(Don’t worry, no spoilers follow.)
“Battlestar Galactica’s” final episode, “Daybreak,” will likely rank up there with the “Sopranos” and “Seinfeld” finales as conclusions that seemed to come out of left field but yet wrapped up their respective series in satisfying ways. Yes, “Daybreak” isn’t quite the punch to the gut that the other two were, but it still refused to play it safe with a few startling twists and turns of its own, including the daring refusal to explain much of the mystery behind a central character. I had my issues with some of the suspension of disbelief during the final few scenes, but overall it was an excellent way to wrap up one of the best dramatic series ever made.
But will it ever find a wider audience? I hope so. As I mentioned in my review of season 4.0, I’ve seen some evidence that non-science-fiction fans could get into “Battlestar Galactica,” if they can get past the spaceships and the overall geeky vibe that permeates the genre. (And, no, I’m not a self-loathing geek; I’m happy to say I love stuff that many may find nerdy. I just wish more people were willing to get past their knee-jerk reactions to things they don’t know much about, whether it’s a TV series, a book, a movie, or whatever.)
This ten-episode collection is spread across four discs, with a much healthier serving of bonus features than in previous season sets. If you’re waiting for the ultimate two-hour making-of documentary, you’ll sort of find it here among all the featurettes, which include not just producer David Eick’s standard-issue on-the-set video blogs (11 in all) but also the 37-minute “A Look Back” retrospective, an examination of composer Bear McCreary’s excellent music, and more.
In addition, each episode includes the podcast commentary that was released when it first aired. Three episodes, including the finale, are also available in extended versions with new commentary tracks, and you’ll find deleted scenes for a few other episodes too. Deleted scenes are always a mixed bag, but the extended versions are all worthwhile viewing, since the per-episode time limit of a TV series mean that sometimes good scenes just don’t make the cut.
One of the featurettes, “And They Have a Plan,” serves mostly to ease the upcoming made-for-TV movie “Battlestar Galactica: The Plan,” which is supposed to fill in the holes in the Cylon plan that was heavily hyped during early seasons and then sort of fell by the wayside. Producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick acknowledge that, yeah, they were never really sure what the plan was when they began teasing the idea, so they decided to ret-con (retrofit the continuity) it with that movie. Hey, ret-conning has worked okay in the comic book world, so why not try it here too, right? I’m sure it will work out better than the “Star Wars” prequels.
Moore, Eick, and the rest of the staff were admittedly winging “Battlestar Galactica” during its run, working their way toward some sense of a conclusion while also dropping in new ideas as they popped up. As a result, the series isn’t as neat and clean as it could have been had all four seasons been tightly planned from day one. But what TV show has ever had that luxury? Given those constraints, this series did an admirable job of giving us a roller-coaster ride that didn’t make us sick along the way.