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DVD Review

DVD cover

Battlestar Galactica
The Final Season


Starring: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Tricia Helfer and Jamie Bamber
Universal Playback
RRP: £34.99
Certificate: 15
Available 01 June 2009

Alone and adrift in the night the survivors of the twelve colonies slip through the inhospitable vastness between the stars, looking for their lost colony on a planet known as Earth. Although their nemesis pursues them, the Cylons are no longer a coherent race, having gone through a civil war of their own. The fates of both races hang in the balance...


Battlestar Galactica comes to an end in this last four DVD box set, which finishes off the second part of Season Four. All the discs in this set have the option for either a 2.0 or 5.1 audio track. It is difficult to discuss the last part of Season Four without giving away the ending, so I was surprised to see two of the pivotal sequences form the last story as part of the menu. That said, Ronald Moore was very clear in his intention of ending the show after the Fourth Season, only the writers’ strike in America split the season into two halves. So let’s face it with one option being that they fail to find earth and all die - an ending which would have been too dark - or in some form they do. Well if you do the math, plus the chances of being lynched by rabid fans, which one do you think they went with? Read on at your own peril for here be spoilers...

Disc one starts off strong with four episodes, all with feature length Podcasts by Ronald Moore. The first episode Sometimes a great Notion, examines the reactions of both the surviving humans and Cylons, now that they have discovered that Earth, the home of the thirteen tribe, is nothing but an atomic wasteland. For some it is too much, for Starbuck it brings a revelation which will make her challenge her very existence.

There was no way that this was going to end well, especially after the last shots of the Revelations episode that ended with a real WTF? moment. The episode wraps up the mystery of Earth's fate fairly well, which allows the show to move into the end game. It’s a shame that the set doesn’t contain the ten Webisodes The Fate of the Enemy which concentrates on Lt. Gaeta; although the story is slight it does go some way to explain his subsequent actions in inciting a mutiny on the Galactica, which is dealt with in the following three stories A Disquiet follows my soul, The Oath and Blood on the Scales. It is unlikely to have been a rights problem as the podcasts are the same as the ones free to download, from the same site?

As well as the Podcasts the first disc has some deleted scenes for your delectation:

From Sometimes a Great Notion, Saul looks over the ruins of the city (1 min, 35 sec), Kara searches for her ship (1 min), Baltar broadcasts to the fleet following fourteen suicides (4 min, 50 sec). From The Oath: Gaeta on the Bridge (26 sec), Kara and Lee hide in the ship (1 min, 27 sec), Lee and Kara hook up with Roslin. (1 min, 24 sec), Lee and Kara meet Adama (30 sec). From Blood on the Scales: Roslin meets Baltar, this is an uncompleted scene, with evident green screen on show (1 min, 17 sec), Zarek orders the execution of the council (57 sec), a postcoital Baltar (1 min, 22 sec), Gaeta get arrested (43 sec).

The disc is wrapped up with the Anvil Trailer (2 min, 4 sec), looks like Anvil is a band and this is a documentary, what this has to do with Galactica is anyone’s guess and the Playback (UK) Trailer (1 min, 13 sec) which showcases a montage of some of the other TV series they have on offer.

The four episodes presented on disc two, No Exit, Deadlock, Someone to Watch over Me and Islands in a Stream of Stars, displays a more resolute Adama. As he fights for the survival for the Galactica, Adama is willing to consider the unthinkable, asking the Cylons for help, but this is help that will come at a price. The mystery around Kara Thrace’s death and reappearance deepens, but before this can be resolved Boomer kidnaps Hera, spiriting her away to Cavil.

With disc two the extras start to dry up, there is only a single podcast for No Exit, even though podcasts exist for all of the shows. Once again there are a series of extended and deleted scenes, this time only for three of the shows:

For No Exit: The remaining Cylons discuss the Hub and Helens fate, an extended version of Cavil and Helen facing off, Lee and Roslin talk (3 min, 47 sec). For Deadlock: Various extended scenes, some with the green screen still evident (13 min, 08 sec), and lastly for Someone to watch Over Me, Kara gets all spiritual, the Cylons have an uncomfortable discussion, and the ship continues to erode (4 min, 39 sec).

Disc three holds the biggie the last three episodes of this season of Galactica, Daybreak parts one to three, and what can I say? No really, what can you say without ruining the moment completely? It’s massive; it’s bound to get all the Internet chatterers at each other’s throats between those who will feel satisfied with the ending and the minority who will be appalled. Personally I felt that not only was it a satisfying ending, which answered many question, if not all - well nobody wants an ending which answered everything, where would be the fun of that? - but ended with a positive feeling for the future, sort of... Well it is Galactica. One of the massive disappointments of the set is that the podcasts run out so you never get one for the three last, most important, episodes.

What does balance this out are a number of deleted flashbacks (5 min, 20 sec), which adds some important information.

Disc four could be considered as full of extras, as it contains the unrated version of A Disquiet Follows my Soul (50 min, 54 sec), as well as A Sneak Peek at Caprica (1 min, 33 sec) which is more of an advert than a sneak peek.

There are eleven video blogs from David Eick, which looks at various parts of the show, usually with behind the scenes footage. Some, if not all, are available free to view online. Next up is What the Frak is going on with Battlestar Galactica? This is a rush through of the previous three and a half seasons at a breakneck speed (8 min, 18 sec) with the quickest speaking woman I’ve ever heard. It’s less informative than it is impressive. The disc wraps up with The Evolution of a Cue (23 min, 13 sec) which looks at creating the music for Galactica with Bear McCreary the show's composer.

I have to say that it is difficult for me to be objective about this set. If I were to base it purely on the shows, it would get a straight ten, I might even have tried to turn it up to eleven. But this is a set which contains extras, most of which are available online. I can see that there is a case for those who are not connected to the Web having access to this material, but then if that was the rational, why rush the job with only half the Podcasts and a third of the Blogs? It feels too much like the set was put out as quickly as possible, making a flawed creation.


Charles Packer

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