Rogue Element #104: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, ‘Battlestar Galactica’
By Avril Brown
I have been collecting comics since I was sixteen. I’ve attended Comic Conventions across the country, the last two years in nearly naked cosplay. I have a ginormous tattoo of my favorite comic book characters. I religiously watched ‘Star Trek: Next Generation’ growing up and was nigh inconsolable when Lieutenant Yar met her demise in a puddle of evil black goo.
My point is I am an established nerd. I have years of cred to call upon, but during conversations with people when I would admit to being a ‘Battlestar Galactica’ virgin, I would get that look, the one that just sneers, “And you call yourself a nerd?”
As I have explained before, for me an exciting new show or book isn’t something I just ‘get into,’ it is more as if I begin a relationship with the plot and characters. I become attached rather quickly, and I crave to have the whole story as fast as possible, reading two hundred pages at a time or sitting down for a five episode marathon whenever I can squeeze it in. Of course this also means when a book kills off a favorite character, or a show takes a turn for the worse, I take it to heart.
So in the last few years whenever a fellow nerd would say with utter shock: “You haven’t seen ‘Battlestar Galactica?’”, I would volley back with, “Nope…but how did you feel about the series finale?” Their looks of dismay, disappointment and disgruntlement, I felt, settled the argument.
For almost every person I’ve met who has preached how amazing, nerdalicious and must-see ‘BSG’ is, they would also admit to being let down by the way the series wrapped things up, and quite frankly I wasn’t ready to enter into such a vast emotional, five-season-plus-two-movie commitment knowing this relationship would only end in despair. Recently, however, that excuse has fallen deaf even to mine own ears, and for good reason.
This show is about the annihilation of the human race. Set several thousand years in the future, mankind developed an artificially intelligent robot called a Cylon, and eventually this new metal race turned upon its makers and brought bloody war onto the humans. The new ‘BSG’ (the most recent series is a remake of the original ‘70s ‘BSG’) opens forty years later where humans have been lulled into a sense of false security, having no conflict or contact from the Cylons in the last four decades, but all that changes when all but fifty thousand humans are obliterated in several planet-wide nuke attacks from the Cylons. Although this clearly is a science fiction plot, the series is centrally a human interest story. How will the last fifty thousand human beings react to losing their planets and their civilizations? How will they cope with each other, particularly now there are twelve Cylon models that look (and for some, act) like humans, sowing doubt and mistrust among the remaining people? How will they survive the perils of space, the relentless pursuit of the Cylons, and most of all, living in the aftermath?
Now, a mere two and a half seasons in, ‘Battlestar Galactica’ is constantly breaking my heart. There are couples I didn’t expect, and one I want that just can’t get it together. There are Cylons I love to hate, and some I’m hating to love. I want to kick Dr. Gaius Butler in the balls so hard they disappear into his body. Edward James Olmos as Commander Adama is a reliable rock of poignancy in every episode, and I just cannot wait to see what Starbuck does next. I’m worrying my fingers down to the nub wondering who else on board Galactica is a Cylon but still forbidding my boyfriend from spilling the beans. In other words, I am loving this series.
As I slowly mature at a glacial pace, I am starting to be able to delve into my fantasy worlds to a healthy degree of affection to where I am connected to the unfolding story while maintaining that emotional distance normal people find so easy. ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ though a powerful piece of small screen cinema, can also be slightly cheesy in its never-ending, heart-wrenching drama, which in turn makes it the perfect series to help me continue to grow. Therefore go right ahead and do your worst, ‘BSG,’ for not only do I need to learn how to take my licks, you make it so much fun to practice.