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Within the general Battlestar Galactica section:

Current overview

Articles and Interviews on Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica Episode Guide

Richard's Battlestar Galactica updates (via the News & Insights section)

Richard's Battlestar Galactica novels

Richard's Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming project


Note: Richard opted not to appear in Galactica: 1980, the "sequel" series to Battlestar Galactica.

(Reprinted with permission from

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.

Battlestar Galactica image by Mike McAdams. Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. May not be reused, modified or distributed without permission.The 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 truce.

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 as Earth."

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.

Susan J. Paxton ( 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 Colonials).

While fans have divided views on this topic, we strongly recommend that you read Richard Hatch's "Battlestar 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.

Members of the original cast. The 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.

Episode Guide

For additional insights into these episodes, see, 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 "An 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 Eye."

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 mistaken identity.

7.) "Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part I"
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, Part II"
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 resistance.

11.) "The Living Legend, Part I"
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) are introduced.

12.) "The Living Legend, Part II"
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 again.

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 I"
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 II"
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 Lives"
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 Star"
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 is: Baltar.

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 leader.

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 Galactica.

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" mis-adventures.

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 Cleopatra."

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.



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