How Speech Therapy and Battlestar Galactica Create a Momentous Week

Battlestar Galactica

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This has been a momentous week for me. I closed the door on my private speech-therapy practice: with one last session, a small celebration, and some final hugs, a transition long in coming transformed into the end. Lights out, door closed.

Given this big professional ending, it is no surprise that I am blogging about it. Except I’m not going to continue. I’m going to write about Battlestar Galactica.

For those of you outside the Battlestar Galactica world, Battlestar is a television series remade from a 1970s sci fi show. It ran from 2004 to 2009, but I never saw it on air. In January 2008 my husband and I rented the 2-hour miniseries, which launches the four-season show. With that viewing, we became devoted fans, and we spent the next 3-1/2 years working our way through 4.5 seasons, 21 discs, 58 shows, and a slew of extras.  We watched every show, viewed a good many podcasts, saw every deleted scene, and talked—a lot—about characters, plot, meaning, predictions, and whether we could be cylons.

This week, we finished the show. Rapt and barely breathing, we watched the last episode: a heart-pounding hour of action, an emotional 30-minute conclusion, and a somewhat confusing brief coda (less confusing on the second watch). Then we sat in our darkened living room, each of us saying in turn, “I can’t believe it’s over.”

What is this show’s hold on me? How can I begin to convey its place in my consciousness and the reason for that?

This is a show of human (and non-human) relationships, of characters who challenge you and engage you and own you (and then break your heart). It’s a show where you form alliances, only to be thrust into new ways of viewing the very people you thought you understood. It’s a show where you confront your own contradictory feelings and are forced to reconsider what you believe to be true.

This is a show of story, of narrative so complex you search for (and beg for) explanations (many of which don’t come until the end). It is also a show of action, with spectacular battle scenes that demand multiple viewings just to see all that’s happening. It’s a show where the major reveals and unexpected moments leave you gasping and screaming and lying awake at night.

But above all, this is a show of endless big questions.

  • What does it mean to be human?
  • What fantasies and hopes keep us striving under the direst of conditions?
  • How do we know what’s real? How do we know what is us?
  • What happens when we are forced to consider a radical new version of ourselves?
  • What is faith? What is loyalty?
  • What motivates us to bravery?
  • Must we repeat old patterns or can we really change?

I loved Battlestar for these questions. I loved it for the drama and amazing story lines, for the movie-quality editing and deeply integrative music. I loved it for the complex and beautifully enacted characters. I loved it because my husband and I shared its intensity and emotion. I loved it beyond any logical analysis.

Even as I write this, I am thinking, “I can’t believe it’s over.” But in keeping with the energy of this week, I know that it’s time to move on. Battlestar Galactica will remain in my consciousness, but it’s time for the next great thing. Real life is beckoning.

Questions for Reflection: Have you ever watched a television series that captured your imagination and felt significant in your life? Which of the questions posed by the show might interest you?

Writing Prompts: “This post makes me think of the show ______” (then keep writing); “I am most attracted to shows that make me think about ______” (then keep writing); “I get hooked on a show that ______” (then keep writing).

Any fans of Battlestar out there? I would love to hear from you—I need to debrief!

(this post originally appeared on The Reflective Writer)

Judy Stone-Goldman, PhD, CCC-SLP, LMHC, is an Emeritus Senior Lecturer with the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington. After a long career in teaching, supervising, and providing service, she has shifted her focus to writing as a means of exploring personal-professional balance, boundaries, and life choices. You can read her blog—and join in with your own reflective writing—at The Reflective Writer.