Post-Apocalyptic Spirituality and the Legacy of Battlestar Galactica

Ronald D. Moore's 2003 adaptation of Battlestar Galactica was an instant classic. With its mix of apocalyptic thrills, politics, military strategy, survivalism, and spirituality, it was next-level entertainment for complicated times.

Since the show's 2007 conclusion, though, some fans question whether the late-series, wholesale embrace of mysticism over logic have taken faith in television a bit too far. Could the very element that had contributed to BSG's lauded reputation — its open exploration of theology — have also been its undoing for a subset of fans?

The story of a protracted war between the last living humans and the race of robots who'd thrown off their shackles to exterminate them, the Battlestar Galactica saga was told through dozens of perspectives, each more sympathetic than the last. Packing ten seasons of story into four cable-sized ones helped usher in this current era of prestige television, but BSG's sophistication when it came to global politics and the cyclical nature of human history make the series eminently re-watchable for years to come — now, if only we could agree about that finale.

The Netflix Debate Club is a weekly Kinja where writers face off about the most polarizing aspects of their favorite shows — and want you to join in.

THIS WEEK'S TV SERIES: Battlestar Galactica (2003)

THE DEBATERS: Price Peterson (TV.com, Vulture) & Lily Sparks (TV.com)

There are two ways to look at the spirituality issue.

Lily: The spiritual elements were there since day one — is it really fair to say they ruined the party when the show pretty clearly stated that spirituality was in its DNA? From the premiere, Cylons had a theological fatalism that would make John Calvin covetous; President Roslin was this close (pinchy fingers) to being a mystic; and what was Boomer's first season struggle against her Cylon programming to sabotage the Galactica if not a metaphor for free will vs. pre-destination? From way back when the 1978 iteration premiered as "Adam's Ark," BSG has had an overtly religious overtone. Frankly spirituality is so rarely discussed on TV that it's just one more reason why BSG was so important.

Price: Lily, I'm going to be real. When it was still airing, Battlestar Galactica was pretty much the only TV show I cared about. But angels? Unexplained miracles? God's plan? And what was Starbuck, anyway? Like Lost's sudden swerve into Heaven-is-for-real territory, it's like the writers decided "because God!" was some kind of satisfying or profound answer to the complicated questions they'd been posing for years.

What does everybody else think? Did spirituality impact Battlestar Galactica's legacy? Let's continue talking about this and any other hot-button issues you want to discuss below!

(To brush up on your Battlestar Galactica, head here. And get more Netflix at netflix.kinja.com.)

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