Battlestar Galactica’s Last Stand

Tonight is the ending of what has become one of my all-time favorite television shows. For the last few years, Battlestar Galactica has been consistently one of the best shows on television, and it is with mixed emotions that I wait for the 2-hour finale.

What’s even more surprising to me is that I almost missed the boat entirely. I’m still doing penance for doubting that it would even be worth watching.

To understand this, you have to take a trip in the way back machine. Come along, won’t you? It won’t hurt a bit.

It’s 1989. My favorite show was Star Trek:The Next Generation. I was in high school, and, I’m geek enough to admit, a member of the Official Star Trek Fan Club. (Shhh. I was young and geeky. Now I’m just geeky.) The fan magazine told of the unique opportunity for writers that the show represented. It was the only show where would-be writers could submit unsolicited spec scripts, even without agent representation. Michael Piller, the late, great, executive producer, was the guardian of this program, and he discovered some fantastic writers. Several of these are among my favorite writers working today.

The first writer I’d heard about who got a staff position through this program, was Ronald D. Moore. I remember thinking how cool it was that a fan could get a job on the show, even though I was not considering being a television writer (that idea came to me much later). I also imagined how much competition there must be, and felt a bit sorry for the people who read these spec scripts. I wondered how much crap they had to wade through to find someone whose script was even remotely produce-able.  At that moment, Ronald D. Moore became the first television writer whose name I recognized, and to whom I paid any attention.

But, the bad news is that I only seemed to notice when the episode was not my cup of tea. I started to associate him with all the “Klingon episodes” he wrote, and that was it. You know the ones, “Sins of the Father,” “Reunion,” “Redemption,” and “Rightful Heir.” I really disliked them, bordering on actual hatred. They bored me, and always seemed pretty one-note. The Klingons, with the exception of our “hero” Klingon, Lt. Worf, were idiots. I started to cringe every time I saw his name in the “written by” credits. Inwardly, I thought “Grrrrreat. Klingon episode.” and mentally marked it as a waste of an episode, and checked out. I figured that someone who could only write Klingon episodes wouldn’t amount to much once there was no longer any Star Trek in production. I stopped paying attention to him.

Fast forward to fall 2003.

Carnivale had just premiered, and I went over to a friend’s house to watch the first few episodes of the new series. It looked interesting. We watched the first episode, I really enjoyed it, and settled in to watch the second, when I noticed a name in the credits. Executive Producer, Ronald D. Moore. The cringe came back involuntarily. And yet, I’d <i>liked</i> the first episode. Surely, this wasn’t the same guy.

About that time, I learned that the Battlestar Galactica miniseries is in the works. I had fond memories of the original show, but, by now I’d seen it as an adult, and knew it really was a terrible show. Why would they try and resurrect it? And there were all these rumors. Starbuck is a woman. So is Boomer. Sounded sketchy. Helming the show? None other than Ronald D. Moore. The Klingon guy. I was no longer even remotely interested.

Then the miniseries aired. I didn’t have cable, and, I wasn’t really interested, so I didn’t watch it. But, the reviews were surprisingly good. And Edward James Olmos was on the show. There were rumors that it was going to be a series.

When it aired as a series, again, I didn’t tune in, no cable. Some friends had it on tape, however, and set the miniseries and the first half season in my hands. Semi-reluctantly, out of obligation, I sat down to watch it.

It was riveting. I was hooked. I wanted more. This was exceptional TV.

I still couldn’t believe this was the same guy, so, I IMDB’d him.

Yup. Same guy. But, this was a chance for me to see the whole picture, which I’d missed. He hadn’t *just* written Klingon episodes. there was “Tapestry,” one I quite liked. And “Data’s Day,” which was also good. Plus, several others were “non-Klingon,” and certainly above average.

Which meant I was very, very shamed, and it was time to eat a whole bunch of crow. And to get cable.

I really, really, really loved this Ronald D. Moore guy. His “re-imagining” of Battlestar Galactica capitalized on the things from the original series that I had always wanted to know more about, but were never really more than “flavor” in the original series. I’m really going to miss being on this journey. Thank goodness for DVDs. Bring on Caprica. So say we all.

Thank you, Mr. Moore. I’m sorry for being a stupid kid, and for thinking uncharitable thoughts.