The Baron Re-Watches the Original "Battlestar Galactica" and "Galactica 1980" (SPOILERS POSSIBLE)

We begin with the three-part pilot, "Saga of a Star World", first broadcast September 17, 1978.

Summary:  The humans of the Twelve Colonies are ambushed by their old enemies, the robotic Cylons,  Most of humanity is wiped out, but one battlestar, the Galactica, survives the attack. Under the leadership of Commander Adama, it leads a hastily-assembled fleet of ships out into space, in search of the legendary Thirteenth Colony, Earth.

Random Notes:  

1)I'd forgotten how many past and future star were in this:  Ray Milland, Rick  Springfield, Jane Seymour, Ed Begley, Jr. and Wilfrid Hyde-White.

2)the hair-styles - particularly those of Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict  - do give away that this was made in the late 1970's.

3)I always liked the design of the Cylon Centurions and their ships. I still have toys of both of them that I've had for years.

4)For some reason, the "Colonial Movers" ship has always amused me.

5)The creation of bits and pieces of new language - "felgercarb', "yahren", "centon", and so on - was, to my mind, a nice try that kind of became irritating after a while.  By and large, I liked the world-building, though.  The colonies' names corresponding to the signs of the Zodiac amsued me, for whatever reason.

6)The effects were pretty good on this, I thought, with some nice design.

7)The writing was OK, I thought. A little sketchy in parts, maybe.  The human and the Cylons do seem to take turns falling into each other's obvious traps.

8)The acting in this was pretty good, by and large. Greene, Hatch and Benedict do well, and there are only a few bits of scenery-chewing.  Even Noah Hathaway manages not to annoy me too much,.

9)Not a big fan of the robot "daggit".

10)The message of this seems to be: Never trust your enemies if they try to make peace.

11)The ending of this shows the Cylons deciding they don't need to wipe out the humans after all, and sending Baltar after them with an offer of truce. This was, dropped for the series, perhaps understandably.

Overall:  This was pretty good. Better than I reminded it, even.

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I think you'll enjoy this Battlestar Galactica retrospective on YouTube.

It's 20 minutes long.

And here's one for Galactica 1980.

"I'm pretty sure ["The Gun on Ice Planet Zero"] is a knock-off of some World War Two movie I've never seen, but I can't say which one."

According to the YouTube retrospective, it was The Guns of Navarone.

There's a joke in this episode that it took me a while to pick up on.  The couple that pick up the two Cylons are dressed up for Halloween.  The husband is dressed as a clown. The wife is dressed up as a vampire.

She is played by Lara Parker.



The Baron said:

"The Night the Cylons Landed",first broadcast April 20, 1980

Summary: A Viper patrol spots a new type of Cylon fighter, which is carrying Cylons designed to look human.  The Viper damages the Cylon ship, but is damaged in turn.  The Cylons crashland on Earth, sixty miles north of New York City.  Troy and Dillon are warned, and fly to NYC on a commercial flight, thwarting the lamest hijackers every. One guy looks like Borat several decades early, and the other is vaguely reminiscent of Peter Scolari in drag from Bosom Buddies. One human Cylon and one Centurian survive.  Realizing that they are on Earth, that set out for the nearest population center in order to find a broadcast facility  so they can phone home. Luckily for them, it's Halloween, so everyone just thinks they're in costume.  Even luckier, they get a ride from a husband and wife heading to a party, and the husband just happens to manage a radio station.  Meanwhile, Troy and Dillon are in hot pursuit, having stolen a police car.

Random Notes:

1)Air Force Col. Briggs,who is investigating the crash, is played by Peter Mark Richman, who later played Ralph Offenhouse in the ST:TNG episode "The Neutral Zone".  

2)Troy and Dillon take the children to see This Island Earth, and claim to recognize the Metaluna Mutant.

Overall: I liked this. This is the sort of thing my young self had been hoping to see  in this show. That said, there's a fair amount of Plot Convenience Playhouse here, and the hijackers were really bad.

"The wife is dressed up as a vampire.

She is played by Lara Parker."

Awesome.

Should be: April 13, 1980.

The Baron said:

"The Night the Cylons Landed",first broadcast April 20, 1980

"The Night the Cylons Landed" - Part II, first broadcast April 20, 1980

Summary: The Cylons end up at a Halloween party, where they kidnap Wolfman Jack and force him to take them to his radio station. Meanwhile, Troy and Dillon escape from some muggers and save a kid and his dog from a fire. They track the Cylons to the station and stoop them from signaling their fleet.  The Cylons fall to their doom into a dumpster, where they are hauled as garbage.

Random Notes:

1)A microwave oven causes the Centurian to faint. Of course, this was back in the days when microwaves shot out lethal radiation.

2)The Cylons describe as "the last outpost of human civilization", so either they don't know about the Terrans and the other colonies, or they've spent the last thirty years wiping them all out.

3)The Centurian appears to possibly be not quite dead at the end of the episode....

Overall: A pretty good wrap-up, with more and more people becoming aware that something unusual is going on.

"Space Cropper", first broadcast April 27, 1980

Summary:  Seeking to force the Colonials' hands, the Cylons attack their agricultural ships.  Adama and Zee decide to establish an agricultural colony on Earth.  Troy and Dillon buy into a farm owned by a struggling Latino family. With Jamie's help, they deal with a powerful local land-owner who is also a huge racist.  They use the Super Scouts as farmhands, and use the flying saucer to make rain and ship agricultural experts to Earth.

Overall:  An interesting episode, with the Colonials starting to do what I always figured they would have to do, starting to transfer people to Earth. It's also a traditional TO's "message" episode, but it's survivable.

"The Return of Starbuck", first broadcast May 4, 1980

Summary:  Zee tells Adam of a dream he had about a warrior named Starbuck, who crash-landed on a planet after a battle.  He finds a crashed Cylon ship, and, desperate for companionship, revives a Centurian named Cyrus. the two develop an uneasy friendship. Cy finds a pregnant woman named Angela who says that he child is Starbuck's "spiritual" son. After the baby is born, Starbuck and Cy cobble together an escape ship. Other Cylons arrive, and Cy and Starbuck fight them off, but Cy is fatally hurt. Starbuck sends the baby of fin the ship with his mother, who vanishes.  Back on the Galactica, Adama tells Zee that he was the baby.

Random Notes:

1)Adama's farewell to Starbuck is quite moving:  "Goodbye, Starbuck. I love you. We all love you."

2)Cy becomes amusingly bitchy as he develops emotions.

3)And  snarky, too: "You humans are emotional about our having destroyed you."

Overall: An interesting episode, very unlike the rest of Galactica 1980. 

Apart from the "movie" I have on VHS, "The Return of Starbuck" is the episode I remember best of both series.

On Monday we found ourselves in B&N with a 20% off coupon. I was specifically looking for a Battlestar Galactica/Galactica 1980 set (but I didn't tell Tracy that in advance). We folund one but ended up not buying it for several reasons: 1) It was overpriced to begin with, 2) It didn't include Galactica: 1980 (the guy who reviewed it in that link above opines that it was included on the BluRay because no one would buy it by itself), and 3) To say that Tracy was unenthusiastic about it would be an understatement of mythic proportions.

I bought Galactica 1980 by itself. It was in the cheapie bin,though.

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