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BSG Ending & mature stories

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:03 pm    Post subject: BSG Ending & mature stories Reply with quote

Today I finally saw the end of the remade BSG. Spoilers are obviously inbound beyond this point

---- Spoilers ----
What the fiddle?! Every now and then people do something completely out of the blue, they kill a favourite character, or completely twist their personalities until they make little to any sense. It’s like they get you to invest in characters just so they can kill them and smash them up.

In this case humanity spends four years fighting a guerrilla action, finally reaches a new planet, and is so tired by the war that they fire all their starships into the sun and give up all their technology.

And why? Not because of some philosophical revelation, not because they have any answers or are going looking for any. Just because they're all tired of their technology. Yeah, right. I mean it may just be me but I don't see thirty eight thousand people sitting down and all deciding to do away with their technology. Throughout the series most of the non-main cast have been shown as small petty things subject to precious little unity under any conditions even when the solutions made sense.

But even then it's like human society just sat down and decided to die, to cease to advance. And the worst bit is that any halfway decent cultural historian, anthropologist, sociologist, or philosopher could have told them that the questions they were asking, the answers that they were trying to generate depended on a vast store of knowledge that simply would not be available anymore one or two generations down the line. That simply giving up and sitting down doesn’t GO anywhere other than where you’ve already been. Reset a general simulation with roughly the same set of variables and over the course of several hundred years the minor discrepancies fade out, you get the same results as the original simulation.

----Spoilers ----

That's the moral they were building towards, that’s the answer? Forgive me if I find there to be a certain dissonance between the ideas of supposedly mature complex characters and the simplistic notions that are waved in front of us. I hate this: book writers, movie makers, script writers; they have this habit of posing quite obvious, yet in practice quite complex questions as if the questions themselves are some incredibly insightful thing, but they so rarely provide any answers beyond the equivalent of a shrug. We get it already humans suck, dragons are scary, monsters eat small children. Wouldn't it be nice to have a story where humans learn to live with each other, or even themselves; where dragons are respectable; where monsters are something more than animals? I’m not saying make it a kiddie story I’m saying mature stories consist of more than simply violence and telling people how messed up the world is.

It’s like respect: kids demand respect all the time; but the flipside of respect is duty, and until they get that demanding people respect them is a child’s demand. Problems are one side of a mature story, where’s the other side gone?

I suspect the answer is that it’s cheap and easy to build things up to a certain point and tear them down. It’s a quick way to make money. We’ve got throw away phones, throw away relationships when we leave the artificial environments in which they’re formed, throw away stories for throw away thoughts. How much deep thought, how much actual development can take place in a system whereby a series fears for its financial survival and thus is almost impossible to do truly long term planning for? How well can the stories that result from that environment be told when they’re extended out for hundreds of episodes in pursuit of an economic gain?

My favourite series is thirteen episodes long, the first few episodes build up characters that you can love, the later half of the series is an exploration of the themes those characters are introduced to but it doesn’t twist them, it doesn’t kill them just for the sake of killing them.

Maybe there’s just something I’m missing, maybe there’s some character interaction or something that adds to these things for other people. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really pick up on the emotional context of a lot of relationships even when they’re actually going on in front of me. Still it seems to me a lot of largely irrational behaviour is put on screen and called deep and interesting just because people don’t know what’s behind it rather than because it’s actually deep and interesting.

Ho hum.

Edit: Wasn't sure whether to throw this out in the today thread or not, meh.
Never forget,
We stroll along the roof of hell
Gazing at flowers.
- Issa
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Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for the specific ending to BSG you're talking about...ya, was a let down. And in general, hollywood likes to have big buildups with anti-climaxes, and it's an annoying habit.

HOWEVER, Squee does take issue with this:

Nem wrote:
they have this habit of posing quite obvious, yet in practice quite complex questions as if the questions themselves are some incredibly insightful thing, but they so rarely provide any answers beyond the equivalent of a shrug.

See, Squee's all-time favorite thing (something that popular entertainment tends NOT to do) is the unresolved ending. WHY do we have to have a complex question answered, when, in fact, real life rarely answers the complex questions, or when it does, never in a neat and tidy way like a movie? Tying up loose ends is something that we need less of honestly.

Movies have the unfortunate position of being entertainment that people expect to have fully wrapped up, and breaking expectations is a bad thing (leaving a movie theater with dissatisfaction rather than contemplation is the most likely result). Serials like television shows, on the other hand, CAN leave around loose ends (at least until the end of the series). Squee finds the serial medium to contain a whole lot more substance. It's what made BSG pretty good until the end.

Don't get Squee wrong though...simply having big gaping questions that the writers refuse to answer time and time again to prolong the "suspense" and "mystery" kills everything. (Squee's looking at you Lost.) Fringe is a show Squee things has gotten the pacing right; it resolves questions, while keeping plenty of mystery and unresolved issues happening. A very good show in Squee's opinion.

Edit by Tin: fixed bbCode quote syntax
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