on July 29, 2003
Twenty-four years after its cancellation after just one season on the air, Galactica is still remembered fondly by a surprising number of fans. Is there any other one-year series this famous a generation later? None that I can think of. Here's a rundown of the seventeen episodes that make up this box set collection of every episode of "Battlestar Galactica."
Saga of a Star World: The three-hour pilot that launched the series, later shown in theaters as an edited version. After a thousand years of war, the twelve colonies of man are wiped out by the mechanical Cylons. The Galactica and its ragtag fleet of survivors begins the search for the legendary planet Earth. Grade: A
Lost Planet of the Gods: The Galactica discovers the planet Kobol, where mankind originated. Adama attempts to learn the path its inhabitants took when they journeyed to Earth. Meanwhile, the viper pilots have contracted a disease which forces the fleet to train shuttle pilots (women) to take over as fighter pilots. Grade: A
The Lost Warrior: Apollo is stranded on a wild west planet where things resemble the movie Shane a little bit too closely. Grade: F
The Long Patrol: Starbuck pilots a prototype viper into an unknown galaxy and finds an asteroid penal colony where the inmates are descendants of the original criminals. Grade: B
The Gun on Ice Planet Zero: A giant laser cannon on an arctic-type planet threatens to destroy the Galactica as it comes in range. A "borrowed" plot from "Guns of Navarone." Grade: C
The Magnificent Warriors: The fleet is threatened with starvation and lands on a planet where the local movie theater is playing "The Magnificent Seven." Grade: D
The Young Lords: Starbuck crash lands on a remote planet and helps a group of children rescue their father, who is a Cylon prisoner. Grade: C
The Living Legend: Lloyd Bridges stars as Commander Cain in one of the series' most loved episodes. Lots of action, but lots of repeated effects too. Grade: A
Fire in Space: There's a fire. In space. Grade: F
War of the Gods: Another classic episode. Patrick MacNee stars as the mysterious Count Iblis, who will lead the fleet to Earth for a high price. Grade: A
The Man with Nine Lives: A good story about life in the fleet, featuring Fred Astaire as the man who may or may not be Starbuck's long-lost father. The Nomen make their first appearance in this one. Grade: B
Murder on the Rising Star: Starbuck is accused of murdering a fellow Warrior after a heated game of Triad. Derivative of a thousand other trial episodes of a thousand other series. Grade: D
Greeting from Planet Earth: A ship is found in space that may or may not be headed for Earth. Unfortunately, it is actually headed for a planet populated by the androids Hector and Vector.
Baltar's Escape: Another standard 70's plot about a hijacking. Baltar is the hijacker this time. The Nomen return. Grade: D
Escape from Terra: With the help of the returning Ship of Lights, Apollo must save a planet from global war. Note that the basic premise of "Quantum Leap" is first seen here. Grade: C
Take the Celestra: The officers on the Celestra mutiny. Truly a dud. Grade: F
The Hand of God: Apollo and Starbuck sneak aboard a Cylon base ship and disable its scanners while the Galactica launches its vipers against it. A fan favorite. Last episode of the series, which goes out on a great note with this one. Grade: A
"Lost Planet of the Gods," "Gun on Ice Planet Zero," "The Living Legend," and "War of the Gods," are all two-parters. "Greetings from Earth" is a two-hour special and "Saga of a Star World" was shown as a three-parter in syndication.
on November 8, 2003
I just finished viewing all of the content in the Battlestar Galactica DVD boxset. It took me nearly two weeks to view all of the episodes and extra features. There is an enormous amount of material to go through on this set.
The packaging is indeed unique, being a molded plastic Cylon helmet with a chrome coat on top of it. The "Red Eye" portion is a thin reflective coating similar to a lenticular sticker. The set is a little large with the helmet packaging, but that really doesn't bother me since it's interesting just to have sitting on a shelf. The set also comes with a nice collector's booklet with air dates and information about all of the episodes, photos, drawings, ship diagrams, etc. The booklet is about the size of a magazine, which is great since it wasn't some dinky little booklet.
As for the 6 DVD discs themselves, they are all Double-Sided. Universal shows Single-Sided on the advertising materials for the set, and even on the back of the boxset! That's a minor gripe, but somewhat deceiving to potential buyers. Many of the DVD's are Dual-layer on one side and Single-Layer on the opposite side to maximize the footage on a single DVD. The Menus on all 6 discs are the same, but still a nicely done motion layer sequence that runs at about 52 seconds. As for the interior package that holds all 6 DVD discs, it is a foldout package that has clear plastic disc holders with photos underneath. They are rather sturdy in their grasps on the discs, I had trouble freeing up one disc at first. On the opposite foldout side are layered photos from the series. All episodes and time lengths are also listed on the back of the inner package.
As for the episode transfers on the set, they are very clean and clear for a TV series which aired in the late 1970's. Actually they are almost too sharp and clear at times. You can sometimes see the "matte-frames" or "wires" in shots very clearly. It doesn't bother me while viewing, but it might with some viewers. At least the episodes were all untouched and not fooled around with. The sound is presented in a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. I didn't notice too much stereo seperation on my home theater system except in certain intense scenes. On nearly every episode there are various Deleted and Alternate scenes, and Bloopers. In total there are well over 3 hours of those additional scenes spanning the 6 discs.
There is a great 45 minute feature with all new interviews with the cast and creators. A video interview with series creator Glen Larson concerning the creation of the series is also included. To top it off, there are several mini-featurettes about the music score, Daggits, and Cylons.
I would gladly recommend this DVD set to any fan of the series. It is well worth the money and the wait to have the entire series to view at any time, and finally crystal clear in quality!
on November 8, 2003
If Classic Trek is the epitome of a cult sci-fi show, then Battlestar Galactica is the very essence of one. The loyalty of the fan base is amazing, and Trekkies are probably jealous on some level or other about what little stolen thunder Galactica fans may have enjoyed in 1978 and since.
As for the series, to be honest, there are some problems with it. The blatant overuse of stock footage puts an Irwin Allen spin on the proceedings (realistically, how many times can a Viper get nicked in the top tailfin by Cylon laser fire, and escape destruction?!) The shamelessly 70's hairstyles, disco dancing, and kid-friendly atmosphere have all tended to date Galactica over time. But even so, despite everything, Galactica retains a certain charm unseen in any of those new Treks we've been inundated with.
The show was always a favorite of mine, but mostly because it was a show I watched as a kid, and have not seen except in bits and pieces over the years. Of course, I had to buy it when it came out on DVD.
The episodes have been transferred to disc with good quality, and the show is as crisp and colorful as possible. The Cylon packaging for the set is interesting, but ultimately fragile and too bulky for storage. While the attempt is appreciated, the special packaging works against those of us drowning in our DVD collections.
What really strikes me after screening the series in this set is just how BIG it was. The scale of the Galactica always seems to be nicely realized, especially on the bridge, which is just packed with extras moving about in the background. Touches like that help convey the epic scale of the story as well, and the sheer vastness of space in the Galactica Universe. On top of that, look at the names of those who guest starred; Lloyd Bridges, Fred Astaire, Ray Milland, Jane Seymour, Patrick Macnee, Lew Ayres, John Hoyt, Paul fix, Edward Mulhare, Rick Springfield, Jonathan Harris, Britt Ekland, Roy Thinnes, Ray Bolger, and more.
Besides that impressive roster, we have the regulars, Lorne Green and John Colicos. It goes without saying that Green was always amazing in any role he played, but I think if there is one actor who gets forgotten, it would have to be Colicos. Colicos was always incredible, here or in any other part. Richard Hatch also delivered in every instance, while Terry Carter, Herb Jefferson Jr., and Maren Jensen hit all the right notes when in front of the camera. Supporting actors David Greenan (Omega) and Sarah Rush (Rigel) also light up the screen in their admittedly limited roles. It pains me to admit it, but even Noah Hathaway (Boxey) gives a good accounting of himself in his part.
Certainly no new Trek can compare with the sheer size and scope of Battlestar Galactica, and the almost unsung achievements of this rare offering from 1978.
By comparison, the most disappointing aspect of screening the show after so long a time is the realization that Boxey, Muffit, and Athena all inexplicably vanish from the last fifth of the series. While I always disliked Boxy and his robot dog (I did like Athena), their sudden absence is very noticeable. Also, other than the two that cameo in "Baltar's Escape", there is the very palpable lack of Cylons in the last fifth of the series. Kind of hard to flee the Cylon tyranny when there are no Cylons to flee from!
The best feature in the set by far is the almost overwhelming amount of cut scenes and alternate takes. Not only do some of these snippets help fill in a few holes and illuminate certain plot points, but you get a good feeling for the production method used on the set to make the series. In fact, it's hard to choose the most important of the cut elements. Probably the best has little or nothing to do with the plots or whatnot, but a scene in which Adama explains to Boxey the problem that the Terrans face with differences in air pressure.
Fun to see this show again after so long, plus the cuts, and the featurettes. The behind the scenes documentary covers just about everything, too. All in all, the set is a real winner, and despite the dated hairstyles and whatnot, Battlestar Galactica reminds us that Trek is not all there is to sci-fi.
on November 8, 2003
Having been a fan since its inception, I greatly anticipated the release of Battlestar Galactica on DVD. You always have the marathons on Sci-Fi channel but the constant commercials after every few minutes gets monotonous! I have now gone through every minute of the DVD set and must say that even after all these years I found them excellent! The picture is cleaned up and looks great! The most impressive thing for me was the noticeable improvement in the sound and music. It is not only cleaned up and digitized but it is now in stereo instead of mono. This fact alone makes a HUGE difference when putting it on a big screen with a decent sound system. The stories are the stories, either you liked them or hated them. I thought that perhaps I might find the stories a little hokey since I liked them so much as a teenager, but I was pleasantly surprised, they have seemed to survived the test of time. I guess that is the sign of a classic. Get your full set now since you never know if these DVD's will be available later, it is worth the price tag, especially when you break it down to being around $4.94 per episode (that's reasonable), and that doesn't even take into consideration all of the extra behind the scenes insights, commentaries, and deleted scenes. This is a worthy investment and a true keepsake. Thanks to all those who had a hand in its DVD release and shame on ABC who cut it after only one season many years ago, and it had the highest nielson ratings at the time, who knows how big Battlestar Galactica could have been. The real beauty of this is that now my son is starting to get into the series just like I did when I was about his age. Now that's the sign of a classic!
on October 18, 2003
This is a wonderful box set, nearly perfect in content. Almost every story has deleted scenes. In fact, there are over 3 hours of deleted scenes on this box set. Yes, 3 HOURS!!!! The deleted scenes include bloopers, retakes, trimmed material, etc. No, they are not remastered and there is no musical score (except where they show surrounding televised material for reference), but they are fun to see nonetheless. You will even hear Muffy the Mechanical Daggit as a chimp screech out and ruin a few takes (yes, Muffy was a chimp, the secret is out)!
There are also featurettes which highlight the memories of many of the surviving cast members (including the actors who portrayed Boomer, Starbuck, Apollo, Boxey, Cassiopiea, and others). These are well done and very viewable. Especially fun is the one on the Cylons (and how they could not see, so they kept falling over, tripping, running into things, etc). Lots of fun!
Don't be fooled. Yes, there are six discs, but several of the discs are two-sided, meaning you get upwards of 10 disc-worths of material in this set.
Also, you may be suprised that some of the larger stories are not divided up into their episodic release (at least, I did not notice any episodic breaks). For instance, Saga of a Starworld is presented as one long story (much longer than the theatrical movie release), but I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) that this was how it was originally released on television back on that Sunday night in 1978 (a three hour TV Event Spectacular once you threw in commercials). In fact, I believe it was subsequently divided up into 3 parts for syndication purposes.
A booklet is also included in this oversized Cylon head box. No, the Cylon's eye on the box does not move back and forth electronically (it would be nice if it did). It is actually a reflective piece that does not really give much of an eye-movement effect. Anyway, the book is nice; it tells you where each of the stories can be found on the discs, gives a short plot synopsis of each story, and has some nice pictures.
What's fabulous about this set is that the sound has now been remastered for Dolby 5.1. No more mono tracks!!! Those of us who have been watching Battlestar Galactica for years have known how the sound (which could have been so rich and full) has been absolutely killed by being in mono. Well NO MORE! Now it is in surround!
Ah yes, there is a commentary track for Saga of a Star World as well (Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, and Herbert Jefferson Jr), and a special with Glen Larson... there is so much on this set, I haven't had a chance to absorb it all! It is definitely worth the wait; this is how a box set SHOULD be done as far as content! BUY IT!
Stories contained (all of the televised stories from the original run; no GALACTICA 1980 here folks):
Saga of a Star World (3 Parter)
Lost Planet of the Gods (2 Parter)
The Lost Warrior
The Long Patrol
Gun on Ice Planet Zero (2 Parter)
The Magnificent Warriors
The Young Lords
The Living Legend (2 Parter)
Fire in Space
War of the Gods (2 Parter)
The Man with Nine Lives
Murder on the Rising Star
Greetings from Earth (2 Parter)
Experiment in Terra
Take the Celestra
The Hand of God
Of these, my favorites are Saga of a Star World, Lost Planet of the Gods, War of the Gods, and The Hand of God. I enjoy all of the others to some degree, with my least favorite being The Young Lords. I know most people would rank The Living Legend as one of their favorites as well.
on October 22, 2003
If you are reading this and are interested in purchasing the Battlestar Galactica series on DVD, then you already know about the series. But what about the DVD set?
I was disappointed.
First of all, the video quality was grainy in spots and there were a lot of defects. They don't appear to have done ANY cleanup. The special effects weren't cleaned up or improved any either. The audio seems to be mono which is not surprising considering when this was made. Another nit pick I have is that you have to flip DVD's over and there are no lables on the DVD's as a result. This is a small thing, but I like having one side of the DVD with a label on it. It looks better and easier to identify the DVD when it's not in it's case.
Overall, considering there was no clean up of the video, no improvement of special effects, no upgrade of the audio, and no labels on the DVD's themselves, I think this DVD set is way over priced.
If you haven't purchased it yet, wait until it goes on sale closer to $50 or $60.
Or better yet, maybe someday they will come out with a special edition where they have cleaned up all of the problems.
on January 6, 2005
A great question about the deleted scenes was asked by lexta. I'm no Battlestar Galactica expert (I'm just a guy who enjoys the show and this set) but I do know that Lost Planet of the Gods was filmed to be a tele-film first but aired as a two part episode instead. The two part episode version is a few scenes shorter than the tele-movie version (I guess because credits had to be added to make it two episodes) and so the slightly shorter two part version was how the episode was first broadcast and seen by many fans. Many fans wanted the episodes just the way they were first shown and that's what the DVD set provides. Those scenes that were cut from Lost Planet when it became the two part episode first shown on network TV are now on the DVD as deleted scenes. The tele-movie version of Lost Planet was shown on TV later and it included those scenes so that's why some fans remember them. This set was designed to keep things as close to the way they were first presented and how many fans first saw them. So they didn't cut scenes for this set and this is NOT like Lucas' reworking of Star Wars. This version is the Lost Planet of the Gods that was first watched by fans plus the cut scenes and other scenes and bloopers and more. I think that's very cool becuase the set stays true to what was first aired, and loved by many fans, and gives us the extra scenes too. They tried to please all the fans and stay true to the episodes as first shown. I appreciate that.
Hope this helps clear things up. I have many DVDs and many are not this well done. This is amazing! I'm only a casual Battlestar fan but I admit it's damned impressive. I believe it's a five star DVD set.
on August 13, 2003
There are very few science fiction programmes or films I have ever watched with true enjoyment, and this is one of the finest examples. This has appeared a number of times on TV in its edited versions (broadcast as "films"), but the story lines in the edited versions have missed the point of story and plot development. Each episode is linked from beginning to end, and as the series progresses, the viewer will be taken in by the developments that occur. For those who have never seen this, I provide a brief description.
The story starts with the pilot episode in which a group of ships are heading towards a planet for a meeting on a peace treaty. On their way, they are attacked by Sylons (robots controlled by an evil master). The Galactica is the only surviving ship in this attack, and the remainder of the story unfolds to reveal how the enemy is defeated, and how Galactica attempts to reach its final destination - Earth. There are twists, character developments, and a very original plot make this series a unique one and a classic. I have not seen such a depth of story telling in any other science fiction programme or film. The special effects for its time are far superior to Star Trek or Space 1999 (in my opinion, another classic). The acting is superb. I personally feel that Battlestar Galactica was grossly underrated, but I am glad to see that it is being released on DVD for the benefit of a new generation to enjoy.
on August 23, 2006
The missing episodes everyone seems to be reporting come from the "Galactica 1980" series of 10 episodes:
"Galactica Discovers Earth" (aka "Galactica 1980"), Part 1 - January 27, 1980
"Galactica Discovers Earth" (aka "Galactica 1980"), Part 2 - February 3, 1980
"Galactica Discovers Earth" (aka "Galactica 1980"), Part 3 - February 10, 1980
"The Super Scouts", Part 1 - March 16, 1980
"The Super Scouts", Part 2 - March 23, 1980
"Spaceball" - March 30, 1980
"The Night the Cylons Landed", Part 1 - April 13, 1980 (guest-starring Wolfman Jack)
"The Night the Cylons Landed", Part 2 - April 20, 1980 (guest-starring Wolfman Jack)
"Space Croppers" - April 27, 1980
"The Return of Starbuck" - May 4, 1980
Starbuck only appeared in the last episode where he rebuilds the crashed Cylon. This series is also available from Amazon, but not recommended as it was a pretty poor attempt to revive the 1978-79 exictement. I give the original 17-episode Battlestar Galactica series a Thumbs Up, Galactica 1980 a Thumbs Down.
on December 4, 2003
The original 1978 sci-fi television series "Battlestar Galactica" was an epic adventure about a remnant of human refugees from a nation of twelve planets (known as the Colonies) fleeing an evil society of sentient machines known as Cylons. Prior to the exodus, the humans had originally been trying to establish a peace treaty with the Cylon Empire to end a war that had been raging for 1000 yarns (years). During which, the humans created a fleet of battlestars, which were analogous to huge naval aircraft carriers providing mobile bases in space for forces of smaller fighters (known as vipers) and their pilots. Unfortunately, on the eve of what was to be the end of the war, the Cylons unleashed a massive surprise attack upon the undefended twelve planets and the unsuspecting battlestar fleet. All but one of the members of the Council of Twelve (the human's ruling body), Commander Adama (Lorne Greene, 1915-1987) decided to take his battlestar, named Galactica, back to his home world in an attempt to defend it. Adama's son, Capt. Apollo (Richard Hatch), was one of the viper pilots assigned to the Galactica, as was his friend Lt. Starbuck (Dirk Benedict). As it was evident that the Cylons had practically extinguished all human life upon all twelve colonial planets and none of the other battlestars had survived the surprise attack, Adama made the unilateral decision for the remnants of the known human race to abandon the twelve colonial planets to find refuge with the mythical thirteenth tribe who had supposedly traveled to a mythical planet known as Earth. Along the way, the human survivors discover that a traitor had been in their midst, Count Baltar (John Colicos); and they also come across (at one point) another battlestar (the battlestar Pegasus) that had been considered destroyed from an earlier battle. From the Pegasus, the crew of Galactica acquires more personnel, including its commander's daughter, Sheba (Anne Lockhart). Other memorable characters from the series included Lt. Boomer (Herb Jefferson Jr.), Col. Tigh (Terry Carter), Athena (Maren Jensen), her son Boxey (Noah Hathaway), Cassiopeia (Laurette Spang) and the Cylon named Lucifer (Felix Silla).
Unfortunately, the original "Battlestar Galactica" series was only aired for the single 1978-1979 television season because in spite of the fact that it had a Nielsen Rating of 18, ABC cancelled it due to enormous production costs. Considerable effort and financing had been made to create the Cylons, the elaborate technological sets, and the high-quality special effects (for the time), as well as filming in various exotic locations. One of the more interesting concepts introduced in the series was the idea of a battle between good and evil between beings existing on a higher plane of existence. Sadly, this concept could not be further explored once the original series was cancelled. ABC attempted to resurrect the series in 1980 in a watered-down, less-expensive version under the name "Galactica 1980", but it was a dismal failure as only one original cast member (Lorne Greene) had returned. Only 10 lackluster episodes of "Galactica 1980" were filmed and, thankfully, are not included in this DVD boxed set of the original season.
The original episodes (24 hours total) include:
1. the 3-hour series opener "Saga of a Star World" (5+ stars, 9/17/78)
2. the two-part "Lost Planet of the Gods" (5 stars, 9/24/78 & 10/1/78)
3. "The Lost Warrior" (4 stars, 10/8/78)
4. "The Long Patrol" (4.5 stars, 10/15/78)
5. the two-part "Gun on Ice Planet Zero" (5+ stars, 10/22/78 & 10/29/78)
6. "The Magnificent Warriors" (4 stars, 11/12/78)
7. "The Young Lords" (4 stars, 11/19/78)
8. the two-part "The Living Legend" (5+ stars, 11/26/78 & 12/3/78)
9. "Fire in Space" (4.5 stars, 12/17/78)
10. the two-part "War of the Gods" (5 stars, 1/14/79 & 1/21/79)
11. "The Man with Nine Lives" (3.5 stars, 1/28/79)
12. "Murder on the Rising Star" (3 stars, 2/18/79)
13. the two-hour "Greetings from Earth" (4.5 stars, 2/25/79)
14. "Baltar's Escape" (4.5 stars, 3/11/79)
15. "Experiment in Terra" (5 stars, 3/18/79)
16. "Take the Celestra" (4 stars, 4/1/79)
17. "The Hand of God" (5 stars, 4/29/79)
Overall, I rate the original "Battlestar Galactica" series with 5 out of 5 stars. It was a very good show that should not have been cancelled at the end of its first season. Richard Hatch made several unsuccessful attempts to revive the original series, but the Sci-Fi Channel ultimately got the rights and has created a soon-to-be aired television mini-series that has been totally changed from the original story.