I've always taken it to be Kobol

With these seven words, Jane Esperson, executive producer of BSG and writer of "No Exit" dashes many of my hopes for a great (and hard SF) backstory for Galactica.

They come in this interview by Maureen Ryan where the dialog goes like this:

Mo: Was Kobol the original origin point for humanity, or was it Earth?

Jane: I've always taken it to be Kobol.

Looking deeper into these words, she isn't saying that it is Kobol. She's saying that this is not something that gets resolved in the show or in the writer's room. She has a personal take on it, which means it is not something that was written into the show writers' bible. This indicates we do not see a hidden "real Earth" in the show, because a real Earth would concretely answer this question the other way -- the real Earth is the origin point for humanity, after all. So in her mind, it's Kobol. Other writers may have different thoughts.

This leaves us with a show much more disconnected from our reality than many of us hoped. This is like Star Wars, in a galaxy, far, far away. It takes place neither in our future nor our past but in another reality. The regular references to Earth cultural elements are literary, not literal. The "Earth" we saw is a Cylon-founded colony of Kobol. It has no connection to our planet, it simply has that name because that was the name of the 13th colony in the original 1978 series from which this show is derived. In that 1978 series, the "Earth" was the real Earth, but in a bogus and non-scientific "ignore evolution" way. The bogus story is removed, and what's left is a planet that is EINO -- Earth in Name Only. I have written before on why having a real Earth is the only story that makes sense and why the Ark story is so bogus.

The disappointment comes in several forms.

Make it real

First, I wanted this show to have the relevance to our world that can come from hard SF. As a story about a possible future for humanity, it could speak better to real questions about our future. What happens when we do build AIs? Will there be battle? What will our relationship be like? I don't want to be too critical here, because an allegorical story set in a Galaxy far, far away can still do that. But it missed the chance to do it really well.

And I won't even say it can't be done really well without involving our reality. For example, I vote Anathem (note: major spoilers in 2nd half of my review) to be the best SF book of 2008, and it is set on a planet that is not Earth but like it in many ways. On the other hand, it's the exception. The vast majority of the great SF novels have taken place in a theoretical present or future of the real Earth.

What the hell was up with all those clues?

Most TV SF gets this stuff terribly wrong. You don't count on TV for good hard SF. I would not have come to expect it except there were all these clues:

  • The flags of the 12 tribes come from our sky, our Zodiac. Makes sense if their culture comes from here. Makes zero sense if it's the Zodiac of a remote colony with which there was almost no contact and just sublight travel.
  • Starbuck says, "They looked up in the sky and saw their 12 brothers." That line never made any sense, now it makes less.
  • Adama identifies the Lagoon Nebula as M8, its 18th century catalog number
  • All those references to Earth culture and style, from the cars and suits to "All along the Watchtower." -- just literary devices, now.
  • "Life here, began out there" is the first line of their sacred scrolls. Their sacred scrolls were written on Kobol. Now it seems their first line was written somewhere else. The first line? That's like making the Book of Genesis a recent addition to the bible.
  • Those star patterns of the real Earth sky, obviously deliberate, showing up at the Cylon battle site but not at the show's Earth.
  • The formerly-thought-ancient monotheist religion battling the polytheist one.
  • The view of the real Earth at the end of season three, coupled with no view of the continents of the 13th colony "Earth."
  • The ancient legends of a Temple of Five which predate the 13th colony and even Kobol -- now turned into a Temple of Five much later.
  • The statement by Ron Moore in his blog that he would not ignore the known fact that humanity evolved on Earth while trying to write a Galactica "life here, began out there" story. And the biggest clue, reality itself.

The missed chance at true brilliance

These clues were hinting at an ending that I thought would be one of the best ever done in TV SF. The ending would have been to shock (most) of the fans, by showing them the real Earth as the secret homeworld, showing them that this story was relevant to their own.

What would have been brilliant would be to shock people with something that they already knew was the truth. Of course humanity comes from Earth. Yet by putting people into the mindset of the old Galactica, fans have forgotten that core fact. To have something you already know be a shocking surprise would have been great TV and a great ending. The greatest endings in stories that have a mystery element, is to surprise you and have you go, "Oh yes, I see it, it was obvious, how did I miss that?"

Perhaps the best known ending of this sort was the original Planet of the Apes, as I detailed the first time I did this rant. We get so used to aliens speaking English, and perfect humanoids on other worlds in our SF movies, but in reality it requires the planet be Earth or derived from Earth. Yet the audiences were shocked.

This ending could have been done a number of ways. We might have the characters meet their doom elsewhere, and then pull back to show real Earth, also in ruins. We might have the characters sit next to Earth, unable to see it, while on Earth observers note "isn't it odd, the Kobolians keep coming back, even though we programmed them not to return?" Or it could have been a more developed treatment of true Earth. It might have shown that the bodies of all 8 Cylons came from the DNA of the true Earthlings who fled to Kobol, showing the original DNA source for Six walking in New York City.

This is what BSG really looked like to me and others. Sic transit gloria galacticus.

The new logical problems

If it all comes from Kobol, many of those clues above now turn into logical flaws in the story. How do the 12 tribes get their flags and names from the sky of an obscure and forgotten colony? We know the 12 tribes were formed before the 13th tribe left, because Ellen said that they returned to warn the 12 tribes about the dangers of doing AI badly. The only remaining explanation is that there have been many cycles of time, and while humanity arose on Kobol by Jane's statement, somehow Kobolian culture arose on Earth. Odd.

And that Temple of Five. Built by the 13th colony on their sublight journey and not named the Temple of Five. So how does there get to be a legend of a Temple of Five? It was modified to that by some external force, but how did word of that enter colonial legend?

What's left unsaid

In just a few episodes, we can't possibly explore the history of Kobol to a satisfactory degree. Hopefully we'll get something, perhaps some hint about who the Lords of Kobol were, and why they cast out the 12 colonies, perhaps even why the 13th colony left.

But now the history of Kobol is the whole history. With Earth as homeworld, you don't need to tell the story of the rise of humanity to a technological civilization ready to build AIs. We already know that story. A simple "and they we built AIs and they rebelled, and they/people fled the Earth for a colony called Kobol" would have been enough to lay it out.

This in turn makes me fear we may get some mysteries left as religious mysteries. That might satisfy some viewers, but it will leave me flat.

Plus, as I wrote earlier, the plotting of the Final Five as victims with implanted memories of invented lives diminishes them greatly as characters. I care much less about the former personalities and lives of Saul, Galen and Ellen, because they are just Cavil's invention. (The audience never cared too much about the past of Tory and Sam.)

So is there any hope?

I don't see much hope. Unless Esperson is simply lying. Admittedly if Earth is the homeworld and that is intended as a big surprise, she has little choice but to lie to a question like that. In her position she can't easily claim ignorance. I would have hoped she could have said, "Why don't we watch the new episodes and learn more?" and the fact that she didn't suggests we don't learn more about this question in the new episodes.

Other minor notes

We learn in this interview that monotheism was invented by the metal Cylons of Caprica. That's quite a surprise to me. Ellen and the Final Five, we are told, convert to that religion. Yet Ellen also says that when the 13th tribe stopped and built the Temple of Hopes, they prayed for guidance to their home, and "god" showed them the way. But they were no monotheists so this has to just be her interpretation.

We also get a rather strange story of the fall of Earth. The people of Earth, though Cylons themselves (mostly fallen Cylons who had perhaps forgotten their nature) made metal robots to serve them, and they enslaved those robots and they rebelled.

In other words, the very story that is suggested when the skeletons are found, and supposedly shot down when it is learned the bones are Cylon. It is a bit odd, creating metal slaves if you are machines yourselves, but not impossible.

We also learn:

  • "The Colony" is not literally a colony, but perhaps a hideout somewhere.
  • Yes, it is Cavil who programmed the other Cylons not to think of the five.
  • It's still unclear just what it meant for the metal Cylons to "evolve" into the biologicals, who otherwise seem to be wholly products of the five.
  • The idea that Cavil arranged for most of the Five to be with Galactica and for it to survived is described as a good idea, but not one the writers actually laid out.

I'll go mope for a while. :-)

And before I get too negative, I should still say this show is doing a much better job that other TV SF shows at trying to keep its science right and blend it well with story and character. My sadness is that it seems it will miss out on the chance to be even more.


I wonder if they care if the 4.5 DVDs are purchased? I'm thinking no and wont and I'll look to donate the season 3, Razor and 4.0 DVDs I did purchased to the military, if they'll take it, and forget it happened like G1980. Maybe in 30 years some one can finish this story.

I wouldn't say there is no hope, and it doesn't rely on Jane lying. Remember, she says 'I always took it to be Kobol' and in fact, when referring to the planet Earth, she may be referring to Cylon Earth, not ours, as the very next question mentions to the destruction of Earth. Additionally, she never talks about the over-arching story, just hers. Who's to say what she does or doesn't know with regards to the show's as-yet-unrevealed mythology?

I'm still holding out hope. As you yourself mention, they have made too many deliberate attempts to show our universe, our constellations, our PLANET even, for our Earth not to exist at all. Maybe our Earth does not tie directly in to the story, but it is there, in some form.

However, even if there is no Earth, and the ending is disappointing in some fashion to me, I cannot disavow the show as others are doing. I have gotten far too much enjoyment out of this series to simply throw it away because the ending isn't what I want it to be. Afterall, it's the journey that is important, not the final destination.

On a side note, I'm currently re-watching the series from the beginning, so i will have more to contribute as I get further in, I hope.

But she is the co-executive producer. The one called upon to write the big reveal episode. She can't be out of the loop.

And no, I am not tossing the show aside, just lowering my opinion of it.

Not referring to you, but mr. anonymous up there, and a few others.

So let's say she is aware-- again, I call shenanigans. When she's talking about Earth, she's talking about Cylon Earth. When she's saying life began on Kobol, she means Colonial civilization. That's what I choose to believe, anyway.

Again, what producers and writers say cannot be relied upon, and I typically ignore them. I've saved myself a lot of aggravation that way. While they're comments may yield important clues, they can also serve to confuse and frustrate us. Best to ignore them entirely, I say. I know, it's hard to, and I don't blame you at all. When you love a show this much, you want all you can get.

But Ryan asked her about the "original origin point" of "humanity" -- to have her give an answer about the origin of colonial humans would be just plain lying.

Not that this is impossible. My favourite "keep hope" theory is that Ryan asked too direct a question, a question which, if the answer is Earth, would give a major spoiler. Leaving no choice but to lie.

There's a lot of misdirection in the "answers" that are provided on that post. They refuse to provide a timeline, putting us off until some comic book; "You're assuming it's a colony?". The question about Starbuck they simply refuse to answer. So if the origin of humanity turns out to be important for the storyline, I assume that they would not provide a straight answer. So I would take jane's "I've always assumed it was Kobol" with a large heaping of sodium.

If I was an executive producer, I would have responded the same way. I would like to mislead people into thinking that the answer is "yes, life began on Kobol", but it is not explicit here. Giving a personal thought instead of a straight professional fact is a different thing.

I don't think they should comment on anything while the show is still running. I think Brad is too pessimistic here, but as we all, he will watch the episodes and if necessary, adjust his opinion. :-)

But a more normal answer would be one like she gave for Starbuck. "Stay tuned." That's what bugs me, why not just say that?

People don't always pay attention or have the communication skills they think they have. She may not even be interested in the point or not care. For all we know it was just a gig to her and she's only doing media interviews because it fits with the studio's marketing plan.

The show's in the can and everyone's moved on to other projects now. Nothing we say will change anything now and nobody is going to blow their career by admitting a fuck up even if they know they made one. It's "the best show on television" until the next series comes out then, hey surprise, that will be "the best show on television" and not make all the stupid mistakes they made last time. In theory, anyway.

It's a show not a pacemaker. Nobody cares. But, hey. That's showbiz.

I think she's full of it. The producers and writers are not gonna come right out with the ending like that.

I went on and on about how that was in fact our Earth, eventually I've come to support the conclusion that it isn't our Earth or the same Earth shown at the end of season 3.

None of it makes sense if you go but what she says.

If you pay close attention to the Sacred Scrolls, they have the answer... "Life here began out there"... The first line of the Sacred Scrolls... If I'm not mistaken, weren't the Sacred Scrolls written ON KOBOL??? If the scrolls were written on Kobol, then the Kobolian people were saying life on Kobol began out there... Right?

I give up.

That's a good summary of what expectations were shaped and what's being delivered.

I'm happy with a big chunk of BSG, especially series 1&2, but have felt like bitching since the immersion bubble popped. A similar thing happened with "Bravo Two Zero". The guy who wrote that "true story" of an SAS unit during Operation Desert Storm spiced it up and got caught when a military expert questioned the memories of people and checked logistical reality on the ground. The book instantly went from a sure thing to stacks and stacks appearing in charity bookshops over night. I rarely destroy books but this was one for the incinerator.

It could've been much more and stuff like this rarely comes around. Brad's analysis has added a lot to the show's experience for me and some aspects of the show will stick with me, so it hasn't been a wasted experience. I'm minda taking the "this is the first day of the rest of our lives" view on this, and hoping the next hot-shot can take lessons from this and avoid them in the future. The search for "the best show on TV" may have kicked up a fake but that doesn't mean we have to wallow in it. The real "best show on TV" is out there somewhere. Who knows, we might find ourselves one day.

So, c'mon then. GET WRITING!

I dunno, I still very much enjoy it. Is it perfect? Of course not. Was it ever? Heck no! I can't stand some of the actors, I think some of the dialogue, especially early on, was very stilted. Most of all, what disappointed me in the 4th season was the sudden urgency in the storyline. For 3 seasons we'd been given small, steady doses of the overall mystery and quest for earth, with most episodes centered on the internal struggles within the fleet, and clashes with the pursuing cylons. Suddenly they announce season 4 as the last season and now theres a big reveal almost every episode. This show should have been 5 seasons.

I personally am not let down by the show as far as the answers go. There's a lot that I can gripe about story-wise, and the delay between seasons is intolerable to the point where I didn't even want to watch again (almost out of spite), but the show, again, was never perfect to begin with.

But it still is the best show on TV, now that the Wire is off the air.

That's a fair comment and I can run with almost all of what you said. But, I don't buy the "best show on TV line". They frakked up and abused that so am wiping it off my desk. I'm just watching the thing to the end - a let's get the deal done then move on sort of thing.

I've been watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. That's suffered due to the writers strike and studio interference but is getting back on track. They deliver what they say on the tin and don't make any claims, and has had more better written episodes than BSG. The only BSG one that comes close is "Black market".

I guess, this is just one of those things so there's no need to get too wordy about it. We'll take the good stuff, get over it, and life will move on. I've really enjoyed Brad's series on this and a lot of the comment has been great, so even if the show is heading down and out it's been an okay thing.

You kinda already know where The Sarah Connor Chronicles is going, before you even watch it, the writers aren't exactly reinventing the wheel with that show.

Galactica is basically reinventing a cult classic, not just filling in the blanks, and in doing so have to keep from alienating fans of the original, keeping the interest of fans who have a taste for a more sophisticated story than the campiness of the original, and have to worry about keeping everyone interested enough to tune into the final episodes and Caprica.

I'm not really aware of any fans theorizing whats gonna happen with Terminator... Sarah fails, she dies at some point, her son fails as a kid, and Skynet goes online... Ooops, sorry I ruined the ending for ya lol. You know that the end of Terminator isn't the end of the story, and that this show is not setting up the events in the next movie, or anything like that. What exactly is there to really theorize or imagine about what will happen with that series? Galactica is a totally different ball game, and even though we are all guilty of it because it is fun to do, theorizing what will ultimately happen with Galactica hurts the show because it builds expectations, but on top of that everyone wants different things to happen, and some take it personally when they don't.

In the end, it's ridiculous to criticize how Galactica's writers are ending the show when there are several episodes left... I personally think the writers are doing what parents do on Christmas or birthdays, the kids know what they got, the parents play that little game of telling them they got something else, and makes them open present after present, some are ok toys, others are dreaded clothes, and when the kid finally gets through all the stuff, the parents give them the last gift, and it's what they expected or asked for. If they piss a few fans off along the way, so be it, they are still telling a story that even the unhappy fans wanna finish watching.

And I think the acting is top notch, and the dialogue is good. I still think it's the best show on tv.

There was a time when I would've argued that out and got pissed off at someone laying stuff on but I don't really care anymore. I'm kinda happy where I am on this.

If you want good sci-fi drama and writing Space: 1999 and Blake's 7 still set the bar relative to today. BSG was a ride and Terminator is meaningful so American TV has just caught up with that as British TV is (finally) getting its ass together on presentation and budgets.

Another show will be along soon enough.

Space:1999? Really? Good writing? That's what you call good SF? I beg to differ.

I'll admit BSG has slipped a little since (in my estimation) mid-third season... but it's still the best SF show every made for my money, and up there with the best TV shows ever made.

It was good in its day. The stories were certianly more daring and character based than earlier and other stuff floating around. But, I suspect, you're just being argumentative and being thrown a couple of bones to soften the blow isn't enough for you.

"But, I suspect, you're just being argumentative"

Far from it. Space:1999 is in the same category for me as BSG-TOS: shows that I enjoyed in my childhood that I now realize were silly at best. I do have a lot of nostalgia for Space:1999, and it had a good cast (Martin Landau!) but I do not have any illusions that it set the bar for SF drama.

The stories strike me now as sub-Star Trek ideas. Character-driven? Really? How many episodes centered on characters taken over by alien forces or being deluded by illusory worlds?

"Ring around the moon", "the guardian of piri", "missing link", "force of life", "full circle", "the troubled spirit", "space brain", "dragon's domain".. and that's just season 1! (the internet is a great thing!) Most of the remaining episodes concern improbable aliens putting the Alphans in some perilous position.

Name two episodes in which the action is character-driven.

Space: 1999 was produced in an era when men were men and women screamed. Ditto Danger Man (Secret Agent for US audiences). The character is more situational than developmental but it's there. It also took more risks and had a greater moral dimension than typical American material of the time.

But, you're just arguing again.

"But, you're just arguing again."

Look, Anonymous (if that IS your name), I'm not arguing for the sake of arguing. I'm actually putting forth an argument, which I have backed up with evidence. You, on the other hand, are merely spouting an opinion, and have failed to even engage my argument. You simply restate your opinion.

"The character is more situational than developmental but it's there." Does this even mean anything? Please provide an example.

"It also took more risks and had a greater moral dimension than typical American material of the time." Again, please provide an example. I have difficulty accepting that Space:1999 had a "greater moral dimension" than, say "Star Trek" (which aired a decade earlier) or BSG-TOS (which aired a couple years later).

If your argument is simply that it was good for its time, that hardly means that it "set the bar" for contemporary SF.

It set a bar and things change. A lot of the experience people have is off screen. The American's certainly invested more in that then than the British did. Plus, the internet facilitates that more than it used to. Hence, the current BSG addiction to podcasts and so forth. I'm pushed to think how Star Trek was any more character driven and BSG:TOS was just a thin joke.

How is Adama pounding the ground and popping pills like a madman any more character driven than, say, the councillor on Space: 1999 being greedy for a one shot chance of getting a ride back home, and BSG:TOS any more moral than the classical tragedy that his ambition harvested?

What you're watching today is a perspective while you're caught up in it and you're raving because you've invested your ego in an adversarial position.

Serves me right for thinking one could have a civilized discussion on the internet with someone named "anonymous". So many minutes of my life I'll never get back.

I'm just throwing you a bone, and like some anonymous troll I'm dealing with elsewhere you just got your score. Todd, I can sniff a troll from a 1000 miles away. You've done it before and I knew you were going to be trouble this time. So, yeah. Set me up then blame the victim. Thanks.

In people getting into personal battles, insulting other users, debating who is the worse troll etc. Do not respond to people who insult you. Threads that are not about the subject matter (the show) will be deleted if they get annoying and nasty.

Yeah, I know. I tracked a middle line between letting it go and getting really nasty, and also knew that you wouldn't roll up until about now. That was deliberate because I wanted to raise the issue of preventative policing versus punishing the victim. I wanted to put that on the table. Plus, it might give you an idea for another topic. Ron might have given us "Earth" instead of Earth but is the Western model giving us "justice" instead of justice.

We can legitimately bitch about some of the narrative issue and production comment, and how the story has been fucked up and how it doesn't connect with us. But, are we missing the basic theme of the show? A lot of people don't seem to grok that and the more extreme fanboism has a mountain of irony about it. Ron has commented in passing that he has fucked up and it's something he appreciates people have to absorb, and they've missed that as well.

"All those references to Earth culture and style, from the cars and suits to “All along the Watchtower.” — just literary devices, now."

They were always literary devices. Even if the show turns out to be set in our future, the construction of a Colonial culture which closely resembled ours, from professional sports to suits and ties to the protection against self-incrimination, was a literary device intended to help the audience identify more closely with the colonials and their plight. If they tried to make a culture that was flamboyantly different from ours, even though on some level it would be more "realistic", it would distance the audience, and risk descending into camp (see BSG:TOS).

While indeed, these were such literary devices, what was intriguing to me and others -- and encouraged by Moore -- was their potential to be more than that. For All Along the Watchtower to be the real song. Moore said he used that song to show the audience a connection between our world and theirs. A literal connection would have been interesting.

As I said, I was hoping for what I thought would be a brilliant ending -- shock the audience with something they already know. I compared it to the ending of Planet of the Apes. If you look at Planet of the Apes seriously -- a planet with humans, and apes, and they speak English -- it has to be Earth, or a colony of Earth, it can't be anything else. Yet most of the audience is shocked to see that at the end. Shocked by what, in retrospect, could not be any other way. I think that's an interesting way to do a surprise ending.

Frankly, Brad, I think you're putting too much stock in the 'twist ending' as you call it. After all, they say in the opening credits that they're looking for Earth! I think most people-- most NON-sci-fi fans, even and possibly especially-- always assumed they were looking for our Earth. Even people not familiar with BSG and it's mythology assumed that the planet they would land on would be ours.

To be perfectly honest, I don't see the ending you're dying for to be brilliant at all. A tad predictable in fact (even though it's the ending i want), mostly because, as I said above, the show wasn't fooling anyone. In fact, nobody predicted this turn of events, something every good writer strives for. In a way, if Ron Moore DOESN'T show our Earth, he's pulling an ACTUAL twist ending: every viewer has assumed they'd land here, but in the end it's just another planet called 'Earth.' I'll be disappointed if we don't figure into the story, but not crushed.

Well, this show is obviously holding a lot of mysteries until the end, which is what it means to have a surprise ending.

There are many ways to do surprise endings. The best of them are ones which make the audience go "Oh! Of course!" -- they see at the end how the whole story has been building up to that point, how the clues were there but they didn't notice them. A few did notice them and are satisfied that they did. Some twist endings have some people go "WTF?" and then after they get it explained they see the clues and truth. And others just go "WTF?" and come from left field, they are not very good.

It is not necessary to have a surprise at the ending of a story, but it is common, and should be done well when it is done. The worst endings of all are the ones that just say "It's all a dream" unless you are doing that for comedy.

The reason I would have admired the ending I was expecting is that I started quizzing fans, and very few of them were seeing the clues. (Now it turns out that they may have been right not to see the clues!) I noticed (correctly or incorrectly) that while everybody knew that humans evolved on Earth, the vast majority of fans were blocking that out, and not expecting that as the result, in part because of the plot of the 1978 show. So what I thought would have been brilliant was to surprise people with something they already knew.

I agree whole heartedly with your assessment of surprise and twist endings. But I don't think most people had forgotten what they already knew, and I don't think it would have been as big a twist ending as had they not mentioned that they were looking for Earth. Maybe a little surprise that Earth started Kobol and not the other way around, but not a complete shock. A better twist ending would have involved them looking for an UN-NAMED lost colony, and in the end, landing on Earth.

But please, don't pass judgement on an ending that hasn't even arrived yet. It may very well deliver a satisfying twist, perhaps just as brilliant as the one you desire, just not one that you'd expected.

i think that they do find Earth! that's the whole basis of the idea of Battlestar Galactica! the funny or rather ironic thing about Glen Larson's BSG, the old show, that is is in the novelizations that he wrote for the shows, he would write Adama's journals in which Adama would bring in old stories about Earth. My books are long gone now but i remember one story about the moon miner that used a maglev system to boost himself into lunar orbit. yes even the book acknowledged that in reality the person would've been killed upon being captured. The books acknowledged that Earth was the true mother world, why Larson never brought that into the show whether it was time constraints or he never intended to IDK... But even in the old series there was some acknowledgement that Earth was the homeworld of humanity.

now in truth i've never been a great fan of the new series, too dark, to distressing, but the last season has for me been rather enjoyable, actually been looking forward to new shows. I still would've preferred a remake more faithful to the original but something is better than nothing. i say they do find Earth, our Earth, the human Earth...

I think they will find Earth, our Earth.

I do love the "darkness" of the new series. (Another term might be "realism". I mean, we're talking about a show that starts off with the apocalypse. That's an inherently depressing idea. It would be unrealistic if you went on and did a bunch of happy Star Trek type episodes afterward. We know, because it's been tried!)

However, I have difficulty believing that Moore et al. will put us through all of this and leave us with the extinction of the human race(s) at the end. I think there will be something that will qualify as a "happy ending", though it may not be happy for our individual characters. Something with the integration of the colonial and cylon human subspecies.

I think Espenson is misdirecting because the question was too direct and an honest answer would have dissolved all the suspense. I look at interviews as just plain fun for this reason. Occasionally you might get a true nugget of a hint, but mostly it's just marketing to stir the fans up into a froth. And lookee, it's working swimmingly.

and “god” showed them the way

This sounds like the words of a convert to me.

We know that the series has a very dark ending, but I think killing off every single character or implying in some way that there is no hope for humanity/cylons is just way too dark. Viewers would be so disappointed in that kind of ending that it would spoil all that came before. We know the ending is dark, we know that many of the characters die, but there has to be some silver lining, some glimmer that humanity ceasing to exist is not the ultimate end of it all. Knowing that, I think they find our Earth. Maybe the conditions are not ideal, maybe there is a huge sign at the door that says they're not welcome, maybe it's way in the past, maybe it's way in the future that no one is left living there. All of those potentials are dark without being disappointing. In fact, the idea that human and cylons must start it all over again plays right into the main theme of the entire series, that all this has happened before and will happen again. We keep starting over and over again, maybe this time we'll get it right. The ending becomes a new beginning (and, I dunno, a spin-off too?).

...or else we wouldn't exist today.


What RDM and the crew were always concerned about story-wise elements that would be universal to humans in any universe, not just our own.

Really, the only way it would have something to say about our world is if they traced the origins of the Cylons to one current form of Robotics. RDM has always been concerned about people.

As for "Life here began out there," Adama says this and Elosha immediately says that the scrolls say that the Twelve Tribes emigrated from Kobol, save for the Thirteenth Tribe. All along they were referring to Kobol, not Earth. As for that RDM blog post where he says (in referring to reconciling the backstory with evolution):

"I don't have a direct answer for this question yet. There are a couple of notions rolling around in my head as to how we reconcile the very real fact of evolution with the Galactica mythos, but I haven't decided which approach to take. However, it was a fundamental element of the orginal Galactica mythos that "Life here began out there..." and I decided early on that it was crucial to maintain it."

"I don't have a direct answer for this question yet."

He didn't know what he was going to do at the time he was asked this.

"There are a couple of notions rolling around in my head as to how we reconcile the very real fact of evolution with the Galactica mythos, but I haven't decided which approach to take."

He does have ideas.

"However, it was a fundamental element of the orginal Galactica mythos that "Life here began out there..." and I decided early on that it was crucial to maintain it.'

He says ORIGINAL Galactica mythos. Yes, we clearly established that Life for the COlonials began out there on Kobol. Though this could provide an out, that's the same backstory from the original. I re-read this awhile back and realized he may throw science out the window and have Kobol be the homeworld when I realized that thinking he merely meant "'Life here began out there' for SOMEBODY" felt like grasping at straws.

This blog post, often touted as proof the show will be in the future and have Earth as the homeworld, implies anything but.

I always had an ending I liked where the show takes place in the past and the Galactica rejoins their primitve cousins on Earth- Cavil in a last gesture of defiance before dying drops a case at Adama's feet, saying that he has no reverence for Athena and thus had no qualms about opening her tomb. Inside is a perfect reproduction of Athena's face- and on the other side we see it is some sort of organic tech, and when they take a mold of the inside, we see the face is not human. The Lords were Aliens wearing perfect disguises.

Moore also promised no aliens and so far has stuck to it.

In the original Galactica, "life here began out there" was only ever said to the audience. The original Galactica wanted to be a Chariots of the Gods, alien Ark story. Those stories were common in mid-20th century SF, but even by 1978 they were fading, especially as genetics became better and the results of geology and archeology became better known. Stories of a populated Mars with canals were also popular in mid-20th century SF, but vanished almost completely with photos from Mars.

You should not use that old Chariots of the Gods mythos today, and I think Moore knows it. I read him, in his blog, as saying he wants to reimagine the Galactica mythos in modern terms.

Anyway, we will see soon enough. Espenson's answer makes me think he took the EINO approach -- creating an alternate Earth where life began out there.

I don't consider anything canon unless it actually appears on screen. While interviews like this and the podcasts are interesting, they don't affect my enjoyment of the show for its own sake.

So, worrying about the implications of an interview when there are still five more episodes left I think is putting the cart way before the horse. If, at the end of the series, I am disappointed, I will be disappointed. But I don't see any point in being disappointed now.

I agree. I think it's premature to discuss any of this. There are five more episodes, potentially 7 more hours of TV (minus commercials) for the show to reveal the backstory. Once it's all over, we can debate how satisfying it is. But right now we should just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Hope is for losers.

i really dislike that canon garbage!

Canon is people just being anal but Brad's made a good case for sound narrative. People always want more or perfection whichever side you look at it. Modern Western society has lost the basic principles of maturity and that's something we need to develop again.

What's so bad about making a distinction between material that actually does pertain to the plot and story and other material that doesn't? And if adopting a "canon" is anal, what do you call analyzing every little detail of a TV show to see if it makes sense?

If I'm being "anal" or otherwise foolish for preferencing what the show actually shows me over a throwaway comment in a rather insipid interview, fine. I'm anal and foolish.

But I'm not about to have my enjoyment of the show ruined because of something as trivial as Espenson's comment. If the show actually tells me "Homo sapiens really evolved on Kobol and not III Sol" then I'll decide whether that ruins the story or not.

The issue I'm trying to highlight is the extremes of clinging to "canon" and "nitpicking". Nothing is clear cut or certain either way. For instance, some "canon" may be less athoritative than a producer remark. Also, some clown can take over a franchise and produce something worse than fan alternatives. Bottom line? It's a judgement call.

I don't understand why the value of the series depends on whether or not it is set in our future. Your questions are : "What happens when we do build AIs? Will there be battle? What will our relationship be like? " Whether the series represents our future, our past, or the travails of some civilization in a parallel universe is irrelevant to these questions. It's not like the development of the Cylons is based on interviews with actual AIs. That part of the series is entirely a fictional conceit developed by people whose expertise is in producing television (and who dabble in military tactics), not a realistic scenario developed by AI specialists. You might nonetheless find the struggle with the Cylons a useful exercise for thinking about the relationship between humans and AIs. But that should be determined by how convincingly that particular theme is developed within the show, not by the fictional relationship between our world and the fictional world.

It is indeed possible to write great stories in alternate worlds. My point is that if you do it in the real world, it's even better. I outline a number of reasons why it is better, but let me add another. It puts constraints on the writer to keep it real. The writer can no longer put in as many fantasy elements if they want to stay honest to the real world. One reason I (and we?) like SF over fantasy is we want the writer to be constrained closer to reality.

Not that it can't be done. And even not that sometimes you can't tell some stories better by allegory. But it's harder to pull off doing a real story, and often the result of something harder is something better.

But BSG could not possibly be in the real world. Even if it is formally, explicitly set in the future, and is intended to be our future, it's not the real world. Even if the writers closely hewed to known science, it's an invented future. the connection to our lives is arbitrary.

it is true that constraints can improve a story, though that is not always true. BSG, for example, has adopted some constraints rigorously, such as the absence of aliens. However, storytelling on Star Trek was far more constrained, yet delivered an inferior product.

All the properties of the human/AI relations that you're interested in are a product of the writers' imagination, and those properties will not change if the final episode tells us that this is our past (thereby violating what we know about the archeological and fossil records) or our future.

But his point is a valid one, and I agree with him. Stories can have more resonance and offer a broader range of appeal when set in our world, even if it is in the future, so long as the future is a believable one (and on Star Trek it often is not, as much as i like those shows).

One of the things that makes the drama on BSG so good is that it feels very real, and being set in our reality would add another layer of realism.

Clearly tastes vary on this issue. For me, the resonance, appeal, and so forth of a story depends on how well it holds together, internally, rather than whether it is fictionally connected to our world. Alvin, your mention of Star Trek is pertinent here: Star Trek is very explicitly held forth as a vision of our future. Yet (though I'm a big Trekkie), it has far less resonance for me than (the new) BSG, because of how believable the characters and their interactions are, because it shows a more complex world, connected to ours or not.

Another example might be Lord of the Rings, which is connected to our world loosely at best (technically set in Earth's past, I suppose), but has a great deal of resonance.

Again, as I hope I expressed clearly above, my favourite SF novel of last year was an example of something set in a different reality from ours. I don't at all contend that you can't write good fiction that way. Nor do I contend that it isn't more important to be sure you have good story, good character, and a self-consistent reality. These things are indeed paramount.

However, what I do contend is that it's possible to make it better if you can pull it off in our universe. More relevant, and indeed more dramatic, and more interesting.

I love Lord of the Rings, but I love it as a book. It speaks to good and evil, to strife, to interdependence, to fellowship, to how journeys and temptations and challenges change people. It lets you play in a world of wonder, with elves and hobbits and dwarves and balrogs. Great book. But I would give prominence to "Rainbow's End," even though Vernor is not as good at prose and character as Tolkien because what he explores (heavily networked worlds, cures for Alzheimer's, biotech for mind control) are much more worthy of good exploration, and say more about the human condition. In the ideal world a storyteller like Tolkien might write a story about a possible real future.

But my point in being critical here is to say, at least in my view, that Battlestar could have made itself a much better story if it had tried to be in our future. It isn't ruined by not doing so, just lessened.

I think Brad does have a point. I want there to be a continuity between our reality and that of BSG. I am holding out hope that this is our distant future (although I do not believe the "humans" are really our descendants in any natural sense).

Rereading the interview, I think that this was way too close a question to the finale of the show for Espenson to actually reveal in such a format. I think she was either throwing in a red herring or was being evasive.

My pet theory centers around the Lords of Kobol. Who were they? The Kobolians worshiped them as gods, but they were apparently mortal as Athena killed herself. What happened to the other 11?

I think it entirely possible that "humanity" did originate on Kobol, but the humanity of the series are not us but the creations -- either AI or genetic engineering or both -- of the Lords of Kobol. The Lords, then, I think are survivors of the previous cycle of "All this has happened before;" perhaps actual human minds in cyborg bodies or such.

In this way, "Earth" could still be our Earth. Many, many thousands of years ago, the Lords of Kobol left Earth for reasons unknown leaving the planet desolate but still habitable (as with Kobol). When finding Kobol, they decide to build a new civilization using perhaps their own preserved DNA as the seeds. Twelve Lords, twelve tribes named for the twelve signs of the Zodiac of their old homeworld, where their species evolved. That would explain the names of the tribes and their flags and emblems. The 13th tribe then would leave for Earth because somehow they already knew more or less where it was. "Athena" or someone else, then, would have been able to put the "map" in her tomb to give a remaining clue to anyone who might still survive the cataclysm that there is another tribe out there.

That's what I'm going with now. If I'm proven wrong, so be it.

If Ron only delivers "Earth", I think, Ron should only get a "paycheck".

Couldn't resist that...

While it is writable to have the Cylon Earth be the original Earth very far in the future, that does not mesh with:

  • Never seeing the continents
  • Seeing Earth stars in other locations
  • Not seeing Earth stars over Cylon Earth.

Mo Ryan asked about the "original origin of humanity" which is a very explicit question, designed to avoid games about 2nd origins of humanity etc. So you can't really equivocate to that question, but you can lie.

that's the first thing i read that made sense, you're all right

Whatever Cylon Earth is, I'll wait and find out.

The bottom line is that it doesn't make any sense why somoene like Espenson would reveal such a major plot point in a throwaway interview like this. It makes no sense. It would be like George Lucas in the spring of 1980 saying "Oh, by the way, Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father."

So, I don't think this is anything to make a deal out of. There's plenty of room for equivocation: "I've always taken it to be Kobol [until the writers' retreat where we planned out the rest of the series...]." As to "Was Kobol the original origin point for humanity, or was it Earth?" -- there's plenty of room to wiggle and not lie, by being careful about how you define "origin point" and "humanity."

Feh. I give a Q&A like this as much credibility as I would a supermarket tabloid.

I don't know if you bothered to listen to any podcasts before season 4, or maybe read interviews with Ron Moore, but he has stated from the beginning this isn't a science based show. Looking for answers to how it all works from a purely science perspective is not how the show works and being disappointed about it seems awfully silly after 4 season of the creator saying specifically not to do that. Ron Moore has made a great show and if science freaks aren't happy, no offense, but Ron Moore has said countless times, this show isn't for you, why not listen to him for a change, or just try and enjoy the show like normal television watchers.

He doesn't use the term hard SF and I respect that. Often times people take hard SF to be SF that focuses on the science, needs to explain everything. I don't take it that way. I think what hard SF demands is that the science be plausible and consistent, not that it be explained, or even play a major role in the story. Hard SF, while it has to have a basis in science or tech, is more about what rules it doesn't break rather than what it has to include.

And, aside from the FTL and a few other flaws (12 colonies on one star) which have been admitted by the producers, this show doesn't stop being hard SF just because it's in an alternate universe with an Earth in Name Only. What would make it inconsistent would be if it tried to set itself in the real Earth's past. There are three choices:

  1. Set in the real past. This was Galactica 1978. Completely bogus, bad SF.
  2. Set in the future of the real Earth. Most common kind of hard SF. Can be good or bad SF.
  3. Set in an alternate reality, but follow same physical laws. Not in the past or future or present. Can be good hard SF.

I was hoping for #2, we probably get #3. If we get #1 then I will be highly critical.

I want all stories, be they SF or anything else, to be logical and consistent. Nobody is perfect, but the better they do, the more it helps make a quality work. Even fantasy has to be logical and consistent, once it has laid down its initial rules.

I still think the idea that ending the series without OUR Earth will seriously hurt Caprica, something neither RDM and Scifi wants.

You have to view the business side of things. Keeping people hanging on till the end is good business, not giving people what they want in the end is bad business, especially when you have more to sell.

And I have to mention, Katee looked damn hot on Nip/Tuck tonight.

Hm. This is your only post I've read, but I don't see the problem.

First of all, one of my theories is that we (in real life) are not humans, but rather Cylons, much like the Final Five. The 13th tribe was a tribe a Cylons cast out of Kobol. The Caprica series could actually explain this in greater detail. In the previews, they talk about Death Clubs, where you can shoot anyone you want. So, since they're clearly working on Resurrection ("organic memory transfer") tech (Daniel Graystone is, anyway... also, how much of a coincidence might that name be...?), perhaps more and more people are effectively Cylons. I know this takes place on Caprica, ~2000 years after Kobol, but it isn't hard to imagine it taking place on Kobol before the exodus.

Now, these "Cylon" beings set out to find Earth. Presumably, what with settling a civilization, things such as resurrection would be left by the wayside, their tech would drop significantly for hundreds (thousands?) of years, and it would be all but a myth. Then they create machines (not knowing that they are the descendants of "machines"), have a war with them (it could be that there was a holocaust, much like the Colonies), and they set out to warn the Colonies. Regarding the issue of everything in our current Earth being remarkably genetically similar, it's very conceivable that the 13th tribe would've wanted to "seed" Earth to look like Kobolian life, which they were used to.

As for the star patterns, I guess I'm a bit puzzled too, but honestly, I've never once noticed them, nor do I think it would be significant. I can't imagine that in the last episode they'd flash back to previous episodes, see the similar star patterns, then pan out and reveal just how close Earth was. I don't know about you, but to me that would be cheesy as hell, and a much bigger let down than an alternate reality version.

In hindsight I don't mean "clearly" working on organic memory transfer, but it could explain the Death Clubs. The "thrill" of killing people and the "thrill" of being killed with no consequences whatsoever somewhat imply that, in my thinking.

The Caprica scene you saw is a virtual reality parlour. The killing clubs are all in-game.

No, the "seeded Earth" plot is not even remotely possible, at least from a logical point of view. Trust me on this one, this question has been done to death in the creationist debates. This planet ain't seeded at that level. It's got a fossil record going back a billion years, all related to us.

This planet could be a virtual reality of course. Many stories have done that plot.

Ah, didn't realize those were VR parlours. Well that's interesting. At any rate, they still did have resurrection-like tech (at least primitively), and the theory could still work.

As far as this Earth being seeded, I see your point. On the other hand (and I'm not saying I necessarily think this... just a thought)... could it be that the time cycles ("all this has happened before, all this will happen again") are sufficiently far apart (read: yes, billions) that life could effectively restart after the 13th colony's destruction of Earth? What happens in between there would be a huge, huge gap for sure, one that doesn't even begin to be answered in the series. Or Earth could be one of many Earth-like planets that the cycle happens (maybe even in a semi-random rotation)... so that our "rotation" last happened billions of years ago, while others have been going on every 5-10,000 years. So our real-life future could conceivably coincide with our rotation. Of course that would be the Cylons would've had to devolve and re-evolve into us/happen to arrive right about the time Neanderthals were here and wipe them out, etc. Pretty far fetched, for sure.

When they did show us an Earth (with North America) at the end of season 3, it was our planet, in fact it was a 21st century photograph but I will attribute that to a lazy graphics department. However, it wasn't many millions of years past or future because continents move. (The Mississippi Delta is an artificial object and changes in decades, not millions of years.)

The Earth is about 4 billion years old, the sun 5 billion. It only has another 5 billion to go. Life here could have been seeded a billion years ago, but most feeling is it started about 3 billion years ago, and went complex just under a billion years ago.

People have missed this before and I'm surprised you haven't raised it: with advanced genetic engineering, I suppose, it's possible to integrate species from different worlds. This would make an initial evolution on, say, Kobol, and them landing in our history consistent with the Atlantis style mythology of the show.

You can write a story of a planet that was colonized. It just isn't our Earth. All the life on Earth is closely related. Follow the link above about Ark stories to see more details of why you can't make this work. Our history is deep, and interwoven with the history of our animals (who have their own deep and different but intertwined history) and even with the geology of our planet. And I mean more than our written history, I mean the full story, including all our migrations and the migrations of animals which tied to water levels and continental drift. It all fits together. You can't just plop humans down in a recent time and make it fit, people have tried.

I've read your comments on this. They're not the issue. What I'm suggesting is that a genetic integration could take place between an indiginous and outside population. Advanced genetics would enable this. If it was done well enough it might look like a mere evolutionary branch. Sure, it's a small window but doable.

If the basic genetics was different enough so that the seperately evolved life was incompatible they'd have to do something just to be able to digest food. It's possible that seperate evolution would tend to produce similar designs so their may be a high degree of surface compatibility, and cherry picking at the genetics level would allow the outside population to fit in without a bump.

Most xenobiology is a guess at the moment, and genetics is in its infancy. My focus is on the overlap of potential.

But first I think it would be extremely difficult to do. We don't have any unique genes. All our genes are found in other animals. 30% of our genes are found in mushrooms! So if we were alien, you would have to replace the complete genome to integrate it with the plants and animals here. What you describe is akin to taking a mushroom and saying "let's modify its DNA enough that it blends in like a member of the Johnson family down the street."

But let's imagine that you could do that. What are those multi-million year old proto-hominid fossils from? Why are the people in Australia black, but different from the ones of Africa? Why are the native americans different from the Europeans and not immune to their diseases?

Okay, we're on the same page with these issues.

Looking at our bodies as just a system we're attached to does kick up questions: conciousness exists within the context of whatever the broader stuff the universe is made of, not whether a piece of clay is shaped this way or that way.

Some of the ideas popular in relatively recent history are as different from today as today may be from tomorrow. For instance, Romans threw unfit babies on the town rubbish tip and bare chested warriors used to shag horses in public ceremonies to absorb their spiritual strength. People may react with horror or laugh, and I can understand that, but people have their reasons.

I declare Brad to be the biggest douchebag of 2008. Nice spoiler on Anathem.

Ever heard of being gracious to your host? There's a healthy debate, and then there's just plain rudeness. But i'm sure you were aware which one this was when you posted it.

The Anathem review has a non-spoiler part at first, and a clearly marked warning, and then serious spoilers. I am sorry if he came to the spoilers without seeing the warning. I will note that more clearly in this post.

Oh come on. It's not a spoiler when it's in the Note to the Reader before the novel even begins. In fact, the knowledge that it's not Earth is what makes the mystery of what's *actually* going on so interesting. Otherwise people would think it was just cliche distant-future post-apocalypse stuff and not understand that half of the clues he gives are even clues. It plays off the very problems with "Life here began out there" plots that make them scientifically impossible. If you think that "there" is "here" the conflicts aren't intriguing.

I couldn't get through reading all of this, it makes me want to get in my car, pick you all up, and get you all horribly drunk. People, you all sound like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

People, you all sound like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

You do realize that's a compliment, right?

I love how this guy says that they missed a shot at true brilliance, as if he could write a better show.

Yeah, I gotta admit for someone with all the answers as to why this show is failing I am curious to know which TV show you are the creator of, to compare your superior skills with those of Ronald Moore and friends.

That one can't be a legitimate critic of TV or any other creative form unless one is better at it than the creators of the work you are criticising? That one can't observe and comment on things done badly and things done well, and even say how it could have been better?

If that's how you think this isn't the blog for you!

Really-- as much as I criticize your disappointment and attitude toward the direction of the show, I will never use the argument 'I'd like to see you do better.' That argument is essentially an admission that you have nothing left to contribute to the debate.

While I agree the argument of, let's see you do better is rather childish, isn't criticizing the show for not being something it never claimed to be and in fact the creator specifically said on numerous occasions it wasn't trying to be just as childish? Do you watch Sesame Street and complain that it isn't adult enough? It is the same thing.

A good analogy, and I believe a fair one, but I wouldn't say it's childish. It all has to do with viewer expectation. Imagine watching Sesame Street, and being given the impression that it IS adult, then finding out it's a kids show? In Brad's mind, the show presented itself in one way, and he finds it disappointing to be turning in a new, different direction that displeases him.

Now, we may disagree with the way he viewed the show, but that's his opinion of it, and he's entitled to it-- just as we are entitled to disagree and respectfully debate our opinions. But again, I wouldn't say what he's done is childish, as that sounds a bit insulting.

That would be fair if Brad hadn't bothered to learn anything about Ron Moore was saying before Season 4 and given we know that to not be true based on how long this blog has existed. I am not trying to be insulting, but the only word I can think of for what Brad has done is delude himself by ignoring the facts. It is exactly like being told Sesame Street is a kids learning show and than criticizing it for being a kids learning show.

I never dispute that Moore wants to produce a good show with good story and characters. Everybody should. But when he set out on this project, he also said he wanted to make the SF realistic too, to avoid the tired clichés of TV SF, and the way they ignore reality.

Moore wrote:

Our goal is nothing less than the reinvention of the science fiction television series. We take as a given the idea that the traditional space opera, with its stock characters, techno-double-talk, bumpy-headed aliens, thespian histrionics, and empty heroics has run its course and a new approach is required. That approach is to introduce realism into what has heretofore been an aggressively unrealistic genre.

And as a subset of that he wrote:

Science. Our spaceships don't make noise because there is no noise in space. Sound will be provided from sources inside the ships -- the whine of an engine audible to the pilot for instance. Our fighters are not airplanes and they will not be shackled by the conventions of WWII dogfights. The speed of light is a law and there will be no moving violations.

Yes, character and story are paramount or you don't have a TV show. But he declared he was going to raise the bar, and I see no reason I can't hold him to it.

I think you very much did misunderstand, given he has also said since the beginning that if the choice is between telling their story and making the science work, the story would win. This has been evidenced in podcasts since the beginning of the show. Because it was easy to find take the podcast to The Passage as an example.

Moore said:

"There was a great deal of discussion on the technical aspects of this show, and while I am sure that there are continuity errors, or maybe some unscientific things that made it into the show, all I can tell you is that a lot of conversation went into how these things work and exactly what we were gonna portray, and what were the mechanics of getting through the cluster… So, I’m only bringing this up to emphasize the fact that all these underlying technical issues are discussed at length in all the production meetings and script the script’s story stage, and so on. And even so I’m sure there are mistakes."

Note the very last line. He has no problem with mistakes if they stop the story they are trying to tell from moving forward. He has made these comments since the beginning. He has a basic story he wants told and no amount of science is going to get in the way of it. You continue to ignore all evidence of this and call it a shortcoming of the show, but it can only be a shortcoming if they were trying to maintain 100% accurate science and they clearly were only doing it when they could.

I think you have also somehow missed many of the social aspects of the show that have been applauded as a reinvention of the genre.

And I don't insist on perfection, and recognize that he knows he can't deliver it.

However, I do think you can hold a show to minimize mistakes on the big stuff.

And secondly, just because story and character are the top priorities does not mean you can't do both. You can. You won't do both perfectly, but you can do very well, and it's entirely fair to be critical when this doesn't happen.

Now, as I have said, I am being as critical of the fact that I think there are errors in story and character. The Final Five just as victims, their lives a fiction, their characters less than real. That's not a technical error, that's a story problem. Concentrating all the evil in one character, that's another story problem.

And to be clear, my complaint about the implications of what Espenson says is not about a technical flaw. As I said at the very start, it's perfectly legitimate to write a story in an entirely different universe. That is not a technical flaw, though I think it is an underachievement. I think it is a story flaw to promise Earth for 3.5 years and then deliver a planet whose only similarity to Earth is the name.

Had they redone Galactica 1980, tried to say all humanity on Earth came from an alien ark, that would have been a technical flaw. (And I would have screamed bloody murder about it.) But then you could accuse me of being nerdy and too bent on how well the tech is done.

You realize you are making a lot of assumptions about what you consider to be fact, which aren't facts. Take for example the supposed flaw of the promise of Earth. If in the last 5 episodes they find our Earth and the science doesn't work, but you get to our Earth, is that still a story flaw, or just a science flaw, is it still a flaw, other than as previous people pointed out sacrificing science for story.

You seem to jump to a lot of conclusions and then hold those assumptions up as fact, when they aren't...at least not yet.

Realize that I am critical of any sort of major flaw. The current situation (promise Earth for 3.5 years, deliver not-really-Earth) is a poor story. To deliver the real Earth, but have it be in the past would be bad science fiction.

But why not have both. Deliver the real Earth, in the future, and be good SF and good story?

Just going out on a limb here, but maybe because that wasn't the story he was telling? Quite frankly I think it is a good story and a good SF story. In fact, I would argue given the diverse fanbase of the show, it has succeeded incredibly at being a great story and a great SF. It isn't bad SF to have Earth be in the past if it is found, it is just what it is. So long as the story stays great it works for me, and will work for most. No, I don't care for the science of that isn't possible. This is make believe at the end of the day, we can't forget that part.

I think it is a story flaw to promise Earth for 3.5 years and then deliver a planet whose only similarity to Earth is the name.

I've been having the same thought. We know from what the First Hybrid said that the Colonials will find a new land on which to settle and this promised land will be a new beginning:

And then, they will join the promised land, gathered on the wings of an angel. Not an end, but a beginning.

We know from Michael Hall's posts that the Fleet is in the vicinity of Our-Earth, but for whatever reason can't see it (programmed not to, glare from other celestial bodies, etc.), but we also know that despite Kara's Viper being found on the Cinder-Earth that she has also been to Our-Earth. So, I think Kara is this angel referred to by the First Hybrid (although I won't be surprised is it turns out to be a head character) and she will show them the way to Our-Earth. From their perspective, Our-Earth is actually a New-Earth and like the 13th Tribe they may settle on Our-Earth and call it "Earth." Their ships, specifically the Galactica, may no longer be functioning. At this point they may loose jumpdrive technology and so may be stranded on Earth, which would satisfy a dark ending, but one that is satisfying.

Another assumption that has been made was that there weren't 12 cylons in the beginning. Well, from the mouth of RDM himself, "At the miniseries stage all I really knew was that there were 12 models and the 12 models would be distinct from one another and that there would be endless copies of the 12." So the Final Five weren't a retcon so much as introduced in a different way than originally intended.


So glad I found this Blog BSG comment area. It is a welcome relief (with well thought out discussion on the seemingly apparent plot inconsistencies) from forum threads which are full of, "Wow, what a pack of Nerds, you are overthinking this too much, get a life", though I do see that even here there are a few comments like that.

Anyway my take on the subject: Either we have a situtation which someone already alluded to where you have a writer who is more involved in writing the character driven episodes and defers to other writers or Ron to help her write any of the overall Earth Colonial elements in her episodes. I hope I don't sound too mysogynistic but aren't womeon often more into the emotion and characters of stories while guys can often be more into the logic,tech or action in a story. Maybe Jane just doesn't pay too much attention to the mythology because those are not the themes she is interested in writing for. In other words, her saying she assumes Kobol is the birthplace of humanity could mean nothing at all, she just didn't pay enough attention to that part of the story to know the answer that the whole mytholgy is tied to our reality.

Another explanation could be my worst case scenario. Like Brad says, there is just so much that does tie the BSG Mythology to our reality but between the writers strike, the cancellation of the series, writing themselves into a corner by making such a big deal out of the final 5, means that we get an Xfiles like mishmash where they patently didn't have an overall arc in mind at the begining and made a ham job of trying to tie everything together at the end. Remember the black goo, the greys, the bounty hunters, the gigeresque aliens. Turns out they were all life cycles of a single species the greys???? WTF! Yeah guys, we like things to tie together at the end of a series but at least try to tie things together logically.

My theory for the last few years was thus: First Technological civilisation on earth is Atlantis (there is a Battlestar called the Atlantia) Atlanteans develop AI/Cylons and the inevitable war leads to the destruction of the Atlantean civilisation. Survivors leave earth but leave behind the seeds of Greco Roman mythology with the more primitive peoples of earth. Take with them their greco roman mythologies to Kobol and then onto the 12 colonies later. I have had to adapt it from here on out due to reveals in the series recently but it can still remain logically consistent. As is usual with humans we inevitably suffer internal conflict and revert to more primitive technology and lose some of our knowledge. What was once known as fact becomes mythology. Kobolians redevelop technolgy and eventually make the same mistake as their atlantean ancestors and develop AI/Cylons and another conflict ensues. The humans head off farther into space not believing the old mytholgies about an ancestral homeworld called earth. The skinjobs cylons they went to war with however decided to try to find this mythical ancestral homeworld called earth. Our earth exist because we saw it in season 3. The cyclon earth is not ours as we saw no recognisable features and even Sol Tigh postulated that the 13th tribe cylons, "Found this planet and called it earth". Note, he did not say, "Found this planet called earth" I think the cylon 13th tribe earth is their version of "New" Caprica...Well its not earth, but we'll call it "New" Earth....shortened to Earth. It was the 13th tribe Cylon "New" Earth that Pythia visited not our earth. Our earth remains unvisited since the Atlantean exodus.

I think the Atlantean connection would make a great twist that Brad seeks. Because from our perspective the Atlantean myths date to over 5000 years ago and because of the knowledge that the kobol exodus to the 12 colonies took place 2000-3000 years from the series present day but we don't know how long the atlanteans spent on kobol. Well, that leaves it open to have the fleet arrive in our near future in which a further twist is they arrive just in time to stop our inevitable conflict with our own version of ai/cylons and show us the error of our ways or perhaps the fleet could arrive further in our future where we halt their cavil/fleet battle with our vastly superior technolgy a la BSG TOS Terra/Eastern Alliance story lines with a giant galactica looming over "the supreme power in the galaxy" eastern alliance cruiser...except reversed with earth ships dwarfing the galactica and cylon baseships...and we show them how to co-exist peacefully like we do with our own AI's.

It will just be so frustrating if they ignore the connection with our reality for the reasons Brad describes when they could so easily have tied the lot together without needing to make everything we thought was established become merely literary connections rather than literal connections with our reality. I mean it already bugged me enough that the song "All Along the Watchtower" despite being heard "in Universe by actual characters rather than just being cool battle incidental music according to Ron is just a literary device and not a literal connection to our universe. I'll be totally bummed if the same is to be done to the view of the constellation of Orion or the view of earths continents from season 3. I mean how can a zoom in to our exact earth be a literary rather than literal connection??? I just frakking hope my first assumption is correct, that our arguements and points are moot based on comments by a writer who just doesn't really care enough about the mythology elements of the show to be able to answer questions about them correctly.

I hope I don't sound too mysogynistic but aren't womeon often more into the emotion and characters of stories while guys can often be more into the logic,tech or action in a story.

I know plenty of men who appreciate a character-driven story and I know plenty of women who enjoy an action tale. I myself prefer a character-driven and internally consistent story with plenty of action. Aside from its irrelevancy to the topic at hand, preferences for emotional vs. action stories have nothing to do with logic. I've seen plenty of action movies that were totally illogical as well as emotional "romantic" stories that were quite logical representations of real life -- and vice versa. Which gender is more logical has nothing to do with preferring emotional vs. action stories. We could debate for eons and come up with plenty of examples where both genders act illogically.


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