Battlestar Galactica came right on the heels of Star Wars mania, and as such was often accused of being a poor copy. But Battlestar Galactica was never a poor copy. It was a fresh perspective of the thoughts first postulated in 1968 by Erich von Däniken in his famous book, Chariot of the Gods. The theory was that life here may have began out there. That ancient astronauts may have visited/colonized this planet, and may be responsible for many cultural references and mythologies of ancient past civilizations, such as Greece, and are the basis of the legends and philosophies of different religions , Toltec, Myan, maybe even Christianity. , and may have been responsible for the building of The Great Pyramids, Lymeria, Atlantis. The echoes of these theories were voiced in the opening of almost every episode each week. The story begins "out there". Manking had flurished on an ancient planet called Kobol, until an unknown disaster forced it's inhabitants to migrate to the stars and form colonies. Twelve were esablished, one was lost, but legend has it that they headed for and settled on a planet called Earth. Little information is known about this colony. Meanwhile, a reptilian race called The Cylons were known as conquerers, and had built robitic centurians to serve as shock troops and slaves to the Cylon order. One day, the Centurians rebelled, and killed of their masters, maintaining the Cylon name. They built and annointed a leader in the image of the reptillian Cylons, and resumed the former races conquering philosophy. On the Colonial front, two ruling bodies were established. A civillian goverment called "The Council of the Twelve" and a a military was set up, establishing protection for our race with "Battlestars" ( sort of a futiristic well armed aircraft carrier. This brought about crossing paths with the Cylons. The Colonies had drawn up, and tried to maintain diplomatic relations with The Cylons, which were constantly breaking down due to The Cylons treatment of other allied cultures. One day, The Colonials were forced to take military action when the Cylons invaded and took control of the Hisaris home world, a close ally of the Colonies. This sparked a war between The Colonies and the Cylons that lasted for a thousand years. At the end of that period, the Cylons proposed peace, and an armistice was set up to be signed by both. But it was a trap. With the Colonial military posture relaxed, and their guard down, the Cylons launched an all out final attack, and effectively destroyed the twelve colonies, all but wiping out humanity. The commander of the last surviving Battlestar, Adama..gathers together all that he can muster of the last remaing humans, to search for the lost tribe that colonized Earth,..all the while with the Cylons in hot pursuit. It is on armistice day that the series begins, and you take it from there. The series establishes wonderful characters. Adama, played by the late Lorne Greene, is a warm fatherlike figure, on who's shoulders the survival of humanity rests upon. His son, Captain Apollo, played by Richard Hatch (Tom Zerrick in the new show) is a young, serious warrior, with a strong moral stance and pretty much the head warrior of the group. His best friend, and the best warrior in the fleet is a cigar chomping, womanizing Lt. Starbuck, played with a glint in his eye by Dirk Benedict. Rounding out the close trio of warriors is Herb Jefferson Jr., playing Lt. Boomer. The head villian in charge of the Cylons is Baltar played with a deliciously evil stance by veteran John Colicos. Baltar had been a member of the council of the Twelve, and had set up the armistice, but had his own agenda. He wants to rule the Colonies himself. It is he who is responsible for the weak colonial defence situatio when the Cylons attack. He is double crossed himself by The Cylons, and ordered to be executed. However, when the Imperious Leader Cylon is himself destroyed by the colonials, his succsessor figures that Baltar, being human, might best know how to find the remaining humans, and so his impending execution is stayed, and he is given command of his own Cylon Baseship. Baltar knows however that he will only stay alive until the humans are found, and so sets out to warn the colonials, but of course, they don't believe him. He is left to die by both camps, which snaps Baltars's mind. When he returns, he is all but insane, and plots his own rule of the galaxy. It is a wonderful premise which, unfortunately, went largely unrealized in the end. The show did not last long, for many reasons. First..it was the most expensive show in the history of televison at that time...one million per hour. Contrary to other reviews, it was not the special effects that took up most of the budget..it ws the bridge set. Ther were some twenty of so real, working computers on that bridge. Computers like that were hard to come by, were expensive, and were leased from an outside company. Adding to the show's woes was the network's constant attempts to formulize the show, (Let's do a western, a murder mystery, a trial show, a disaster movie) which was common practice in the seventies. Also common practice, was the hiring of former big names who's career had been on the decline, but still demanded high pay. This also did not help the budget, which left little money left for new effects, which is why, if you watch, you will see the same effects used constantly over and over and over again, ad-nausium. I think this was, perhaps the most annoying aspect of the series. The three hour premier was a bit too long, two hours would have done the story justice, and helped pacing considerably. Standout episodes abound, "Lost Planet of the Gods", a two parter and the first story after the pilot film, "The Long Patrol" is delightful, "Gun on Ice Planet Zero" has a lot of action and suspense, The Living Legend two parter is perhaps the best of the bunch, the incredible "War Of The Gods" episodes, and the series finale, "The Hand Of God". I'll be posting individual reviews for these and others. While watching, please don't compare it to the current series. You'll best enjoy this one taking it for what it is, a product of it's times.
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