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March 27, 2007

Music Supervision

Spoilers: this post talks about the Season 3 finale of BSG and Jason Sutter's wrinkly bits.

So, yeah. They need to finish this whole series up. Not that it's completely unenjoyable - in fact, there were a number of solid moments last night. But at this point it wouldn't be surprising to find out the whole thing is some Matrix-like simulated reality.

And, increasingly, they're making some questionable artistic choices.

Regarding the finale, I actually started shouting 'No' at the screen when Tigh muttered "Said the joker to the thief." The idea that the Final Five Cylons are picking up on transmissions from modern-day Earth is a perfectly serviceable sci-fi concept. I just can't believe they went with such a hokey, overused song.

Heather Havrilesky's reaction in Salon is pretty accurate:

"Oh my God! My stoner boyfriend from high school wrote the season finale of 'Battlestar Galactica'! Why did Ronald D. Moore take a break and hand over responsibility for the finale to a guy who spent most of his time doing shots of Bacardi 151 Rum and noodling Hendrix on his guitar? Was that wise, really?"
No, it wasn't wise. By using this hackneyed tune, it makes the underlying concept seem weak ... which is a shame. Just as a for instance, what if that scene had been written like this:
Chief: I can’t seem to face up to the facts.
Tigh: I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax.
Anders: I can’t sleep because my bed’s on fire.
Tory: Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire.
It works better on basically every level.

Obviously, I'm picking on one detail. But this was the sort of thing that used to just work in BSG. Starbuck returns to her apartment, turns on the radio and Philip Glass pours out. Or, you know, the first time Apollo defied his father and renounced his military obligations.

At this point, I think we're either revisiting old territory (cancer!) or paying off new story arcs in a hacky way (Starbuck lives!). Time to wrap it up.

(Regarding Sutter's balls: Like BSG this season, I hinted at a compelling story arc but failed to deliver. Unsatisfying, isn't it.)

4 comments:

Chester said...

Seriously. It could not have been lamer had they used:

Chief: Some people call me the space cowboy.
Tigh: Some people call me the gangster of love.
Anders: Some people call me Maurice.
Tori: [Air Guitar] Wow-wow-wow!

Worst season finale to cap off the worst season so far. Their truncation of story arcs has really weakened what made the show so great in the first place. And somehow, even the political commentary in the show seems much more contrived than ever before.

Another problem I had with S03 is that it ended up getting much more like Lost in the sense of making up what feel like arbitrary rules to an audience purposefully kept in the dark as to the fundamental rules of the game. Which undermines what I think of as one of the most special aspects of BSG: that it's a sci-fi series that, unlike most sci-fi, establishes and sticks to realistic fundamental rules.

S03's finale also feels really exploitive of fan enthusiasm. They had better deliver something truly spectacular in S04, because if not, then I put the S03 finale as being beneath the dignity of "Who Shot J.R.?" shenanigans and more along the lines of "Bobby's alive! It was just a dream!" bullshit.

I'm probably being too harsh. It was still good TV in S03. It's just...man..."Purple Haze"? How lame.

Jason Goldman said...

Good points all.

And I think Purple Haze would have been an improvement over Watchtower. Here's how Watchtower ranks in the list of worst possible songs for that moment:

1. Uncle John's Band
2. All Along the Watchtower
3. People are Strange
4. Push It
5. Another Brick in the Wall (pt 2)
6. Sugar, Sugar
7. American Pie
8. Life on Mars
9. All Tomorrow's Parties
10. West End Girls

In other words, they didn't miss the bottom by much.

sutter said...

Aren't you going to ask me why my balls are taking Kamala Extract?

Jason Goldman said...

Dude, I already knew you were tripping your nuts off.