Manifesto Multilinko
Interesting links and notes on updates to my main website.

[add RSS feed][add RSS feed]

[to search, use Blogger search in top bar]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
BSG: why "religious elements" is not an excuse

(Sorry this got published empty initially - if you hit return in the title box, it publishes.)

Let's remember: this was science fiction, on the Science Fiction channel.

Let me take a little detour, before I get back to that.

Let's imagine Conan Doyle pens the following Sherlock Holmes mystery:

Act 1 - a man is praying in a church
Act 2 - the man is found dead in an alley
Act 3 - Sherlock Holmes investigates and the readers follow the trail of forensic clues - along the way we discover the man was devoutly religious and prayed every day. We follow along through muddy footprints, mysterious letters in locked drawers, unaccountable blood stains...
Act 4 - And then in act 4 an angel appears to Sherlock Holmes and says "oh God did it, he was tired of listening to that guy praying"

Satisfying ending, right? All ok because, you know, it had religious elements all along.

Ron Moore's ending is no different than when you're following along with the Pip episode of South Park, a humourous retelling of Great Expectations, full of period detail... and then Miss Havisham has robot monkeys. This is hilarious, because it is ridiculous. It's would be absurd for a work of serious fiction to start off in one genre, and suddenly at the end veer off into another.

But it's even worse than that. It might have been forgivable if Moore had said "it's all about the characters, I'm not making a big deal of the science".

But in fact, Moore made such a huge deal of making a "realistic" science fiction show that there's an entire Battlestar wiki entry on "Naturalistic Science Fiction":

"Naturalistic science fiction" (NSF) is a term created by the Re-imagined Battlestar Galactica co-creator Ronald D. Moore to describe that show's esthetic. NSF is meant to be a realistic take on the SF genre, with its roots in drama rather than adventure tales. It eschews science-fiction staples such as one-dimensional characterizations, clear-cut conceptions of good and evil, so-called "technobabble" (technical-sounding terms that have mostly been made up), and "deus ex machina" approaches (in which a seemingly intractable problem in the plot is solved using a previously-unknown technical capability).

The "no deus ex machina" part is looking pretty ironic right about now, isn't it.

So basically, Ron Moore explicitly set up the expectation that his show, while having background religious elements (a realistic part of fiction, since our own society also has such elements), would never be religious fiction.

But that's what he did in the end.
He turned it from science fiction, to fucking Left Behind.

That is total disrespect for his OWN STORYLINE and the philosophy of the show.

And this is not about some people "not liking religion". I think religion can be amazing. Have all the freaking religion you want. Just don't spend four seasons depicting a natural world with some unexplained elements, and then in the last hour say "God did it". That's not about religion, that's about BAD STORYTELLING.

Labels: ,