Ace Pilot: All of the Viper pilots, with some being better than others. It's implied that Adama, Tigh and Cain were this back in their youth.
Commander Adama (Lorne Greene)
Leader of "The Fleet". A veteran, a father and a grandfather. The one thing he hates other than the Cylons is politicians. He has set out on a quest to find the lost "Thirteenth Tribe" in the hopes that the two groups can fight back against the Cylons.
Dad the Veteran: He is after all warrior with three children (one of whom died).
December-December Romance: Seems to hit this off with Tinia at the end of 'Baltar's Escape'. Belloby attempts to have this with him in an earlier episode, 'The Magnificent Warriors'.
I Minored in Tropology: During the Count Iblis story, we learn that Adama had studied Telekinesis when he was attending military academy; he invokes 90% of Your Brain , and reminisces to Apollo about how his wife made him promise to stop bending spoons with his mind. This gets used as a possible excuse to Do In The Wizardry of Count Iblis' miracles.
Invincible Hero: He tends to give off this vibe, especially when he's in command of the entire fleet. Even the doubtful Tigh still follows Adama unquestionably, and maybe one or two members of the Council want to take him down a peg.
Meaningful Name: His name is derived from the father of all humans, Adam. Like him, Adama maintains balance between godlike wisdom and personal doubt.
Friend Versus Lover: With Siress Tinia, who's not exactly of Adama's interest at first but in any case it's because she was part of the Council. It officially comes into play when Tigh orders a round of grog when he sees Adama walking Tinia into the Officer's Club.
Apollo is the leader of Blue Squadron. A no-nonsense kind of guy who doesn't take no for an answer. Kind and helpful to his friends and family.
Action Dad: He's a Viper pilot, and he's raising Boxey.
Batman Gambit: Apollo is known to pull this, especially if the lives of his friends are at stake.
In "Murder on the Rising Star", the only way Starbuck could be acquitted from murdering Ortega was to have Baltar positively identify Karybdis, the latter's fellow collaborator and the real killer. Apollo purposely lets Karybdis aboard the shuttle before picking up Baltar from the Prison Barge. Apollo knows he and Baltar would both likely be killed as Karybdis turns out to be Pallon, who works as a waiter aboard the Rising Star.
"Baltar's Escape" has Apollo and Starbuck helping Wilker fixing up the two Cylon pilots for Baltar who has the Council of the Twelve as well as Boomer and Sheba (along with two "Blackshirts") captive. Apollo's plan? The shuttle takes off as planned, but Baltar finds out too late that these Cylons aren't functioning properly, which allow Apollo and Starbuck to remove the detonator and recapture him.
It Is Not Your Time: After Apollo is killed by Count Iblis, his body is taken aboard the Ship of Lights. The "angels" there say that Apollo was not meant to die and that Ibis had broken their laws by killing him. They then bring him back to life.
Invincible Hero: Let's just say everytime he comes up with a hunch, he always ends up being right.
The Kirk: Being the most moral character in the show, it's no surprise he fits well into this role.
Knight in Sour Armor: Not as much as Starbuck, but it's there. He can be rough around the edges at times.
Man Hug: He and Starbuck share this in "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2" when the latter was released by the Cylons.
Starbuck: "Don't you know it's against regulations to hug a junior officer?"
Apollo: "Not if I mean it."
Manly Tears: The ending of "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2", when Serena dies from her injuries. There's also a smaller instance in "Fire in Space" when he's reunited with his family in the Life station.
Meaningful Name: Named after a famous God, Apollo maintains a balance between being a poetic soul and a warrior of necessity, and that love and understanding as well as valor and responsibility are the keypoints to the character. They're both also unlucky in love (in the warrior's case, it's fate).
Not So Stoic: He definitely has his moments, as Count Iblis could attest.
Sugar and Ice Personality: Apollo usually keeps a cool head and is usually stiff around his fellow officers (only because he knows the Cylons won't back down), but he does get more relaxed with his family and friends.
There's really only one word to describe Lt. Starbuck... trouble. Name the scam or scheme and chances are Starbuck has tried it, or he'll get around to it. Good at heart and an excellent pilot. Unfortunately he's also a classic con-man - most likely he gets it from his old man, Chameleon.
Amusing Injuries: Suffers one when Athena catches him on the surveillance cameras making out with another woman and vents steam from the catapults on him.
Anti-Hero: While he is a hero, he does some pretty unheroic things - juggling between women or gambling in his spare time. This may or may not have disappeared entirely as of the last 1980 episode, where he actually befriends a Cylon and sacrifices his chance of returning to the Fleet for the sake of a mother and her child.
Berserk Button: Mileage may vary, but Starbuck has been known for getting into some altercations just because one jerkass or another manage to get under his skin. Killing Apollo in front of him is also a good way to piss him off.
Captain Crash: He sure doesn't know how to land any spacecraft right.
The Casanova: He is famously known for flirting with various women throughout the show, though it doesn't help when he has two women currently vying for him.
The Charmer: While he enjoys his free time courting beautiful women, he is a warrior and will not back down from his role as one.
Chivalrous Pervert: He demonstrates this when he is able to look beyond Cassiopeia's past social status.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He somewhat averts the above trope with Aurora, as he is more upset than flirty that she is among the mutineers on the Celestra. He even has a pep talk regarding her with Damon, her current lover.
The Lancer: To Apollo; shares this role with Boomer.
Love Triangle: With Athena and Cassiopeia, and also with Cain and Cassiopeia for only one two-part episode.
Man Child: According to Word of God, a large part of him is childlike (despite the fact that he smokes his trademark fumarellos) because he gets easily distracted in the face of very serious situations.
Manly Tears: Sheds those big time near the end of "War of the Gods, Part 2".
Meaningful Name: To contrast Apollo who is named after a perfect being, Starbuck is named after Captain Ahab's imperfect first mate from Moby-Dick who rushes in where others fear to tread simply out of necessity. It helps that the original character's also a Number Two.
Starbuck: "...I just know you're not gonna do whatever it is you're going to do without me."
Vitriolic Best Buds: With Apollo. This is more prominent in the novelizations than the show proper; though close like brothers, Starbuck would sometimes snicker about Apollo having a stick up his rear-end.
What the Hell, Hero?: In "The Man with Nine Lives", he calls Apollo and Boomer out for investigating Chameleon but then forgives them when he finds out for himself that Chameleon has conned him into protecting him from the Nomen who put him on their blood trail.
Lt. Boomer (Herb Jefferson, Jr.)
Ace pilot. Smart enough to stay away from Starbuck during his "Get Rich Quick" schemes. Whenever Starbuck and Apollo are both missing in action, Adama counts on him to command Blue Squadron.
Big Damn Heroes: He has his moments, but the best one is in the second half of the Lords of Kobol two-parter.
Boomer: "A Viper is flown from a seated position."
The Everyman: At least when compared to Apollo and Starbuck...
Former Teen Rebel: Implied by Boomer himself when he mentions he spends more time hot-wiring hovormobiles than doors. Which makes one wonder...
Freudian Trio: With Apollo and Starbuck; the Ego of the group, tries to balance out the other two.
Green-Eyed Monster: It's not that he doesn't like Apollo and Starbuck. It's just the fact that he's tired of losing to them in Triad matches, and he doesn't realize that making a deal with the devil would only make matters worse.
Heterosexual Life Trio: Again, with Apollo and Starbuck. Those secret handshakes between the three warriors say it all. Not to mention him and Apollo being the only ones who believe Starbuck's innocence in "Murder on the Rising Star".
Apollo: "Hey, I've never seen you fuss so much."
Boomer: "I guess I would feel better if I were going."
Apollo: "We need you to lead the squadron."
Boomer: "But it doesn't change the way I feel."
The Lancer: To Apollo; shares this role with Starbuck.
Mr. Fixit: Which he displays when he hotwires the door to open in 'Fire In Space'.
Only Sane Man: The one most likely to point out how insane Starbuck's schemes are.
The Smart Guy: He is more familiar with engineering than most warriors (as as shown in 'Fire In Space') and is fluent in many languages (notably, Gemonese).
Straight Man: To Starbuck, who he often tries to keep on the reigns.
Athena is Adama's daughter and Apollo's sister who has feelings for Starbuck and he has feelings for her... and Cassiopeia... and Aurora... and Merium. Sometimes she just wants to hit him on the head, and she may very well have.
Action Girl: She is one of the women trained to be a Viper pilot when the warriors fall ill. It is implied she already is one anyway.
Daddy's Girl: While not as passionate about it as Sheba, Athena is the loyalest to her father out of her siblings (who of whom is now dead).
Demoted to Extra: She ends up getting this treatment after the pilot. She was originally supposed to be a frontline female character.
Devoted to You: Towards Starbuck; it even shows when she helps him land his Viper in the hangar through the counsel. Of course, it sours a bit when Cassiopeia enters the picture. Granted, she was the one who dissolves her relationship with Starbuck after the Destruction, but still.
Meaningful Name: Athena possesses many attributes of a Goddess from the Greek mythology, including strength and determination as seen when she comforts her father when they both lose two of their family members.
Put on a Shuttlecraft: Alongside Boxey and Muffit, she never appeared for the rest of the season after "Greetings from Earth".
Red Oni: To Cassiopeia's Blue Oni; despite her 'good girl' status, she can be very short-tempered.
Tsundere: If she were any more hot tempered she'd be a redhead, especially as far as Starbuck is concerned.
Veronica: To Cassiopeia's Betty for Starbuck's Archie.
Woman Scorned: Once caught Starbuck making out with another woman in the Viper launch bay. She vents steam from the catapults on him.
Cassiopeia (Laurette Spang)
Originaly a... Socialator/Hooker by trade. Cassiopeia decided to make a more helpful contribution to the fleet by becoming a nurse.
Action Girl: She once guarded a downed teammate on a black-ops mission all by herself.
Ascended Extra: She was originally supposed to die in the pilot but was then kept as one of the series regulars.
The Atoner: She becomes a nurse to Dr. Salik in order to put her socialator life behind her.
Betty: To Athena's Veronica for Starbuck's Archie.
Blue Oni: To Athena's Red Oni; unlike Athena, Cass is rather amused by Starbuck's shortcomings and finds his bad habits more charming than annoying.
Fire-Forged Friends: With Sheba, who doesn't seem to be taken with her thanks to her relationship with Cain. It isn't until the battle on Gamoray that the two develop a newfound respect for each other.
Greater Need Than Mine: In the pilot when Starbuck tries to get her medical attention for her broken arm, she insists "There are others in greater need than I".
Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Her original profession is as a Socialator, apparently a largely respectable profession in Colonial High Society, and she has a gracious and generous personality to make that claim believable.
Meaningful Name: Cass shares a parallel beauty with that of the original Cassiopeia from the Greek mythology, though they also share opportunism and pride in some degree. They both also seek to atone for their past deeds.
Daddy's Girl: It especially shows in her debut episode, where it gets to the point she initially resents Cassiopeia.
Defrosting Ice Queen: During her initial introduction, Sheba is a realist with a tough exterior but during her time aboard the Galactica she forms a friendship with the rest of the crew - even Cassiopeia.
Meaningful Name: Her name is derived from Cylene, one of Apollo's lovers in the Greek mythology; both attract their respective Apollos through different means of strength - while Cylene attracted the God by wrestling with a lion, Serina attracted the warrior by coping with life and crisis with exceptional strength, and by training as a Viper pilot.
Apollo's adoptive son. Boxey is a bright and outspoken boy who loves adventure. Boxey lost his beloved daggit/dog Muffit when the colonies where destroyed. So Muffit II was created to take his place. Now the pair are almost always together. Both Boxey and Muffit have used their unique talents to save lives many times.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In order to have his way, he destroys needed fuel tankers to force Adama to attack a base. Adama calls him on this, everyone expects him to backstab again, and no one is surprised when he disobeys orders again in a later attack.
Heroic Sacrifice: Though whether or not he survived during the confrontation is unknown.
Informed Ability: Commander Cain is famous as a bold commander, brilliant strategist, and an inspiring leader. In practice, his leadership consists of swaggering around boasting about himself and sneering at others, and his strategy is Attack! Attack! Attack! It works, mostly because Baltar is an idiot and he is a tactful competent general.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sure, he can be very deceptive when it suits him. But overtime, he grows to care for Starbuck. Indeed, the warrior turns out to be his own son - a fact which he told only Cassiopeia.
The Big Guy: In the Blue Squadron. Shares this role with Jolly.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jolly. Only elements of this come to play in the show, but is delved a little deeper in the novelizations.
Flight Sergeant Ortega (Frank Ashmore)
Asshole Victim: He was murdered by Karybdis. But it's only because he has blackmailed him along with two other men who sneaked aboard the fleet using aliases, and was also a jerk to some other warriors - but especially Starbuck.
The Rival: To Starbuck. Those two have had quite the rivalry history...
The Council of the Twelve
Aristocrats Are Evil: Almost any Sire or Siress is of high-brow low-moral character. Especially in the Council.
Jerkass: The 'Blackshirts' serving under the council, mainly.
Lawful Stupid: They believe everything they do for the Colonies and later the rag-tag fugitive Fleet is for peace. They are even willing to call a truce for both the Cylons and the Eastern Alliance, only for both to stab them in the back.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Almost all of them are this, with Anton and Tinia being notable exceptions. There may be even one or two who want Adama removed from office.
Women Are Wiser: At least one Siress, Tinia, comes to have a right mind when the Galactica is under attack by Baltar and his fellow escapees.
Cylons and other Evil Factions
Baltar (John Colicos)
Baltar is not a Cylon - he's the man who sold humanity out to the Cylons. A chronic liar and coward, he loves to think of himself as superior to everyone else. He thinks he's using the Cylons when they're the ones using him. Of course none of that matters becuase he could never do the one thing they wanted him to do - destroy the Galactica.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder / The Starscream: In "Lost Planet of the Gods", he tries to get into a position to backstab either the Cylons, the Rag-Tag Fleet, or both at once — and not even the audience is sure where he actually wants to aim the knife. It all ends with him pinned under rubble at the bottom of a Space-Egyptian pyramid when both sides refuse to trust him.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If it wasn't for Baltar leading an attack against the Galactica, the crew of the titular battlstar as well as those of Pegasus would have gone on fighting over the latter's fuel exchange - which has been ordered by Adama.
Not Now, Kiddo: Does this to a Cylon as he is too busy relishing on the Galactica's destruction until the Pegasus attacked.
Cylon: "Sir, I really think you should take a look at the other battlestar."
Oh, Frak: His reaction in "The Living Legend" when he's gloating at seeing the Battlestar Galactica about to be defeated, only to see the Battlestar Pegasus on an attack run right at him.
The smartest Cylon in the whole universe. He has the brains, the style, and most importantly, he's modest. His only handicap? Having to work under Baltar. Despite this handicap Lucifer seems to enjoy his banter with Balter, or perhaps he just like watching him sweat when things get hairy. Lucifer is probably the funniest and most likable villian anywhere.
Heel-Face Turn: He does this in the novelizations, due to his friendship with Starbuck.
Likable Villain: It's funny really. Lucifer isn't likable becuase he does good things or isn't as bad as he says. It's because he's so good at calling Baltar out on his hammy nature. That's probably why we love him so much.
The Rival: Baltar believes Lucifer has a rivalry with Spectre.
God Test: He claims to have great powers and knowledge. The Council of Twelve gives him three challenges: to deliver their greatest enemy (Baltar) to them, to lead the fleet to Earth, and one more to be named later.
Creepy Child: Robbie Rist's incarnation of the character in the three-part pilot story. This was changed to him having a much more normal personality in the following episodes thanks to Executive Meddling.