that the series looked much better on our merely-23” Old Skool bedroom TV than on the modern HD letterbox flatscreen thing in the “real” TV-and-movie-watching room.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/05  at  07:07 PM
  15. Also, Jason B., if you were getting Lee Majors instead of Farrah, ur doin it wrong.  The toast-hair has to be feathered, sort of like the wings of a majestic bird.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/05  at  07:10 PM
  16. I would like to join Ben in dissenting against the “everything after New Caprica is a waste of time consensus.” Season 4 has some beyond cheesy moments, and Ron Moore wraps some story lines up in utterly weird and frustrating ways (actually, in a few cases, I admire the refusal to put a neat little bow on it all and take some narrative leaps, especially with the religion stuff).  However, Season 4 also has some pretty brilliant moments, particularly Laura’s cancer and Baltar basically founding the Latter Day Saints. 

    Also, I would contend that everything leading up to the last half hour of the finale is pure sci-fi badass.

    Posted by  on  04/05  at  07:48 PM
  17. Late adopter confessional: I just saw my first episode of Firefly.

    Posted by  on  04/05  at  08:14 PM
  18. Michael - keep in mind that time is on your side. It’s not like the all BSG Season 4 DVD’s are going to be locked in the Disney vault* next week and won’t be available again until 2060. If you have to wait a few weeks or months, it really ain’t that big a a thing. Certainly not a determining factor on whether you’ll like Seasons 4 and 4.5 or not. And if your fear is that by postponing you’ll never get back to it, well, you’ve probably figured out by now that you can survive that without too much heartache.

    *link takes a moment to kick in, but worth the wait, especially if you haven’t seen it (TV Funhouse Disney Vault episode).

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  12:03 AM
  19. What Doctor Memory said, times eleventy billion.

    But congrats on slogging through the middle of S3, which I think is worse (well, mostly) than S4, and all the more disappointing after New Caprica.

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  12:14 AM
  20. Sorry for being off topic, but this is kind of an emergency. How could I not have known about it? And why did the LA Times have to mention it and rudely shatter my illusions?

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  12:36 AM
  21. You do know that BSG has officially jumped the shark when Cylon number Six (Tricia Helfer) shows up naked in a bathtub fantasy on Big Bang Theory?  A sexy laughing stock, but laughing stock none the less.

    It’s not like the all BSG Season 4 DVD’s are going to be locked in the Disney vault*
    Unlike the UPN show Freedom, now buried deep in some vault.  That was a show, broadcast in the fall of 2000, that ended on the day after the SCOTUS ruled that Bush was President.  The seven broadcast episodes basically foretold the next eight years of hell.

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  01:28 AM
  22. Hi christian! Illusions about what?

    spyder - that show Freedom sounds awesome, just on the plot alone. I can’t for the life of me remember if I had noted that show at the time or not. If you have any Hollywood connections, it’s possible you can attain an underground dvd copy if you can make contact with someone who was part of the production. If you can swing that, let me know for sure.

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  02:42 AM
  23. Hey Michael - I just saw your Putin Blog header being used for someone’s personal avatar over at HuffPo:


    Is this old news?

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  02:58 AM
  24. Tyler Bickford @ 12:  If Madonna had not happened a generation ago, Cyndi Lauper would have won pop music in the 80s, and we’d all be living in some impossible utopia! Imagine!

    Many alternate-historians think so.  Others, whom I find more persuasive, suggest that if Madonna had not happened, Michael Jackson would have achieved world hegemony by 1991, with global consequences frankly too horrible to contemplate.  Let’s just say that by 1998 human beings would no longer possess “noses” or “skin.”

    O-Girl @ 18:  thanks for the healthy reminder that time is on my side (except for the whole mortality thing, of course).  And for yet another LOL link—you had me at Bambi 2002.

    Christian @ 20:  this is kind of an emergency. How could I not have known about it? And why did the LA Times have to mention it and rudely shatter my illusions?

    To answer O-Girl’s question @ 22, clearly you have been laboring under the appeasenik illusion, lo these many years, that the Asian hordes will someday be our friends.  Well, time to wake up and smell the oolong-flavored vodka, my friend.  Everyone who does not see the new Red Dawn is objectively pro-Cylon.

    Spyder, thanks for the Big Bang Theory reference and the late-late-adopter news about Freedom, no doubt buried deep in the Cheney Vault (link disabled for obvious reasons).  And as for my Putin header, O-Girl:  this is very odd.  I got mine from the getting place, but I note that Mr. Chango369, if that is his real name, has been on HuffPo since September 2008 ... just when I restarted this blog.  Wait!  What’s that sound I hear?  It keeps fading in and out ... it’s like a raga version of some 60s song ... it’s coming from inside the blog....

    Posted by Michael  on  04/06  at  09:37 AM
  25. Wow, if I found myself living in the Michael Jackson dystopia, I would do everything I could* to develop a way to Slide over to the Cyndi Lauper awesomest utopia ever.  Fortunately, we all find ourselves in the thermally optimum porridge of the timeline with Lady Gaga, aka Crazy Eight.  Boy, are you all going to be surprised by her slithering symbiont army following the Great Teabagger** Upchuckal of ‘13.  Talk about being caught in a bad romance.  Oh, whoops, spoilers.

    And why did the LA Times have to mention it and rudely shatter my illusions?

    After they greenlighted a sequel to Tron, Professor h., I lost what remained of my capacity for surprise, Hollywood edition.  Besides, with the benefit of hindsight, they appear to have made it much more plausible by having Russia and China team up.

    And hope you had a lovely time in Connecticut this past weekend, Professor Bérubé.  The Elusive One didn’t subject you to a 90-minute Easter vigil this time, did she?

    *Basically nothing.  Stupid theoretical physics.

    **I know, but sorry, “Teabaggers.” It’s Lady Gaga, people.

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  10:08 AM
  26. Well my illusions were that Hollywood had a tiny bit of business sense. Tron has a ready-made audience of nerds like me. Who’s supposed to torture themselves with Red Dawn? People paying 8 bucks just to make fun of that… thing?

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  01:51 PM
  27. if I found myself living in the Michael Jackson dystopia, I would do everything I could* to develop a way to Slide over to the Cyndi Lauper awesomest utopia ever.

    That would of course be an Electric Slide, would it not?

    And hope you had a lovely time in Connecticut this past weekend, Professor Bérubé.  The Elusive One didn’t subject you to a 90-minute Easter vigil this time, did she?

    Oh, that was fun.  Thanks for remembering.  No, we simply honored the occasion by reflecting on how our Holy Father was being persecuted just like Jesus was when He assigned Matthew, Andrew, Simon, Bartholomew and Thomas to new dioceses despite the fact that they had been molesting children for decades.  It’s all right there in (Covered Up) Acts of the Apostles 11:1-25.

    Well my illusions were that Hollywood had a tiny bit of business sense.

    Two words, Christian:  Waterworld.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/06  at  02:29 PM
  28. Tron has a ready-made audience of nerds like me.

    Okay, bad example.

    Who’s supposed to torture themselves with Red Dawn?

    Tea Party Patriots(TM) looking for something else to pump their fists in the air about, while noting that the Kenyan Fascist is daring to negotiate with our ancient foe, the Russian Bear?  Neoconservatives who have been beating the drum for years about needing to get the New Cold War with China started before it’s too late?  Jonah Goldberg?

    People paying 8 bucks just to make fun of that… thing?

    Many movie theaters throughout the Old Confederacy have cheaper ticket prices than that.

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  02:30 PM
  29. yawn

    captcha “never” as in....off to Neverneverland

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/06  at  02:44 PM
  30. Oh, that was fun.  Thanks for remembering.

    As if I could ever forget that long weekend when I repeatedly tried to make your pants vibrate.  But you had left your phone in Pennsylvania.

    It seems that my crush will go perpetually unfulfilled.  Unless ... Hey, how about an invitation to speak at the university?  You could hold a workshop where physics students make ill-informed references to Popper, and you punch them in their throats while blindfolded.

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  03:03 PM
  31. Josh Hutcherson (has a role in the film):

    We’ve changed quite a bit of the story, but the heart of the story is there. The American, patriotic feel of the original, rising up against the invaders, is still definitely there. The Chinese are invading now, so we’re switching that up just to stay with the times a little bit.”

    A little bit.

    Posted by  on  04/06  at  03:08 PM
  32. We are all “Sheldon” now, when we party.  But sequels of bad movies made to change subtle elements, hoping to make worse movies, seems to be a recipe all too common these days.  Then again, it is now Confederate History Month in Virginia.

    Posted by  on  04/07  at  12:45 AM
  33. BSG? Why aren’t you blogging about Lost, oh postmodern one?

    [Word I must type to be admitted to the tree house is “but”?]

    Posted by Annie Em  on  04/07  at  01:34 AM
  34. I heard of “Lost,” briefly, when they used The Third Policeman as one of the “clues.” That is all I know about “Lost.” Ten years from now, however, I hope to have something to say about it.

    Right now I am trying to decide whether I want the Rangers to squeak into the playoffs.  Yes, it would be sweet if they swept the Flyers home-and-home to close out the season.  No, they do not deserve to be a playoff team.  But then again, neither do the Flyers—or the Bruins.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/07  at  08:32 AM
  35. I have discovered a truly marvelous proof that the intersection of the groups “NHL playoffs”, “below 100 points”, and “deserve” is the null set, but the margin of my iPad is too narrow to contain it, particularly as it also contains my proof that the function of # of compelling games (y) vs. # of teams (x) reaches a global maximum at x=64 and then drops off precipitously thereafter.

    Posted by  on  04/07  at  11:26 AM
  36. Obviously, this blog comment space is too narrow to contain the qualification for my second proof, that it holds true only for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

    Posted by  on  04/07  at  11:29 AM
  37. it is now Confederate History Month in Virginia.

    Cool--though it wasn’t a Virginia boy who jacked Ft. Sumter but...homie PGT Beauregard, the brains behind the South (as Jeff. Davis and even Granny Lee knew...tho’ confederate brass and bumblers didn’t enjoy taking orders from little Napoleon) .  Sacre Bleu

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/07  at  11:54 AM
  38. homie PGT Beauregard, the brains behind the South

    Yeah, if only Old Fuss and Feathers Scott had somehow realized that Lee and Toutant-Beauregard would one day embrace treason in defense of slavery.  Still, he had his revenge ... delivered by an enormous anaconda.

    Anyway, though it reflects poorly on my temperament, I’m with those around the left-of-center blogosphere who agree that there should be a bunch of “We whupped the asses of that bunch of slave-owning traitors” History Month proclamations.  Or possibly a “Sherman’s March Wasn’t Thorough Enough” Long Weekend.  Heck, even a “We’re in West Virginia / Kentucky, So Why Do We Wave Confederate Flags Around So Much?” Lunch Hour would be nice.

    Posted by  on  04/07  at  12:20 PM
  39. The Confederacy: It’s Never Too Late To Fail Again

    Posted by  on  04/07  at  01:29 PM
  40. In principle I agree--yet, according to Virginians, Old Fat and Feeble Scott was the traitor--a vote’s a mutha-f-ing vote, and secession was inscribed in the fine print of the USCON, wasn’t it.

    That said, it was essentially a West Point poker game, at least in the east: most of the major figures --Lee, Grant, Beau., Sherman, Davis--were west point products, in same classes in some instances.  And Lee played it cautious, traditional, stoical as did Beau. for the most part.

    Davis, Jackson, Stuart, and the country boys wanted to continue to Washington--they were what 30 miles from DC-- immediately after the rout of First Bull Run but Beau. (and Lee, supposedly) urged restraint, etc.  Tho’ Lee and his sharpie Toutant-Beauregard were certainly down wit’ the cause, Granny Lee’s conservative tactics may have cost ‘em dearly (as even a few hicks whispered).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/07  at  01:41 PM
  41. Well Lee didn’t want a bunch of country rebel hicks running all over his plantation either, since it sat across the Potomac from DC in Alexandria.  Keeping them johnny-rebs 30 miles away was a sure sign of what he valued.  The historical revisionism (not mentioning slavery in the proclamation for example) seems to run rampant in the South, making some forget that any universities and colleges exist. 

    Now if only the Cylon’s were the South, then BSG might make more sense; prepare to be assimilated, the resistance is futile?

    Posted by  on  04/07  at  05:58 PM
  42. @17 JP Stormcrow:

    I just saw my first episode ofFirefly.

    I wish I were you!

    Posted by  on  04/08  at  09:39 PM
  43. Ezra seems to be as ignorant of the actual history as most southerners.  Here’s a splash of cold truth:Bitterly Divided.

    There was an excellent interview with David Williams in the Atlanta paper in August 2008; I’m pretty sure it’s behind an archive wall now, but the recent screeching dog whistle by our governor tempts me to post extensive excerpts from the file I saved on my moribund blog.

    (Have posted nothing for months; I’ve been staying offline in an effort to fight depression and possible blog addiction by Real World cooking, cleaning, and gardening...)

    Posted by Nell  on  04/09  at  09:31 PM
  44. Nell seems to be making uninformed generalizations, and mistaking history for his/her PC-liberal ethics 101 course. Spare me the moralizing.  I’ve read most of Foote’s fairly balanced, non-sentimental accounts of the CW (and Catton back in the day), and I’m not from the south, nor taking sides--’cept to mention that most bodacious brigadier, PGT Beauregard (who, some southerners forget, also bailed out Gen. Lee in those nasty battles ‘round Richmond, leading up to the phunn at Cold Harbor).

    Besides, given Sherman’s march and Reconstruction the yankee-liberal-Fed. has sh**t to say in terms of “good” prevailing over “evil”.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/10  at  10:52 AM
  45. I wish I were you!

    I’m not sure if this envy is because I’ve at least seen one (as opposed to none), have only been subjected to one, or that I have the positive experience of looking forward to seeing the other episodes for the first time. Whatever, but you probably want to read the fine print on what else comes with being me before you wish too fervently.

    Posted by  on  04/10  at  11:51 AM
  46. I guess I’ll add my voice to those who dissent from the assessment that the fourth season sucked.

    As stated above, the attempts to tie up all the loose ends were annoying, as was some of the religious stuff.

    But the inter-Cylon politics throughout the season was great stuff, and — aside from those loose ends, the easter eggs and the resolution of the Hera arc, all of which were far too pat — the series had to end as it did in order to make any kind of sociological, biological and physical sense, given the series’ constraints.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/11  at  07:43 PM
  47. Chris, when do you watch television?  ...

    Posted by  on  04/11  at  09:37 PM
  48. Chris, when do you watch television?  ...

    He lies out in the desert at night, a vast ocean of stars before him.  Closing his eyes, he lets the cooling earth beneath him steal away the awareness of his anchoring physical body.  His consciousness slips free, and he plumbs the depths of space as a sprawling cloud of pure intellect.  Since spacetime geometry is thus as nothing to him, his viewpoint is not bound by the speed of light.  Hence he can swiftly reach a distance where the vast, tenuous wisps of his being can intercept the television signals expanding endlessly into the void, and ...

    Oh, wait, except for the pilot, BSG was on cable, wasn’t it?  My second guess would be Netflix.

    Posted by  on  04/11  at  11:11 PM
  49. Just wanted to make sure someone posted this for those who’ve made it through season three:


    I’m almost through season four, and yeah, no matter how much keeps happening, not much seems to actually happen…

    Watching the above made me remember how good the show used to be.

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  12:38 PM





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