Were you satisfied with the character arcs?

Discussion in 'Battlestar Galactica & Caprica' started by V, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. V

    V Commodore Commodore

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    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")

    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.)

    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.

    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.

    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.
     
  2. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    This again? Yes, I liked it. Next.
     
  3. V

    V Commodore Commodore

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    Well, what specific character arcs did you like?

    I felt Tigh, Tyrol, and Anders were ruined (and by extension, Cally). Baltar didn't really go anywhere.

    Though admittedly, I do think Helo/Athena ended up well.
     
  4. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    An absolutely mixed bag. Starbuck being a mystical angel with no explanation was unforgivable. Baltar becoming a farmer and overcoming his class snobbery seemed pretty appropriate. Tigh was ruined, but Adama and Roslin's arc went in the logical direction.

    Really though, it's hard for me to separate the character arcs from what pissed me off about the main plot's ending. The idea that everybody would reject science and technology like that is just insane to me. And a really, really bad message for a sci-fi show.

    "Embrace God! Throw all your technology in to the sun!"

    Ugh.

    Just.... ugh.
     
  5. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

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    A few of them? Sure. I could buy Adama being like, "All right, let's live off the land!" But THE ENTIRE FLEET? LMFAO. Some dude whose mother is dying of cancer is not gonna be like, "Woo! Let's get rid of all medical supplies and equipment! Let's find our way in a primitive and violent culture!" not to mention the general people who just wouldn't want to give up luxuries. You'd be hard-pressed to find a bunch of people these days who'd be willing to give up their iPods and laptops; and RDM wants us to buy thousands of people forsaking technology all together?! :guffaw:
     
  6. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    NuBSG is one of the best sci-fi shows ever and the character arcs all flow beautifully..... untl the end of the New Caprica arc in S3.

    Then the writing quality drops in a truly alarming capacity as every single character drearily meanders around from pointless forgettable plot to pointless forgettable plot until the show fizzles out with a dumb as shit "God did it!" copout ending.

    Romo Lampkin is one of the show's few saving graces towards the end.
     
  7. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum The Friendly Face of Brutal Facism Moderator

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    What luxuries? These people had been on the run with increasingly fewer supplies for 4 years, most in the equivalent of airplanes and cruise ships. Also they were probably running out of medical supplies, maybe giving the Galactica a priority given they had to protect everyone else. Most people were probably happy to not have to live in a cramped space the rest of their lives. I doubt they destroyed their supplies, they only mentioned destroying the ships. They likely used whatever they had left for emergencies and lived out their lives. Probably keeping guns and whatever ammunition they had left.

    Also most people wouldn't abandon their technology, but most people haven't lived how these people did. Also they went from a level of technology in Caprica to a lower level (somewhat similar to our current one), so abandoning technology isn't an alien concept to them. Especially when it is the only way your children and grandchildren will survive.
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I was totally satisfied with the character arcs in nuBSG.

    One example was nuStarbuck's arc.

    If you consult the unproduced sequel in Galactica 1980 to "The Return of Starbuck", entitled "Wheel of Fire", one finds that classic Starbuck would have joined the Ship Of Lights, had that episode been made. Classic Starbuck would have ascended to a higher plane of existence.

    Ascending to a higher plane of existence is exactly what became of nuStarbuck.
     
  9. Gep Malakai

    Gep Malakai Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yup. Completely satisfied. I could nitpick things here or there, but that would be silly. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole show, including the angel Starbuck and Final Five stuff.
     
  10. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was pretty much satisfied with how every major character on the show ended up. I liked how the show ended so I've very few complaints about the show for the most part.
     
  11. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Yep.
     
  12. Roshi

    Roshi Vice Admiral Admiral

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  13. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum The Friendly Face of Brutal Facism Moderator

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    I would have liked to known what happened to all the characters as they lived on Earth, but it isn't killing me to not know. They could have made the Starbuck reveal a little clearer, although they had set up that she was different since she came back and the whole prophesy that she would bring humanity to its end. Which she technically did, she took them to Earth, the end of their journey. In the show it seemed sudden, but it starts to work if you think about it and piece it together on your own. If it had been a little clearer, I wouldn't have to listen to people who didn't get it.
     
  14. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Starbuck "reveal" (Which I found to be the opposite as it was just raised questions!) bothered me in both its concept and execution.

    The entire show we're told Starbuck is *sigh* The Chosen One and it turns out that means she'll be replaced by an entirely unexplained mystical angel that will lead them where the plot demands? It's just lame. There's nothing for me to chew on or think about there. "God did it!" is just... boring. I like RDM as a writer but his spiritual views are really simplistic.

    When John Locke in Lost was replaced by MIB it at least had a point to it and was thought out on some level. Spirituality in NuBSG is pretty much the opposite of what I'd expect from a show. Endless strings of visions and divine intervention that rid the show of consequence and are never explained or cohesively put together.
     
  15. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum The Friendly Face of Brutal Facism Moderator

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    I went with the notion that it was Starbuck the whole time, she was just different. She wasn't the chosen one, she just had a part to play. It tied into Colonial religious belief of "all this has happened before and all this will happen again", Leoben who introduced the concept of her being a "chosen one" as you want to call it, mentioned that everyone has a part to play in life. Starbuck's role was to lead them to Earth. Part of that role included her dying and returning. She had to die in order to set up a chain of events that lead to her remembering "All Along The Watchtower" and to figure out that it was the jump coordinates to Earth. "God did it" isn't the answer, Starbuck got them to Earth, God only brought her back to life. Saying otherwise is a gross misinterpretation of what clearly happened on screen.
     
  16. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

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    So, God... did it?? :confused:
     
  17. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I uh... don't see any difference there.
     
  18. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum The Friendly Face of Brutal Facism Moderator

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    It didn't all depend on God doing anything, that's just the method they went with on the show. It could have been a Cylon experiment or other random thing. The biggest point is that it allowed Starbuck to develop more as a character and resolve the issue in the end. It was a single event in a character's development that eventually lead to the conclusion. Yes, God impacted the character of Starbuck. But so did Adm. Adama, Apollo, her parents and basically every other character she met.

    Saying "God did it" implies a cop out, "Deus ex machina" in an situation that actually involves God and machines. The proper use is when there is an issue so big or completely impossible to solve, so a god magically pops in and solves the situation. That did not happen on BSG, anyone who says otherwise did not understand what was happening. Also for what it's worth, the concept of the Cylon God playing a part in events was first mentioned in season 1 and advanced throughout the entire run of the show, mainly in association with Baltar and Head Six.

    An actual example of "Deus ex machina" is several of the Doctor Who finales under Russell T Davies' run. Rose gets magic time powers and wipes out the Daleks, brings Jack back to life and saves the Doctor. The Doctor uses satellites and psychic powers to de-age himself and save the Earth. Donna gets Time Lord abilities through a glowing hand and wipes out the Daleks and saves reality. All completely out of nowhere and all at the last minute.

    If you're just upset that it was God, then I don't know what your issue is. That storyline was set up years in advance and wasn't a last minute cop out because they couldn't come up with anything better. The whole concept of the Cylon God was a major part of the series, if they had simply ignored it or said it was aliens or some other stupid idea would have been an actual cop out.
     
  19. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It just seems... lazy. That the writers don't have to explain anything because a God can revive characters and give them visions of what to do when it is required by the plot. If that is satisfying storytelling to you then fair enough but I prefer the show to use different narrative devices. God and an afterlife rids it of consequence and weight.

    It doesn't do anything interesting with the idea of a God. It's just humdrum monotheism presented in an unambiguous, uninteresting way.
     
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    TOS Apollo was killed by Iblis, and then brought back to life on the Ship of Lights. (War of the Gods, part 2)