Finally, the last Battlestar Galactica episodes have been released to the world of DVD! This is important because I watched the series strictly on DVD, and not as they aired on television. For the record, I have been dying to know what the heck happened to the rag-tag fleet and a bunch of dispirited cylons after they found earth, and amazingly, with the exception of a few small plot details, I was unable to predict how the series finally ended. My review of the DVD and season is after the jump:
The DVD set consists of 11 episodes, the last three being the culmination of the series, entitled “Daybreak, parts 1, 2 and 3.” This set features 15 hours of bonus content and three extended episodes that were never shown on television, which is always welcome in my book. Not one to shy away from three-hour plus epics like The Lord of the Rings films, I always say about extended versions, “more is more.”
There are deleted scenes and many featurettes to explore, like “What the Frak is Going on With Battlestar Galactica,” a machine-gun-paced recap of the entire series, for those who are either jumping into the final moments of the series without knowing anything, or for those who can’t quite remember all of the plot twists and turns since they last saw the show. As with the X-Files updates that used to occasionally air to keep even the most detail-oriented fans on track, this recap is a good move. Watch it before finishing the series, by all means.
The feature “…and They Have a Plan” refers to the text that appears during the opening credits, which speaks of the cylons having “a plan.” “What, then, is the plan?” ask writers and actors from the show playfully in this funny featurette. “Evolution of a Cue” reveals what show composer Bear McCreary goes through when scoring a single moment in an episode. The example is an “action cue” that occurs when President Laura Roslin takes an ill-advised but exhilarating jog around the decks of Galactica. The best of the bonus features are video blogs made by Executive Producer David Eick, which are wonderful and extremely informative segments regarding the production process of the show. The “Behind-the-Scenes Featurette: A Look Back” is another gem, a multi-part reminiscence by actors and production staff about the series. Engrossing and fun, this featurette really feels like the wrapping up of the series, where everyone has something nice to say about the Galactica experience.
Four discs each packaged with their own slipcase and unique character photos outside carry on the tradition of the other seasons’ boxed sets. The price-point for the Galactica DVD set is around $45.00, and when the First Season was offered complete, that was OK. When Universal recognized the show as the cash cow that it is, it began to split the seasons into two parts, for example Season Two was split in two, “Season 2.0 and Season 2.5.” Fine, but need each one cost $45.00, making the per-season price about $100.00? Steep, but for those of us who discovered this fantastic show at around its Third Season, it was like crack. You had to have it, and fast, no matter the cost. Thankfully Season Three was offered together as one complete unit, but now we have the two-part Season 4.0 and the final Season 4.5, which ends the entire series. I wonder, then, what the complete series box set will cost when it finally comes out? Ouch.
As a latecomer to the show but having heard the hype from friends for years, I can truly say that this was a time when the hype didn’t hurt my opinion of the show. In fact, the show is so good, it exceeded my wildest expectations. Battlestar Galactica is definitely one of the best science fiction television series, ever. As a loyal fan of the original Battlestar Galactica, comparing the two shows is almost pointless. The occasional nods to the old series were cute but unnecessary as this show had its own voice, and could certainly stand-alone. Sometimes even the tiny nods to the 70’s show in this series, whether it be a music cue or a story reference would actually break me out of the intense groove of an episode, as well meaning for the fans as they were.
There is no doubt that the tour-de-force performance of Edward James Olmos as “Admiral William Adama” will rank among the best heroes in TV history. It is no surprise that his autograph commanded $55.00 at this year’s Comic Con, where 60’s television legend Leonard “Mr. Spock” Nimoy’s autograph was only $5.00 more. The excellent Michael Hogan, who played Adama’s right-hand “Colonel Saul Tigh” better get used to being stopped at the grocery store by loyal Battlestar fans from here on out, as Tigh and Adama are positively beloved to sci-fi fans. Executive Producer Ron Moore definitely showed his creative leadership in guiding this show, and has proven himself as perhaps the reason why the best moments in Star Trek: The Next Generation were so powerfully executed under his supervision. The only obnoxious thing about the entire series, in fact, were the intended-to-be-funny end of credits shtick between Executive Producers Ronald Moore and David Eick, where a complete waste of computer generated time and money were spent on a different demise for one of their animated selves. A little too self-indulgent for my blood. Cheese ball bumpers aside, Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 is an excellent cap to a wonderful series, a must-have for both hard-core sci-fi fans and lovers of frakin’ good TV combined.