In recent weeks, the re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica aired its final episode, "Daybreak, Part 2," to much gnashing of teeth and dissatisfaction amongst its fandom. In fact, the series finale was so poorly received that SF Signal asked a host of sci-fi scribes how it should have been fixed. (Be warned, there are spoilers, but if you want a hint of what happened without ruining the surprise, this clip from Angel pretty well sums up the BSG finale.) Suffice it to say, the are many suggestions for improvement.
Over at io9, they polled the readership as to how the end of Battlestar Galactica compared to the finales of each successive Star Trek TV series. That seems inadequate, so let's stand "Daybreak Part 2" up against some of the more infuriatingly unsatisfying sci-fi series finales of recent vintage, some of which hail from the land of Trek [SPOILERS!]:
- Star Trek: Enterprise "These Are The Voyages..." - Turns out, none of the brain-dead retcons that Enterprise made to Star Trek continuity were true. It was all just a badly written holodeck program inside a lesser episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Put simply: Even for a TV show, the whole series was meaningless. As a metaphor for the pale copy-of-copy this show represented, this was appropriate. Captivating, worthwhile television? Not so much.
- The X-Files "The Truth, Part 2" - Mulder and Scully fail, end up as fugitives, never really learn the truth, but end up spooning in a hotel in Roswell, New Mexico. Oh, and its their replacements and supporting characters and guys from the failed Lone Gunmen spinoff that do all the work, meaning our heroes were plot devices, not protagonists. Yeah, that was worth the nine year wait.
- Stargate SG-1 "Unending" - In a finale that does nothing to resolve the (rather lame) Ori invason plot threads that plagued the series' final seasons, the SG-1 Team — sans Richard Dean Anderson — are trapped in a time loop that forces them to have maudlin character moments before hitting the big reset button, negating the bad writing we just endured.
- Battlestar Galactica "Daybreak, Part 2" - God did it, but he's not telling why. Earth wasn't Earth, but they get to Earth anyway. The only way to evolve is go back to being cavemen. Starbuck is dead, but she's not, but she's sad, but she's not, but she's gone. Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan were subliminal FTL navigators from beyond the stars. The Sony AIBO will kill us all. Awesome?
- Quantum Leap "Mirror Image" - Dr. Sam Beckett finally meets the strange force that has been bouncing him through time, and it's a bartender in a 1950s Pennsylvania mining town. And all his past missions might have been minor league trial runs to train him for the real job. Yes, Sam does finally make a selfish leap and save Al's marriage, but we also never get any real answers — except an assurance that Sam never goes home. Thanks for nothing.
- Angel "Not Fade Away" - Yes, Joss Whedon had to cobble up a finale after the network canceled the series at the last minute, but sending the whole gang on a suicide mission that never gets resolved onscreen is just painfully unsatisfying. The metaphor of a neverending battle is a little lost when the audience feels cheated. Plus, they showed us a dragon, and then we never saw anybody fight it. Not cool.
- Star Trek: Voyager "Endgame, Part 2" - Everything that was wrong with Voyager was encapsulated in this episode. The nigh-unstoppable Borg defeated as a B-plot. Borg tech and time-travel used as deus ex machina fixes for idiotic plot problems. Key points of past Trek lore (like the Borg Queen not being physically vulnerable) are ignored, and finally arriving at Earth is treated almost like an anticlimax. Aren't you so glad that UPN built its network around this show?
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.