ali_wildgoose: (Default)
[personal profile] ali_wildgoose
I seem to be in a foxhole of freaked-out productivity at the moment, which I will hopefully dig myself out of over the course of the day. HOWEVER! I wanted to toss out a couple links in the meantime that y'all might find interesting.

As you may have noticed, I had some issues with BSG and the things it chose to be and the way it generally conducted itself. A blogger named Abigail Nussbaum has quite conveniently articulated her own thoughts on the series, nearly all of which line up with my own but are far more elegantly stated, and I'd recommend in particular a couple of her posts I read this morning: Doomed to Repeat It: Battlestar Galactica, Thoughts at the End and Out of Focus: Thoughts on Battlestar Galactica's Mutiny Arc. The latter concentrates on one story arc but, within that, talks about the larger problems with the way the writers handled questions of ethics and human emotion; the former uses the failures of the series in general and the finale specifically as a springboard for talking about what BSG's widespread acclaim might mean for SF as a genre and how it will be handled in the future.

They're both of moderate length and worth reading, but there's one quote in particular that I wanted to pull out, as it touches on an issue that I just...COULD NOT get over, and was a large part of what ultimately made the show unwatchable to me.

I'm reminded of Fred Clarke's monumental, years-in-the-making takedown of the first Left Behind novel, and his oft-repeated complaint that this book posits the disappearance of a third of the planet's population, including every single child, as nothing but a starting point for its plot, with almost no acknowledgment of the awfulness of this event or the scale of grief and rage that should follow it. Battlestar Galactica isn't quite as bad as that, but its depictions of the reactions to the destruction of humanity are on too small a scale. People miss their spouses, their children, their dogs. They're angry at the discomfort and danger they live in every day. There's no sense of the magnitude of what they've lost--not just family and friends but culture, history, art, society--nothing on the level of this passage, from just a few chapters into The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Nelson's Column had gone! Nelson's Column had gone and there would be no outcry, because there was no one left to make an outcry. From now on Nelson's Column only existed in his mind. England only existed in his mind--his mind, stuck here in this dank, smelly steel-lined spaceship. A wave of claustrophobia closed in on him.

England no longer existed. He'd got that--somehow he'd got it. He tried again. America, he thought, had gone. He couldn't grasp it. He decided to start smaller again. New York was gone. No reaction. He'd never seriously believed it existed anyway. The dollar, he thought, has sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every Bogart movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock. McDonalds, he thought. There is no longer any such thing as a McDonald's hamburger.

He passed out. When he came round a second time he found he was sobbing for his mother.


This is a comedy. It's played for laughs, and yet Douglas Adams comes closer in this passage to what it means to lose your entire world than Battlestar Galactica has done in three and a half seasons of misery and torment.


...

Yeah.

Kinda yeah.

(Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sainfoin_fields for the link!)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neocloud9.livejournal.com
H2G2... I miss it. I should dig up the old radio dramas and give them a listen again.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 04:03 pm (UTC)
ext_6866: (Don't know yet)
From: [identity profile] sistermagpie.livejournal.com
Haven't read the articles yet and didn't watch BSG, but having followed all the Left Behind articles oh yeah, I get it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 07:06 pm (UTC)
ext_6866: (I'm still picking.)
From: [identity profile] sistermagpie.livejournal.com
Okay, have spent most of the day reading that blog. Oops. But still, really great articles--I liked some of the points on Kings, too, in the way it was like BSG in how it went about its world-building. I mean, how it's obviously trying to just say things about our world instead of being true to its own world the same way BSG wants to say "Let's get along" when they've created a situation where that's insulting.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 08:09 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-sun-is-up.livejournal.com
It's played for laughs, and yet Douglas Adams comes closer in this passage to what it means to lose your entire world than Battlestar Galactica has done in three and a half seasons of misery and torment.

Definitely agreed. BSG did a great job of conveying the angst of the now, but dropped the ball when handling the trauma of the survivors' past, namely the sheer scale of the apocalypse. Actually I think the miniseries did an okay job, but after that it was like everyone moved on way too quickly.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-white-rain.livejournal.com
A+++++++++++++++

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlh.livejournal.com
You know, what's really sad about BSG is that there was a lot of potential in the set up. We're talking about all that they did wrong because they could have done so much right, because they had the resources to do so. They clearly had a fantastic cast and crew, great design, great effects that made particularly the viper piloting to be exciting without feeling like one more person in a box in front of a green screen. So to have wasted all that on a narrative that pulled nearly all of its punches, yet wanted to be congratulated for getting into the ring in the first place, is almost tragic, really.

The one good thing is, at least it brought a bunch of great actors to wider attention.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-01 05:39 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-01 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] junglefowl26.livejournal.com
You know...I never even thought of that. Of all the things I would have accused BSG of, underepsenting tragedy would not have been one of them.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-01 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rawles.livejournal.com
I have not read these because I am currently SO TIRED of thinking about BSG, BUT I am certain I will probably agree because the one thing I have been discussing most recently about BSG as a whole is how one of the main reasons it stopped being the show I wanted to watch was because it completely lost track of the humanity. And a HUGE part of that is how it barely ever dealt with the sheer scope and reality of what happened to the human race. And that was always something that was made more noticeable to me as a person in fandom because that was usually a HUGE part of most of the fanfiction. Likely because that was what a majority of the fandom was also interested in.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-03 06:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spectralbovine.livejournal.com
That's a very good point. They did have the Wall of the Dead, but it seemed like they had enough of the trappings of their civilization on the ships to keep from being as devastated as Arthur Dent. And they had the Whiteboard of Survivors, which was sort of an indirect response. I don't know. I guess they could have done more, but it wasn't something I missed.

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ali_wildgoose: (Default)
Go make some new disaster.

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