Friday, July 15, 2016

Mood analysis of Battlestar Galactica reboot

Need some distraction. And entertainment is one of the best ways to find distraction, where have put forward the functional idea that entertainment is a way to safely control mood. That functional aspect is about knowing when something is entertaining or not, or in explaining why something is entertaining. And here will talk a favorite television series of mine, which was the reboot of Battlestar Galactica where here is a link to its IMDb page.

At its simplest mood is emotion, but can be a complex constellation of emotions, which is why it's not enough to just talk about a feeling. You can have a mood of simple joy, so the emotion is simple joy and you are feeling simple joy, but entertainment can involve a spectrum of feelings.

Will hypothesize that with the Battlestar Galactica reboot the dominant mood of the show was how humans feel with potential rivals built by us, as the human beings in the series are at war with a race of robots built by them, called Cylons.

The series starts with the Cylons who had been thought contained, destroying 12 worlds of human beings, but missed getting one space warship called a battlestar commanded by Admiral Adama, trying both to survive as it is relentlessly hunted, and find a new home for the survivors, which is in the series our planet Earth, which is mythical to the survivors as what they call the 13th colony.

So the mood of the series I'm hypothesizing is a complex constellation of emotions around contemplating beings created by human beings who bring into question what it means to be human, even more so than in past science fiction as an innovation was giving them religion. The Cylons believe in God, and have a sense of a religious destiny. So what makes human then?

Turns out that is a huge draw and gave endless ways for writers to be creative as the series dealt with shock and loss, as well as romance, reproduction and friendship along with lots of other things that are strongly about our sense of our own humanity, including religion, as many of the crew of the Galactica are deeply religious as well.

It was then not surprisingly appealing, as writers attempted to mirror vast amounts of what we see as human in the Cylons. There was even a key romance in the series or something of it between one human looking Cylon and an anti-hero in a leading scientist, who had inadvertently helped the Cylons to defeat human security in the first place.

Without giving the ending away, will note that the writers may have found themselves challenged with ending the series as the mood they created was built on the tension of: what does it mean to be human if something created by humans can have so much of what we have?

And also in ways have more as the Cylons were stronger than most humans, and the human looking ones could be endlessly reborn, sending their consciousness into new exact duplicate bodies. These were dramatic elements I think as it was also pushed that the human looking ones were so indistinguishable from human beings that detecting them was either impossible or nearly so, as a constant theme through the series.

To me the writers maybe missed the point that the question is one facing humanity today as computer systems get more advanced so there is no answer, yet. Their ending tries to give one though and I found it unsatisfying. And will not give the end to the series away that they chose, but will make up an alternate one instead to show how it could be done to keep the mood.

Imagine towards the end of the series the surviving humans find that the Cylons had a built in flaw, which was unrecorded to give human beings the ultimate advantage, and the swiftness of their attack was to stop its use. Not sure if the surviving humans knew of it, they'd pursued to exterminate, while trying to remove it themselves.

And at the end of the series, the surviving humans finally find it, debate its use, and try it, destroying most of the Cylons. But some have made progress in removing it, and are hurt but survive. But the Galactica to use it had to be exposed having bet everything on total destruction. Which means the remaining Cylons are still in perfect position to retaliate. The two sides may simply annihilate each other though. But the crew of the Galactica turn over the secrets to the destructive flaw to the remaining Cylons who then simply turn away and leave them alone. It was their only concern.

Pursuing, the Battlestar Galactica, as of course they had not given all they know and can now track the Cylons, chase them to, yup, Earth.

The final show has the Galactica enter our Solar System and approach Earth where the few remaining Cylon ships are already in orbit. Human beings on our planet only just beginning to be aware.

Tension builds.

But the Cylons do not attack. Instead some of the human looking Cylons fly down to Earth, and Admiral Adama with key others flies down as well, and there is a stare off on the planet surface.

Again the Cylons turn away and walk towards humans walking towards them, with open arms. Adama looks at the others, shrugs, and also begins walking towards the approaching humans, followed by his team. But the Cylons are ahead. The End.

My alternate ending implies the Cylons may be looking to make their case for a different view of humanity, still raising the question of the value of their manufactured human versus people like us. With the original humans there to make their own argument

Entertainment then pursues the question without giving the answer, maintaining the mood, as we don't have the answer yet.

I find it intriguing though that mood-wise a more powerful story would be with teeming Cylons, but made a shift for plot where most are destroyed to balance out the story against tragic beginning. So mood does not determine plot as either way could go. And I just threw something together so used a rather simple plot device. The goal here was simply to focus on keeping the mood.

That was fun! Will note that using my own ideas for this type of analysis intrigues me without me being sure how it would go, so I was learning as I typed! And got to answers for myself as well.

Learning as I go, often intrigues me.

Liked that analysis? Then please share! Or if you choose, feel free to disagree in the comments if you did not. Did I get close? Or miss the boat? Do you think this approach to mood analysis might have merit? How might it mess with endings?

Will note that bad endings irritate me. Mood analysis could help writers figure out how to handle the proper mood for the series, and avoid bad endings that ruin it.

But other thing am a fan of the series, and especially really loved how they did space scenes. And I want to see more like it that better fits mood. Of course.

James Harris
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