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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).


Apr. 6th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
It's not DEM, but it is lazy storytelling. Even when the faith, religious elements had been been front and centre in storylines in S1 and S2, it was still up to the characters to find their own way to salvation and freedom. The New Caprica arc is a perfect example of our heroes having to find their own way out of a problem rather than relying on God/Mystical Space Alien to do it for them.

The series finale is not inconsistent with the spiritual side of the story as presented from day one, it's simply inconsistent with the manner of storytelling and resolution they have been pursuing for that time. I was actually struck by Starbuck reminding me of a 'GM campaign-insertion character' from a roleplaying game, where the GM gets so pissed off with the other players not getting on with the story he inserts his own Gary Stu character to get them back on track. It's a bad move there (unless expertly handled with a very light touch) and it was a bad move here.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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