Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 DVD box set review

How do you say goodbye to such a superb show? After five years, Galactica and her crew have reached their journeys end...

Battlestar Galactica: The Final Season

After five years, four seasons and a TV movie, Battlestar Galactica is over. But with so many questions left unanswered from season four’s cliffhanger, will they be able to resolve all the loose threads in the remaining half-season?

The Season 4.5 boxset contains the last nine (or ten, if you consider the finale a two parter) episodes of the sci-fi saga, and contains some of the best episodes yet, showing just why Battlestar Galactica achieved such critical acclaim. For sticklers out there I’ve tried to keep this review mostly spoiler free. From the revelations of their arrival at Earth in Sometimes A Great Notion, to the failed mutiny of Blood On The Scales, the final season has everything we’ve come to expect from Ronald D Moore’s epic.

Stand out episodes such as No Exit, where the fifth and final Cylon is revealed, and the excellent character driven episode Someone To Watch Over Me,(where Starbuck takes a pivotal step in leading the fleet home) shows that despite the limited number of episodes left to wrap up the story, character development, the show’s personality driven stories aren’t sacrificed. As regular viewers have come to expect,  the production values are first class, and the performances from the likes of Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell (especially as the series reaches its conclusion). As they begin to realise their journey is drawing to a close, with Adama coming to accept that Galactica’s days are numbered.

His desperation to patch up Galactica and keep the old girl going provides a strong emotional pull culminates in Islanded In a Stream Of Stars. The Admiral is going to lose the two things he loves most and how he deals with that is at the heart of these final episodes. Deadlock is a quieter episode than others in the season, and does feel a little superfluous but gives a nice respite from the all action episodes that precede it and allows the characters time to reflect on the identity of the recently revealed fifth Cylon.

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The series finale is a wonderful way to wrap up the series, taking time to conclude each of the characters stories. From the opening flashbacks of the colonies before the attack (a nice link to the upcoming prequel, Caprica) to another epic Galactica battle as the Cylon civil war reaches its conclusion and Brother Cavil’s faction are neatly dealt with. For me the ultimate resolution works really well, I found the final scenes with President Roslin quite moving, as were Lee Adama’s final scenes with Starbuck. One thing I wondered throughout the series was how the Colonials would react when they met us (painful memories of the dreadful Galactica 1980 still haunt me) and I felt it was quite a clever way to tie up one of the shows biggest questions.

The closing montage accompanied by Jimi Hendrix’s take on All Along The Watchtower is great and echoes the shows theme that ‘all of this has happened before and will happen again’. The final episode split critical opinion down the line, but for me, it was a perfect way to conclude the series, giving the show a perfect sense of closure.

The writers should be commended for cramming so much story in to so few episodes, without it feeling rushed.  Special mention must go to Bear McCreary’s breathtaking score, his fantastic soundtrack is a key component to Battlestar and he continues to raise the bar here. The discs themselves are well presented with some nice rendered images of Galactica, as well as the Vipers and other support craft. It’s all themed to feel like one of the control panels aboard ship and it works pretty well.

ExtrasThe extras on this set are a lot better than previous Galactica boxsets, but still nothing to get particularly excited about. There are commentaries from series creator and producer Ronald D Moore but annoyingly these seem to be missing from the shows finale, which I found rather irritating, if you want to  hear the creators thoughts on anything, surely it would be on how it all ends? As well as a selection of deleted scenes from across the season. Disc four consists almost purely extras. Series developer David Eick’s behind-the-scenes video-blogs make great viewing for fans, it’s great so see what goes on in the making of the show.

There’s also a ten minute wrap up of the story so far called ‘What The Frak Is Going On With Battlestar Galactica’ along with a teaser trailer for follow up Caprica (both of which I believe were taken from the Sci-fi channel’s website, judging by the quality of the video) which admittedly feel a bit cheap and a little bit unnecessary. Disc four also contains an unrated version of A Disquiet Follows My Soul along with a look behind the creation of Battlestar‘sincredible soundtrack with composer Bear McCreary which I found really interesting; it’s the stand-out extra in the set.

The final season is a must have for any lover of the show and a superb conclusion to the one of the finest TV shows of the last ten years. Go get it.

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