Looking forward to Battlestar Galactica season 4.5

What do we have to look forward to when BSG returns to our screens early next year? A lot, argues Daniel...

Battlestar Galactica

I admit it. When I first heard that they were remaking Battlestar Galactica I was non-plussed to say the least, and definitely aligned with the sceptics.

How wrong I was.

If you haven’t seen Battlestar Galactica yet stop reading now and go start; seriously, you are not only missing out on some truly brilliant entertainment, but you are also going to be pretty annoyed as this is going to contain spoilers.

Amongst all the announcements, previews and sneak peaks at last month’s San Diego comic-con there was one panel that stood out above the rest and which many dedicated fans queued throughout the night to be a part of. Hosted by Kevin Smith the BSG cast and crew sat down to talk about season 4.5, the final 10 episodes that will conclude the hit sci-fi series after the writers’ strike stopped production for what seems like an eternity. So let’s look at what fans can expect when the final episodes land in 2009.

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So they’ve found Earth, what next?The midseason cliff-hanger ended with the uneasy coalition of the human fleet and renegade Cylons finding Earth, but not the utopian planet they had imagined during their long voyage but a scorched land spotted with ruins. It’s a harsh landscape and according to producer David Eick the first couple of episodes will focus on the crew having to deal with terrible living conditions and the emotional turmoil of wanting to leave the place they have dreamt of for so long.

Who will be the fifth?Whilst four of the final five have been revealed, the fifth Cylon in the fleet is still unknown and you can expect that much of the show’s final episodes will focus on the ‘Are they, aren’t they?’ suspicion that has served the series so well to date.

So who’s our money on? Starbuck was an early runner with her as yet unexplained return from the dead and bizarre relationship with the Cylon model two. But with Katee Sackhoff telling panel-goers that her character ‘finds peace’ in the series’ finale you have to wonder if our favourite cigar chomping female pilot will die and sadly I’m starting to think she might.

Other candidates could include Dr Baltar and even President Roslin herself; but one character who is sure to be in the mix judging by the 4.5 preview is the old man of the fleet Admiral Adama. The comic-con trailer showed glimpses of this with clips of Roslin asking the Admiral directly if he was a Cylon before the scene cut to a Galactica airlock where Adama facing the camera and with a white cloth tied round his eyes looked set for execution, but whether it’s a Cylon or a human carrying out the sentence we just don’t know. My tip for the fifth Cylon (and it’s worth me pointing out here I’ve been wrong about every other model) is Apollo who spent a lot of screen time in the early part of season 4 climbing the greasy political pole and elevating himself to a position where his revelation will have the most impact, he was also a noticeable absentee from the mission to rescue Diana, the Cylon model who has seen the faces of all of the final five.

Will they blow shit up?Battlestar Galactica must be praised for the quality of its writing and for me a lot of the enjoyment is in the show’s use of its fantastical setting to explore complex real-life issues. From religion / theology to political leanings and even an incredibly brave empathetic portrayal of suicide bombers, BSG has never been afraid to make you work for your entertainment and it is this complex mix of dramatic action and intellectual posturing that gave the show its edge. But unfortunately the early episodes of season 4, whilst heavy on the intellectual themes of the show were light on action and failed to match the drama and spectacle of previous seasons.

So will the season and indeed the show’s finale see a return to action? Well with James Callis (Dr Gaius Baltar) describing one of the show’s final battles as epic; saying that it felt like Apocalypse Now and Tricia Helfer (Number Six) admitting she got to shoot some of the biggest guns the show has ever seen, it certainly looks that way.

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So if the promise of groundbreaking revelations, tragic deaths and battles on an epic scale has got you as pant-wettingly excited as me, then the only bad news is that you are going to have to wait at least another five months before you can get your grubby little hands on it. Bah.

Check out our chat with Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff here