Monday, April 21, 2008
Battlestar Galactica setting a standard for quality TV
Most fans of Battlestar Galactica are relatively happy with the progression of the show during the first two episodes this season. Personally, I sometimes miss season one, where the action was seemingly non-stop and new plot developments came at us so quickly that I could scarcely recover from one bombshell before another was quickly thrown in my direction.
This type of inertia is admittedly difficult to maintain for any television program, so it's only expected that the series would slow down a bit over time. This is true of most hour-long dramas on TV, which initially are designed for a minimum six year run with 22 episodes each season in which to propel the plot, engage audiences, and still keep things fresh and interesting.
BSG is not that type of show. Breaking the traditional television mold, they've already told us that this season will be their last. "All will be revealed" is the mantra of show runners David Eick and Ron Moore.
That excites all BSG fans - but could we reveal "all" a little more quickly? The fact that there are a reduced number of episodes partially by design and also partially due to the writer's strike should add to the urgency to respond to all of the questions which we as fans need answered.
Despite the frustrations that arise from the number of mysteries yet to be solved in such a small amount of time, all in all, the fact that a finish line has been erected and a final end date for the show set will more than likely increase the quality of the writing, acting, and overall enjoyment for fans of BSG.
With LOST following in this concept with their own "six years and out" edict, perhaps all of television will begin to focus on creating a story with a beginning, middle, and end, inhabited by characters with fully realized arcs, instead of traditional television practice, which leans heavily on the "go for as many years as the network, advertisers, and general public will allow" model (see E.R.).
Because of their committment to story and characters over all else, I'm sure that BSG will be remembered as one of the greatest television series (not just sci-fi series) of all time - as well as a landmark in the episodic television landscape and a model of how to produce television shows for the next generation of aspiring producers.