It’s another Battlestar Galactica post! This will give you an idea of how much of a geek I am. Ready? Okay, I was listening to an unofficial BSG podcast, and the executive producer of the show (Ronald Moore) said something near the outset of the ‘cast that completely refuted my belief that Tigh, Tyrol, Tory, and Anders (aka “TTTA”) are not cylons. What did he say? Well, simply put: TTTA are cylons.
I thought I was really onto something with my whole “Oh, well you know, “All Along The Watchtower” is an Earth song, so maybe TTTA are getting a kind of signal/beacon from Earth.” Nope. It seems this whole story has “happened before, and will happen again.” In short, this is a grand myth in which the roles the players’ play can change, but the narrative structure is the same. This narrative structure can certainly be found in our ancient human stories, but Moore said that he was inspired by Disney’s Peter Pan where the narrator says at the beginning of the film: “All this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”
Why use “All Along The Watchtower” then? Moore is obsessed with the song, and he wanted to find a way to fold it into the story. Read into it what you will, but he said it’s part of the story structure and, well, that’s all he’s going to say for now.
If you’ve been closely watching the series, you’ll know that he cylons are very much aware of eternal recurrence of the same (with minor variations) of time and events. However, they are also driven by what the ancient Greeks called telos and the ancient Hindus called dharma. That is to say, there is a purpose (an end point) to our existence and if we live our lives based on what divine entities (the gods, or in the case of cylons, God) prescribe, then we’ll eventually know (and be part of) a kind of divine consciousness that pervades the universe.
Pretty heavy stuff, eh? Well, that’s why I love this show. You can enjoy and analyze it on many levels. There are the core stories which are character driven. There are the larger mythological arcs that push the larger story forward, and there’s the ongoing conflicts in this story that make the drama just so great. And even the music is well thought out and reflects an ancient mythic structure. The main title sequence has lyrics lifted from the Gayatri mantra in the Rg Veda in the first half, and then it gives way to some furious Taiko drumming. If that doesn’t say “Ancient human cultures” I don’t know what does. If you haven’t heard the opening theme music, click HERE.
And because I like to think I have a sense of humor, here’s the opening title sequence of BSG using clips from another brilliant show, The Office.
Thank you You Tube!