Sure it was rumored this show was a rip off of Star Wars but it was, if you'll excuse the obvious pun, lightyears beyond the original Star Trek, Lost in Space, or any other science fiction show on television at the time and I was thankful for it. Lorne Greene led the cast as Commander Adama, the last surviving Battlestar Commander, trying to save what was left of humanity while searching for the legendary thirteenth colony, Earth.
Although Adama's right-hand man, Colonel Tigh (played by Terry Carter) presented many unused story possibilities, the producers focused primarily on Adama's son and fighter pilot captain, Apollo (portrayed by Richard Hatch)and his womanizing, gambling, cigar-chomping loose-cannon friend Lieutenant Starbuck. Whenever there was trouble, Starbuck could usually be found if not right in the middle of it, at least somewhere on the edges, and it was usually up to Apollo to get him out of it.
As played by Dirk Benedict, Starbuck quickly became one of the more interesting characters in the show, though the writers never did do much character development beyond what was absolutely necessary for any of the characters. Still, Starbuck was a loyal friend, and an incredible pilot when he needed to be. It no doubt saved him from being tossed out of the service many times.
The bad guys were the Cylons, a race of purportedly reptillian aliens bent on destroying the humans wherever they were found. It was always somewhat unclear why Adama decided to run for Earth when he would be, in essence, leading the Cylons straight to it as well. They had used a human's own lust for power against him, turned him traitor to his own people and then, in the feature film, executed him. In the television series however, this man Baltar (played by John Colicos) was granted a reprieve from execution, although he was never far from it due to his repeated failures to catch the Galactica and destroy the humans. Ironically, the Cylons had the best-looking ships in the series, sleek and definitely dangerous, but even though it took three centurions to pilot them, they always seemed to be outmaneuvered by the Colonial Vipers, even when these colonial ships were piloted by people who had never flown a real fighter before.
The acting was sometimes overdone, but then they never claimed it was Shakespearean theater. It worked beautifully for what it was: pure escapist fantasy. The only complaint about it were certain scenes used over and over and over again, but that was no doubt done to save money. It had to have been the most expensive show to shoot of its time, with all the special effects involved.
Over-all, it was immensely enjoyable, and could have continued for more seasons if the right writers had been found. Unfortunately, it barely made it through two seasons.