The Sci-Fi Channel's reimagining of the '70s intergalactic wagon-train show Battlestar Galactica is one of that cable net's top-rated shows, and it has inspired critical acclaim as well as a growing legion of hardcore fans. NBC's re-airing of episodes previously aired on the Sci-Fi Channel crashed and burned like a Colonial Viper under attack from a swarm of Cylon Raiders.
NBC trailed the other big three networks the night of Saturday, July 9, when it ran the Galactica marathon. The network landed in fourth place for each of the prime-time hours, as well as in the coveted demographic of 18- to 49-years-olds.
The 1970s Battlestar Galactica was a big-budget space opera created in the wake of Star Wars. It chronicled the story of a humanlike race that fled the destruction of its homeworld by the evil robots known as the Cylons. The last Battlestar, named Galactica, led "a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest. A shining planet, known as Earth," all the while being pursued by the Cylons. Quite lavish for its time, with a cast that included Lorne Greene, it lasted for less than two seasons.
The revamped Battlestar Galactica, which features Edward James Olmos, sexy female Cylons, and state-of-the-art special effects, garners around 3 million viewers an episode and is considered a success. On NBC, the rebroadcast of the new shows was watched by 2.3 million viewers and wound up in last place. This speaks to the nature of cable vs. broadcast--sci-fi does much better on cable, where it takes fewer viewers for a show to qualify as a "hit."
The second season of the new Battlestar Galactica premieres this Friday, July 15, on The Sci-Fi Channel. There has been no word on whether Sci-Fi plans on updating Galactica 1980.