Top 5 things I wanted to see in “Battlestar Galactica”, but didn’tMarch 18, 2009
Yes, I know, BSG is not technically over yet – there’s still the finale on Friday – but for all intents and purposes, it’s history. And while I think it’s one of the best shows on TV ever, regardless of genre, it wasn’t perfect. Here are the Top 5 Things I Wanted to See in BSG, But Didn’t:
5) An episode with survivors on New Caprica
With an evacuation as large, complex and sudden as the one on New Caprica when Galactica came to the rescue, there must have been people (either wounded, knocked-out, or just out in the woods picking mushrooms) who were left behind. Little Hera is proof of that. Sure the Cylons probably made a cursory sweep of the place afterward, but under the circumstances, given the massive success of the fleet’s getaway, I doubt they made much of an effort. Realistically, there would have been a few stranded there permanently. I thought it would have been interesting to have cut back there for a Robinson Crusoe-type of episode (similar to the episode finally shedding light on Starbuck’s fate in the old series). But then again, that would have dampened the pace of the series’ main plot and feeling of forward movement with everyone finally together for better or worse. Still it could have made for an interesting one-off special like “Razor”.
4) Centurion integration into the new rebel Cylon society
We’re only given a couple of brief hints about life aboard the rebel Cylon basestar with the newly self-aware Centurion models: the humanoids have to say please and thank-you to get the big toasters to do the menial work now, and at least one displayed receptivity to Baltar’s seditious sermonizing. Beyond that, we don’t see the Centurions much and have no idea how their integration with their former masters is going. Certainly it has a lot of bearing not only on the social harmony aboard the basestar, but seeing as how the basestar will be the protector of the Fleet, the degree to which the Centurions are getting along with the skin-jobs has a lot of impact on the potential safety of the entire fleet and the survival of humanity. If only the show had a little more time, this is a plot line that should have been explored.
3) A post-singularity 13th Colony
Sure it was crushing for the Fleet to finally find the Earth, only for it to be irradiated and devoid of human – or Cylon – life. But it would have been perhaps even more devastating if they had discovered a world of post-singularity descendants of the 13th Colony – existing as intellects in the ultimate merging of humanity and machine; who, having evolved beyond the level of either species of refugee at their doorstep, want nothing to do with the newcomers and turn them back out into the void. A great way to explore a very cool SF idea, and more importantly, to explore to its furthest boundaries the idea of uniting the two species in some way to further evolution – showing the Cylons to be in the neighbourhood of a good idea, but perhaps not heading in the right direction.
2) What’s happening back on the 12 Colonies?
We haven’t seen anything of the 12 Colonies since the rescue of Anders and his group of final survivors. But since then, the Cylons have been through a civil war and seen their Centurions (at least some of them) given self-awareness. When last we saw the Cylons back on the Colonies, they seemed to be fixing the place(s) up and creating a nice life for themselves. What happened there when the civil war was raging out on the other side of the galaxy? Did they start fighting too? Did their battles come to a different conclusion than those of their siblings in space? Meanwhile, were there any other human survivors on the other Colonial worlds (remember, we only saw Anders’ bunch on Caprica)? If so, would they have been able to take advantage of the civil war? Would have been nice to find out, although, as with #5, that might have been to much of a hiccup in the pacing of the plot of the series as a whole.
1) Lost colonies
One of the features of the old series was that Galactica and its fleet, and often viper pilots out scouting around, stumbled fairly freqently on lost colonies – human settlements that had been part of the larger territory of the 12 Colonies in the past; or part of the old holdings of Kobol in its day; or stragglers or seperatists left behind by the 13th tribe on its journey to Earth. Yes, this happened so frequently that it was a crutch of the old series and one that got boring and stupid. But there was merit to the idea. You’re not going to have a great gaggle of tens of thousands of people stumbling along in a ragtag fugitive fleet of dozens, if not hundreds of separate spacecraft and not have a few of them say “nuts to you!” for whatever reason and take off in their own direction, or get damaged and put down/crash and subsequently get left behind. Sure, you might argue that no-one bailed on this fleet because they were all afraid they’d get caught by the Cylons, but there’s always some joker who can get people to follow him by saying “It won’t happen to us!” – and once in a blue moon he’s right. Whether they were able to thrive, or they died out, there would be some evidence along the way of people who didn’t go the full distance. Sure, Tigh makes a point of saying early on in season 1 that the universe is a pretty barren place, but in just a few years the Fleet discovered Kobol, New Caprica and the algae planet (and no, the algae planet’s Temple of the Final 5 doesn’t count as a colony world because there was no indication of prolonged habitation – all the humans and Cylons found was evidence that the 13th Colony had stopped, said “here’s a nice spot for a Sight of Interest tourist sign!”, put some cryptic stuff in a cave, then toddled off on their merry way). Three conventionally habitable worlds is a pretty good start and there’s no reason there couldn’t have been more that the Fleet didn’t find as it was madly trying to avoid its Cylon pursuers (and certainly not by travelling in a straight line). Then there’s the 12 Colonies themselves – 12 habitable planets in one solar system?! That’s pretty impressive – damn near miraculous – by anyone’s standards. That would seem to indicate there are probably other worlds out there that the 13th tribe could have come across on its journey. Of course, it could also indicate the early Colonials/Kobol refugees had terraforming technologies/techniques, in which case there would be no reason why splitters among the 13th tribe couldn’t have said “Nope. Tired. Gonna stop here. Good luck to ya. Nothin but love.” and made their own world. Beyond that, their spacefaring technology could certainly allow them to build space stations or create habitations in non-traditionally-habitable worlds. With all of these possibilities, there was certainly room for the Fleet in this new series to stumble across a lost colony, or at least the remains of one. Would have heightened the tension, I think. Sure, this could have become a crutch like the old show, but I don’t think they would have needed to have done it more than once to have been reasonable.
So what would be on your wishlist for things you would like to have seen in BSG?