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Writing 101

Spoilers Below

Don't read this if you haven't yet watched the season finales of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and/ or LIFE ON MARS. I've finally seen both (we are TIVO junkies, so we don't always watch shows the night they air), and... well...

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA ends with "God Did It." Looks like somebody skipped Writing 101, when you learn that a deus ex machina is a crappy way to end a story.

And now LIFE ON MARS ends with "It Was All a Dream." Curiously, I actually found that a bit more satisfying than the end of BSG. But still... really??? C'mon. Writing 101.

Oh, and while I'm at it, let me spoil the new Nicholas Cage movie, KNOWING. I actually enjoyed that one, mostly, although everyone else I know who has seen it hated it. But the ending... this time it was space angels who did it. And when the little kids starting running through the alien grass toward the glowing alien tree, I almost thought the boy was going to say, "My dad used to call me Caleb, but my real name is Adam," and then the little girl would say... oh, wait, you've seen it?

Yeah, yeah, sometimes the journey is its own reward. I certainly enjoyed much of the journey with BSG, parts of LIFE ON MARS, and even some stuff in KNOWING. But damn it, doesn't anybody know how to write an ending any more?

Writing 101, kids. Adam and Eve, God Did It, It Was All a Dream? I've seen Clarion students left stunned and bleeding for turning in stories with those endings.


(I sure hope those guys doing LOST have something better up planned for us. Though if it turns out to be They Were All Dead All Along I'm really going to be pissed).


( 149 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 5th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Now the pressure’s on you!
I guess with a rant like that, you will have to give a very solid ending to ASOIAF!

I think you’re piling presure on yourself just now :¬)
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
Re: Now the pressure’s on you!
R'hllor did it.
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
I don't know if this is better or worse then the Sopranos ending that is not an ending. Knowing sucked, sorry. Why is it that you never see an ultra religious person go through an atheist revelation in a movie? Not that I'm an atheist, but still, ya never see that.
Apr. 5th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
Need to read more alan moore!
... okay so I haven't seen a RELIGIOUS person go through an athiest revelation, but Rorschach and his psychologist do
(no subject) - xanath - Apr. 6th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - noctolator - Apr. 6th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
as far as Life On Mars, that's how the BBC version ended, I haven't seen it though, so I'm not certain. But from what I saw of the American verson, it's not as good as the BBC's.
The writers of LOST have said that the people on the island aren't dead, but they also said that they wouldn't kill Charlie and they did that, so I don't trust them. But, considering they've given themselves an end date I hope they're working towards something massive and awesome.
I haven't seen the end of BSG yet (I'm about a month behind) but I have no expectations about the ending.
Apr. 5th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
BBC Life on Mars ended with him jumping off a building to get back to 1973 though...and they never explained why he was fixated on 1973.

I thought the US version ended it with the only 1/2 plausible way they could to tie it up. Still disappointing...
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
Life on Mars
out of curiousity, is Life on Mars, that you're watching, the Brit version or the American version?
I haven't seen all of the BBC Life on Mars, yet, and because of that, I refuse to watch American version and because it'll probably be second rate like most overseas TV shows that get americanized.

BSG was a good journey, despite the ending
Apr. 5th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Life on Mars
you should really watch the end of BBC's Life on Mars, I cried. Seriously. I couldn't get through one episode of the American version, it was so pale in comparison.
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, the end of BSG was extremely unsatisfying. I went and sold my DVDs after watching the final episode.
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
I think you just cemented my determination to never watch BSG. All that hype for Deus Ex Make-My-Day? Feh!
Apr. 5th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
The show was really great up to the second half of season 2. It is absolutely worth watching up to Home 2 (and maybe the next couple episodes). Just stop there, it went down hill after that with just enough good spots to keep people like me hooked.
(no subject) - angrylagomorph - Apr. 6th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
(I sure hope those guys doing LOST have something better up planned for us. Though if it turns out to be They Were All Dead All Along I'm really going to be pissed)

Okay, as a obsessed dedicated LOST fan, I love that you watch it, too xD
Apr. 6th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
Dead all along has been my prediction from the beginning.
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)

if LOST ends with the dead all along routine, i'll be pissed right there with you!

Apr. 5th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
You know, in my group of friends we constantly joke about the end of Song of Ice and Fire being Ned waking up for a long, very vivid nightmare. Fortunately none of us have ever thought for a second you could do that, or we wouldn't be joking about it. But the scriptwriters from Lost? I don't trust that lot so much...
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
Given they kept insinuating that BSG was some kind of Greek tragedy I've been trying to rationalize that deus ex machina somehow fits. But I'm still really angry with how they treated the Kara character, who will not be "remembered" as Apollo claimed.

So angry that yesterday I chased some pigeons.
Apr. 5th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
My family had a long discussion about the "remembering" issue when we watched the finale, and it's pretty clear to us that the Galactica people are remembered through Greek myths, but that there are only a couple perfect analogies -- and no perfect analogies between the actual deity names and the personalities of characters with those names on the show. We did agree, though, that Starbuck is most certainly remembered -- or how else do you explain the mythical Apollo's psycho twin sister who roams the woods and will kill you if you look at her wrong?
(no subject) - maine_character - Apr. 8th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
I agree with the BSG finale... it was mighty disappointing. I don't think you have to worry about LOST, I've read the show runners said the ending isn't going to be aliens, or purgatory, or another cop-out.
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
It's the first time I comment here, so I love your books, etc, and I was also pretty disappointed by BSG (well I was disappointed by the whole of S4 to be honest, and a big part of S3) anyway... when you want to protect your audience from spoilers, the etiquette on LiveJournal is to make a LJ-cut. For this purpose you can put this bit of code in your entry:

That way people have to click directly on your entry to see what you said on the episodes, so it's easier to avoid spoilers by not clicking instead of averting your eyes in times. Much more safe for spoilerphobic people ^_^
Apr. 5th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
I'm not so sure "God did it" was necessarily the ending for BSG. It was vague enough that it seemed to imply that "someone did it" but it wasn't necessarily "God" although some characters certainly thought so.

It could have been space angels.

But your point is well taken. And man, I hope the Lost kids have something better planned.
Apr. 5th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
Lost has really -- like, really really -- upped its game during the past two seasons. There was kind of a slump around season three, I think, but seasons four and five have been very good indeed, occasionally brilliant. And we finally have a TV show whose time travel premise actually makes sense (i.e., whatever happened, happened; no silly startrekky or stargatey alternate time lines messing up temporal logic from here to Friday, at least not yet).

Thankfully, I think the show's past the They Were All Dead All Along point. But if it's not, and if they pull something like that, I'll friggin stop watching TV.
Apr. 5th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
The BSG finale brought "cheap" to a whole new level, I have never ever felt so cheated for plot.

On Life on Mars: Maybe watch the brit show, that one didn't end with just "It was all a dream", also it had far better actors and writers. Seriously who cast that fridge as Sam Tyler?

Edited at 2009-04-06 06:04 pm (UTC)
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George R.R. Martin
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