I had the opposite feeling, as I thought there was a lot of unexplored territory among the Cylons -- including, as you mention, Cavil's evident singularity, how some of the events we knew about had influenced Natalie and the 2-6-8s to rebel, even the thinking that went into the original attack. Instead, we got answers to things that didn't really matter (what happened to Shelley Godfrey, for example). As you say, they only made the mess they'd gotten themselves into a bit worse with this. The whole Final Five thing is an aspect of the show that I bet RDM would do differently if he knew then what he knows now. I have loved reading all the different scenarios people have conjured up that would have made that plot line a bit more ... interesting? satisfying is perhaps the word.
I very much agree ljmb. Once they had chosen to do a Cylon based story, there was better territory to explore. Even within its own premise I don't see why they entirely missed out all the stuff about the relationship between the Cylons' reproduction ambitions and their genocidal ambitions and how they plotted to get Hera once she was born before they believed she was dead. That was about the only thing that I did look forward to and then there was pretty much nothing.
I also very much agree that RDM would do the Final Five thing differently if he could go back. I think looking at the stuff that has been said and that has come out that he knows perfectly well that the post-mutiny episodes that have to clean up the Final Five stuff are problematic and that he knew it at the time and got very frustrated with himself and the writers. I can't think it would have helped having to deal with what was probably the principal actors' frustrations about how little screen time they were getting through those episodes, KS aside. I remember reading somewhere that JB said at one point that he wished that they had left the Cylon mysteries for a book. I must say that doesn't seem to me to be a very good idea. Once they had gone down this road, they had to write it. That can't though be a justification for going back there with The Plan.
I was amazed at how much my viewing of BSG influenced my thoughts about the characters, especially the replicants. It brought a lot of depth to those characters that maybe isn't even up on the screen in the movie. All I know is that I was moved to tears when Roy dies on the rooftop, after his poetic speech about his life among the stars/planets.
I felt exactly the same ljmb and also had tears in my eyes this time during Roy's speech. All the mortality stuff to Blade Runner just fits so well with Battlestar. And when Roy says those words about the moments being gone like tears in the rain, it's like yes the moments of the lives of our characters, and all they saw, were gone too, but fragments of them endured in stories and in seeing the story given back to use, we can see things that we wouldn't have believed.
In retrospect, I think what it mostly suffered from was the lack of the key human cast members -- Laura, Kara, Adama, even Lee. A story around the year on New Caprica would have been perhaps more interesting, or even the early months of the occupation. What interactions did Roslin et al have with Boomer and Caprica before it all went to hell? Who fired the first shot (after the Cylons landed)? Was there ever a chance for peaceful coexistence, as alluded to by Doral in the Webisodes (the farm where Cylons and humans worked together)? Though it would have had one of the same structural problems -- a certain lack of drama, as nothing that happened would alter the events going forward, I for one would trade consequential drama for more time with Roslin and Adama. But I am sure the cost of recreating New Caprica was prohibitive when there was so much footage of Cylons sneaking around Galactica to reuse.
Again, I entirely agree. I would have loved to have seen something that was New Caprica based and I do think that Battlestar generally just is at its best when the main human characters are centre stage, and in particular Adama and Roslin. My mental list of what I think are the best 10 episodes fluctuates quite a bit after the first four, but the one in my head at the moment has, I realise, only one episode that has a fair bit of Cylon content and that's Occupation. Interestingly it is also the only one of them that has no Adama-Roslin interaction. Generally I think that the two places where the Cylon side of the story works very well are New Caprica and the Cylon civil war. In the first, what we're getting is direct conflict in a single setting so the whole thing is organic and in the second, the thematic interplay between the human stuff and the Cylon stuff is excellent which creates an organic feeling to the story-telling in a different way.