TV series finales are funny things. When the creative powers behind them have the time to bring viewers a true resolution, sometimes they fall short and other times, they more than deliver the goods. Sometimes, as with Angel, they didn't have sufficient time and it has taken a comic book follow-up to resolve the series ending cliffhanger. And while Buffy, the Vampire Slayer also has a comic, the show ended with a resolution of sorts, not a cliffhanger.
Stargate SG-1 needed a follow-up TV movie to resolve the problem of the current "big bad" once and for all, while Stargate Atlantis wrapped things up nicely with a startling return to Earth.
Battlestar Galactica had an endpoint, even if the journey wasn't fully plotted out, so the pressure was on for them to deliver an ending that would satisfy loyal viewers while staying true to the mission and themes of the show. And in my opinion, they succeeded beyond my wildest imagination, and managed to surprise me with the ending. I kept thinking something dreadful was going to happen to ruin it all (the "whole thing was a dream" kind of thing), but true to the nature of science fiction at its best, they didn't push a conclusion on us but rather, gave us all the info we need to draw our own conclusions. The trust shown for us, in our intelligence, was much appreciated.
This was not a storybook ending, nor was it dark and ugly. It had more religious overtones than I would prefer, but that's okay, because it was also about life, in all its messiest best and worst. Characters redeemed themselves while others condemned themselves with their actions. Humanity comes in many forms with many views and personalities and morals, and the very nature of what it means to be human was put under the microscope of that show for 4 years, along with abuses and corruption that humans often bring to their political systems. At its best, science fiction makes points about the world we know by mirroring it with something else, be it from the future or an alien society or an alternate reality. I won't spoil the BSG finale by telling you which that mirror used to reflect back on us.
I wasn't planning on buying the series, mostly because it was so dark, I doubted I'd want to watch it again. But now I do want to buy it and watch it again, knowing what I now know about the characters, their choices, and where they ended up.
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