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As remembering 'Battlestar' from the viewpoint of a youngster in the late 70s - early 80s, I would give it a 9/10.
Viewing 'Battlestar' from the viewpoint of a near 30 male in the year 2000, I give it 7/10. (I have all 24 episodes on tape)
The special effects were near the late 70's level of "Star Wars", and that is truly saying something considering this was a made for TV movie / weekly series. Sure, the stories were uneven. However, to put that in perspective, they rode the gambit from the morality plays of Star Trek (TOS) to the character stories of Star Trek (TNG).
The backstory involved the last known group of 'humans'. After they were given a 'Pearl Harbor' job by the alien bad guys and nearly wiped out, they went in search of a long lost colony. This colony was located on a planet called 'Earth'.
This was really a revolutionary show. It took the best 'good vs evil' elements of Star Wars and combined them with the 'every show is a lesson' elements of Star Trek (TOS). If you weren't contemplating the human nature element of the story, you were involved in the characters.
Unfortunately, you were rarely concerned about both of those within the same episode. In my opinion, this is the only major flaw of the series, it was somewhat unbalanced from show to show. This is somewhat understandable from a series that was wrought with network politics and never made it past 25 episodes. Nevertheless, this is a series that would be very much enjoyed by any true sci-fi fan.
If you don't know the history of the show by now... ABC canned it, despite well above average ratings. The brass felt the show was too expensive. What could have been one of the great sci-fi TV series of all time was done after 24 episodes.
I place 'Battlestar' behind only Star Trek (TOS) as the best sci-fi TV series of all time.
That's right, one of a kind. When I first watched this show back a couple
of years ago, it just caught me like no other had ever done before. The
characters, the settings, the stories, all just magnificent.
One thing a lot of people pick on is the writing. I, myself, do not have a problem with it at all. In fact, I find that the stories make this show one of the most unique sci-fi's ever done. The 12 Colonies of Man all decimated by the Cylon Empire and the struggle of the refugees to survive, all escaping in some 220 refugee ships all being protected by the Galactica herself in search of the planet earth. And let's not forget the other memorable stories, such as the discovery of Commander Cain & the Battlestar Pegasus and when the Galactica found Kobol and discovered some of the origins of men. There's also the stories involving the Ship of Lights, Terra, and other ships from within the rag-tag fleet.
Another highlight of the show is the characters, especially Adama, Apollo, and Starbuck. One could say that Adama was the father figure, the wisest of the group. Then there's Apollo, just one of them good ole boys. And then we have Starbuck, probably the most memorable character from the entire series. And let's not forget the others: Boomer, Jolly, Athena, Cassiopeia, Boxey, Muffit, and last, but definitely not least, Baltar. Yes, this menacing figure is probably the 2nd most memorable face in the series.
And let's not forget the Cylons. These guys were probably one of the biggest money makers of the series back then. Menacing and powerful, they will stop at nothing until the destruction of the human race is complete.
One of the biggest highlights of this production is the music. Who can forget the opening theme? No doubt one of the greatest in all of sci-fi. We also have the Cylon music, very dark and menacing. In this production, Stu Phillips was a genius and he should definitely be commended.
Now, the special effects are something to be admired as well. Created by Star Wars' own John Dykstra, the effects in Battlestar Galactica greatly outshined the rest at that time. Though, the biggest drawback is the constant reuse of special effects footage over and over and over and over again. But it was done to save money, so it's understandable.
Another memorable aspect of the show are the ships themselves. The Galactica, herself, is a huge and powerful vessel, while retaining a charm that few other ships can keep. Probably the most popular ship was the Colonial Viper. While they may resemble the X-Wing Starfighters of Star Wars, the Vipers are unique and special in their own way. Probably the most unique ship in the show was the Cylon Raider. Bat-like in appearance, it was a fierce competitor for the Viper. Then there's the Cylon Basestar, just plain menacing is all that can be said about it. Then there are the other ships: The Rising Star, The Colonial Movers ship, The Celestra, The Prison Barge, The Livery ship, The Gemini Freighter, etc. They all were memorable in their own way.
This show is VERY underrated. A work of art, in my very honest opinion. I give it a 10/10. Extremely brilliant.
Give the people who made "Battlestar Galactica" credit, it took a lot to
make what they did. The concept was good, a war between humans and
"cyborgs" (although they seem more like simple robots) to survive, as the
humans flee in a collected fleet trying to find the lost colonies of
humanity, namely Earth.
That would have been a novel idea for a theatrical movie, and for a TV show it was outer limits. The special effects were (by 1978 standards) top notch, the set design was good, and they even tried to create a different system of measures, since I think even in Star Trek they refer to things by minutes, hours, and years.
What let the movie (and later series) down was the same limits that affected most of seventies television. Schlocky dialogue, storylines sticking on personal and relationship problems, and somebody had the bright idea to put in a kid and a robot dog to go with him. If the series had been made today, or had simply been let free to explore ideas rather than stick to the "conventions" expected of series television, it might have been great. Instead, it's hardly remembered today.
This film, and the television series that went with it, definitely had the greatest impact on a lot of boys' childhoods in the early 80s. If like me you are unsure of whether you saw Star Wars or this first, then a mutual fondness of both arises. Today Battlestar Galactica is considered to be an example of how not to do sci-fi - despite the opening promise, with the unforgettable destruction of humanity's home and the following promise of hope still bringing tears to my eyes - the series quickly degenerated into children's television aimed at the youngest and dimmest of children everywhere. But none of that affects the promise of this opening film, which has all the elements any successful film or TV Movie could hope to employ - drama, action, loyalty, betrayal, destruction and death, loss and hope, and the most lovable of characters everywhere - right down to Boxey, who by owning Muffit, was the envy of children everywhere... (In fact it's rumoured that Annakin Skywalker's look was based on him!) So overall, I would recommend this film - it symbolises all the good that made the late 70s memorable.
Although it is a little bit of a dated script and obviously copies off
of Star Wars (don't those starfighters look an awful lot like X-wings),
Battlestar Gallactica is worth a watch if you're a science fiction
geek. If you've seen the new version before, you'll be amazed at how
different the old version really is. In the old series, action, jokes,
and flirting are much more common. The new version relies on political
events and characters.
Although this 1978 version of the film moves a little slowly in places, there are the fascinating space battles. The dialog between the characters and some of the comedy is a little dated, however. I would recommend it if you're a fan of this genre.
This is one of my favorite sci-fi shows, but I certainly recognize its
* the concept
---> I liked the historical context of the 12 tribes of Kobol, the Pearl Harbor-like attack, the "ragtag fugitive fleet" seeking Earth. This really framed the series well.
---> The look of the Ceylon base ships and the bat-wing Ceylon fighters was terrific. I also liked the look of the battlestars and Colonial vipers. The command center of the battlestar seemed believable.
* the casting:
---> Lorne Greene as Adama brings a commanding screen presence
---> Richard Hatch as Apollo is well-cast and believable as a leader/captain of a fighter wing
---> Dirk Benedict as Starbuck the amiable sarcastic sidekick
---> John Colicos as Baltar oozed evil with perfection
---> other minor cast members like Herbert Jefferson Jr as Boomer and Terry Carter as Colonel Tigh were very well cast too
---> I thought the three most visible female characters were all good, though not standout. Maren Jensen, Laurette Spang, and Anne Lockhart just also happened to be beautiful too.
---> visiting cast members like:
-------> Lloyd Bridges as Commander Cain was truly memorable
-------> Patrick McNee as Count Iblis was also highly memorable
-------> Ray Milland and Fred Astaire were good guest stars too
* the costumes
---> I liked the Colonial Warrior uniforms - they still have a style to them today. I liked the Warrior helmets with their Egyptian-like motif.
---> The Ceylon warriors with their shiny armor, had a great look to them too. The red strobe they used for vision was a great menacing concept.
* some episodes with great plot lines
---> the return of Commander Cain and the Pegasus stands out
---> I thought the visit to the "home" planet of Kobol, with its Egyptian motifs, was terrific. This is part of the pilot's introductory three episodes.
---> I also liked the encounter with the Ship of Lights and Count Iblis - this was especially well done.
* the music - I still like the theme song to Battlestar Galactica
* the behavior of the Ceylons was entertaining. "By your command" spoken in a tinny voice was a favorite.
* some cheesy special effects (by today's standards)
---> ...and reuse of the same special effects
---> why was Count Iblis' crash site off-color in one moment, and clear blue the next?
* quite a lot of cheesy cringe-inducing dialogue
* the little kid Boxie and his robot dog
* some of the episodes had really horrible plot lines, especially later in the series
---> the Lost Warrior where the kids attack the Ceylon outpost
---> why did Baltar return to the human fleet again?
* the original show was cancelled after one season
* Galactica 1980, the follow-on show in which the battlestar finds earth, was pretty horrible
All in all, I am willing to forgive Battlestar Galactica's flaws and remember with fondness its strengths.
Created by Glen A. Larson, the master of late-1970's TV Sci-Fi, this is
best of the spate of Star Wars clones. On the surface, it is a cheesy
space-opera epic with space battles, an army of genocidal robots, a
traitorous betrayal, and a desperate fight against incredible odds. Going
deeper, it is both a statement about the Cold War and a conscious allegory
of Mormon theology (Larson is a member of the LDS church).
I grew with this series, and idolized Starbuck and Apollo. Still today, I can watch the series premiere (which was also variously released as a TV movie, and even in theaters in Canada, Europe, and later the USA) over and over again. There are some moments of great dialogue, the effects are pretty good (even if they tend to repeat...a lot), and the story and series concept are excellent. You gotta love any series that STARTS with the near-extinction of the entire human race.
Unfortunately, when the transition was made from the original concept of several special-event TV movies to a regular series, the conventions of 70's TV took over. Forget most of the series episodes, they tend to repeat plot ideas more than "Star Trek: Voyager" re-uses the "Space Anomaly of the Week" idea. But the original movie is a true sci-fi classic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Often derided as a Star Wars knock-off (even to the point George Lucas filed
a lawsuit against Glen A. Larson and company), Battlestar Galactica is quite
different (as Lucas found out when his lawsuit was beaten, and when he
started copying Galactica themes and ship and alien designs into his Star
Galactica is a more serious story of the travails of twelve tribes of mankind when the search for peace ends in the largest military assault in the history of galactic warfare, leaving twelve worlds of mankind utterly destroyed and surviving citizens of these worlds forced to take flight into the stars under the wing of their race's only surviving warship, a 4,100-foot-long fighting and carrier craft named the Galactica.
The concept is intriguing and with a magnificent cast, excellent production values, and superb direction from Sigmund Newfeld and Richard Colla (Newfeld handled the bulk of direction), the story is an engaging epic of the efforts by the Galactica and her warriors to protect what is left of humanity as they begin a search for a seemingly mythical planet that offers their race one last refuge - a planet called Earth.
Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch, and Dirk Benedict shine throughout the film and subsequent weekly series (although Hatch admittedly gets too much screen time), but are ably aided by Herbert Jefferson Jr., John Colicos in one of the finest villainous roles in all sci-fi or television, Laurette Spang, the grossly underused Tony Swartz, and reclusive Terry Carter. Jane Seymour shines as well in her all-too-brief involvement with the series, and Ray Milland steals the show as the corrupt Ted Kennedy-esque Sire Uri who gets his comeuppance near the end of the film.
The film is uneven because of the weaker second half at the planet Carillon, but the Carillon sequence is engaging nonetheless and a superb overall film results.
John Colicos' role as Baltar is worth examining in the context of the movie because of the massive changes that took place. Colicos made such an impression that his fate was changed - in the first version of the film he is beheaded, but so strong an impression did he make that it was decided to change some scenes - instead of being beheaded, Baltar is spared when the Imperious Leader orders him removed for public execution; this is changed when a new Imperious Leader orders him to command Cylon forces, given that he alone thinks as the humans do and can deduce where they will go and what they must do. This is handled in a superior epilogue directed by Glen Larson himself involving Colicos and Patrick Macnee's Imperious Leader.
Battlestar Galactica did have a heavy impact on my childhood. I remember all of my friends trying to rebuild Battlestars and Vipers in various designs out of our LEGO space edition tiles. And how much fun it was to blast the other's ships into pieces! LEGO must have earned millions through us. Never ever has there been another spacecraft as illustrious in design as the Galactica (forget Star Trek's clumsy saucers). Unfortunately, the special effects appeared a little simple, because they were persistently reused. And YES, another commentator was right: Maren Jenson is THE reason to watch the show! Of course, there are one or two things about the story which are quite dubious. For one, the praised military leadership being better than a civilian one is a little hard-core cold-war belief. And in the series, those partially overemphasized religious elements sometimes got a little annoying in the otherwise splendid science-fantasy plot. But after all, those elements formed a heterogeneous mix promoting tolerance and gave the show its uniqueness. Definitely worth watching!
I loved Battlestar Galactica when I was a kid. I never saw the series, but
the two movies were really nice work.
And today, I still love those two movies, but can understand the bad reputation the series gained.
But I love the scenario (it is so wonderfully hopeless: The last remnants of a human civilisation are fleeing the overwhelmingly evil Cylon empire). It has some very strong moments, for example when the treason of the Cylons is discovered too late to save the human colonies and fleet. This was a bold and different approach. Or when Apollo's brother is shot down and killed just seconds before reaching the safe haven Galactica.
I love the spaceships. The model kits are really wonderful, especially the Battlestar design.
And I also love the characters. Starbuck impersonates everything a boy wants to be (he's so damn cool), and I still go by the codename Starbuck today, though (or maybe because) I am totally different. Lorne Greene as Adama is the archetype of the wise leader, and the girls might seem very 70s to us today, but they certainly worked back then :-)
All in all, I think that Battlestar Galactica, at least the movie, deserves some better praise than that you usually hear. Even though the battle sequences are always the same (they always get the Cylon in the middle, njahahaha)...
And yes, I hate the kid and the robot-dog as well.
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