Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5

Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5
BSG may not have had the same burden of secrets that faces the final journey of Lost — another once-scorned, now geek-beloved serialized TV journey — but there was a significant to-do list facing the producers heading into the final ten episodes of TV's most successful reboot. (Spoiler alert, for those still waiting to catch up on DVD.) With Earth revealed as a burnt piece of toaster pops at the conclusion of season four, part one, creators Ronald Moore and David Eick head into the final stretch with some 'splainin to do: the fifth and final cylon (my guess, Roslin, was wrong); what the frak is up with Starbuck, what the hell "the plan" the Cylons had was, who's going to live and how some will die, and where they all end up when the aging flagship finally gives up its Cylon-pounded ghost? In retrospect, the conclusion of Battlestar is more emotionally than narratively satisfying: arguably, Starbuck's fate remains thinly sketched and not quite satisfying, and we'll find out more about the Cylons' master plan in the upcoming DVD movie The Plan. But from the end of the line for Dualla (that episode, "A Disquiet Follows My Soul," is one of three to get an extended cut on this ten-ep DVD set) to the end of the show itself, BSG remains emotionally true to itself, even if minor plot details remain unexplored. That emotional arc, for nearly the entire final season, is downward: violence, isolation and fear have rent the remaining human race's heart asunder, and despair runs rampant. When Earth is revealed to be a cinder that even resurrected-maybe-undead Starbuck can't explain, it gets worse. Hope — always embodied by President Laura Roslin (the award-worthy Mary McDonnell) — is literally dying, as is Galactica itself. Hope comes, in some cynical form, from the Cylons, whose technology can literally breed with the humans', but at what cost? It's a testament to the foundation of what came before that BSG remains gripping to the end, earning its despair along with its final grace notes of hope, green fields and log cabins (in the sky or otherwise). For those old enough to remember, it's absolutely better than Starbuck and Apollo wandering around an early '80s Earth puzzling over coffee machines and automobiles. While BSG unquestionably has a signature look — courtesy of director Michael Rymer and cinematographer Stephen McNutt — it isn't a high-def one. Completing a DVD (or Blu-Ray) set is satisfying, even if obsessive fans have already accessed most of the available extras. Ronald Moore posted episode commentaries as podcasts when the episodes originally aired; the best recaps in the business, "What the Frak Is Happening on BSG?," have been YouTube staples; and David Eick's video blogs were, um, video blogs. A reflective series of new mini-docs is good — particularly original Apollo/Tom Zarek actor Richard Hatch's Mea culpa about initially opposing Moore's reboot vision — and there's a preview for The Plan, which director Edward James Olmos (aka Adama) says will force you to rewatch the whole series with fresh eyes. Yeah, like we weren't already planning to do that anyway. Plus: deleted scenes, more. (Universal)