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What LOST Fans Can Learn from Battlestar Galactica’s Series Finale

By docarzt,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 40

fullview_bsg75logoLOST fans should have been paying very close attention to Battlestar Galactica last night.  Why?  Because it ended, and while the writers and creative forces at large on BSG have no impact on LOST it was, none the less, an example of the general psychic climate for a grand high-concept mythology coming to an end.  How they executed it, how satisfying it was, etc., is not of importance to us LOST fans as much as the general social impact.  Sure LOST is big network show with a larger general viewership than BSG- so the atmosphere of LOST’s farewell gig is bound to be a bit noisier, but the sentiment is the same.

Battlestar Galactica was a great show with an accomplished history and a ravenous fan-base that most certainly felt entitled to the highest quality closure of a story they had dedicated heart and soul to.  Sound familiar?  Maybe it sounds a little like you?  Consider the ending of BSG a dress rehearsal for a little over a year from now, when the entertainment media shines a light on us – curiously waiting to see how we react to the end of our obsession.

The part that concerns me the most is the realization that no matter how the story ends the fans will not be satisfied.  It is a point of view that Ron Moore publicly surrendered to many times over, as have Carlton and Damon.  It’s not so much a creator letting themselves off the hook when it comes to the job of delivering what they feel is the best end, it is just them accepting the fact that the show has transcended the act of composing scenes and stories.  The end – in this case – involves so much more than answering questions, or giving fans closure.  The end is also an end to social rituals, the endless hours spent speculating on message boards, or meditating over what may come next.  The closing of the infinite vacuum of possibilities that lay beyond the end of “this week’s episode,” and the end of the staccato assault of teasers that keep us tuned in through the closing credits motivating us to take to the boards once again.

Those of us who feel like we have invested a large part of ourselves in LOST should pay close attention to what transpires in the Battlestar Galactica fan scene over the next couple of weeks – it’s a preview for what awaits us.  Will we see fans lose their minds debating the value of the series finale, and the questions left open?  Will the enormous societies of friends, zealots, and mythos gurus stick together – or will their communities crumble without new fuel to fire their imaginations.  Will the story continue in fan-fiction?  Or will the scene simply fade into the history of the show?  It’s our chance to be like Desmond, turn the failsafe key and know the future.

For my Feelings on the BSG Finale Itself, Visit This Link

  • ChuckFromAP

    Wow. That’s fire on the screen my friend. Chillingly true. An analogy to consider is that the end of these shows are often the death of the fan scenes, but not always. Consider wrapped in plastic, or the Trek scenes.

  • Henry Holland

    I have no doubts that Darlton will provide a nice ending to the show. What I’m prepared for is there’s going to be a lot of people going “Waah! Waah! They didn’t answer my little riddle that was only mentioned once and is of no importance to the plot”. I’m a little worried that it appears that the whole “man of science vs. man of faith” thing is/was a strawman, as they seem to be stacking the deck in favor of faith; I’ve only stayed with the show because all the crazy goings-on are grounded in, the very-least, pseudoscience, but if they abandon that somewhat-scientific grounding, I’m going to be very disappointed.

    For me, once the show ends and I’ve processed the finale and looked at the screencaps of the finale and all that, I’m done as a fan. I can’t see myself on blogs and boards three years from now debating Ben’s actions, for example.

  • briguyx

    I only watched the last ten episodes of BSG and frankly it was hard to see what all the fuss was about. It seemed to be a lot of nothing until the last two hours. I can’t imagine Darlton not having a lot more happening in the episodes leading up to the finale. And let’s face it, BSG left questions open-ended and they were big questions that were only answerable by saying, “Well, God was responsible.” On “Lost,” we may get “The island was responsible,” but I think we’ll be satisfied if there are resolutions for the characters. BSG gave endings for their characters, but they were more in the form of saying “we made it” and goodbye. On “Lost,” we’ll get characters getting emotional closure, giving the audience answers to big emotional questions about love and faith (I hope).

    And frankly, while the cast of BSG may be talented, they didn’t get to show it much during the last ten episodes. There’s more emotion in Sawyer raising an eyebrow. And yes, if I had watched all of BSG, I might feel differently…

    • Desi’s Brother

      briguyx writes: I only watched the last ten episodes of BSG and can’t understand what all the fuss was about.

      UM!!!! Can you imagine if some dumb ass watched only the last ten epsides of LOST!! Seriusly that is beyond lame. BSG was an amazing show, especially season 1 and 3. LOST can learn alot about character developement from BSG. I’m amazed so few LOST fans watch that show since they are similar in many ways, but in character developement BSG is far superior, especially for female characters.

      The finale was pretty good. I liked a lot of things about it and it did wrap up a lot of unresolved things. I can only hope LOST wrapps up as much in it’s last season.

      Ultimately Battlestar’s greatest moment was the Felix Gaeta Coup. It was pretty genious. They took a background character and made him into one of the most sympathetic characters on the show. It was completely believable.

      • Seriously, Season 3 was one of your favorite seasons? Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing happened besides the boring love triangle that, in the end, meant next to nothing in the entirety of the show. I agree that the character development on BSG is fascinating, more so sometimes than Lost. Only, BSG’s problem was that Season 3 got so unwatchable SciFi only was going to pay for one more season.

        I liked most of finale and am extremely conflicted towards the very end. A.V. Club said it best: “But even though I can look back at the last four years and see all of [the show], I’m actually really scared that Ron Moore thinks his AIBO is out to fucking kill him.”

        One thing that did bother me was that every answer was a complete cop out. God. God was the answer every time. I don’t know if you watched the BSG “Last Frakking Special” but Ron Moore talked about how they didn’t pick the final 4 until the end of S03 and didn’t know who the final 5 was until mid S04. Think about that. They had NO plan writing-wise. All the episodes that teased us about a large, grand mythology was just them frakking with our heads and explaining it as “a higher power” in the last hour of the show. I was thinking about writing a post on here about it but I’m so bitter on the subject I didn’t want to start a flame war about BSG on a Lost fan site…

        • Desi’s Brother

          I’m getting bit confused I think. Which season was the whole New Caprica story? I liked that part a lot because it was a surprise when they suddenly jumped 2 years.

          I have been less into this last season. The only really strong part was Gaeta’s Coup.

          I agree about the lame use of GOD as the explanation for everything. The Atheism of Baltar was one of the most interesting things about the show. But I did like that he was finally shown to be a Judas character. That his mistakes and evil deeds served a greater purpsose so therefor they were “meant to be”. I thought that was interesting in a narrative sense. But I agree, I was annoyed by the angels.

      • James

        “I’m amazed so few LOST fans watch that show since they are similar in many ways, but in character developement BSG is far superior,”

        Not in my estimation, and I’ve watched the entire run of BSG.

        “especially for female characters.”

        I’ll give you “strong” female characters, and yet I still personally like Kate and Sun and Juliet far more than Starbuck, Roslin and Six.

    • iamme

      Not that I think you are interested in watching BSG in it’s entirety now that you’ve watched the last ten episodes and thus know how the show ends. But I would only suggest that you do. Because given the type of show that BSG is (a show exactly like Lost in the way the story unfolds over multiple seasons and mysteries and answers are doled out along the way) I don’t really think you come from a place to comment.

      As Desi’s Brother said earlier, could you imagine what you would think if someone came here or to one of the Lost message boards after the Lost Finale and said, “Well I only watched the last ten episodes and it’s hard to see what all the fuss was about.” Granted this is a Lost board and you don’t HAVE to be a BSG fan, but as a hardcore BSG fan myself I find your comment kind of ridiculous to be honest.

      And DB, I have to agree again with what you say about BSG’s female character development being superb compared to Lost. I’ve never enjoyed female characters more than on BSG, and you can tell that the writers had genuine care for them and knew how to use them to their advantage. I liked the beginning of season three on New Caprica, but after the season descended into a bad love triangle/quadrangle that didn’t need to be there at all (*ahem* the similarities with Lost endure) it started dragging and becoming boring for me, but I think they rectified that rather quickly when they started to focus more on the Final Five.

  • I’m going to have to throw my lot in with briguyx about the final 10 episodes of BSG…except that I’ve watched the whole series. Lost since “Not in Portland” has been, with few exceptions (“Stranger in a Strange Land,” “The Other Woman”) eminently satisfying week in and week out, often transcending even its own high expectations (“The Constant,” “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” “The Brig,” “The Man Behind the Curtain,” every single season finale…). BSG only managed that precisely once: with the cinder “Earth.”

    Lost and BSG are mirror images in that BSG had an insanely talented cast but a mixed bag of writers, while Lost has insanely great writers (mostly) and a hit or miss cast (misses: Matt Fox, Evie Lilly, Michelle Rodriguez, Ian Somerhalter, Maggie Grace, Kiele Sanchez, Rodrigo Santoro). Guess which one means more. We’ve seen the results and it’s obviously the writers. Not to say that the rest of the Lost actors aren’t very talented…they are! Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson, Elizabeth Mitchell, Henry Ian Cusick, Yunjin Kim, Jorge Garcia, Naveen Andrews…all amazing. And some have stepped up their game over time, like Josh Holloway.

    Darlton has said repeatedly that we’ll get all the big answers…what the Island is, the Smoke Monster, the Others…BSG didn’t really give its fans that, IMHO. One of the very biggest mysteries on the show — the resurrected Starbuck — went completely unexplained. The “Final Five” were never explained enough (how’d they live 2,000 frakkin’ years?!?), Hera was kind of a red herring since she couldn’t have been the only survivor or survivor-descendant to breed with the indiginous proto-humans, and the creation of the other 8 models of “skinjob” was only addressed sketchily at best.

    If you want to see a show that gets allegory and metaphor right, watch the tragically cut-short “Carnivàle.” It kicks BSG’s ass every day of the week and twice on Sunday in that regard. (Tho, ironically, if not for its demise, Jack Bender would never have been working on Lost, so there you go…)

    But our expectations have been managed…every single thread won’t be neatly tied up. Every pet mystery won’t be addressed…only the big ones. Yes, we’re going to be aggrieved by the loss of Lost, the loss of the community, the loss of the ability to spend entirely too many of our CPU cycles analyzing this brilliant cultural creation. Yes, that’ll make any ending, no matter how awesome, bittersweet. But I still firmly believe that, unlike BSG or the Sopranos or even bloody Newhart, Lost will give us a destination every bit as grand as the journey. It doesn’t have to just be one or the other.

    • docarzt

      Agreed! Carnivale was awesome. They did explain the 2,000 year thing, but don’t feel bad. They did it in that blitz of expositional dialogue – which any freshman screenwriting book will tell you is a big no-no – that began with Anders and Ellen. So much came so fast, I can’t tell you which of them actually said it, but the explanation was that the five did not have FTL drives so their star travel was relativistic. Time passed slower on the ship then around it. The explanation of the final five was not very fulfilling at all. And what about Daniel? They seemed to just skip right over that. Of course the lead of Caprica, Eric Stolz character, is named Daniel – which means Ron Moore is breaking the promise he made to TvOvermind’s AstroJones, that Caprica would not expand on the BSG mythology and characters… naughty…

    • They did explain Starbuck. She was an angel. Thus leading to my issue with the BSG finale:

      “Uhhh… we made it up as we went along so a ‘higher power’ did it all!”

  • Rcatz

    Well said SonyaLynn

  • dolce

    This is hot. The best version since hendrix. It has haunted me since the end of the previous season. Take a listen ( it’s best through headphones ). Enjoy.

  • bonosk

    I’ve been a staunch fan of both LOST and BSG over the past years. While BSG has had moments of unrivaled greatness, LOST has been consistently gripping week-in and week-out; the depth and care of its storytelling are superb. The BSG finale wasn’t perfect, and not due to unrealistic expectations on my part. I felt that some parts were just not well executed. However, I always felt that BSG had all the heart, and LOST had all the brains. BSG always struck a truer emotional tone with me, while LOST always is a better-crafted and more complex story. After this week’s LOST episode, Namaste, as the story became even richer with continued uncovering of the Dharma Initiative, I was left with little doubt that Damon, Carlton, and the other LOST creators will end their series with a finale true to the greatness of every episode that came before it. It’ll be the last piece of a great puzzle spanning six seasons, and we will marvel at the completed picture.

    • docarzt

      That’s well said bonosk. I’ve always felt they were unique properties, but never tried to break it down myself; I say you nailed it.

      • Agreed. I’d rather have a coherent and gripping story be a first priority to succeeding in creating emotional depth. Both, of course, are essential. But sometimes BSG sacrificed coherent story to fit a unrealistic character arc. Baltar as a prophet? Lee becoming a politician? Don’t get me wrong, I LIKED seeing those characters be those roles. I loved Lee as president. But the way they got there was clumsy and took me out of the story.

        “The Constant” is the best example of how seasons upon seasons of subtle set-up can all of a sudden be transformed into one of the most emotional character moments of the series.

  • I think the BSG finale is the worst-case-scenario when writers don’t have a plan (as Darlton are so often accused of). “Deus Ex Machina” should be banned from television writing terms and re-branded as “cop-out.”

    They figured out the final 4 at the end of season 3 and the 5th cylon mid season 4. It makes the reveals somewhat empty, knowing they didn’t ever plan it out in the first place.

    When much of the core drama over the entire series is based off of mythological information unknown to the viewer, it deflates the story to know that that core was never there and the episodes were just fraking with our heads for no purpose or known direction.

    I was hoping that WRITERS knew what’s “all happened before and will happen again.” When they don’t know, it’s just a silly line with no depth or meaning that pertains to the show. I was worried that the finale won’t answer anything satisfyingly because if the writers did the show by the seat-of-their-pants, then there can’t be satisfying answers.

    • docarzt

      Yeah, I mean here is my feeling on Deus Ex Machina – it’s a great metaphor to be used within narratives, makes a snappy title, but as a literary device it is archaic. It is part of the dawn of narrative structure, back when an advance in storytelling was repeated over and over in everything that was written. We simply don’t do that anymore. Moore made a serious mistake using it here. Not only is it as rational as the modern mind demands, it makes him look like a throwback.

      • I agree. It can be used effectively, even beautifully. In the Lost Season 1 episode, the “Deus Ex Machina” title is meant to be tragically ironic. It never comes, which is why it’s perfect. It’s about the Locke waiting for a sign. In his efforts to be “shown the way,” somebody dies. Nothing and no one are there to save him. He is alone and more lost than before due to his dependancy on faith/the island. The episode ends as dark, with blood on his hands and him screaming to the island, “why would you do this to me?!” So perfect.

    • Desi’s Brother

      I agree that making “God” did it the solution was a cop out.

      However, the narrative techniques origins are in Greek Myth. Battlestar had a Greek Myth quality and the Gods were often reffered to.

      But, yeah I was annoyed by the completely one sided decision to go with God when the show had been such an interesting dialogue between Atheism and religion. I think the ambiguity was lost.

      It was also a really hollywood ending. It would have been so much more powerful if Agathon had died and when we see him with Athena and Hera he was actually a Cylon projection. That would be really tragic and frankly having it all end with a single mother would have been pretty sweet considering the strength of the women characters on this show. that was a missed oppertunity.

      What do you think Angel Baltar meant at the end when he said “Shh He doesn’t like when we call him that”?

      • docarzt

        I think it was bringing the whole religious context down a notch – maybe to service the atheists and agnostics in the audience. What it says is: none of the religions in the BSG Jihad were right, there is another layer of intelligent entities that were in play the whole time. The not-gods. A weak attempt to get them off the Deues Ex Machina hook.

        • Uncle Beaver

          I’m an atheist. I love the religious context. Just because I know there is no god, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy and appreciate a story about religion.

          I thought the last episode was great. And when I think about it, most awesome long-term stories, like TV shows, comics, and long books have had endings that don’t fulfill me the way the story as a whole did.

          I agree with Desi’s Brother on a lot. The Gaeta Mutiny story was fantastic.

  • Zetaprime

    There’s one crucial difference between Lost and BSG that I don’t think anyone mentioned..When Lost is over, it’s really over. The end. No sequels or follow-up movies. With BSG there’s the spinoff series Caprica as well as BSG movies yet to come. So it’s a lot more like the ending of one of the many Star Trek series where fans can continue to enjoy other shows and movies set in the Star Trek universe. So I expect that the BSG fan community will continue on for years to come. Lost will probably not retain any lasting fan communities after the series ends and everyone’s through discussing the ending and the meaning of the whole mythos. What might persist afterwards would be a small ‘cult’ following like the one for “The Prisoner” and other similar extinct shows that had a loyal fan base.

  • RodimusBen

    Everyone has their idea of what LOST “should” be. These ideas are very different. Hence, you are going to have a lot of pissed off people after the finale.

    • Yes but how many people will feel cheated? There’s a difference between “Oh, that’s not what I imagined Lost’s ending…” But hopefully it won’t do what BSG’s finale did for a LOT of fans: “That devalues everything that happened in the series due to it making absolutely no sense.” They cheated the fans under the flag of “It’s all about the characters.” If it’s all about the characters, then why have a show that’s so heavily based on mythological plots.

    • Desi’s Brother

      I didn’t feel cheated by it but I did feel a disappointed by some of the choices. I found the battle scenes boring, but that isn’t why I watch this show. The resolution of the Rosalin, Athena, Six vision I thought was really good.

      I was annoyed by killing off Tory, that was just ugly and way too easy.

      As I’ve said above the Angel stuff and the complete throwing out of all the Atheist stuff was disappointing. That was one of the most interesting aspects of this show.

      I did like that they were the founding population of Earth. That was kind of fun, although I don’t like the implication that we couldn’t evolve farming ourselves. That was annoying.

  • michael

    just had to vent about this as soon as possible: the BSG finale was shockingly, utterly and ineptly awful; meandering and boring to an extent that seems impossible considering the show’s S1 and 2 glory days. Pretty much everything turned out to be of little-or-no meaning or at best fuzzily-explained; the various choices the characters made were also…questionable from a realistic-writing point of view, although i can live with this because it was a show about robots and spaceships.

    The absoloute worst bit, however, was their re-use of the Sam Adams quote regarding physics etc. I can see how this speech was intended to flow and to sound, but sadly, as with any fiction, the most inspirational and eloquent moments will only ever as be as inspirational and eloquent as the writers themselves – which in this case raises some serious questions. This grubby little lump of faux-profundity was a clunker, and it amazed me when they pulled it out of the bag again. They should have known better, really.

    Anyway…venting accomplished. I was just very dissapointed by the whole thing, with so many questions which had seemed crucial to the show’s overall mythology just brushed aside or answered by having Starbuck vanish into thin air. Also, the budget-saving exit of the fleet was…blatant. CG work & rendering new footage is expensive i imagine – using 3d software quite a lot myself – but…the fleet was a character in itself, as was Galactica…and just having them dissappear fading into white seems lame as hell. The producer could do with a slap upside his head; we needed a proper end to Galactica (footage of ship ploughing into the sun, coming apart in epic fashion etc, bittersweet music plays) far more then we needed some different sentinal models. The repeated flashbacks – which were far less profound and artistic than intended, i think -also came accross as a blatant way of getting the series finished off with what remained of the budget.

    • michael

      …also some other stuff sucked: Cavil’s role throughout, Tory’s death, the clunking simplicity of the Angels thing (even though i would say it was always clear that the series was going to end on a more-or-less pro-faith note), and possibly the not-as-clever-as-they-imagined bit at the end about god being an “it” and not liking the name “god”. This last one seems to be some kind of wink to the camera or maybe a sugestion that actually god is some kind of computer or…something, but id also say that maybe im imagining more intended significance than was really there since im pretty blown today.

      …pretty sure that’s all out of my system now.

  • MiNaeClem

    I came across an interview with Ron and David about the finale:

  • Jane

    BSG fans sill have Caprica and The Plan to look forward to. Lost sounds like it will just end. Ive only watched some BSG and im still feeling a gap from it being gone. Im kinda apphrehensive about my reaction when it comes time for Lost to bid goodbye. I am glad that like BSG, Lost will have a beginning and an end.

  • Desi’s Brother

    The article on Discover magazine and the massive amount of commments is really good. People are REALLY pissed about the ending. I hope the LOST writers study these comments and try to avoid them. I think that Doc Artz should be invited to read the final scripts and give his opinion about whether the fans will freak out!

    For me the key problems with the finale were:

    There was no conflict on the HUMAN level. I was bored to tears by the battle. Who cares. That is not the strength of this show. It is the philosophical and ethical dilemmas. They should have had the battle in the episode before and found new earth and devoted the entire two hours to the debate on board Gallactica as to what direction they should take. I would have loved to see a series of arguements made in front of the fleet and had people vote on what to do.

    What would the human race do if it suddenly had a new planet. I bet you anything there would be whole groups of utopian societies that would form. There would be battles and in the end we would destroy the new planet again. (which I guess was implied).

    To me the essence of this show was that human technology has evolved beyond our own ethical judgement. And I would have liked to see them make the same mistakes all over again. It would have said far more.

    It was totally contrived to have everyone give up their technology. Sure it might be the ideal, but there had to to be a mental realization that that was necessary on the part of everyone. IMPOSSIBLE. For one half the fleet was devided in a coup only a few weeks earlier. This doesn’t not heal over night!

    For me the key is don’t wrap up the conflict. That never goes away. You can start a new life, but it will not be ideal. That was the biggest mistake. It sent them all off for solo lives and broke the family apart. I just don’t buy it.

    There are certain fundametal conflicts on LOST. Fate vs Free Will and Reason vs Faith. there should never be a resolution to these dilemmas. I love the idea of having the characters change places, but don’t decide a winner. That would be a mistake. Resolve the story aspects that make no sense but don’t take away the mystery. It is a really fine balancing act. How can you keep it so that we can still wonder but not feel disappointed. For me I think they need to realize which actors have the ability to pull off the emotional needs of the finale. That would be Desmond, Jack and Locke. It should be a Desmond centric episode because the writers are clearly considerably more inspired when they write his episodes than others.

  • dolce

    Wow. Loved that show. A lot. But I have to agree with you. Aside from what you said, watch it again, but turn it off right after Starbuck turns the key and you see the craters similsr to our moon and the planet that looks like Earth. Much better.

  • briguyx

    Well, even the BSG defenders use the words lame and cop-out when talking about the finale, so it couldn’t have been that good. At least the BSG fans have it better than the fans of “The X-Files” (which was once my favorite show). Once rather focused, it lost it’s way as far as the mythology went in later seasons due to the needs to keep stretching things out (super soldiers and faceless rebels, anyone?).

    Thankfully “Lost” got to plan for it’s ending. So far so good!

  • Desi’s Brother
  • Crazy Bearded Jack

    The “Info Dump” episode of BSG really destroyed the show. It was like they didn’t want to answer the questions within the plot, so they just had two characters explain it.

  • Desi’s Brother

    Another interview with the writers. My God what a load of CRAP! They just had no idea what they were doing at all. Everything is contradictory.

  • jersey girl

    I’m not sure where DocArtz got his intel that BSG has no impact on the producers of Lost. They have talked about being inspired by BSG and Ron Moore in their podcasts with some detail. I wouldn’t be to quick to claim that there is no inspiration or connection here.

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