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
The exact size of Colonial Battlestars, such as the Galactica, and of Cylon base stars was never properly explained in the series, leading to some disagreement over the years. A scale measurement comparison of the Galactica to one of its Vipers provided the final answer, the Galactica and identical Battlestars were each 4,150 feet in length, with each of two flight bays measuring 1,977 feet in length and about 215 feet in width; each flight bay was thus nearly twice the length and almost the width of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, and a Battlestar could easily carry far more fighters than the listed one hundred fifty with twenty-four shuttles, a more accurate measurement would be three hundred fighters (with perhaps a third in ready reserve; "Saga of a Star World" listed the Galactica's pilot contingent at over two hundred, while in "Lost Planet Of The Gods: Part 2", disease-stricken warriors, their treatment barely completed, hastily return to duty and fly what are presumably back-up fighters stored in ready reserve) and forty to fifty shuttles. A Cylon base star, based on scale measurement comparison, is 5,800 feet wide, and can carry far more than its listed contingent of three hundred fighters. See more »
The Gemini Freighter was filled with Gemons who followed Gemon religions and spoke Gemonese. It left Gemini during the exodus. However, in "Murder on the Rising Star", Cella says that both were on Caprica during the attack. See more »
Opening Credit Announcer:
There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe... with tribes of humans... who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians... or the Toltecs... or the Mayans. Some believe there may yet be brothers of man... who even now fight to survive - somewhere beyond the heavens!
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Two episodes were edited together to form the made-for-video movie Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack. In syndication, the series incorporates the episodes of "Galactica 1980" (1980). See more »
Has great aspects and awful aspects but the majority of it is "OK" with unrealised potential and a lack of consistency in plot and tone
Having enjoyed the recent reimagining of Battlestar Galatica I was discussing it with a colleague when he brought up the original and I realised that I had not seen it for several decades and, even then, it was fragmented in my memory. I decided to watch it again and I was quite surprised by how much I remember some of the episodes and how I don't think I had ever seen some of the others. Anyway, this was reason enough to watch it from the start to the end – a decision made easier by the fact that it was only one season long before it got cancelled.
To get the comparisons out of the way, watching both leaves me in little doubt that those that trash the remake and praise the original are probably heavily influenced by protective nostalgia when they say that, because there are few ways that this is the case. Indeed the ways that the original is "better" than the remake relates to qualities that I didn't like in the original and that the remake didn't try and have (namely a swashbuckling comedy and the clumsy aim at the family/kiddie viewing sector). With that more or less done I can concentrate on judging the original Battlestar Galatica on its own terms and not against something else. This produces a mixed feeling that I struggle to reconcile because at times this series is awful and at others times it is actually quite engaging and offers potential (that it admittedly doesn't manage to deliver on) but mostly it is a mixed bag.
The split is not total but the series does seem to go through phases where it is silly and for kids and then also more dramatic stuff that could have been a solid backbone for more. Sadly it gets into the silly stuff first. While Apollo and Starbuck were always going to be the lead characters, the first half of the season makes it their show, with a weekly "theme park" style story where we have planets that are like the Wild West or like Medieval times etc etc. Annoyingly all these stories seem to involve the Cylons – who are either already on these planets or are using these planets as a trap for the Galatica. This bugged me because it felt like the Cylons were so far ahead all the time that the struggle to watch the survivors shouldn't be this hard and it minimised their presence as a real tangible threat because they were always a handful of robots laying a trap, not a race hunting another to extension. None of it is helped by the overuse of that child and also that bl00dy robot dog thing.
Happily things get a bit more "serious" in the second half of the series, where the approach appears to be more towards action and plot rather than the kiddie theme park approach. It doesn't really pull this off though. The Cylons drop off the map for many episodes while the Eastern Alliance comes into it, but then that thread isn't done particularly well either. That said though it did generally make for a much better series than the first half had been – but it is still not that great. It is the contentment with the basics that hurt it, because nothing really convinces and nothing really engages or builds. The Cylons don't menace like they should, the human fleet doesn't feel like it is more than a handful of people, many, many threads are left with unsatisfying endings (and I mean mi-series, not just cause it got cancelled) while other threads just "stop" without a thought for the viewer, as if to say "well, that's that episode filled". The Pegasus episodes along with the Eastern Alliance and other specifics do offer a more grown up thread/feel that could be expanded like the remake did to great success but this never happens and it retains a very fragmented and unsatisfying feel.
There is much to enjoy about it despite this. The effects are limited but the designs are great, with the centurions, the base stars, the vipers or the Galatica herself being iconic and memorable. The comic swagger it has also works well, with Starbuck benefiting from this with some nice moments in the action. Such things as these combined with the better aspects of the second half of the series do combine to make it a solid enough piece of TV sci-fi but the "downsides" do limit it a lot and make it less than it could have been. The mix of aims, the lack of consistency in the central plot (escaping genocide) and in the tone (is it for kids, it is for adults, is it a comedy, is it all worthy and heavy??) are too big to overcome and, as a whole series it is not that great when you sit now and watch it with as little "warm nostalgic glow" as you can muster. Has good episodes and bad episodes but too many fall somewhere in the middle, showing a potential that frustratingly it never really seems to realise or do anything with.
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