September 4, 2010 · 10:26 pm
September 4th, 2010
You can follow along with the Cultural Catchup Project by following me on Twitter (@Memles), by subscribing to the category’s feed, or by bookmarking the Cultural Catchup Project page where I’ll be posting a link to each installment.
Marti Noxon faced certain challenges in “Forever,” transitioning from the tragedy of “The Body” into the season’s conclusion, but Jane Espenson faces more substantial obstacles with “Intervention.” She’s given the task of bringing back the series’ sense of fun and its second of humour, qualities that seem particularly incongruous with the grieving process still unfolding. The episode is going to be awkward no matter what you do with it, which is what makes it a difficult task for any writer.
However, Jane Espenson does awkward pretty damn well: her episodes are always strong at mixing the dramatic with the comic, and here she adds the tragic into the mix with little difficulty. “Intervention” picks up the story where “I Was Made To Love You” left off, comfortably settling into the path which will lead the season to its end and delivering some meaningful laughs along the way
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Tagged as Television, TV, Review, Jane Espenson, Analysis, Intervention, Season 5, Episode 18, Quest, Torture, Robot, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Buffy, Xander, Willow, Spike, Joyce, Anya, First Slayer, Glory, Dawn
March 21, 2009 · 3:02 am
“Daybreak Part Two”
Series Finale – March 20th, 2009
“Ever since we found out who…what we are…”
When the Battlestar Galactica Miniseries first began, there were two main questions: who are these people who are leading humanity forward after this devastating tragedy, and what is the nature of the Cylons who caused that devastation? It was part of that central binary the show put forward, humans vs. Cylons, but from the very beginning these are not two separate questions. In the character of Boomer, this balance between who/what was inherently questioned, as those who straddled the line between human and Cylon were forced to confront these types of questions. When the Final Four Cylons were revealed, they all fell on different sides: Tyrol accepted “what” begrudgingly in the quotation above, Tory downright embraced it, while Tigh refused to abandon “who” and continued to emphasize his personal identity.
At this point, we as viewers are all people straddling this line between “who” and “what” in the shadow of “Daybreak,” a series finale which struggles less from pressure within the show itself and more from the external pressure of fan expectation. The problem is that we, as fans, grapple with similar problems: are we concerned, moving into the finale, about who these characters are and what journey they have taken, or are we too caught up in the “plot holes” or the questions to which we demand answers? It’s not a new binary amongst viewers: for ages people have been complaining about episodes for having too few explosions, or for being too slow, or for not doing enough to advance the show’s complicated plot structure. Whereas for most of those episodes, I’ve noticed strong character development, effective mood building, and an almost cathartic sense of pacing that is part of what makes the series more than just science fiction.
“Daybreak” is an episode that, more than answering which side of this binary people should fall on, should destroy it altogether. This isn’t about plot, or character, but the intersection of these ideas. In the show’s fourth season, amidst some admittedly complicated and on occasion bungled storylines, one thing that has remained consistent is the idea that the definitions of human and Cylon are melding together. Much as Edward James Olmos argued against race being used as a cultural determinant during the United Nations panel earlier in the week, we should be beyond the point of considering these people purely along the lines of human vs. Cylon, just as we should be beyond the point of considering the show in terms of plot vs. character.
So, let there be no red line drawn down the deck: with this epic, sprawling, action-filled and philosophically-driven finale, Ronald D. Moore has accomplished what he set out to do. He manages to meld together the cheeky with the solemn, the profound with the surreal, the whimsical with the emotional, in a way that gives you that sense that destiny is not a four-letter word, that plot and character are neither slave to the other, and that whatever this show accomplished it will go down in a fashion befitting of one of television’s most effective pieces of programming, period, independent of its science fiction heritage.
So say, if not us all, then at least this particular believer.
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Tagged as 2009, Adama, Analysis, Anders, Angels, Athena, Baltar, Bear McCreary, Boomer, Cabin, Caprica Six, Cavil, Centurions, Daybreak, Daybreak Part 2, Doc Cottle, Earth, Edward James Olmos, Ellen Tigh, Entertainment, Episode 20, Finale, Flashbacks, Gaius Baltar, Galen Tyrol, Head Six, Hera, Hoshi, Hybrid, Identity, Kara Thrace, Katee Sackhoff, Laura Roslin, Lee Adama, Love, Mark Sheppard, Mary McDonnell, Michael Rymer, Mitochondrial Eve, Part Two, Quest, Racetrack, Retrospective, Review, Romo Lampkin, Ronald D. Moore, Sci-Fi, Season 4, Series Finale, Starbuck, SyFy, Television, The Colony, The Plan, Tigh, Tory, William Adama