Mar 20 2013 10:00am

Why the 1978 Battlestar Galactica Doesn’t Suck

Battlestar Galactica 1978

There are Star Trek fans who have never seen the original series, and contemporary Doctor Who fans who somehow started with Matt Smith, but the most brutally discarded sci-fi parent of them all is easily the 1978 version of Battlestar Galatica. I’d assert sci-fans today are more likely to watch the lukewarm BSG spinoff Caprica than the original Battlestar Galatica. Which is a shame, because old school Battlestar was an ambitious and fantastic show that, despite its kitschy trappings, deserves a little more respect than it gets. Here’s why.

There’s no escaping how much the original version of Battlestar Galactica looks like Star Wars; from the red stripe painted on the fuselage of the Vipers, to the rag-tag worn-out look of the spaceships, to the feathery haircuts of Starbuck and Apollo, a small child or elderly parent in 1978 could have easily squinted at the television and believed this was Star Wars: The TV Show. And while the Colonial Warriors battled the robotic Cylons, 20th Century Fox sued Universal over a supposed 83 similarities between Star Wars and Battlestar. While it’s true Battlestar was firmly stuck in a quickly recognizable 1970’s sci-fi aesthetic, that fact is hardly its own fault! Industrial Light and Magic’s special effects pioneer John Dystrka created all the visuals for the Battlestar pilot movie, while Ralph McQuarrie contributed production paintings for concept art.

Battlestar Galactica 1978 Star Wars Vipers

The project these guys had both worked on immediately previous to Battlestar was, of course, Star Wars. So, while leaving any George Lucas-bashing out of the conversation, claiming Battlestar as some kind of Star Wars mockbuster rip-off is fairly deranged. Yes, we’re dealing with humans who are potentially living in a galaxy far, far away fighting for their survival, but really, Battlestar’s conceptual core is way darker than Star Wars.

On paper, the show’s premise is totally hopeless. Robots descended from lizards completely destroy every single planet all the humans live on, forcing them to throw together a bunch of spaceships and go on the run. Battlestar begins its story by saying “we’ve lost!” And though the tone and the dialogue of the various characters is mercilessly upbeat and hokey, the Cylons are chasing them and genuinely trying to kill them. Battlestar may have tried to screw up its post-apocalyptic badassery with cutesy children, robot dogs, and shit-eating grins, but it still didn’t change the fact that the premise of the show was awesomely dark and complex. All of these themes would, of course, be mined for maximum gritty drama in the contemporary reimagined version of the show, but they’re still present here in the original. In short, the material is fantastically creative, even if the execution is all over the place.

Battlestar Galactica 1978 Cylons Star Wars

And as killer robots go, nobody has ever looked the part more gloriously than the classic Cylons. They’re shiny silver, they walk slow, they have awesome robot voices, there’s a moving red light instead of eyes, they have catch phrases, and sometimes they have swords. What more do you want? The reason the Cylons are the near perfect platonic form of a “murdering robot” is because there’s something inherently silly about them. You’re not really afraid of the Cylons as a kid, but you know they need to be taken seriously, because despite having Imperial Stromptrooper bad aim, they did manage to shoot Jane Seymour before she really got a chance to fly more spaceships.

There are so many aspects to Battlestar which prove it to be influential to future sci-fi television: the long story-arcs (will they find Earth?) the giant cast (that opening credit sequence is crazy) and, sadly, the moments when it tends to jump the shark (Fred Astaire as Starbuck’s dad is fairly terrible.) But the real charm of Battlestar is its ability to do the swashbuckling space fantasy Star Wars thing, while still being a science fiction show, about thought-provoking ideas. I’m not saying Battlestar had an awesome “alien of the week” like Star Trek or Doctor Who, but instead occasionally told interesting human stories in a tricky science fiction way.

Battlestar Galactica Star Wars Star Trek Doctor Who

My favorite of these is called “The Long Patrol.” In it, hotshot pilot Starbuck (Dirk “The Face” Benedict) crash-lands on a prison planet populated by inmates serving time for crimes committed by their ancestors. Following this “logic,” the prisoners’ names are all related to their crime; Assault 9, Forger 7, and, of course, Adulteress 58. The best part comes when Adulteress 58 asks, “What kind of an offense is Starbuck-ing?” Starbuck tries to explain he’s not a criminal and actually a Colonial Warrior. Tragically, all these prisoners believe the war against the Cylons is still on, forcing Starbuck to reveal to them that humanity has totally lost and is on the run. Not convinced of his story, the inmates refer to him as an “original sinner,” assuming he is the first one of his family to have done something wrong. This idea of generations perpetually being born into crime is pretty hefty stuff, which classic Battlestar naturally tried to play down by having Starbuck crack jokes every three seconds and presenting all the characters as comically and constantly drunk.

And it’s in this tonal paradox where I am endlessly charmed by the old Battlestar Galatica. By all accounts, Ron Moore and David Eick did the right thing by taking the essential premise of the show, and spinning it realistic. But there’s something to be said about trying to create a family show, with a gee-wiz 70’s Star Wars vibe that is actually about extinction, hopelessness, poverty, hunger, and military ethics. Unlike its super-self conscience offspring, the original Battlestar Galatica didn’t artfully try to balance any of this, but instead presented it all casually, and oddly.

The old Battlestar was that smart person at the party, a little drunk, making a few misplaced jokes, but ultimately charming and original. And for that, those of you unaware of the show, should love it more than you do right now.

Ryan Britt is a staff writer for

Rancho Unicorno
1. Rancho Unicorno
Do you have a citation for the 83 similarities? My search to confirm led me to the footnote in the summary judgement which cited 13 of 34 claimed similarities.

Even wiki only mentions the 34, citing the same footnote.
Rancho Unicorno
2. Uncle Mikey
I'm in almost entire agreement with you. While Classic Galactica had some really awkward, painful, 70s-TV moments, any time the team were actually permitted to take their material seriously, there was some real heft to it.

And therein lies the problem. Perhaps believing -- as many TV execs still seem to believe -- that SF television (and SF in general for that matter) was primarily children's entertainment, BSG'78 was almost never allowed to take itself seriously for longer than about a scene. Witty banter is one thing; deliberately inserting jokes and pratfalls of various kinds. And to an adult watching, it's often painful.

Example: Bobby Van's and Ray Bolger's turns as androids in "Greetings from Earth". There are moments when they actually work in these roles surprisingly well (even if they look ridiculous). But someone decided that these had to be singing and dancing robots, and that was just embarrassing.
Rancho Unicorno
3. Matthew Carpenter
BSG the Original forged the path for me in loving Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Watching it as a kid the "hokey" aspects never appeared, we were blind to it. Watching it now I see those parts clearly, but the nostalgia of it all blinds me still. great article - agree 100%.
Rancho Unicorno
4. Bittersweet Fountain
I once had a conversation with a diehard new BSG friend who had never seen the old, and they were trying to get me to agree (erroneously) that most of the themes in the new BSG were original (i.e. not from the original BSG).

But the old BSG had huge breadth. You're right that it didn't always take itself seriously, but the themes it touched on were deep. Military versus political power. Class struggles. Women in military positions. Mysterious and confusing discussions about gods. It's all there. All the themes that people love about the new BSG come directly from the old.
Rancho Unicorno
5. Veris
I refute your argument using The Young Lords. I recall maybe a dozen good episodes. The pilot, Gun on Ice Planet Zero, The Living Legend, and The Hand of God. I didn't care for the Count Iblis episodes, and there too many instances of some kind of theme planet involving scattered Cylons.

Basically, when BSG was good, it was great, and when it was bad, it was... eek.
Rich Bennett
6. Neuralnet
Loved this series as a kid and remember spending quite a bit of time with my ~10 yr old friends playing BSG. I havent watched the old series in a LONG time but still remember some episodes... to this day I have a soft spot for those starfighters launching from the battlestar. I remember being horrified that they chose to cast Starbuck as a woman in the new series. It was like redoing Star Wars with a female Han Solo. Gotta admit I was totally wrong on that one. All in all though I think I equally love the old and new BSG... They both are great in their own way.
Christopher Bennett
7. ChristopherLBennett
My view of the original BSG is that it was a good concept that was somewhat beyond the talent level of the people making it. Given that Glen Larson was usually responsible for stuff like BJ and the Bear and Knight Rider, this attempt to do a sci-fi version of the Book of Mormon was amazingly ambitious for him, surely the smartest idea he ever came up with, but well beyond his ability to execute. Donald Bellisario was also one of the main writers for the show, and he eventually found his voice, but his early efforts were embarrassingly bad. And of course the show was further hampered by the network pushing it toward kid stuff, combined with the casting of the dreadfully untalented Noah Hathaway as the featured kid.

It also suffered from taking too long to find its identity. Early in the season, there was a run of weak standalone episodes, including lame remakes of Shane and The Magnificent Seven thinly disguised as sci-fi, and it was hard to see how these generic planet-adventure tales fit into the context of a series about the last survivors of humanity on the run from exterminating robots. (How come all these human colonies were safe from the Cylons trying to wipe out all humanity? And if the Cylons didn't know about them, why couldn't the fleet settle on one of them?) Being front-loaded with so many weak episodes was probably a large part of why the ratings plummeted so quickly after the pilot's strong showing. So by the time it finally found its voice, it was too late.

Even so, for all its cheesy and stupid aspects, I find that the original series is more entertaining than the grim, dark, depressing remake. The remake was smarter, sure, but it wasn't fun. Between the two, it's the original that I find myself more willing to revisit from time to time.

I reviewed the series on my own blog a while ago, and I offered a suggested viewing program that leaves out most of the weak and irrelevant entries, leaving a relatively strong core narrative that tells a relatively coherent space-opera epic. To be specific, the program would consist of "Saga of a Star World," "Lost Planet of the Gods," "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero," "The Living Legend," "Fire in Space," "War of the Gods," "The Man with Nine Lives," "Murder on the Rising Star," the 4-part Terra arc, and “The Hand of God,” plus the one worthwhile Galactica 1980 episode, "The Return of Starbuck." (You could leave out “Fire in Space” without losing much, but its first act is unusually effective at conveying the sense of danger and terror inherent in the show's premise.) Unfortunately this still leaves in some weak parts, notably the second and fourth hours of the Terra arc, but those are necessary to the core storyline. (For some reason, outside of the pilot, "The Living Legend," and "The Return of Starbuck," the show's quality plummeted whenever it was set on a planet surface, as the second and fourth Terra episodes were.)

And yes, I left out "The Long Patrol." It was trying to tell a real science fiction story of a sort, but it made no sense -- how does a whole multigenerational society develop inside prison cells? Maybe it has a few merits, but I think the series is better off without the random human colonies of the week that kept cropping up in the first half. I also disagree about the Fred Astaire episode ("The Man With Nine Lives"), which I feel contains just about the most poignant dramatic writing in the whole series.
Rancho Unicorno
8. Michael S Schiffer
ChristopherLBennett@7 Though speaking of Bellisario, "Experiment in Terra" is pretty clearly a dry run for (or at least early working through of ideas that became) Quantum Leap. Protagonist dropped into an unfamiliar situation with minimal prep? Occasionally caught talking to intangible companion only he can see, who can only give very general (and largely unhelpful) advice but who can foresee the outcome of some actions? Everyone sees the protagonist as a particular person from that time and place, even though we see him as he is? (No mirror scene, though.)

Granted, Sam Beckett wasn't able to call on an interstellar warship to solve his problems. (More's the pity. :-) )

Alas, that episode was also the one where we were unambiguously informed that the writers thought the fleet had been traveling from star to star each weak at slower-than-light speeds. (Recognizing the emergency, Adama orders the Galactica to accelerate all the way to lightspeed, despite the danger that this will leave the slower ships of the fleet behind and unguarded.)
Rancho Unicorno
9. Eric Saveau
I was an adolescent when the original series was on and I adored it at the time; it probably helped that there was no other sci-fi on TV then except for syndicated Star Trek reruns.

But years later I caught reruns of the original series and... gah, I just couldn't stand it. However high concept it was, the execution was stupid, tacky, patronizing and sexist even by the standards of its own era. I agree that it got better toward the end (and I get that much of what was wrong with it was due to ill-advised shoehorning by the network), but it wasn't enough. I tried again many years after that to rewatch, and even geek nostalgia wasn't enough to hold me.

The Ron Moore version really did - and does - strike me as the original high concept finally executed well (with the obvious caveats about much of the final season). Better writing, magnificent acting, some top-notch directors, Bear McReary's haunting score... I get that some fans find charm in the original but, for me, there's far more charm in old Doctor Who from the same era.
Christopher Bennett
10. ChristopherLBennett
@8: What I find interesting about "Experiment in Terra" is that it presages the "angel" characters from the Moore remake. Edward Mulhare's character is an invisible supernatural messenger that only Apollo can see and hear, just as Angel Six was for Gaius Baltar (and Angel Baltar for Caprica Six). I wonder if that was deliberate borrowing or just coincidence.

@9: When I revisited the show, I was surprised about how not sexist it was for its time, at least in one key aspect: the wardrobe. I mean, it came along in the "jiggle era" when TV was dominated by shows with sexy women jumping around in skimpy outfits, and yet, aside from Audrey Landers in "The Young Lords," most of the women we saw in the series were consistently fully clothed; there were a couple of times we saw them in skintight, flesh-toned "flight suit" undergarments, but they showed very little actual skin. Conversely, it was the men who were often shown playing sports in gratuitously skimpy outfits, and in "The Hand of God" you had a shirtless Boomer being ogled by women.

Oh, and you're right that Doctor Who was much better than this. I don't think anyone can argue that the original BSG was on the same level as DW or Star Trek. But it wasn't a complete disaster, it had its worthwhile moments, and it was often kind of fun.
Rancho Unicorno
11. Eric Saveau
CLB, what I specifically found sexist was that up until the introduction of Sheba, women were dedicated to traditional support roles. And worse, they were treated better in the original pilot. Athena was a fighter pilot in the premeire and Cassiopeia was a precursor to the "Companion" type of character later found in Firefly. But in the subsequent episodes Athena was made into a kindergarten teacher, Cassie became a nurse whose only drama involved whether she would sleep with Dirk Benedict or Lloyd bridges, and no women were pilots except for one episode where all the men got sick and the women had to step up and do an adequate job just long enough for the men to get better, whereupon they stepped meekly aside and went back to the kitchen.

Your point is taken about the show not presenting the women merely for titillation, but given the above it certainly didn't seem driven by a desire to treat them as equals to their male counterparts.
Rancho Unicorno
12. James Savik
While BSG '78 started out well, it tanked very quickly. There were several reasons why.

The writing was cliche and uninspired. This is where BSG 2003 completely blew the original series out of the water.

The networks were constantly low balling production costs. (That's why you see the same three Cylon Raiders explode about six thousand times.)

Finally the network had the mistaken belief that all sci-fi is marketed to children. This in a show that featured a nuclear holocaust and a desperate race away from genocide. Granted: it was written and aired during the Cold War but try that today and the nanny-libs will go absolutely bat-s*** insane.

It only took a very few episodes for the writers to aceive the trinity of death for a science fiction series: a cute kid, a smart dog and a stupid robot. After that, it was all down hill.
Rancho Unicorno
14. Moncynnes
I once suggested to a college professor that BSG was a modern version of Virgil's Aeneid: the story of a defeated nation who undergoes a perilous journey and ends up founding a powerful empire.

I think I almost gave that poor man a stroke.
Rancho Unicorno
15. Eric Saveau
@James Savik -

A great deal of young adult sci-fi literature deals with post-apocalyptic themes and settings, and has for a long time. Most recently The Hunger Games made a credible leap to the big screen while keeping much of the grim tone of its source. No "nanny-libs" have raised protest over such works being in the hands of young people.
Kit Case
16. wiredog
Bit of a difference between stories marketed to kids, and those marketed to teens.
Rancho Unicorno
17. Eric Saveau
What, then, was the demographic to which the original BSG was marketed? 6 to 8 year olds? 8 to10? 10 to 12? 12 to 14?

Around the same time there was a Saturday morning kid's show called Ark 2 which was set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Christopher Bennett
18. ChristopherLBennett
@11: Yes, of course that's sexist by today's standards, but I'm responding to your assertion that it was "sexist even by the standards of its own era." I grew up in that era, I watched the other TV shows that were on at the time, and I really don't think BSG's portrayal of women was any worse than the norm at the time. We are talking about the height of the jiggle era, after all -- the heyday of Charlie's Angels and Three's Company and other shows that maximized the sexual objectification of women. By the standards of that era, BSG was downright respectful toward its female characters, if for no other reason than that it let them keep their clothes on.

And think about it -- it wasn't until 15 years later that the US Navy began allowing women to serve on combat vessels at all. So just having Athena and Rigel serving in Core Command at all was progressive for 1978-9 (though of course not groundbreaking, since Star Trek had beaten them to it by over a decade).
Rancho Unicorno
19. Eric Saveau
@CLB 18: It was also the era of Maude. And the "jiggle era" which I remember as well as you, was often called out as sexist even at the time. And our armed services had women combat pilots at that time, and had officially acknowledged them for a few years.

I'm not at all claiming that most programs being broadcast at that time were more enlightened than BSG and so it stood out in comparison, I'm saying that even at that time the sidelining of its female characters was clearly recognizable as sexism, and that merely giving them full clothes to wear does nothing to obscure that fact. Sexism is far more than objectification.
Christopher Bennett
20. ChristopherLBennett
@19: Again, I am absolutely not saying that it wasn't sexist. All I am saying is that it was not significantly more sexist than the average TV show of its era. There were plenty of others that were just as bad or worse. Plot the sexism of late '70s TV shows on a bell curve, and BSG would be somewhere in the middle, maybe even slightly in the less sexist direction. Yes, people knew the shows were sexist, they commented on the fact, but I'm just talking about how it ranked in comparison to other shows. I guess we're just defining "by the standards of its time" differently.

To me, nothing in BSG is as bad as the treatment of Wilma Deering in that second-season Buck Rogers episode with the telekinetic alien little people. There was that scene where they used their telekinesis to try to strip her naked, and that attempted sexual assault was played for laughs. So BSG rates a little better even than other Glen Larson shows from the period.
Peter Tijger
21. Peter-Tijger
Battlestar Galactica (1978) is the greatest television series ever made and it will never be topped in my lifetime! There you have it. There I was, some 8 years old and this comes along on tv, big spaceships, dogfights with alien robots with vocoder voices making them sound utterly, utterly cool. And that musical theme!!! Oh man, it still gives me goosebumps. Whenever I hear that tune I'm 8 years old again. One of the greatest themes ever made, right there with the Superman theme, Star wars theme, Rocky name 'em. This show made me a science fiction fan for life! I was overjoyed when it came out on dvd.....finally I could watch the show again after all these years, I literally had tears in my eyes when I heard that theme for the first time again.....I have the box in a Cylon-shaped head....ubercool. I even have a vocoder voice fetish because of this show....really. I love that alien-sounding vocoder stuff when they use it in music.......New cleus, Jonzun crew, Midnight star, Anthony Rother, I monster, Scorpio by Grandmaster Flash, Man Parrish.....and many more. Years ago I discovered there were Galactica books and I got my hands on quite a few, but not all of them. That's the line of books published right along the original show and books written later by Richard Hatch, among others. And of course I have a bunch of comics too....hey, it's Galactica, gotta have it. The second tv series was rubbish, except for the 2-part ww2 episodes. And I haven't even tried the most recent show, not even the cool guy Edward James Olmos (whom I remember as the man of few words police captain (mega-cool) from Miami Vice) can change that. It can never be as good as the original show. Of course there's childhood memories attached, of course the show is ridiculously outdated. But it's such a treasured show and memory for me, that for me there will never be anything better than this. And as much as I like science fiction, Star Trek never did it for me. Star wars in movies and Battlestar Galactica on tv, that's where my love for the genre comes from. And I'm sorry for the total lack of paragraphs, the page is not cooperating with me here, hitting that enter button is useless.
Jeremy Clegg
22. Cleggster
Man I loved this show. Keep in mind that when it was aired, I was the target audience. And I ate it up. I have since gone back and rewatched the old show still holds up. Yes it's schlocky, but there was an real attempt to create an environment. This is one of the things where the new BSG failed in my opinion. The old show never forgets that this was an alien society with its own style, language, sports and (god awful) dancing. The new show felt more like current Americans in space. They even knew Jimmy Hendrix. The old show had "Colonial Warriors.", and this meant something in the show. They were characters of legend. With really cool outfits actually. And that’s saying something considering when it was made. (shudder)

I also liked the music. How many shows since then have ripped of the music? And the overly dramatic launch sequence that my friends and I would repeat on the playground. Also, while the show always seemed to be a bit heavy on the levity at times, Adama always carried a great deal of weight. A high point for me is when he Cane butted heads in the Living Legend. Ahhh, Lloyd Bridges.
Rancho Unicorno
23. Eric Saveau
@CLB: I remember Buck Rogers, and enjoyed it for cheesy fun, but I missed most of the second season; I don't think I ever saw that episode you mention. Yuck.
Alan Courchene
24. Majicou
Just what in the Samuel Langhorne HELL is a "Star World," anyway? Their terminology, confusing "galaxy" with "solar system", "microns" as a unit of time, and every call-a-rabbit-a-smeerp thing they did, was kind of a disaster. That kind of thing can grate on a viewer in a hurry, and I'm glad Ron Moore went with the "naturalistic s-f" approach. Sometimes, a cigar that Starbuck is smoking is a "cigar," not a "fumarello" or whatever damned thing. The reimagined series might not have the alleged hokey charm of the original, but I'll take its actually engaging story and vastly superior writing, acting, effects, and well, EVERYTHING over the original series any day of the week.
Rancho Unicorno
25. Gerry_Florida
It's amazing how many people who hated the original forget that it was produced in >1978orld's ahead of anything on TV and many of the fx shots still hold up today.
Rancho Unicorno
26. DRickard
It's a week and a half till April Fools Day; so I have to assume that the author and all the posters who agree with him are being serious. And to that, all I can say is:
Christopher Bennett
27. ChristopherLBennett
@24: Actually in this case it was more like "call a rabbit a rabbiton." Seriously, by the latter half of the series they were just sticking "-on" onto everything. Not just centons and microns, but a military furlough was called a furlon, weapon power was measured in voltons, and so forth.

And there's nothing naturalistic about aliens living 50,000 years ago having idioms and clothing and technology and naming patterns that almost exactly duplicate present-day or 20th-century Earth. That's as ludicrous a fantasy as anything in the original series. The original may have gone overboard with the smeerping, but the revival went overboard in the other direction.
Alan Courchene
28. Majicou
@27: Granted, that isn't plausible, but I think it makes for better TV. I wasn't rolling my eyes and thinking "Come on, seriously?" after every third line of dialogue in the reimagined series. The dialogue didn't need to scream "hey, these are aliens in space!" every few seconds; we already knew that.
Christopher Bennett
29. ChristopherLBennett
@28: I think it makes for better TV from the perspective of viewers who are most comfortable with the familiar. It was part of the show's strategy to break out of the "sci-fi" ghetto by making itself look and feel as much like a mainstream show as possible and thus draw in viewers who are scared off by the exotica of science fiction. But I'm the kind of person who's drawn to science fiction specifically because of the exotic and alien realms it creates, and to me it felt like a copout, a missed opportunity. Heck, if I want something that looks like everyday life, I'll go out the front door.
Rancho Unicorno
30. RobinM
I actually like the episode with Fred Astair in it more than the Long Patrol even if the fleet does take the prisoners with them in the end. I thought generational prisoners was odd even at 7 interesting but odd. The twist at the end with the star map was neat though.
Yes the effects were cheesy and daggits instead of dogs can get old but hey world building it can slide. The robot was lame but I still wanted one since I could get my mother to buy me a real dog.
Why do people bash little kid performances in tv shows or movies I'm not looking for Shakespear in six year olds. He remebered his lines and looked cute in his bowl cut. I loved this show as a kid and have a soft spot for it today. I did miss the pointy headed talking cylons like Lucifer in the new BSG they snuck in the angels why not those?
F Shelley
31. FSS
I'll need to break down and re-watch the old series on netflix. Like some others on here, I was a kid (6 or so) when the show came on the late 70s. I think I may be confusing it with Buck Rogers a bit.
Christopher Bennett
32. ChristopherLBennett
@30: I can't look at Muffy the robot daggit without feeling sorry for the poor chimp they had stuffed into that costume.

And it's not "little kid performances" in general that are the problem. Some child performers are excellent. Billy Mumy was terrific back in the '60s. Scarlett Pomers on Voyager was quite good. But Noah Hathaway was just irritating. And it was as much a problem with the writing as the acting.
Rancho Unicorno
33. James Parr
To me the premise of the show just seemed so at odds with their desire to be a fun show. How can things be fun when humanity was just massacred? I get those who say the remake was too serious, but I just don't know if the ragtag fleet on the run should have been fun. Perhaps there is a remake of the 78 show that can be fun and can do away with the "on the run" aspect. It could be Cylons and war and adventure, but with the colonies not wiped out.
Rancho Unicorno
34. eric john miller
Much like Space 1999, BSG was great once in a while but hard to take seriously, even for the teen-age me. Then again, what other science fiction was available on TV? At the time, nothing. We watched what was available and were thankful for it. The TV executives of the time never understood science fiction, and for the most part, still don't get it. I doubt they ever will.
Alan Brown
35. AlanBrown
I always felt like at its core, it was a smart and serious show, but some marketing guy kept getting involved and saying, "put in a dog and a cute kid," and "where's the laughs in this episode," etc etc. It had some great moments, epic in scope, interspersed with moments so bad they made your teeth hurt.
Christopher Bennett
36. ChristopherLBennett
@34: There was other SF at the time BSG was on: The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, Jason of Star Command (and reruns of Space Academy), Project UFO, and even Mork and Mindy. If we extend the window to cover the whole span of both Galactica series (i.e. 1978-81), we can add Buck Rogers, Cliffhangers, Salvage 1, and Beyond Westworld -- plus some classic animation like Star Blazers and Filmation's Flash Gordon. Granted, though, there wasn't much good SF in live action at the time.
Rancho Unicorno
37. glorbes
The special effects shots still kick ass too this day. Too bad there were so few of them, but that's the reality of a TV budget, especially in the ancient pre-digital world of film and optical printers.
Shelly wb
38. shellywb
To me the humor and silliness made sense to a degree, because it's a part of life, and an integral part of how people fight hopeless battles. Some say the virtually humorless newer series is more realistic because of its oh so serious tone, but I think a lack of humor and positive feelings within a story can be as unrealistic as having too much. Honestly, I think both series went to opposite extremes that made them look unrealistic. But while the newer BSG was good, like DS9 is good, I prefer watching the original BSG and TOS because they fight battles and face life the way I hope I do. Though I never bring along dancing robots.
Michael Johnston
39. JohnstonMR
@28: You weren't, but I was. The entire length of the new show, I was irritated by clothing that was identical to modern-day Earth fashions.
Christopher Bennett
40. ChristopherLBennett
@38: You took the words right out of my mouth. I've often complained that the excessive darkness of the reboot was just as unrealistic as the excessive lightness of the original. In real life, yes, disasters bring out the worst in some people, but bring out the best in others. And you always find hope and humor alongside the despair and rage, because hope and humor are important coping mechanisms.
Steven Lyle Jordan
41. Steven_Lyle_Jordan
I'm honestly not sure if most of this article was written with your tongue planted firmly in someone else's cheek.

"Yes, we’re dealing with humans who are potentially living in a galaxy far, far away fighting for their survival, but really, Battlestar’s conceptual core is way darker than Star Wars." Yes: Star Wars was about beating the enemy with magic, and Galactica was about running away from the enemy and hoping to find a mythological planet that would save them... presumably, by magic.

And... "Cylons were glorious killer robots"? Come on. They made Stormtroopers look like ninja assassins. Their treatment of "cutting edge" sociological concepts, as in the aforementioned "The Long Patrol," were embarassingly blunt and ineffective in execution.

Sorry: Those of us who do remember the original Galactica know it for what it was: Shlock.

Heady and daring as the concept may have seemed, the fact was that Universal TV, long known for its wooden episodic television and endlessly-recycled scripts and ideas, had no clue what to do with BSG. What they wanted--all they wanted--was to sell a Star Wars-looking show to the TV audiences. And where they could have spent some of that awesome budget on (gasp!) good scripts, instead they assumed that cool space ship effects (commissioned through ILM for the pilot and reused ad-nauseam) would win out over quality content. They were wrong. It was just one more failed attempt at decent sci-fi TV, perpetrated by those who knew nothing more than selling corn flakes.
Rancho Unicorno
42. C.E. Martin
I balance the universe by refusing to watch the remakes of BSG. A girl Boomer? A Girl Starbuck? A Girl Caine? No Sheba? Tie a drunkard? PREPOSTEROUS. And where the #$@! is the Egyptian tie in?

My eyes shall never see the remake. I cling to my memories of the only true Count Iblis, Patrick Macnee.
Christopher Bennett
43. ChristopherLBennett
@41: "Yes: Star Wars was about beating the enemy with magic, and Galactica was about running away from the enemy and hoping to find a mythological planet that would save them... presumably, by magic."

Actually the refugees' hope was that the lost tribe on Earth would be technologically advanced enough to help them defend themselves against the Cylons. Although, really, it was more just about finding Earth because it was, in Adama's words, "that last outpost of humanity in the whole universe." (Which just underlines how stupid it was to do all those episodes with random human colonies of the week.)

And Ryan Britt's admiration of the Cylons was about their design, not their behavior. After all, they were designed by Andrew Probert, the man who also helped establish the archetypal Starfleet design style through his work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Next Generation, as well as helping to design Doc Brown's DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future.
Rancho Unicorno
44. SueQ
It took a while (being a watcher of the original Battlestar Gallactica) to get used to Starbuck being a woman. Dirk was HOT as Starbuck.
Then on the new Hawaii 50, Kono is a woman. You should have seen the look on my sister, when I said 'Kono used to be a man'. She took another look at the lovely Grace Park and asked in disbelief 'SHE used to be a man?' I had a good laugh while I explained that I meant the character. Back when (a hundred or so years ago) I was the geeky little sister who read and watched SF, and also watched cop shows. Suddenly I'm the go to source for what the heck is going on. I LOVE IT!!
j p
45. sps49
I had high hopes for both shows, but whereas the original gave us some stupid episodes and spawned Dr. Zee, the reboot started great (and I liked the addition of more ladies!) but was more depressing than the penultimate chapters of Donaldson's The Power That Preserves.

But I may finally watch my Cylon-headed box set, and as suggested by ChristopherLBennett @7.
Christopher Bennett
46. ChristopherLBennett
@44: Remember, Grace Park also played Boomer in the BSG revival, so she's played gender-swapped rebooted versions of two characters from old TV series.
Rancho Unicorno
47. Eric Saveau
@46: I remember thinking, after watching the reboot miniseries, that Grace Park was the weakest actor on the prospective series. Not that she was bad, just that everyone else was so much better by comparsion. Then the series started and they gave her a lot of good material to work with, and I was completely wowed by her performance.
Rancho Unicorno
48. kora
I'd have called it an omage to Star Wars; but while watching the show myself I never said; "that's from Star Wars" or anything. And I actually enjoyed all the hokey moments. I came to the show, all beit briefly, through the A-Team and while researching for a BSG fan fic that'll never get off the ground, I found out that Dirk Benedict didn't like the fact that the reboot BSG changed his character from male to female. While I heard on a podcast that the creators did that because they didn't think anyone could do Dirk's roll justice as a male lead. So...whatever. Creative differences suck sometimes because I think I'd have watched the reboot if they'd kept Starbuck as a male.

Anyway, this is a great article; I wasn't able to watch it growing up because I was born in the 80's but I love retro tv shows and I may have to go back and watch this one again.
S Tieh
49. infinitieh
I loved this series so much as a child that I still refuse to watch the newer version. The 1978 BSG is the only BSG as far as I'm concerned.
Christopher Bennett
50. ChristopherLBennett
@49: I don't see why love for one precludes watching the other. They're so profoundly different that they're not really in competition for the same niche. They use the same premise and some of the same character names but do very different things with them. And the new version has some nice fannish homages to the original, like the Stu Phillips theme being the Colonial anthem, the classic Centurion and Raider designs showing up in flashbacks, and so forth.
Rancho Unicorno
51. Abigail@StoryFactory
I loved the classic Battlestar! I've tried watching the new one, but it just seems to have lost in the charm of the original IMO.
Rancho Unicorno
52. AO
I don't care at all for reboots. If BSG 2.0 had been entirely original then I would have probably enjoyed it. As it is, I did watch the pilot, but could not stop constantly noting the many changes.
Rancho Unicorno
53. Maac
I wish I had seen this as a child. Loved the reboot (which I only just watched for the first time this January in a crazy life-avoidant marathon), though things got a little raggedy toward the end. (I even liked much of what they attempted with "Caprica.") And I love reading the original's Wiki--wonderful SfNal ideas, and the editor in me loves to compare the two series' takes on concepts and pick, choose, and cobble together, personal-fantasy style. (I do the same with different incarnations of Les Mis DON'T JUDGE ME STOP LAUGHING.) And I was surprised, on watching the first few TOS eps, how many black folk were front and center in main roles. (I was not old enough to watch this series when it aired, but my parents were definitely on the lookout for that sort of thing and it was rare.)

I might even prefer the original's take on the series ending. If I can ever bring myself to watch any more of it. Not all, but so much of the acting is so terrible and wooden and mannered, and not just in a 70s way. (Star Wars was acted in.a particularly 70s style, but the characters came alive and engaged your empathy.) For some of those BSG women in particular I am so embarrassed I have to avert my eyes at times.

Still, I want to give it a whirl, though I've spoiled myself with wikis. If as conmentors say, the format evolves beyond those first four episodes, I think I'm more excited about it. (Apologies for awkward phone typing.)
Rancho Unicorno
54. MM
The original Battlestar Galactica was a product of its time, but was ahead of its time. I will always love the original, classic Battlestar Galactica and so will legions of fans.
Christopher Bennett
55. ChristopherLBennett
@54: It always seems strange to me the way BSG-classic fans assume they are "legion," that there's some huge fan following on the level of Star Trek. That never happened. The fanbase is devout, but it was never as massive as I hear BSG fans claiming today, certainly not a standout in the genre community compared to things like Trek and Star Wars and Doctor Who fandom. The fact is, the original series was a flop in the ratings; it had a strong opening but its numbers quickly plummeted and it died young. There was a brief, awful attempt at a sequel series for no other reason than accounting (the network wanted to amortize the cost of the sets, costumes, props, etc.), and then it was largely forgotten aside from a smattering of TV movies cut together from episodes that occasionally aired in syndication, much as was also done with Planet of the Apes and The Amazing Spider-Man. There were occasional nostalgia articles about BSG in Starlog, but not that often. I don't recall it getting much attention at all until Richard Hatch tried to get a revival project going in the '90s.
Rancho Unicorno
56. Biff from Australia
Some great comments here, I probably agree with #9 the most. The original premise was great but never really followed through in TOS.

A couple of points. For the people who think the RDM version was too dark well, 20 billion-plus people died in the Cylon attack leaving only a handful of survivors desperate and on the run. By definition, it had to be dark. The psychological toll of that burden would probably break most of us. I found more than a few moments of levity and warmth in the RDM version but I'm glad they tackled the hard questions with the gravity they deserved.

And as for those who complain about the gender changes in the update they had to do it. TOS was made in the '70s and reflected Waltons-era values. How credible would it be to have all the Viper pilots as men in this modern time? People often assert that the original created this detailed future world whereas RDM's used current weapons and dress etc. If you think dressing people in capes, throwing in a few words like 'centon' and 'yahren' and then having women relegated to roles that Don Draper would approve of is somehow a realistic future world then think again.
Christopher Bennett
57. ChristopherLBennett
@56: Yes, of course the situation was dark and that needed to be acknowledged more than the original series ever got to do. But in real life, even the darkest times bring out the best in many people as well as the worst, and you see great kindness and heroism and nobility alongside the depair and venality -- plus you see a lot of humor and silliness as stress relief and interpersonal bonding, which can be vital in the face of tragedy or horror. Leaving out those elements is totally unrealistic, just as much as the original series' excessive lightness was.

And no, nobody's saying the original was in any way realistic. The point is that the remake isn't really much more realistic. It has the trappings of our current reality, but that's totally unrealistic to apply to an alien civilization 50,000 years in the past. So again, the point is not that one show was more believable than the other, but that both were implausible in opposite directions.

But you're absolutely right that it makes no sense to cling to the gender and racial biases of the past. Nostalgia is all well and good, but there are things about the past that shouldn't be preserved, and the systematic exclusion of women and nonwhites from central roles in fiction was one of them.
Rancho Unicorno
58. Eric Saveau
@57: The remake also had its examples of heroism and courage and kindness and humor. It wasn't unrelentingly grim all the time, just often enough to ground the themes and tone, and even at that it varied over time.
Rancho Unicorno
59. Biff from Australia
Again, I have to agree with Eric. He's correct IMO that there were plenty of examples of warmth, bravery and humour in NuBSG. The relationship between Adama senior and junior was far more nuanced than in TOS, and the warmth Adama felt for his son and his best friend Tigh was clearly evident throughout the show. Things did get grimmer towards the end as you'd expect for people on the run for over 4 years but the way some people describe it you'd think it was 4 seasons of Dante's Inferno in outer space.

Christopher, I may not have expressed my point clearly enough. I do get a little vexed when some detractors of the new version criticise it on the grounds that it just used current technology and clothing whereas TOS presented some sort of realistic/authentic version of a future spacefaring society, complete with language, clothing etc. My point is that that's complete bollocks. It is very difficult to create a detailed and realistic sf show and a general rule is that half-baked efforts are worse than none at all. I thought RDM's approach worked in the context (and budget) and that the 'realism' was pretty limited in TOS. It was basically just the conservative social mores of the creator and the 1970s with a thin veneer of lasers, padded vests and cloaks and a few half-baked words with a Latin flavour. Not exactly an authentic depiction of an advanced future society.
Christopher Bennett
60. ChristopherLBennett
@58: Sure, it had a few, but not enough to suit me. I still think it dwelled disproportionately on the negatives, and I found that unconvincing, as well as simply unpleasant to watch. It got tiresome how predictable it was, since you could almost always count on the worst possible decision being made in every case.

@59: Yes, of course, if anyone did claim that the original BSG was "realistic" in any way, shape, or form, then that would clearly be ridiculous. Seriously, that's one of the most idiotic notions I've ever heard. But I've never in my entire life actually heard anyone say that original BSG was "realistic," so I don't know where you're getting that from. It's certainly got nothing to do with the point I'm making, or with any point I've seen anyone make in this conversation. What I'm saying is that, yes, the original was complete fantasy, but that the new series is just as much a fantasy, simply in a different vein.

The original was based on the Book of Mormon and on the era's cultural mythology of ancient astronauts being the founders of human civilization, hence the use of Egyptian designs, zodiac-based planet names, and so forth. It had its characters seeking out a "lost tribe" of their people, a very Biblical quest. It featured "Beings of Light" akin to angels and their very Satanic nemesis, although it had to rationalize them as highly evolved aliens because of network unease with tackling religious themes on prime-time TV. It was strongly driven by fantastic and supernatural elements, and portrayed them in a larger-than-life space-opera style. No realism there.

The revival series had more "realism" in it in terms of characterization and visual/design style, but it was also grounded very heavily in supernatural and mystical ideas, which it was able to express more explicitly than the original. It used much the same "ancient-astronaut" fantasy of the original as its basis, and it depicted an alien-human society built around the zodiac and classical mythology much as the original had, but it added even more supernatural elements, such as the cycle of destiny ("All this has happened before and all this will happen again"), genuine prophecy and mystical visions, angelic guides that were not rationalized as advanced aliens but genuinely did work for "God" or at least a being they chose to call that, and so forth. While the original was an epic space fantasy with Biblical overtones, the new version was a magic-realist space opera. Both shows blended elements of fantasy and SF and other genres, and only the latter had anything that could be called "realism" in the mix.
Rancho Unicorno
61. Biff from Australia
Christopher, you're obviously entitled to your opinion on the tone of nuBSG I just don't think it's as overwhelmingly dark as some people believe. I can remember plenty of lighter moments from just about all the cast - Tigh had some classic quips; Helo was ever the optimist; and Dr Baltar was there for comic relief in the early seasons.

Perhaps I'm biased in the opposite direction, however. I was born in '69 and grew up with TOS and I loved it as a nipper. A couple of years ago I tried to watch it again but only made it through the first hour. It was funny alright, but of the comically inept variety. Maybe we should all be thankful that there are two such starkly different versions of what was a great idea and concept by Glen Larson.

In regards to the 'realistic' issue, you have completely misconstrued what I said. I've been a long-time resident of the nuBSG board on IMDB and many many times people have come on there to criticise the lack of sf 'realism', to coin a phrase. The argument is always that because nuBSG used current weaponry ie bullets, no special clothing or vehicles etc that TOS was a more authentic and credible sf show. My opinion has always been that lasers, padded vests and capes, and a few words like pyramid, triad and felgercarb don't exactly make TOS a paragon of science fiction worldbuilding. It's certainly not a patch on the worlds of ST or SW. It costs a lot of moolah to depict a credible alternative world and society and I'm glad that nuBSG used their limited budget on writing and sfx rather than lesser priorities.

I never referred to 'realism' in the classic sense of the word as it relates to artistic expression and as you've detailed in your last post.
Christopher Bennett
62. ChristopherLBennett
@61: To be sure, Helo and Sharon were an oasis of sanity and decency amid the others' venal madness, but it got frustrating that, no matter how many times their ideas turned out to be the right solution, the other characters never figured out that they'd all be much better off if they just listened to Helo and Sharon right off the bat.

Although it wasn't just the other characters who were so blind. There was this guy on a BBS I belong to who spent the entire run of the series denouncing Helo as a traitor. No matter how obvious the writers made it that they sided with Helo, no matter how many episodes conveyed the message that his and Sharon's willingness to trust and connect was better than the others' paranoia and race hatred, this guy never got the message and denounced Helo as a filthy toaster-loving traitor clear through the end of the series.

You and I are of the same generation, and I was rather uncritical of BSG when I first watched it as a preteen. In fact, I think Maren Jensen was the first actress I had a crush on. I certainly soured on it in later years, holding it in very low regard, but a couple of years back I decided to revisit it, and I discovered what I said above, that while it still has a lot of flaws, there's some stuff there that's worthwhile or at least moderately fun. And there are things about it I definitely like better than the new version, particularly the wonderful music by Stu Phillips. (Bear McCreary is one of the most impressive composers working today, but I just don't care for the style he used for BSG. He did some great stuff on Caprica, though.)

As for the realism question, let me clarify: Are these people on those boards actually, explicitly saying in as many words that they consider the original BSG to be realistic? When they say the new show is not realistic, are they specifically stating it in contrast to Larson's 1978-9 BSG, or just in contrast to what a reasonable person would expect to encounter in a plausible alien civilization that existed thousands of years ago completely independently of our world and our culture? Because by the latter standard, both shows are complete fantasy.
Rancho Unicorno
63. Keith Weatherby II
I think some of you missed the point of the original. Regardless of it's originating concept, it was meant to be swashbuckling adventure in space.

Personally when I watch it, I can sort of put myself in the mindset of the late 70's and being a kid. Sort of like how I view pre-50's black and white movies. If you put yourself in the correct mindset, the seemingly ridiculous elements aren't so ridiculous. Also I think if the network had given it a better budget they could have probably hired better writers.

I'll give you a few reasons why I don't watch the new one and it isn't because of what you guys debated ad nauseum.

A)Shakey-cam aka home video look -- If you have the kind of tech portrayed in the show then you probably have camera stablization so good that anything short of blowing it up will jar it. It doesn't make the camera work look more realistic, it makes it look cheap, all the more because it's on a tv show than in a movie.

B) "realistic" sound effects. Obviously you can't hear sound in space, but if you wanted to do that you would have absolutely no sound in the space scenes in the show. This would simply be a bore to watch. I like getting jazzed about epic space battles, and the sound is a big part of it.

C) The music. The stirring Stu Phillips score really sets you up for adventure. It's a lot like the really good motion picture theme music of the time. Star Wars, Superman, Star Trek 2/3, and others. When you hear them you can almost relive the moments in your imagination. This is sort of what the original theme did. The new ones music, I can barely remember as I haven't watched the new version since like season 1 or 2.

D) The new one is DARK. Okay so before you start saying "well it's supposed to be". I'm saying it was physically too dark. It's almost depressing because of the poor lighting in the new show. I realize you want to be serious in a show about the last surviving humans escaping from murderous robots, however making me feel depressed while watching does not make me want to watch the show.

E) The cylons. Okay I get it the original ones (to you INO fans) were kind of dumb and clumsy. To me they were really cool and sounded really cool. The new Centurions don't really capture the neat design of the original which to me look liked they designed them after Roman centurion uniforms. In fact the new centurions are just some sort of robot creation that isn't seen very much. The new humanoid cylons on the other hand don't hold that much thrill for me either. Mainly because I see humans in real life on tv and movies every day. I don't really care for the whole secret betrayal, invasion of the body snatchers stuff, I mean really most of that has been done in other movies to much greater effect. The original cylons were something you could see clearly as an enemy and something to fight against, but the humanoid ones in the new BSG I couldn't really care less if they infiltrated humans. It was like watching humans only they weren't humans!

Finally I come to the straw that broke the camels back for me. Baltar in the new series with the cylon (prostitute?) in his head in one episode he starts humping a table when someone catches him and he manages to zip up his pants. That's when I finally said ok... So BSG 78 was hokey and BSG INO has Baltar pleasuring himself through lusting for some lady that's really only in his head, I'll go ahead and take the goofy 70's any day.
Rancho Unicorno
64. AJ MArks
I think the one thing about the new series, that ruined it for me, was the fact the Cylons were a creation of man. The original story idea held so much promise, and instead, the writers fo the new show, went terminator and matrix on us, lazy, boring and dull. I would have like to seen the Cylons be a robot race which had destroyed their creators, and humanity was dealing with the aftermath of that. A robotic race which has a phobia of organic lifeforms. The second thing was Starbuck. I loved how he was a smoking, poker playing, skirt-chasing, get rich schemer, ace pilot. The type of guy who has no problem dating two women, while trying his new poker scheme all at the same time, and has no shame about it.
Christopher Bennett
65. ChristopherLBennett
@64: But the new series' Cylons were a robot race which had destroyed their creators -- over and over and over again, the cycle repeating itself. They used the same idea, they just did something different with it than an offhand reference to unseen space reptiles.

And everything you say about Starbuck was true of Kara Thrace as well, just with the genders flipped. So I don't know what point you're making here. Nothing relevant about the character was lost.
Rancho Unicorno
66. AJ Marks
No, what the new one had was a race of robots created by man, what the original had was a group of robots created by ANOTHER race. See the difference. And as for Starbuck, HE was a smoking, skirt-chasing, get rich schemere, the type of GUY who tried HIS schemes. In that, a lot was lost (of course I never like the actress, so it might have influenced me a bit, perhaps a different actress might have changed my mind).
Christopher Bennett
67. ChristopherLBennett
@66: The point is, both the differences you're so hot and bothered about are completely trivial and have nothing to do with what mattered about either the concept of the Cylons or the character of Starbuck.
Rancho Unicorno
68. Gus gf34gdc
Episode does not sound science fiction... it sounds biblical.

Sins of the Father/s.
Original Sin/ner.

Yeah... heavy sci fi, man.
Rancho Unicorno
69. Skyhawk02
I just want to say that I thought Caprica was quite excellent, it had the thought provoking ideas and drama of Battlestar Galactica minus the action. While not of the same caliber as BSG, it was still quite excellent.
Rancho Unicorno
70. StarFox
So let me get this straigh, you're saying that becuase 2 of they guys who worked on BSG also worked for IML that somehow makes it ok that they plagarised almost all of their visuals, the opening sequence down to the font and featured a theme that sounded like Star Wars and Star Trek had a bastard child? And your saying that the show has a (somewhat) dark consept, so despite the fact that the acting was terrible, and the concept was handled in a horribly cheese uncreative childsh clique manner, its good because the back story (which is pretty fucking light and unexplained) is kinda dark? And since when the hell does a large cast make a show good? Also Doctor Who was doing long story archs long before Larson ever watched Star Wars. And don't even get me started on Galactica 1980. Face it, the show was a cheap attempt to capitalise on the sudden interst in Sci-Fi that Star Wars created. Shit they even spliced together a few episodes and tried to pass it off as a movie. The orginal BSG is probably the biggest example of how Hollywood keeps fucking up Sci-Fi
Rancho Unicorno
71. Shiraz
I caught origional Battle Star Gallactica re-runs when I was 4 years old or perhaps 6 year old. The music was embedded in my mind like National Anthem.

Over time I never saw the show again as I moved ... I was young I thought may be the show continued after the origional season however I never saw it again but I remembered the music and kept huming in my head ... there was no internet back then so how could I know what happened to my favourite show

I just finished watching the Origional Series 1978 completely over the weekend and I must say , I really apprecaite the origional serious even more.

What I was amazed at was how the series withstands the barriers of time , and its timeless series the perhaps they just need to retouch and replace old computer screens with newer CGI computers apart from that the outfits , clothes and fighter planes and Battle star itself even the Cyclon look very impressive.

What I also appreciate greatly was Apollo & Star bucks friendship and comradry in battles in space , infact it was that friendship that inspired me to find any gadget like Radio / tape recorder and turn it upside down and make my own version of Viper and spend countless hours pretending to be flying a Viper in space.

I love the sense of Family that Adama , Apollo and Athena have

I was too young to realise how hot Athena but after watching the rerun I apprecaite their (Athena/Cassiopea) beauty in the roles they played more now

I have not yet seen the new BSG series and new Starbuck but I strongly feel that the Origional Character should not have changed as Dirk Benidict did quite well with the Starbuck role , as a pilot who loved companies beautiful women and enjoyed gambling however he had soft side as shown in Episodes about his father.

My only comment about new Battle Star Gallactica is that if the Producers had to introduce the new character they should not have removed the Origional Character which made Battle Star Gallactica what it was. Because its what made Battle Star Gallactica what it was. Starbucks was my favourite character becasue I liked his charisma as a pilot and bold leadership and jumping into dangerous situations to protect his squadron.

In term of themes , I was amazed watching the old series how each episode had a unique concept that was presented infact I feel that one of BSG episode in the snow certainly must have inspired Return of the Jedi which was also in shot in snow.

I wish that they had explored more of the Love Triangle between Athena - StarBucks - Cassiopia, in more depth , or covered more on Starbucks past as an Orphan in origional series.

They could have also explored more on the Jelousy aspect between the subordinates of Baltar , the old series subordinate and new series one it would have presented a great story line.

Finally Baltar must be commended for his acting in origional he really played the role greatly

I love BSG 1978 ....

It's very unfair to assume that Star wars / Battle Star Gallactica have anything in common ....

One is story of Civilization seeking refuge away from Robotic opressors
and is about just barely surviving the odds in space.

Star wars is not Battle Star Gallactica

The biggest plus for Battle Star is that it was a TV show , so it operated with a limited budget and for that limited budget the final product that was made was amazing

Star wars , is a completely different story there is nothing common between star wars and Battle Star Galactica

Thank you Netflix
Rancho Unicorno
72. Shiraz
PS: The only correct follow up to origional 1978 series should have been

The characters now aged

Appolo Commands the Galactica
> Boomer as a Colonel

Starbucks Commands the Pegasus

In a ideal world at least for people who loved the origional Series and yes with origional costumes and Culture aspects held intact
Rancho Unicorno
74. IClaudius
BSG is one of my favorite programs on television. It was way ahead of its time, with a very diverse cast including women who flew combat missions, and also were beautiful, and Boomer, played by Herbert Washington. I love this show, and Lorne Greene played the role of Adama very well, as the calm commander of a people lost in space. In some of the episodes, Adama would reveal the secret of his hope, and it was his people's religious beliefs as he told Count Iblis " there are rules handed down by Kobol that cannot be violated." So, the Cylons could not destroy the humans no matter how hard they tried because the laws governing the universe would not consent to such destruction. Television today could not produce a show with such depth.
Christopher Bennett
75. ChristopherLBennett
@74: Wrong early president -- Boomer was played by Herbert Jefferson, Jr.

And I don't see any "depth" in a show where the heroes are immune to destruction because God is on their side. In a premise like that, there's no real danger or threat, they don't have to earn their victory, and the morality is simplistically black-and-white. The original BSG was fun, sure, and relatively less shallow than the rest of Glen Larson's schlocky oeuvre, but it was very, very far from having any real depth.
Rancho Unicorno
76. D. Ferris
"Unlike its super-self conscience offspring"

I think maybe you mean "self-conscious"... Though "self-conscience" is an interesting mistype. (Also, the hyphen should probably be between those words).

Loved the new version, and curious to watch the old show now.
Rancho Unicorno
77. bg
Actually it was suppsed t be a continuation. Wish they would have stayed with either Hatche's idea or Desanto
Rancho Unicorno
78. Majuw
"lukewarm BSG spinoff Caprica"

I have my criticisms like any fan, but I appreciate all the incarnations of BSG. However, it was at the above point that I stopped reading.
Rancho Unicorno
79. Paul Hue
Can you please clarify: Which came first, Star Wars of BSG? Who accused whom of copying?
Christopher Bennett
80. ChristopherLBennett
@79: Star Wars came out in 1977; Galactica debuted in 1978. As stated in the article, visual-effects producer John Dykstra and concept artist Ralph McQuarrie went from Star Wars to Galactica and gave both a similar visual style. 20th Century Fox, the distributors of Star Wars, sued Universal Studios, the producers of BSG, for plagiarism, but the case apparently didn't go forward.
Rancho Unicorno
81. George Sfikas
As many weaknesses as you can point out in the original series, I can tell you that the reimagined is terribly "unimagined" for one single reason: they took 21st century western civilization citizens, gave them starships and call the result "sci-fi". My friends, this is a total failure. A big part of Sci-Fi is trying to guess how another, more advanced civilization would like and operate. And at least the classic BSG took a shot on it, while the re-imagined didn't even try. I don't know how humanity will look like in 300 or 500 years from now but I can tell you for sure it will be quite different than today, from the way they dress to the way they think. Just as we are very very different from people lived 100 or 200 years ago. From that point of view, I preffer the funny (to US) dressing of the original series actors than the new BSG trying to tell us that these people will be exactly the same as today's people. New BSG gave them shot-guns with bullets and jeeps and put them into space: just like F-16's on a dogfight throwing arrows to eachother. I have to agree with Dirk Benedict when he called the new Battlestar "unimagined".And I don't focus only on the clothing and the guns, it's the whole setup that is trying to tell us that such a technologically advanced society will be exactly the same (except from the fact that they have spaceships) with ours. That is the most stupid thing I' ve ever seen!!!
Christopher Bennett
82. ChristopherLBennett
@81: There was a lot about both Galacticas that was implausible, and it would be a mistake to look on either one as an attempt at realistic hard science fiction. They were both more in the space-fantasy genre, although the original series was essentially the Book of Mormon retold as a space opera, with angels and demons rationalized as advanced aliens because network censors were uncomfortable with religious themes, while the revival was more a magic-realist sort of thing driven by prophecy and destiny and divine plans. You can see similar types of parallel worlds in the urban fantasy genre -- alternate realities that aren't our Earth with our history, but that nonetheless have names and customs and the like in common with our world.
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83. Story Cottage
While both versions, especialy the original series, contain tweaked elements of Mormon doctrine, neither are science fiction versions of the Book of Mormon. The more traditional Judeo-Christian religious components are from the Old and New Testament. If you want to read "the Book of Mormon retold as a space opera," try Orson Scott Card's 'Ships of Earth' series, which is a sci-fi version of two of the major story arcs in the Book of Mormon.
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84. Anthony cristofani
It's weirdly ignorant to imply Star Wars isn't "awesomely dark". They commit genocide on a planet, the entire magnificent Jedi order is brutally wiped out, and the general story arc is about the fall of the hero into darkness.
Christopher Bennett
85. ChristopherLBennett
@84: Star Wars was created because Lucas couldn't get the rights to Flash Gordon. It was intended to be in the same vein as the Saturday matinee serials of Lucas's childhood, so darkness was not the intended focus. Sure, the Death Star blows up a whole planet, but that fact is barely mentioned afterward, and we never see any of the victims. It's just a faceless statistic, kept at a distance and sanitized so it doesn't distract from what's meant to be a light adventure story. True, TESB injected some more serious and dark moments into the story, but as seasoning in what was still meant to be a fun, riproaring adventure. As for the prequels, well, Lucas did try to take them in a more serious direction, but that was alongside Jar-Jar Binks and monologues about sand.
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86. UniMaster
Great article, and long overdue. I loved the show as a kid, for the reasons many have outlined above: it had a magnificent (if misexecuted at times) story concept, great (though repetetive) effects, and--of course--the legendary score by Stu Phillips. The opening credits sequence, including the "There are those who believe..." prologue, remains my all time favorite for any show. I do think it's stood the test of time pretty well, though it suffers in ways any television show from that era naturally would.

I was never able to watch any episodes beyond the pilot of the new BSG. I was probably unfair in doing so, but the original had such a fundamental influence on my burgeoning grasp of epic space sci-fi/fantasy as a child that I couldn't come to grips with the changes. (Not only that, but I remember finding it confusing: was it supposed to be a reboot of the same concept in the 1978 BSG, or was it something that happened later, or was the whole thing different altogether, or...?) I might have to give it another chance someday.
Christopher Bennett
87. ChristopherLBennett
@86: The new BSG was a complete reinvention of the concept, in a very different continuity and going for a much grittier, more naturalistic tone (although still with fantasy elements -- I like to call it a magic-realist space opera). As I think I said earlier in the thread, it's so different that it isn't really competing for the same niche, so they can be enjoyed separately and in their own very distinct ways. Well, at least in theory. The reboot is certainly a whole lot smarter, more sophisticated, and (mostly) more coherent than the original, but personally I didn't find it more enjoyable, since it was just too self-consciously grim.
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88. Roshan Menon
I love the old BSG. I was all of 4 years old when they first showed in on Kuwaiti tv (I lived there for a few years) back in 1980 and I was hooked. We recorded all the episodes of the 1978 & Galactica 1980 series (which yeah was bad but hey I dig those flying bikes) and it started my love affair with science fiction. I do agree that the reboot had better writing, better cast & acting, better production and gritter themes but it lack a certain nostalgic charm that I get when ever I play my old dvds of the original. I like them both a lot but see them as totally different shows that just happen to have the same names.
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90. Mr. Yotsuya
Those of you who put down the fashion sense of the 70s BSG should think about what you're saying for a moment. Capes, epaulettes, and cloaks may silly to us Americans. But to many cultures, Western neckties are equally silly if only for the reason that an enemy can choke you with it. The original Galactica at least tried to imagine them as a culture with their own style. Strange, yet familiar. Their speech was often laced with words that you don't hear often outside of the Bible. Calling a letter an epistle, for example.
The lighting, camera work and cinematography in the old series was impressive, especially in the era before digital editing. They used a lot of soft glow and gaussian blur to good effect. Also, JJ Abrams could learn a thing or two from old BSG's tasteful and creative use of lensflare, considering how he loves to abuse it.
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91. Mr. Yotsuya
The original series was definitely held back by executive meddling where they weren't allowed to delve too deeply into religion and theology. However, they gave us a lot and we, the audience, had to fill in the blanks. They were able to get a lot past the radar due to clever writing and allowing us to fill in the blanks. The "As you are now.." clearly got by because the censors may not have realized the Mormon source. The reimagined series wasn't anywhere as limited as the old one but with less limitations, there is a tendency for writers to spoonfeed everything and leave nothing to the imagination. I'm not saying that reimagined Galactica did this but a lot of modern sci-fi does.
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92. Gregory Urbach
Classic BSG was a fun show then and it still is. My favorite episode was when the 2nd battlestar arrived (The Living Legend) and Lloyd Bridges swaggered on deck like an insubordinate George Patton. Comparing BSG to Star Wars is a no-brainer. BSG had a far better plot and more intriguing characters. Star Wars only advantage is the bigger budget used for special effects. Was BSG cheesy at times? Or course. It was the 1970s.
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93. Louis E.
I loved the original when it was new...while not thinking it perfect.
I have never watched the new version,I oppose the whole idea of "reimagining".
If it had been a new show that didn't re-use Galactica names for different things I might have been open to it.
A new remake that does not contradict the original might be quite welcome.
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94. Mike E
Several factors held the original series back. First, it would have been better served to portray the cylons as they were in the books, living creatures who wore armor, and received a 2nd then 3rd brain as the advanced in rank. This is a vital part of the novel version of the Gun On Ice Plnet Zero.

Second on the list would be inconsistent scripts. Some great ideas, but often full of plot holes, and some that just weren't all that compelling. Add to that the re-use (and re-use, and re-use, and re-use) of the same special effects sequences, and viewership dropped off quickly.

The show would have been better served in a "movie of the week" format, with a two hour episode every couple of months. That would have made it easier to develop well thought out story lines.

Over all, I prefer the original series for the same reason I prefer the original Star Trek. Cast chemistry. There was a great dynamic between Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and Herbert Jefferson Jr. It rivaled the dynamic of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Throw in the great presence of Lorne Greene made for a great cast.

I've heard rumors of a remake of the original series. This could be really good, if they avoid the "cheesy" aspects of the original, such as Boxey on a recon patrol on the planet Carrillon, and of course, get rid of the robot dog. Most importantly, to me at least, if the cylons were portrayed as originally invisioned, it could be a really cool movie or series, IF they can put together a cast with that great chemistry. If not, best to leave it alone.
Christopher Bennett
95. ChristopherLBennett
@94/MikeE: I assume that turning the Cylons into robots was done because BSG was designed to be a kid-friendly show and they didn't want the heroes killing people all the time.

And I don't know if I said already, but it was originally planned as a series of TV movies, but then retooled into a one-hour format. That's why all the big, arc-relevant stories in the first half-season or so are 2-parters, and the 1-parters are weak, generic space-opera stories that feel like afterthoughts and just interrupt the narrative flow. And later on, it was syndicated in reruns as TV movies, coming closer to the original plan.
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96. Ray M
Actually i love the old bsg...and i still dont like starbuck being 1st a gir and 2nd so damn important loved ger character loved her just didn't need her to be Starbuck....also loved in original that Boomer only needed one shot to shoot anything used to call him one shot boomer
Rancho Unicorno
97. Maria Walker
I watched every episode of the original Battlestar Galactica. I really enjoyed it and thought it was better than Star Wars, but that is my opinion. I was in elementary school when this show was on TV. My cousin and I would watch it every week that it came on. We had our favorite characters and our dislikes. We had a crush on Starbuck, which was her fav and Apollo who was mine. When they put out the original on DVD we both got it. I just thought it was the greatest.

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