Note: Richard opted not to appear
in Galactica: 1980, the "sequel" series
to Battlestar Galactica.
(Reprinted with permission from BattlestarPegasus.com.)
Set in a distant galaxy, Mankind
has reached its Seventh Millenia of recorded history.
Twelve (12) worlds in a multi-star system are home to
the Twelve Colonies of Man. According to the ancient
writings, the Twelve Colonies were settled by those
who journeyed from a mother world, Kobol. Of particular
note: a thirteenth tribe of humans moved across the
stars to settle another world: Earth. By the present
Colonial day in the series, Earth was considered a myth
and little was known about the Colonials' true origins,
save for the writings in the Book of Kobol (the Colonials'
"bible"). It is unknown how the Colonials
came to know about Earth, since they did not appear
to maintain communications with their distant brethren.
For the past one thousand years
(yahrens), Man has fought the robotic Cylon Alliance.
(According to Commander Adama, it began when the Colonies
intervened in Cylon aggressions against the Hassarians
in a neighboring star system.) During the introduction
of the series, we see that the Colonies are united by
a President (Adar) and governed by The Council of the
Twelve, a ruling body comprised of one representative
from each Colonial world. The state of war is ever-present.
Colonies have deployed space-borne military defenses
against the Cylons (and unseen hostiles, such as pirates).
The strongest of these defenses are the Colonial battlestars.
At the start of the series, the Commander Cain, the
battlestar Pegasus and the Fifth Fleet are presumed
destroyed two yahrens earlier at the Battle of Molocay.
Council member Baltar has struck a peace agreement with
the Cylons. He has convinced President Adar and the
rest of the Council of the Twelve to accept the Cylons'
word. Only Adama of the battlestar Galactica
shows concern and muted resistance. The Colonial fleet
is gathered as a peace envoy under a joint Cylon/Colonial
When the series begins, we see
the Cylons deploying a Trojan Horse strategy against
the Colonies: Under the guise of peace, the Colonial
military is ambushed and destroyed (with the Galactica
able to survive by retreating) while the unprotected
civilian populations are assaulted. With no hope of
survival against overwhelming Cylon forces--and no true
defensive capability remaining--a handful of surviving
Colonials flee the Twelve Colonies in civilian starcraft.
Under the command of Adama on the Galactica,
they head into deep space, searching for the Thirteenth
Tribe of Man who are "on a shining planet known
The Cylons move into the Colonial
worlds. While rounding up prisoners, they discover that
surviving Colonials have fled to the stars. The Cylons'
Imperious Leader orders Baltar to finish his mission
of destroying the Colonials. He provides him with the
necessary Cylon forces to do the job. It is up to the
intrepid crew of the Galactica to lead the Colonial
survivors to safety while encountering new friends and
foes, tackling internal strife and starvation, and outmaneuvering
Baltar and pursuing Cylon forces.
J. Paxton (Kobol.com/Battlestar
Zone) writes, "Battlestar Galactica
was a series with no background. No time was spent
thinking out the history and culture of the Colonies,
and it shows. Tantalizing bits of information appeared
in the scripts and were never developed. We know,
for one, that the normal Colonial lifespan was 200
yahren. What effect would such longevity have on
people, on institutions such as marriage, on jobs,
on birthrates? Having more to lose if they died,
would people be more cautious? This is only one
example, yet in spite of their alien culture, the
Colonials are transplanted 1970s Americans. Though
the major background mysteries of Battlestar
Galactica are beyond solution, the minor ones
are worth trying to explain even now."
According to series creator Glen
A. Larson, "'Galactica' has a biblical feel . It
ties in with Genesis, it ties in with the western pioneers.
That's why we can do people stories even though we're
in space. It's not a hardware show, although the special
effects are maginificient." (Jerry Buck, The
San Diego Union TV Week, September 17-28, 1978.)
Consider this: In its day, Battlestar
Galactica (BSG) was a cutting-edge science fiction
television show. The budget was enormous ($1 million
per episode; twice the rate for one-hour series in 1978)
and new science fiction ideas were introduced on television.
With Battlestar Galactica, there was very little
background foundation established, though. The 1970s
television writing mentality was not very flexible.
The introduction of heavy story subtext was frowned
upon. Unlike other recent science fiction successors,
such as Babylon 5 and The X-Files, that
era of television writing did not address intelligent
users with multi-story threads, backgrounds and ongoing,
expanding subplots (aside from the Cylons chasing the
While fans have divided views on
this topic, we strongly recommend that you read Richard
Galactica: Armageddon" and "Battlestar
Galactica: Warhawk" (and forthcoming "Battlestar
Galactica: Resurrection") books. You will gain
a better understanding of events within the Battlestar
Galactica universe. Both Mr. Hatch and his co-authors
expand upon the original concepts of the BSG universe
with plausible ideas. Who were the Lords of Kobol? Who
are the Ships of Light and what is their connection
to the Colonials? How does Count Iblis factor into all
of this? Why did the original Cylons evolve from organic
beings towards robotic vessels of war? What new allies
and enemies await the Colonials? How will a new generation
of space-borne Colonials (who never knew the holocaust
faced by their parents) deal with their plight? How
has the Colonial rag-tag fleet grown? What technological
innovations have taken place with limited resources?
Where is the Thirteenth Tribe... and Earth? Read the
books for insights into these questions and MUCH more.
original series was comprised of Richard Hatch (Apollo),
Lorne Greene (Adama), Dirk Benedict (Starbuck), Herb
Jefferson, Jr. (Boomer), Terry Carter (Tigh), Maren
Jensen (Athena), Tony Swartz (Jolly), Laurette Spang
(Cassiopeia), Anne Lockhart (Sheba), Jack Stauffer (Bojay),
George Murdock (Dr. Salik), John Fink (Dr. Wilker),
John Colicos (Baltar), Patrick Macnee (narrator; voice
of the Cylon Imperious Leader), Sarah Rush (Rigel),
David Greenan (Omega).
The show included numerous guest
stars, such as Lloyd Bridges (Commander Cain), Patrick
Macnee again (Count Iblis), Fred Astaire (Chameleon),
Ray Bolger (Vector), Brock Peters (Solon), Lance LeGault
(Maga, the Borellian Noman) and others.
For additional insights into these
episodes, see BattlestarPegasus.com, John Dorsey's "Sheba's Galaxy" site,
Susan Paxton's "Battlestar
Zone" site and other Battlestar Galactica
web sites. We also highly recommend John Muir's
Analytical Guide to Television's Battlestar Galactica"
book (ISBN 0-7864-0441-8; published 1999).
Note: Some of the episodes are available
on VHS videotape. Only the first episode, "Saga
of a Star World" (theatrical version) is available
in DVD format. See our Store
for more offerings.
Also: A campaign
is underway to ask Universal Studios to release all
of the episodes, restored, uncut and unedited, to videotape
and DVD formats.
1.) "Saga of a Star World"
The Twelve Colonies of Man (Twelve Tribes; Colonials)
are destroyed in a Trojan Horse gambit by their 1,000-yahren
old enemies, the Cylons. A surviving military starship,
the battlestar Galactica, leads a handful of
survivors in a 220+ civilian starship fleet to safety
amongst the stars. The Galactica's commander,
Adama, intends to search for a lost Thirteenth Tribe
who inhabit the planet Earth. The Colonials face pursuit
by their Cylon aggressors -- and the Colonial traitor
who helped orchestrate the holocaust: Baltar.
This episode was seen both as an
edited two-hour motion picture version and a three-hour
television ABC-TV movie of the week for September 17,
1978. It was the most expensive television production
of its time: $7 million (U.S.). Each weekly episode
cost a purported $1 miillion (U.S.). "Saga of a
Star World" introduced the primary series characters:
Apollo, Starbuck, Boomer, Adama, Tigh, Athena, Jolly,
Cassiopeia, Boxey, Rigel, Omega, Baltar and the Cylons.
Guest stars include Jane Seymour as Serina, Rick Springfield
as Zac, Lew Ayres as President Adar and Ray Milland
as Sire Uri.
Among cut scenes from the theatrical
version: Serina in her news broadcaster role, reporting
on the peace celebration as the Cylons attack; Athena
and Starbuck discussing the destruction and their relatonship;
Adama and Athena discussing the destruction, with Adama's
remorse of their inability to save everyone; Baltar's
beheading by the Cylons in the the theatrical version/Baltar's
salvation by the Cylon's Imperious Leader to serve them
in their pursuit of the fleeing Colonials.
2.) "Lost Planet of the
Gods, Part I"
Apollo plans to "seal" (marry) with Serina.
Apollo and Starbuck discover a magnetic void ahead of
the fleet. Jolly and Boomer bring back a viral plague
from their scouting mission to a Cylon asteroid which
infects all of the Viper squadron pilots--and cripples
their military capabilities. As Baltar and the Cylons
threaten the fleet as the Colonials scramble to train
new pilots to defend the fleet, while Dr. Salik searches
desperately for a cure to the mysterious illness. Adama
orders the fleet into the void for safety.
3.) "Lost Planet of the
Gods, Part II"
The Galactica and her fleet are led by a lone star in
the magnetic void to a dead planet which may contain
the key to the Colonials' salvation. Starbuck is captured
by the Cylons. Apollo and Serina "seal" as
a lone star appears within the void. Adama believes
the planet is Kobol, the world "where life began."
The Colonials survey the dead world. Baltar appears
to bargain with the Colonials; Adama finds proof of
the exodus with insights into the Thirteenth Tribe's
wherabouts. The Cylons betray Baltar's plans and attack
the fleet and Kobol; the new pilots face destruction
as they are outnumbered. The ill pilots recover, thanks
to Dr. Salik's medical work, and bolster the Colonial
defenses. Starbuck is returned, but Serina is killed.
4.) "The Lost Warrior"
On patrol, Captain Apollo leads a Cylon attack force
away from the fleet. When he lands on a remote farming
world, he finds danger at the hands of a terrorizing
thug--and his malfuntioning Cylon henchman named "Red
5.) "The Long Patrol"
While patrolling in the prototype Recon Viper #1 (with
the new C.O.R.A. computer system), Lieutenant Starbuck
has his ship stolen and is incarcerated in a case of
7.) "Gun on Ice Planet Zero,
Baltar's Cylon forces herd the Colonial fleet towards
an Cylon-controlled ice planet with an ultra-powerful
laser pulse weapon, designed by a former Colonial scientist.
A Colonial patrol is shot down and one of the pilots
captured. As time runs out with the Cylons gaining on
the fleet, ground assault teams are formed--with Warriors
and knowledgeable Colonial convicts forced to work together
to destroy the weapon.
8.) "Gun on Ice Planet Zero,
Time is quickly running out as the Colonial fleet
nears a Cylon-controlled ice asteroid with an ultra-powerful
laser pulse weapon--one which has the ability to decimate
the entire fleet. And the Colonials discover an entire
colony of clones who may -- or may not--provide much-needed
help in destroying their human creator's weapon.
9.) "The Magnificient Warriors"
A Cylon assault demolishes two Colonial agro ships and
damages a third. Adama leads a mission to the planet
Sectar to obtain seed/supplies from a backwater agricultural
outpost of the Colonies.
10.) "The Young Lords"
Lieutenant Starbuck crash lands on Attila, a Cylon
controlled world, to find human children leading a guerilla
11.) "The Living Legend,
The legendary Commander Cain of the battlestar Pegasus
meets up with the Colonial survivors and ignites
a new campaign against the Cylons at Gamoray. But Adama
finds Cain's warmonging ways to threaten the fleet's
very existence, despite to renewed morale among the
Colonials. Sheba, Caib;s daughter and love interest
for Apollo (Anne Lockhart) and Bojay (Jack Stauffer)
12.) "The Living Legend,
Facing overwhelming odds, Commander Cain, teamed
with the Galactica's warriors, continues his
campaign to destroy the Cylons at Gamoray regardless
of the cost. The Pegasus is lost at the end of
the episode, after destroying two Cylon basestars. It
is theorized that the battlestar escaped into deep space
and that Cain will eventually meet up with the fleet
13.) "Fire in Space"
A kamikaze wave of Cylon fighters cripples the Galactica
-- and internal fires threaten to destroy the battlestar
while crew members are trapped amidst the devastation.
14.) "War of the Gods, Part
Several Viper patrols disappear while ghostly lights
harass the Colonial fleet. And on a barren world, Apollo,
Starbuck and Sheba encounter the mysterious Count Iblis,
the lone survivor of a large spaceship crash. Iblis
promises salvation for the fleet -- at an extreme price.
Meanwhile, Sheba finds herself romantically drawn to
Iblis, while Apollo, Adama, Tigh and Starbuck see Iblis
as a growing threat -- and one which the desperate fleet
is willing to embrace. (Note: This is the first appearance
of the Triad game.)
15.) "War of the Gods, Part
Count Iblis's influence over the entire Colonial fleet--and
particularly Sheba--grows as he works miracles, including
the delivery of the traitor Baltar to the Council of
the Twelve. Adama, Tigh, Apollo and Starbuck seek to
uncover the truth about Count Iblis. And the Ships of
Light/Beings of Light are revealed -- and co-ordinates
to Earth are given to Sheba, Starbuck and Apollo.
16.) "The Man with Nine
A man (Chameleon) claiming to be Starbuck's long lost
father appears--and he uses the ploy to hide from the
Borellian Nomen--whom seek his life.
17.) "Murder of the Rising
Following an intense game of Triad, Starbuck is framed
for the murder of a rival Colonial Warrior, Ortega,
which he didn't commit. And his only chance for acquittal
18.) "Greetings from Earth"
(a telemovie which contains both Parts I and II together)
An alien spacecraft is discovered by Starbuck and Apollo
on patrol. It contains six human fugitives in suspended
animation--possibly from the planet Earth. Tension amongst
the fleet at the prospects of brethren from Earth rises.
In time, the humans are revealed to be from Terra, a
Colonial-like world. They are journeying to Paradeen
(a nearby colony world) to escape the threat of the
Eastern Alliance, a Terran faction with a ruthlessness
akin to the Cylons. Starbuck, Cassiopeia and Apollo
finish the journey with the Terrans, hoping to find
clues to the location of Earth. But the Eastern Alliance
pursues the ship to Paradeen, where more troubles ensue.
19.) "Baltar's Escape"
The captured Eastern Alliance crew (from "Greetings
from Earth"), Baltar and the Borellian Nomen (from
"The Man with Nine Lives") escape the Colonial
Prison Barge and proceed to capture the Council of the
Twelve, Boomer and Sheba. A dangerous rescue mission
is formed by Apollo and Starbuck.
20.) "Experiment in Terra"
Apollo is chosen by the Ship of Lights/Beings of Light
to perform a mission to save the planet Terra (discussed
in "Greetings from Earth") from the Terran
faction, the Eastern Alliance.
21.) "Take the Celestra"
The Colonial vessel Celestra comes under the
command of a Colonial war hero, Commander Kronus (formerly
of the battlestar Rycon) who's career is celebrated
in a special ceremony. And Starbuck finds his long-lost
love, Aurora, who is committing espionage on the Celestra--rebelling
against exploitive conditions--with Kronus as the purported
22.) "The Hand of God"
The final episode of Battlestar Galactica before
cancellation by ABC-TV in late Spring 1979. Sheba, Apollo,
Cassiopeia and Starbuck retreat to an ancient navigation
dome aboard the battlestar, where they intercept mysterious,
fragmented transmissions (recognizable as those from
the 1969 Apollo moon landings). As they attempt to enlist
Boomer's electronics/communications knowledge with the
transmissions, the fleet faces a Cylon basestar. Instead
of running, Adama orders a military strike. Both Apollo
and Starbuck volunteer to take Baltar's Cylon Raider
to the basestar to infiltrate and cripple the ship's
systems, to give the Galactica a better chance
of victory. Baltar bargains for his freedom in return
for tactical data. The Galactica (and Apollo/Starbuck's
mission) is successful; the Cylon base ship is destroyed
and the fleet departs their galaxy, in search of Earth.
Note: The departure of Baltar is
not seen, but assumed. Interestingly, the Cylons were
supposed to make less appearances in the second season.
Several scripts were indeed drafted for the second season,
including "The Return of Starbuck" which became
a Galactica: 1980 episode. (See below.)
The cancellation of Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica was cancelled with
the episode, "The Hand of God" in April
1979. This original, classic series was considered
one of the top 25 series of 1978. It also held
the #1 Nielsen rating (U.S.) with the premiere
of "Saga of a Star World", having the
highest viewership in U.S. history for its day.
The show remained in the top twenty within the
Nielsen ratings (U.S.) during its run, too.
While Battlestar Galactica did not remain
in the Nielsen's top ten ratings, the very expensive
production costs overshadowed the show's value.
Television networks are like most businesses:
They are seeking strong profit margins and revenue
growth. At a cost of $1 million/episode, Battlestar
Galactica was not regarded as an enormous,
long-term money-generating production as envisioned.
(In fact, the show was only supposed to consist
of various telemovies, not individual episodes.)
Advertising revenue didn't bring this show to
true profitability as the network had envisioned.
ABC-TV opted to cancel the show in favor of less-expensive
sitcom programming. (ABC-TV's Mork and Mindy
followed Battlestar Galactica in the timeslot.)
But the network did not take into account the
viewership loyalty which had been built around
Battlestar Galactica. After the cancellation,
less people were watching ABC-TV programming during
Battlestar Galactica's former time slot;
many were actually turning the channel. And despite
spending less money to make sitcoms, the lower
viewership -- and advertising revenues from those
numbers -- waned considerably. ABC-TV recognized
the mistake and sought to bring back Battlestar
On May 18, 1979, Glen A. Larson was asked by
ABC-TV for a two-hour sequel to Battlestar
Galactica where the ship would arrive at Earth.
Prolific science fiction author Isaac Asimov was
even rumored to be involved with the project.
Six months later, a sequel series, Galactica:
1980 was premiered on ABC-TV. An aged Commander
Adama (sporting a garrish beard/mustache) along
with "Colonel Boomer" were the only
remnants of the original series. New characters
were brought in, including Kent McCord, who was
originally up for the part of Captain Apollo in
Battlestar Galactica. The Galactica
and her fleet have discovered Earth. And the
majority of the episodes dealt with "earthbound"
The budget was considerably less than the original
series; the production values suffered; and most
of the original cast did not renew their contracts.
As Richard Hatch has publicly stated, "I
felt that they were going to cut the show down
and really cheapen it. They weren't going to put
the same amount of energy and commitment that
they did in the first show."
Actor Dirk Benedict (Starbuck) did return for
one episode, "The Return of Starbuck."
Considered one of the best episodes of both Galactica:
1980 and Battlestar Galactica, it borrowed
heavily from Barry Longyear's Enemy Mine
concept. A flashback sequence depicted a fierce
battle in which Starbuck's Viper was mortally
wounded, leaving him marooned on a nearby world
with a similarly marooned Cylon Raider. The Galactica
was unable to send any rescue parties, as
the Cylons mercilessly battered the fleet. The
episode portrayed brilliant, passionate performances
by Lorne Greene (Adama), Herb Jefferson, Jr. (Boomer)
and Dirk. And, ironically, the episode was the
final Galactica: 1980 episode aired. The
show was cancelled during the actual filming of
the subsequent episode, "The Day They Kidnapped
Galactica: 1980 lasted for six episodes.
It was crticially panned and universally hated
by Battlestar Galactica fans. In fact,
most fans disregard the series. Richard Hatch's
novels and production efforts have completely
ignored the events of Galactica: 1980,
as the Galactica continues to search for
Earth. And over the past couple of years, fans
have supported a revival
campaign to bring back the show, as planned
by Mr. Hatch.
It is understood that Mr. Larson endeavored
to keep the spirit of Battlestar Galactica
alive within Galactica: 1980. His role
as series creator and executive producer meant
he was able to keep the original show alive --
and try to appease everyone involved, including
network management who tried to steer the creative
vision for the show. Fans have been less forgiving,
though, as they've watched Mr. Larson's latest
production efforts which seem to continue to ignore
the original, classic Battlestar Galactica
series which he himself created -- and interestingly
enough, which Mr. Hatch has championed for a comeback.