"There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. They may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens..."
(For the 2004 series, see Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined).)At the end of a long, genocidal war between the twelve colony worlds of humanity and a race of robots called the Cylons, there finally appears to be a hope for peace. But the supposed end of the war is nothing more than a trap; humanity is almost completely wiped out when Cylon treachery (and a human traitor) catches them almost completely unawares. The survivors gather together to form a "rag-tag fugitive fleet" of refugees under the protection of the last remaining battlestar (the humans' most powerful class of space battleship), and flee Cylon-controlled space. Their goal is a legend — a lost thirteenth colony world, known as "Earth", which they hope can help them stand against the pursuing cybernetic enemy.Television's supposed first attempt to cash in on the popularity of Star Wars (and hilariously, Lucasfilm tried to sue). Originally called Adam's Ark, this 1978 Glen Larson production fused a Wagon Train to the Stars gimmick to a dose of Von Danikenite "Ancient Astronauts" atmosphere and a dash of Mormon theology. The result was a Space Opera with unsupported pretensions to a Myth Arc that was noteworthy for a number of television firsts: first SF series set in a spacecraft with sets that didn't look like they were built from cardboard and drywall, first TV series to cost a million dollars per episode, and the first primetime series to recycle Stock Footage so much that everyone noticed it.Although its first few episodes showed a certain amount of promise, the series quickly descended into a series of one Planet of Hats after another, many of them merely recycled plots from popular westerns. Its viewership ratings were high, but the TV network executives of the time had not yet embraced the notion of a million-dollar-an-episode series, so it was cancelled after one season. The fanbase was not amused.In the face of a massive write-in campaign, the executives decided to Re Tool the series into a less expensive spinoff, and so Galactica was promptly resurrected as Galactica 1980, starring an older Boxey (now "Troy") as a substitute for Apollo. The Galactica and its fleet finally reached Earth, only to be forced to pass it by to lead the Cylons away. Meanwhile, Troy and his wingman Dillon were left on Earth (soon joined by the "Super Scouts", a group of Colonial children stranded by accident), on a mission to uplift Earth science to Colonial standards while maintaining a Masquerade to avoid drawing Cylon attention. This revival proved grossly unpopular and was cancelled after only a handful of episodes. To this day, fans of the original series prefer to treatGalactica 1980as though it had never existed, and novels and comics based on the original series continuity ignore it.
Provides examples of:
Ace Pilot: Apollo, Starbuck, Boomer, Jolly, Greenbean, Cree, and Sheba. If you aren't a Bridge Bunny, good chance, you're an Ace.
Acting for Two: Particularly in Gun on Ice Planet Zero, which is inhabited by clones of one man (Denny Miller) and one woman (Britt Eckland).
Aggressive Negotiations: Count Baltar arranged a peace treaty between the 12 Colonies and the Cylons. The Colonies sent five Battlestars to the conference, leaving the Colonies completely undefended. The Cylons carried out a massive attack on both the Battlestars and the colonies, almost completely wiping out both.
Aliens Speaking English: Justified with the Colonial outposts the Rag-tag Fleet encountered earlier; becomes blatant with the Terrans, who were explicitly not Colonial, but whose only problem communicating with the main cast is not understanding what a "centon" is.
Amazon Brigade: The Viper pilots are laid low with space flu, and the (all female) barely trained shuttle pilots must step up. Chauvinism is largely averted: Apollo and Starbuck are suspicious of their experience level, not their sex. They are not the elite forces that Amazon Brigades usually are, but they are better than expected for a bunch of brand new pilots. Mysteriously, few of the woman warriors are shown in that role, despite the desperate need for Viper pilots, but they do appear sometimes.
Count Baltar. 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.
Commander Cain. 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.
I think they were more like laser pistols, which were shockingly scientifically realistic in the sense that they shot a quick, invisible beam of energy. Much like real, laser pistol-like devices.
As part of the lawsuit settlement with LucasFilm, BG was prohibited from showing hand weapons that shot visible bolts on-screen. The space combat scenes were not so limited, for whatever reason. Thus ironically making BG's hand-lasers more realistic than Lucas's blaster weapons.
Demoted to Extra: Athena ends up getting this treatment. She starts out as a Bridge Bunny, but is only sometimes shown on the bridge after the pilot. Then she's used as part of a triangle with Starbuck and Cassiopeia, but that plot is dropped fast. The only time after this she's given any significant screen time is when she's one of the characters trapped in the fire during "Fire In Space." Late season, she spends her time, apparently, as a school teacher.
This was reportedly due to the producers lack of interest in coaching Maren Jensen, who was at that time an inexperienced actress. Cassiopeia was developed to take Athena's place as a frontline female character.
Depopulation Bomb: The shown fleet population drops quite a lot, especially in the middle of season one.
Everybody is Single: Apollo gets married in the second plot, and still spends most of the season a widower; his father is also a widower (common in the Fleet, one assumes), and every one else is not married.
Excessive Steam Syndrome: The pilot does this. Starbuck and Cassiopeia are seen kissing in the hangar bay, while Starbuck's other love interest catches them by surveillance camera. Cue the push of a "Steam Vent" button.
Executive Meddling: The series was originally envisioned as a series of "special event" TV movies rather than a regular weekly series. The earliest episodes reflect this, since they are two-parters made from scripts originally intended to be TV movies. When the pilot was such a hit and the series was changed to a weekly series instead its production values began to suffer. Stock footage of the expensive starship special effects was overused and episode scripts became more conventional, sometimes obvious re-workings of westerns.
God Test: In "War of the Gods Part 1", Count Iblis 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.
Hey, you try to shoot when your eye is constantly darting back and forth!
It's their own fault. They should make more efficient eyes.
And then they went and subverted it with Red-Eye, a damaged Cylon who's not only a deadly shot, but he actually stops his eye scanning when he's targeting. So, guys, why is the damaged and malfunctioning Cylon so much more deadly that the fully operational ones?
Partly because he's immune to the local "pnuemos," compressed air guns, and partly because he has machine speed draw.
Actually, only because he's immune to the local guns. He usually spends so long targeting before he draws that he gets shot...and receives yet another small dent in his armor plating and then puts a laser blast through his opponent. (That's how he was destroyed, since this time he was up against a Colonial Warrior, armed with a weapon designed to destroy Cylons with a single hit. This may explain why they miss so much: They know they'll always lose if they take long enough for their aiming system to lock on.)
Averted in the pilot, when resources were so scarce that the fleet practiced Forced Socialism against Sire Uri, and braved the Nova Matigon so as to make it to Carillon for resupply before they starved.
Averted in "Living Legend", when the fleet needs fuel, for plot reasons.
Planet Terra: Subverted. Despite multiple layers and episodes of teasing ("Terra" being a Geminese term for "Earth", the Terran political situation being based on the Cold War), the planet called Terra turns out to NOT be Earth.
Prison Ship: The original series had the Prison Barge, a ship used to hold prisoners of various kinds, including prisoners of war. Baltar organizes an escape from the ship along with various characters arrested or captured in previous episodes.
Space Clothes: Mostly averted. They're wearing clothing, for the most part not in Earth fashions (except for some disco wear). The main exception to this are the Terran colonists, who do indeed wear shiney space clothes.
Space Jews: 12 Tribes, driven from their homeland and searching for the missing, legendary 13th Tribe? How can it not be? (though the allusion to a 13th Tribe is based on Mormon theology, rather than Jewish).
Space Mines: In the pilot, they have to go through a Cylon minefield.
Tempting Fate: In "Murder on the Rising Star", Cassiopeia mentions during a Triad game that Starbuck and his rival Ortega are gonna kill each other if their fierce rivalry keeps up. Ortega is killed, alright, but it wasn't Starbuck that did it. It was Karybdis, who went by an alias Pallon during his time in the fleet.
Writers Cannot Do Math: The Fleet has 220 ships, and about 6,000 surviving Colonists. That's about 27 people per ship. Not crowded, but also no population base. No wonder the Fleet seems like it suffered a Depopulation Bomb. The revival does better, with about 200 per ship.
Armor-Piercing Question: In one episode, a Cylon states that their goal and purpose is to organize the entire universe. Another character asks what they'll do after that. The Cylon hesitates and finally admits that no one has ever asked that question.
Executive Meddling: Part of the reason why Galactica 1980 was such a disaster. The show was originally supposed to be based around Time Travel stories, as seen in the three-part pilot. The network on the other hand thought that science fiction should appeal primarily to kids, and so forced the producers drop the time travel aspect, have children making up over half the main cast (resulting in the Super Scouts), and give the series a primarily educational focus.
The requirement for an educational focus was partially due to the decision to air the show in a time slot that basically required it. Now, if they hadn't decided it was a kids show, things might have been different...
Invisibility Cloak: Dr. Zee created a short-duration unit for the teams sent to Earth to use in emergencies.
New Super Power: In Galactica 1980, we discover that the artificial gravity they've been living with in the fleet is several times the surface gravity of Earth; so, when they land on Earth, they can jump several meters in the air.
Which is pretty amazing, considering we've seen crew members wrestle and/or drop things in the original series, and they didn't seem to fall any faster than they would on Earth.
Plot Hole: The last episode of the first season (The Hand of God) had a final scene in which it is revealed that the unusual transmissions that the Galactica observatory was picking up were the transmissions from the 1969 Apollo moon landing. However, Galactica 1980 (which we are led to assume is set in 1980) is said to be set thirty years after the events of the first season. This is impossible to reconcile unless the colonial Yahren was ridiculously short, or the fleet had to take an insanely roundabout course, equivalent to Seattle to Vancouver (a day trip if you go up the coast) by way of Los Angeles, Mexico City, New Orleans, New York, Toronto, and Whitehorse.
Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Dr. Zee demonstrates the need for the fleet to pass Earth by in the first episode with a computer simulation of an attack on Los Angeles (made using Stock Footage from the movie Earthquake). The footage was heavily featured in the commercials for the series premiere.