When an old enemy, the Cylons, resurface and obliterate the 12 colonies, the crew of the aged Galactica protect a small civilian fleet - the last of humanity - as they journey toward the fabled 13th colony, Earth.
Edward James Olmos,
A year after Liberation Day, courtesy of the red-dust bacteria, the humanoid, lizard-like aliens develop a resistance to the micro-organism and try to regain control of the Earth--only now some humans are knowingly working with them.
The leaders of the Twelve Colonies of Mankind are making plans to sign a peace treaty with their mortal enemies, the Cylon Empire. On the eve of the ceremony, the Cylons betray the pact and destroy most of the Colonies and their entire fleet. Under the command of Commander Adama, the battlestar Galactica leads the remaining Colonial ships into space and seeks out a lost thirteenth colony, which turns out to be Earth. Along the way, the Colonials encounter various races (both friendly and hostile), the legendary human warrior Commander Cain, and the planet Kobol, the motherworld of all the Colonies. All the while, the Cylons - under the command of human traitor Count Baltar - closely pursue this fugitive fleet across the universe. Written by
Battlestar Galactica is one of those series you either love or hate, or else didn't watch. I loved it. It had a great concept and, generally good effects. The writing was a bit uneven at times, with the "homages" to other genres and movies getting way out of hand (Magnificent Seven, Guns of Navarone, Shane, Dirty Dozen, Perry Mason, Towering Inferno, etc.). As far as the criticism of "rip-off" goes, Battlestar Galactica was vindicated in court and in saga itself. The only real similarities with Star Wars are that both are space opera, both have bad guys in armor, both had dogfights in space, and both had John Dykstra supervising the effects. Otherwise, the biblical story of Galactica bore little resemblance to the mythical Star Wars. Besides, Star Wars was inspired by Flash Gordon, Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, The Dam Busters, King Arthur, and the works of Joseph Campbell. I think a series based on Exodus and Erik Von Danekan can be cut a little slack.
The acting was generally good, although the child actors were not the most skilled (but, hey, they're kids). Lorne Greene was great as the fatherly Adama, leading his people on a search for their brethren. Richard Hatch was the mature and stoic Apollo; the cerebral hero. Dirk Bennedict is the reckless and fun-loving Starbuck, the true fighter pilot in space. John Colicos is the evil Baltar, traitor to his people; part Benedict Arnold, part Herod, part Hitler. Add a well rounded supporting cast and you have a fine ensemble.
Yes, there is much dated material here: feathered hairdo's, disco clothes, social interaction; but it doesn't detract from the better stories. The use of a unique slang was a nice idea, but a bit distracting. The music was good and the Egyptian influences were interesting in the designs. The uniforms were stylish and gave a sense of military symbol and function. The ship designs were cool (can't say it any other way).
The biggest fault in this series is the tendency to depart from the overall saga into homage episodes. "Gun on Ice Planet Zero" was a fine remake of the Guns of Navarone and the Dirty Dozen, but it also presented a threat to the fleet and a new obstacle they must overcome. Others, like "The Lost Warrior" or "The Magnificent Warriors" had little consequence for the fleet and tended to get bogged down. The series was at its best when the Galactica found a new clue to the lost tribe, or overcame the Cylons to live another day. Unfortunately, the producers didn't have a timeline in mind when they created this show, unlike Babylon 5. Had they determined how long the journey should take, they could have avoided unnecessary episodes and concentrated on the overall saga, bringing character development and drama into the story, without losing sight of their goal. As it was, we were teased with false Earths and little idea when the Lost Tribe would be found. Unfortunately, when it was found, the series took a complete nosedive.
It will be interesting to see what the future will bring for this series; but, for the present, I will continue to watch my tapes. Is it too much to ask for a DVD release for the entire series?
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