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Old March 6 2013, 10:09 PM   #29
The Stig
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Re: Were you satisfied with the character arcs?

V wrote: View Post
Also I loved the ending, it was a satisfying conclusion to the series and couldn't have hoped for anything better. I know some people don't like it, but some people are just haters and can never be happy. That's why they try to ruin it for other people. I don't like Glee, but I don't bitch about it constantly and tear apart anything said by the creator like a stalker ex-girlfriend.
This is from another thread, but it brought up a point:

I feel that "the ending" of BSG was "bad", not in terms of "the last episode", but in terms of how the entire second HALF of the series went off the rails (Season 3 and 4).

The problems with Season 3 and 4 were slightly different:

In season 3, by their own *admission* the writers couldn't decide where they wanted the character arcs to go, so they meandered around (both Apollo and Starbuck and "existential crises" where they "didn't know what they wanted")
You're confusing inside baseball with any actual shortcoming in storytelling. The writers experimented with the characters, tried to find organic directions for them to go in. That Apollo and Starbuck would have periods of drift where they had no idea what they wanted was only natural. Both characters had their reasons: Apollo's needs to get out from under his father's shadow and Starbuck's self-destructive tendencies all played into their actions.


In season 4, the opposite was true: they had a set goal in mind, so they shoehorned characters into behavior and actions they wouldn't normally do (Tigh falling in love with a Six, etc.)
Tigh 'fell in love' with a Six because he recently discovered that he himself was a Cylon and had his entire worldview turned upside down. He also saw Ellen in the place of Six during the interrogation and wasn't entirely in his right mind. I think that, as a whole, Season 4 was very effective in putting the characters through the wringer and showing who would crack and in what ways. The utter destruction of Adama's emotional well-being when he found out about Tigh was particularly poignant.

In either case, I fee the characters behaved wildly "out of character" in the second half of the show. This isn't how the "Apollo" or "Starbuck" established in seasons 1 and 2 would react to situations...even unanticipated situations. Roslin was a loss in Season 3 too, as the writers admitted they didn't know what to do with the character. "Screw it, let's make Zarek just plain evil instead of morally gray" etc.
Zarak was never 'plain evil,' not even up to the final mutiny and airlocking. He did what he thought was right and paid the price when he came up short. Once again, you're using the unprecedented access we as fans had to the writers room process to fuel your assertion that just because the writers didn't have everything mapped out that their choices for the characters were wrong.

Now from the quote above, I've seen many people who say they felt the ending was "satisfying". My point is that it wasn't "satisfying" - it gave AN answer, but not a GOOD answer. In short, you weren't crying because of how the show ended, simply that it did end....the drama equivalent of a laughtrack. I.e. I don't mind that Kat had to die, I think the circumstances leading to her death were simply poorly written.
Are you seriously complaining about Kat's death? That was one of the most moving and heart-rending episodes of the series. As for your other assertions here, they amount to nothing more than taste. The end of BSG wasn't to your taste, so you're searching for some external source to validate your opinion.

Anyway, from the above quote, I want to be more specific. "I feel the characters became caricatures of themselves, and their meandering plotlines in the second HALF of the show were out of character". Well, you can argue against that....but what if I break it down?

Season 3 had a lot of problems, and there was a point when I realized that by *process of elimination*, no one was doing anything. I mean, I had to explain what happened to another fan new to the show, and I couldn't describe the arc of any one character in Season 3 -- Apollo and Roslin got better in Season 4 so this doesn't universally apply, but the shock when I realized they had so many characters and subplots that they couldn't devote enough time to any of them.

Introductions aside, let's look at a list of the "main cast members":

  • Admiral Adama
  • President Roslin
  • Gaius Baltar
  • Number Six
  • Apollo
  • Starbuck
  • Boomer
Then, you've got the prominent secondary cast members:


  • Saul Tigh
  • Ellen Tigh
  • Galen Tyrol
  • Gaeta
  • Dualla
  • Helo
  • Cally
  • Anders
  • Doctor Cottle
  • Hot Dog
  • Racetrack
  • Seelix
  • Kat
  • Tom Zarek
If I missed anyone please point it out.


So in terms of these characters subplots...no, I was not satisfied with how most of them ended up.


By a process of elimination:


Apollo and Roslin turned awful in Season 3, and directionless. Surprisingly they turned this around in Season 4....by just aping what they were in Seasons 1-2. Not necessarily "bad", but what was their storyarc? Apollo getting more political, Roslin having a relationship with Adama and then dying. Not the worst, kind of predictable, but they went so off the rails in Season 3 that it wasn't particularly satisfying. As for Admiral Adama....what exactly was his storyarc? He barely interacted with Roslin OR Apollo in Season 3....I mean, he had dialogue with them, but what the heck were the subplots? Not once did he discuss with his own son Apollo's marriage.

It was paint by numbers for them: "insert rousing speech here". And why would Adama *randomly* decide at the end that "I'm leaving never to return"? That was for shock value.


Starbuck....on the one hand, as with ever scifi hero, they gave hints she was a "chosen one" since Season 2ish, but had no real plan for what it was. Did the original Starbuck DIE at the end of Season 3, and this was just an angel who thought she was Starbuck? Was Starbuck resurrected by the gods? They gave no answers for this and "Starbuck is an angel" wasn't anywhere near what we were expecting. that being said, prophecy was part of the show so it's not as crazy as some of the other developments:


Baltar - all over the map. Why make a man of science become a cult leader? The writers didn't know what to do with him after he was president. They stretched out "Baltar in prison" for Season 3 for filler, then in Season 4 he didn't really "do" anything.



Six is an odd case because it depends on Head-Six or Caprica-Six. Caprica-six was underutilized and the plot with Tigh was absurd. The Head-characters being LITERAL angels contradicted the earlier seasons -- the writers admitted that didn't think they were angels in season 1, they invented that later.


Boomer - randomly make Boomer really evil, like Morgana on Merlin? That was forced.


Making Tigh, Tyrol, and Anders Cylons gutted each character, was absurd, and also wrecked Tyrol/Cally in the process (even before that, the writing for Tyrol/Cally was pleasant in seasons 1-2, phoned in in season 3).


Dualla never interacted with other characters, then they randomly had her marry Apollo, wasted time on a love quadrangle of doom, didn't use her enough then unceremoniously killed her off.


Gaeta and Zarek became randomly, suddenly evil because a Crimson Tide-esque mutiny would make for exciting TV.


Cottle, Racetrack, Hot Dog, Seelix? Faded into the background.


In terms of "character arcs" the only ones that more or less preserved their integrity were Helo and Athena.


my point is, it's easy to say "I liked where the characters ended up" but can you cite *SPECIFIC* examples? Most of the characters on the show got ruined.
None of your purported examples are specifics about anything except repeated claims that characters were 'ruined.' BSG didn't turn out the way you wanted, full stop. The rest is just a bunch of crazy rationalizations coupled with your disturbing obsession with RDM's management style.

As mentioned by several other posters, BSG set the stage from the very beginning. "I'm an angel of God" was uttered in the first episode of the series. Getting butthurt about a payoff four seasons in the making and then making the bizarre claim that RDM and his writers didn't map things out enough for your liking doesn't really make a whole lot of sense.
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