Commander Adama - Lorne Green
Apollo - Richard Hatch
Starbuck - Dirk Benedict
Cassiopeia - Laurette Spang
Colonel Tigh - Terry Carter
Baltar - John Colicos
Serina - Jane Seymour
Boxey - Noah Hathaway
Athena - Maren Jensen
Sheba - Anne Lockhart
OTHER BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SHOWS
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
OTHER TREKS THROUGH SPACE
The Next Generation
Deep Space Nine
SAGA OF A STAR WORLD - Part One
The representatives of the 12 colonies of man head out on their impressive Battlestars to meet with their robotic Cylon enemies in order to sign a historic peace agreement. Unfortunately, the Cylons have other ideas and launch a sneak attack on both the fleet and the colonies, wiping out most of both. The last surviving Battlestar's commander orders all remaining survivors to set sail in anything that will fly.
Leaping onto the post STAR WARS bandwagon comes BATTLESTAR GALACTICA one of the first shows out of the gate and possibly the boldest set up that someone could have thought of. Worlds destroyed, fleets wiped out, humanity in jeopardy and even the cute dog killed on screen. Now that's bold.
This opening episode concentrates on the crew of the Galactica, making the big picture more personal and giving some definition to events. There's a hint of Chamberlain's 'peace in our time' about the whole situation with the weak President not heeding the warnings of the stoic Commander Adama. There's the heroic pilot leader Apollo, heroic rogue Starbuck, any number of heroic supporting characters. They're all sketches really, but the focus here is on the action.
And the action is pretty good. The colonial viper ships and Cylon attack vessels are great, though some of the effects are a bit obvious at times. The Cylon warriors are a wonder of design, all disco ball shines and unveiled threat. The real star, though, is the Battlestar Galactica, a real presence in its own right.
The episode ends on a positive note after all the destruction, but there's still a long way to go.Top
SAGA OF A STAR WORLD - Part Two
The fleet is on the run and starvation is rife. Food and supplies are being identified and the warriors are making friends amongst the new passengers. The only solution to the food problem is to traverse a Cylon minefield in an area of space where ships have to be shielded from radiation and fighter scanners are useless. The result is for three pilots to fly blind using Galactica's sensors. What they find on the other side, however, is not what they might have expected.
There is a surprising quality to the interpersonal drama on display in this second episode. Commander Adama's suffering under the yolk of the decisions he has been forced to make, his conflict with Apollo over the apparently suicidal mission, the unveiling of Sire Uri as a hoarder, the starving humans below decks. These are all well written and acted, especially by Lorne Greene and Richard Hatch.
Sadly, this is let down by the misjudged moments such as the creation of the robot dog and the deadly mission proving to be shorter and less deadly than advertised. The twist of finding a casino in the middle of nowhere is a nice upset of expectations.Top
SAGA OF A STAR WORLD - Part Three
The fleet has arrived at a planet that ought to at least solve the mineral problems and is also home to an unknown gambling resort.Whilst a little R&R might be in order, there are secrets behind the apparently perfect place and the new council proposes a surprising course of action.
After the downbeat drama of the first two episodes, this one turns out to be both silly and disappointing. Quite apart from the singers with four eyes and two mouths (a really poor effect) the reactions to the sudden appearance of an obvious honey trap are just unbelievable. Not as unbelievable as a parent allowing a child to run off in pursuit of an artificial dog all the time.
That is then topped off with the insect people who are as believable as the singers. All of this pales into insignificance against the idea that the newly-formed council would try to surrender to the Cylons in the exact same way that led to the destruction of the colonies so soon after that destruction.
At least Adama is left with some semblance of reality as he comes up with a workable strategy to save the day, though it seems somewhat at odds with common sense. If all the pilots are held back from going to the celebrations, why must they wait on the planet instead of on Galactica and why are they not called back much earlier.Top
THE LOST PLANET OF THE GODS - Part One
The Galactica is faced with a difficult choice. First there is the Cylon outpost and second there is the magnetic void that appears to be endless. Thanks to an illness amongst the viper pilots, Adama is forced to follow both.
It is impossible to believe that a set of new and untested shuttle pilots should be able to take on Cylon fighters and come out of the battle without a single casualty. It is also impossible to believe that all these new pilots should be women and they should all be so attractive. It is also impossible to believe that a man who has just announced his engagement to Jane Seymour would go racing off to risk death in a void he knows nothing about.
It is also quite fun that Starbuck talks all about travelling in straight lines and carrying out reverse turns and then the shots of the vipers show the ships doing anything but straight lines and reverse turns.
The main interest is in Adama's reaction to news of the void, something that might be a stepping stone on the search for Earth.
Oh, and the supposed Cylon robot Lucifer is a particularly poor effect, especially when placed against the somewhat impressive Cylon centurions.Top
THE LOST PLANET OF THE GODS - Part Two
At the centre of the void, the fleet finds the lost planet of Kobol, the birthplace of humanity. Adama descends to the planet's ruined surface holds a temple which contains the secret instructions to find Earth, but before he can copy them, Baltar's forces strike and a sacrifice is made.
From the moment that Apollo and Serina pledge themselves to each other it is obvious what is going to happen here and the inevitable comes in a pretty low-key and unheroic manner. The drama of this is then completely undermined by the hopelessly overly melodramatic death scene.
The sudden switch into an overtly religious tone is surprising, but actually gives events some depth beyond the action scenes and the rather uninspiring comedy moments. This has been hinted at before, but this is the first time that it has been given so much screen time.
Baltar keeps announcing that his plan is continuing, but it seems that plan is merely that everyone will believe that he has good intentions this time around and will blindly follow him to attack the Cylons. This has to be one of the weakest plots a villain has ever cooked up.Top
THE LOST WARRIOR
Apollo is attacked on a patrol and leads the Cylons away from the fleet, but he crashes onto a planet where he encounters a community in thrall to a fat man who is in control of a gunslinging Cylon.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA does the westerns in this story that steals all manner of influences from the old west, including SHANE and RIO BRAVO, though the villain is clearly modelled on that of THE MALTESE FALCON. Whilst this should be an affectionate tribute, the familiarity works against it, making it dull and uninspired and hopefully not what we can expect from future episodes.Top
THE LONG PATROL
Starbuck is sent on a very distant patrol in an unarmed but very fast ship. He is taken unawares and the ship is stolen out from under him. He finds himself locked in a prison where generations have been kept imprisoned for the crimes of their ancestors.
This is a very silly story indeed. The idea that the Galactica would send out an unarmed ship no matter what the patrol required is somewhat ridiculous, but certainly no less ridiculous than the stage farce of Starbuck trying to hold a party with two women at the same time. Unlikeliness reaches new heights as Cassiopeia happens to be on the bridge and happens to have a background that just happens to solve a mystery and save the new ship. None of which compares to the sheer unlikeliness that the inmates would stay imprisoned in cells that cannot be locked or if they did that a few words from Starbuck would overcome their conditioning.Top
THE GUN ON ICE PLANET ZERO - Part One
A weapon that could destroy the Galactica with a single shot is located on a hostile asteroid. A small team of deadly criminals is sent in under the command of Apollo, Starbuck and Boomer to destroy the weapon. Unfortunately, Boxey stows away and the planet turns out to have surprises they could not have guessed at.
This is a mix of THE DIRTY DOZEN (in this case numbering four) and THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, thrown into the snowy setting of ICE STATION ZEBRA. Roy Thinnes, Richard Lynch, James Olsen and Christine Belford(check name) provide the dangerous people on the team and some rather obvious effects and stock footage attempt to create the hostile environment of the icy planet. It certainly doesn't hurt that the females of a race of clones is based on Britt Ekland, but Boxey's stowing away is a plot twist too far. How bad is Galactica's internal security anyhow?Top
THE GUN ON ICE PLANET ZERO - Part Two
The Galactica's time is up and the ship is forced to move in towards the ice planet with the big gun on it. Apollo's team races against various obstacles, but it seems that time will be against them.
By the end of this episode you might almost wish the Galactica had been destroyed if only to stop the various characters repeating the countdown in a vain attempt to stir up the tension. There is also random firing of the weapon, which fails to hit anything at all, so what was the point of firing it all?
Continuity also seems to have been lost since the Galactica is supposed to have moved into a new galaxy and yet the criminals seem to know exactly what planets are nearby. Also, the Cylon base has been there for some time, so what gives?
The guest cast leave the scene in various ways, making almost no impact with their characters at all. Even Britt Ekland's appearance seems to be solely to set up a poor joke at the end for Starbuck.Top
THE MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS
Cylons destroy the food crop on the agricultural ships of the fleet. New seed is available on a nearby planet, but the colonists there are beseiged by a band of pig bandits who raid every full moon.
The title makes it obvious how much of this episode is borrowed liberally from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN in its set up. The pig men bandits are painfully unimpressive and the action surrounding them is equally unimpressive. Since they are only armed with spears, the townsfolk could have stood up to them with spears, but they prefer to sacrifice people they have tricked into being their town constable. Considering what a big speech the leader makes about how the townsfolk feel about cowardice that's pretty rich.
The low comedy comes from Adama being aggressively romanced by a woman who has a particularly important piece of equipment. Lorne Greene's discomfort is well judged, but there are other aspects of the whole thing that he ought to be equally uncomfortable about.
And the sci-fi movie literate will instantly recognise the footage stolen from SILENT RUNNING to provide the agro ships.Top
THE YOUNG LORDS
Starbuck is shot down over a planet where the Cylon garrison is beset by attacks carried out by a small group of children trying to free their prisoner father. When a prisoner exchange goes wrong, Starbuck plans a rescue attempt.
There is so much about this episode that is ridiculous that it's hard to know where to start. Let's start with the idea that the Cylons are so inept that five children can evade them and harry their forces to distraction. If that were true then the destruction of the colonies could never have happened.
The action of the raid that Starbuck organises is so poor that it is almost painful to watch with kids running across open ground between Cylon sentries that don't see them. Utter nonsense.Top
THE LIVING LEGEND - Part One
The Galactica and the whole fleet run out of fuel in the middle of Cylon controlled space. Miraculously, a second battlestar, the Pegasus appears. Under the command of military legend Cain, the Pegasus has remained at large for two years, fighting various enemies. Now, Cain plans to use the Galactica in his campaign, against the wishes of Adama.
After one of the worst and most ridiculous episodes, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA comes up with a story that is much more worthy of its setting. The conflict between the command styles and concerns of Cain and Adama make for an interesting and dramati situation that spreads throughout their crews. Lloyd Bridges plays Cain as a military genius, but also an arrogant man full of bombast and pride. The military and political posturing between the two commanders takes many twists.
This is all so much better than the human story, which has a love triangle between Cain, Starbuck and Cassiopeia that is barely credible, no matter how legendary Cain might be. Add in to that a daughter that hates Cassiopeia, but would follow her father into hell and who is a hotshot pilot and the family cliches pile up far too quickly.
At least there is plenty of opportunity for space battles and the show recycles all the usual shots that have been used too many times before.Top
THE LIVING LEGEND - Part Two
There is no alternative for the two Battlestars to attack the Cylon secondary capital in order to get the fuel they need to escape the chasing Basestars. Cain comes up with a strategy that is just as likely to see everyone killed as everyone survive.
This episode is all about the military tactics and battles fought to save the fleet, but very few of these make any sense. The infiltration unit on the ground land in the middle of a city and yet nobody spots either the shuttle or the parachutists. The destruction in this part of the storyline is recycled from earlier stories in the show's usual cheap fashion.
In space it is pretty much the same with Cylon fighter ships flying backwards and forwards as comamnds are made, countermanded and recountermanded. At times it resembles a stage farce.
The characters are all forced to give ridiculous heroic speeches about duty and sacrifice and all the good work of the last episode leaks away long before the end credits roll.Top
FIRE IN SPACE
Cylons with ships jammed full of explosives carry out suicide runs on the Galactica, leaving it burning inside with a fire that the crew are unable to extinguish. Commander Adama needs life-saving surgery and Boomer is trapped with Athena and Boxey in a room cut off by the fire that threatens to ignite critical fuel stores.
A tight storyline that is about survival rather than militay tactics or silly alien worlds makes this one of the most impressive episodes to date. It doesn't help that the explosive fire effects are clearly borrowed from all over, but the desperate losing battle to get the fire under control and the final dsperate act are all great, if undermined by the lost pilots in space silliness at the end.
And for once the stupidly irritating false dog thing does something worthwhile.Top
WAR OF THE GODS - Part One
Strange lights in the sky are encountered and ships disappear. Investigating, Starbuck, Apollo and Sheba find and pick up a man who refers to himself as Count Iblis and who has great powers. He increases their food output and delivers Baltar to the fleet and only demands tthat he be given control of the fleet in return.
The super-powerful alien being who might be a god is an old, old plotline that is borrowed from the likes of STAR TREK and isn't handled here any way that adds to other shows that have used it. Patrick MacNee plays the urbane (what else) pretender with a dark side and a particular influence over Sheba, but his performance is just the same as that from THE AVENGERS.
The conflict that the stranger brings within the fleet is more interesting than the cause of it and the female audience might like the fact that the this episode featurest he game of triad with the shortest shorts that the male cast are ever likely to wear.Top
WAR OF THE GODS - Part Two
Baltar has been delivered to the fleet and the survivors are starting to believe in the promises of Count Iblis. Apollo doesn't feel that way and neither does his father. They set out to find the truth, though it cost one of them their lives.
The truth about Count Iblis is finally revealed and it's a completely (and unecessarily) silly one. The lights in the sky have a similar, but more reasonable explantation, but not one that explains why they can only interfere when it suits them and not one that explains why it was necessary to hold the missing pilots other than the plot required it.
The sudden move into theological territory hinted at by the tombs of the Lords of Kobol might have proved to be more interesting than this if it had made any sense and the coda in which Apollo, Starbuck and Sheba remember their revelation, sort of, and the way to Earth is just embarrassing.Top
THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES
Starbuck comes into contact with a man who might well be the father that he thought he lost in one of the first raids of the Cylon war 20 years previously. The man, however, is a con man on the run from members of a cult who want him dead.
Fred Astaire reprises his role from THE TOWERING INFERNO as a loveable and not very successful con man. His presence is about the only interesting thing about the whole episode, which has far too many obvious twists that really couldn't happen with the speed that it is shown here. The idea that new recruits would be brought to the Galactica before security checks could be carried out when it would be just as easy to do the checks before bringing them aboard is the kind of sloppy plotting that drags the show down.Top
MURDER ON THE RISING STAR
An opponent on the triad court, Ortega, rides Starbuck hard, so when he is found dead and Starbuck's laser is missing the exact amount of energy expended in killing the man it seems obvious who did the deed. It's up to Apollo and Boomer to find who did the deed and the key might be Baltar.
Colonial law is clearly in need of an overhaul if a man accused of murder has 10 days to prepare a defence and vital information is refused in the court simply because it's never been used before.
Aside from this, there's a chance for Dirk Benedict to do something other than the smug rogue routine and he comes out of it quite well. The background to the actual crime also taps into the dark start of the show and what happened when the colonies were destroyed. A pity, then, that there are few surprises and the outcome is never in doubt.Top
MESSAGES FROM EARTH - Part One
A ship is discovered containing humanoids in cryogenic sleep. It is hoped that they come from Earth, but there is a fear that if their sleep is interrupted it might kill them. A fierce debate rages over whether the sleepers should be awakened.
A story in which nothing happens, but the rights and the wrongs of the situation are debated is something that is rare in television science fiction and so it is welcome here, although the whole debate is handled in a pretty melodramatic fashion. It is obvious where the discussion is going to go, but not how it is going to get there.
Anyone looking for space battles and special effects is going to be disappointed, but those wanting a bit more meat to the story will find much more to their liking.Top
MESSAGES FROM EARTH - Part Two
Apollo and Starbuck accompany the family from the last episode to their planet where they encounter a strange pair of robots. The Eastern Alliance come calling and trouble follows with them.
For once the planet being looked at is not completely habitable to the travellers and that makes up for part of the running time. It's a detail, but one that shows some thought has gone into the plot because the rest of it is utter rubbish.
The two robots Hector and Vector are just as awful as they sound and an embarrassment to watch despite one of them being Ray Bolger from THE WIZARD OF OZ. The Eastern Alliance are also equally embarrassing because of their ineptitude in taking on even a small household of people.Top
On the prison barge, Baltar teams up with some of the other inmates and conspires to take the entire Council of Twelve hostage.
Baltar's plan is so obviously unworkable that the episode has to bend over in all kinds of directions to find a way to make it work, thus causing people to react in all kinds of stupid ways to situations that ought to be obvious to them.
It is good to see the John Colicos back as the deliciously slimy Baltar, but the episode has nothing else to recommend it.Top
EXPERIMENT IN TERRA
The godlike aliens are back and need Apollo to convince a whole world not to go to war.
One man from a distant planet has only a few hours to convince two entire governments that nuclear war isn't a good idea. He fails miserably, but the Galactica is on hand to save the day. This is the kind of utter nonsense that the show has descended into, a ridiculous plot that even the likeable cast can do nothing with.
There are more stock footage shots of missiles than you can shake a stick at and the recycling of special effects shots is getting embarrassingly obvious.Top
TAKE THE CELESTRA
An old flame of Starbuck's turns out to be involved in a plot to depose the captain of the Celestra and strike out from the fleet for freedom.
For once there is a plot here that has something to say for itself. The tension between the military and the civilian lifestyle, the problem of labour relations, is covered here and the subtext is far more interesting than the actual plotline which has the usual amounts of dodgy dialogue moments and sloppy plotting.
In the end, the story wimps out from demonising people and wraps everything up in far too neat a fashion.Top
THE HAND OF GOD
Adama decides to take the Cylons head on for once when a lone baseship is located. To improve their chances, he asks Baltar for help.
Apparently Cylon security is so bad that a ship with an out of date code won't be challenged and humans can wander around freely, accessing the most critical parts of a baseship which are guarded by only a single centurion. Once again, the plot is utter hogwash.
It does, however, allow for an all-action finale to the series that provides all the usual special effects shots reused for the last time. It is, at least, good to see the Cylons back.Top
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