"BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 4.5"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: ***** (out of 5 stars)
BLURAY EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5 stars)
Edward James Olmos as ADMIRAL ADAMA
Mary McDonnell as PRESIDENT LAURA ROSLIN
Katee Sackhoff as KARA THRACE
Jamie Bamber as LEE ADAMA
James Callis as DR. GAIUS BALTAR
Tricia Helfer as NUMBER SIX
Grace Park as BOOMER/ATHENA
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When the humans and Cylons reach the thirteenth colony of Earth, they discover it laid to waste with a toxic atmosphere and polluted soil and groundwater. Upon this revelation, the different races must decide on their new path. The Final Five Cylons are all revealed, and they are used to find the path to the new planet Earth. All the loose ends of the series are tied up in the final ten episodes of the series, including the final fate of the Battlestar Galactica, the results of the political infighting between Laura Roslin and Tom Zarek as well as the true nature of Kara Thrace and Baltar’s memory of Caprica Six.
WHAT I LIKED
I stumbled into “Battlestar Galactica” a couple years ago when I rented the miniseries on DVD. Since then, I have devoured the series on the SciFi Channel, including the TV movie “Razor” that came out two Thanksgivings ago. I count myself as a huge fan and have declared that this isn’t just the best science fiction drama on television, but it’s the best drama on television.
I was saddened to see such a beloved show come to an end, but I was simultaneously relieved that David Eick and Ronald Moore chose to give it a fitting ending and not jump the shark and turn the series into an ongoing, long-winded “Wagon Train” to the stars.
Ultimately, the final ten episodes were very satisfying. The choice of the final Cylon was inspired and brilliant. I can’t say I didn’t suspect it coming, but it was a bit of a curve ball. Similarly, the series wrapped up with its final answers in an exciting conclusion, which gave us the space battles we have been craving throughout the series run.
The show continued to have a wonderful grayness in the characters and situations, dragging the audience to root for a character one week and revile him or her the next. There were some gutsy choices in this series finale, in particular with Zarek’s storyline, but things were never needlessly grim.
The three-part finale wrapped things up nicely, but not too nicely. And it left enough open ended issues to lead into “Caprica” and “The Plan,” which I am very much looking forward to.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
With as much baggage as “Battlestar Galactica” has carried over the years, it was impossible to make a totally smooth bow out of the television schedule. Some of the episodes in the waning season did come off as one-shot stories that might have felt appropriate were there another season. However, like “Stargate Atlantis,” which also ended its SciFi run this year, I wanted a more direct path with more meat, leading up to the finale.
The only other complaint I had was with the direction of Gaius Baltar’s character. He had such prominence and relevance in the previous seasons that he seemed to take a weaker role in the last half of the season. I figure this is because he had already traveled his arc, but it was a bit sad to see him go down such a slope.
The Blu-ray of “Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5” is a phenomenal package. Each of the three discs is loaded with special features, mostly found as commentaries to select episodes. Not only do we get to hear Ronald Moore and David Eick comment on selected episodes, but the discs also have a slate of podcast commentaries encoded into the episodes.
Each disc includes deleted scenes and U-Control features. “The Oracle” U-Control feature gives dossiers and background on the different characters throughout the series. “Battlestar Actual” is a U-Control virtual cheat sheet of technology information. On the third disc, “What the Frak Happened to You?” is a U-Control feature that presents an embedded history of various characters.
Disc one includes a link to the “Ultimate Battle Card Game” through the BD-Live feature. There is also a 20-minute featurette on the development of the music of the show called “Evolution of a Cue.” The best feature on the whole set is found on this disc: “What the Frak is Going On with Battlestar Galactica?” This hilarious feature summarizes the previous seasons of the show with a fast-paced narration and clips, which include plenty of off-kilter jokes and quips.
Disc two includes 45 minutes of David Eick’s video blogs that cover the production of the show, including thoughts on the final Cylon and the cast’s favorite moments.
Disc three includes the features “A Look Back” (a retrospective of the last season and the series itself) and “...And They Have a Plan” (some thoughts on the original plan of the Cylons that has been promised at the head of every episode). There’s also an extended cut of the three-part season finale.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Sci-fi fans and drama fans, who should check out the whole series (also available on Blu-ray) before jumping into Season 4.5 cold.