Season 0, Episode 01:
Miniseries, Part I
They were created to make life easier on the Twelve Colonies.
And then the day came when the Cylons decided to kill their masters.
After a long and bloody struggle, an armistice was declared.
The Cylons left for another world to call their own.
A remote space station was built...
...where Cylon and Human could meet and maintain diplomatic relations.
Every year the Colonials send an officer.
The Cylons send no one.
No one has seen or heard from the Cylons in over forty years.
Onboard the Armistice Station, an officer is falling asleep when he is surprised by the appearance of two Cylon Centurions and a blonde-haired woman in a red dress, who enter the meeting room he is in. The woman walks over to him, and asks, "Are you alive?" as the station is rocked by an explosion. Outside, a massive Cylon Basestar has appeared. The woman tells the officer that "it has begun", and forcibly kisses him as the station is destroyed by a volley of missiles fired by the Basestar.
Onboard the Battlestar Galactica, a government representative named Aaron Doral is leading a group of journalists through the ship, which is due to be decommissioned and turned into a museum. As he guides the group, pilot Kara "Starbuck" Thrace jogs through the corridors of the ship.
Elsewhere, Commander William "Bill" Adama looks over his speaking notes for the decommissioning ceremony, and acknowledges several people who congratulate him. Lieutenant Felix Gaeta arrives and notifies him about various updates, including a request for any ships in the area to visit Armistice Station. However, Adama notes that they're too busy with the decommissioning to worry about it.
Later, the Galactica hangar crew, led by Chief Galen Tyrol, gives Adama a gift: his old Viper Mark II, which has been restored to operable condition. Adama is also given a framed photo from the Colonial archives, although he is disturbed when he sees it the photo is of his two sons, Lee and Zak. Elsewhere, Kara is thrown into the ship's brig for starting a fight with Colonel Saul Tigh during a poker game.
On the nearby planet Caprica, Colonial Secretary of Education Laura Roslin is informed by a doctor that she has breast cancer, which is spreading aggressively. She leaves the doctor's office and heads towards a ship to travel to Galactica for its decommissioning ceremony, being met by a government aide, Billy Keikeya, along the way. Keikeya tries to brief her on the ceremony, but Roslin is too distracted by her prognosis.
Elsewhere on Caprica, a woman identical to the one who appeared on Armistice Station walks through a market and sees a young mother and her child. She walks up to them and begins talking about how small children are. When the mother's back is turned for a minute, the woman snaps the child's neck and walks away, with the mother beginning to scream soon after.
Meanwhile, a scientist named Gaius Baltar gives a television interview with a reporter as the same blond-haired woman enters his home. After he finishes the interview, he begins to kiss her and they fall onto his bed. As the woman removes her top, her spine begins to glow bright red. Later that day, Baltar tells her that his Command Navigation Program has been wildly successful thanks to her help, but she replies that future government work wasn't her motive for helping him. She heads back to Caprica City and meets with an unknown individual...
On Galactica, Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama arrives on the flight deck, and questions Tyrol about the usage of manual landings onboard the ship. Later, Colonial Heavy 798 docks on Galactica, and Roslin heads to the ship's CIC (Combat Information Center). While Roslin tries to get Bill to install a computer network for students onboard the ship, Adama refuses, citing the tradition of not networking anything on the ship.
Later, Lee and a squadron of Vipers perform a flyby over Galactica's landing bay as Bill gives his decommissioning address.
In Baltar's apartment, the blond-haired woman enters and sees him in bed with another woman. She forces the other woman out and tells Baltar that she is a Cylon agent who used him to help her disable key Colonial systems. Baltar is flabbergasted, and tries to call his lawyer to deny his involvement, only for the agent to tell him that no one will be alive to implicate him. Suddenly, a nuclear explosion appears in the distance. Some time later, Baltar watches horrified as television crews covering the event are blown up by more explosions. He realizes that his actions have led to Caprica being destroyed, as the agent states that her name is "Number Six", and that there are 12 Cylon models. As a shockwave approaches Baltar's apartment, he begs for his life, and Six tells him to get down as the blast wave rips through his home.
Onboard Colonial Heavy 798, the crew and passengers realize that the Colonies are under attack. The flight crew calls Lee, who is flying escort with his father's Viper, and he informs them that he will try to protect them, but can't guarantee anything.
On Galactica, Bill is alerted to the attack by Gaeta and orders the crew to action stations. Tigh and the others are confused as to how they should act, with Tigh believing an accident occurred. Bill opens the comm and informs the crew that a massive assault has occurred and that the Battlestar Atlantia is leading a fleet attack, then orders Gaeta to track all space traffic. He then orders Tigh to let Kara out of the brig and find out where the nearest munitions depot is.
A squadron of Viper Mark VIIs from Galactica is heading to Caprica for their assignments when they receive news of the attack, and move to intercept a Cylon fighter squadron. A nearby support Raptor ship, piloted by Lieutenant Sharon "Boomer" Valerii, stays back while the Vipers move to engage.
Back onboard Galactica, Kara is informed about the attack, and is shocked to learn that nearly 30 Battlestars were wiped out in the initial strike. Gaeta also informs the crew that the fleet is massing near the planet Virgon, and communications officer Anastasia Dualla tells Adama that several of the Battlestars have reported equipment malfunctions. Bill tells the crew to mourn later, and says they have to get into the fight.
The Mark VII Viper squadron begins to engage two Cylon Raiders near Caprica, only for the Raiders to disable the advanced fighters' system software with Baltar's Command Navigation Program code. The Raiders launch a salvo of missiles and destroy the squadron as Boomer and her copilot, Karl "Helo" Agathon, flee. Although they manage to escape the pursuing fighters, Boomer's Raptor is damaged and forced to set down on the surface of Caprica. As they enter the planet's atmosphere, they see the remains of a Battlestar and many Colonial ships, while several Cylon Basestars are situated around Caprican space.
On Colonial Heavy 798, Roslin tries to contact the Caprican government, but is distracted when the flight crew see a Cylon Raider jump into range and fire a missile at the ship. Lee manages to destroy the missile, but not before his ship is damaged, forcing him to be towed into the larger ship. As he disembarks his fighter, Doral tells him that the pilot is not giving orders anymore. Lee is escorted to Roslin, who informs him that they are going to try and rescue as many people as they can, and then find a place to hide.
On the Caprica surface, Boomer and Helo are finishing their repairs when a crowd of fleeing refugees come upon them, and beg to be rescued. They agree to take the children in the refugee group, but realize they can only take three other adults before reaching ship capacity. They organize a lottery for the refugees so the odds can be fair.
A group of Cylon Raiders appear near Galactica and begin to attack it. As the previously-decommissioned Mark II Vipers are brought out of their storage bay and are deployed, the Cylons try to disable them, but to no avail. A Raider fires three missiles at Galactica, and Starbuck destroys two of them. However, the third missile strikes Galactica's forward flight pod. The Mark II squadron destroys the Raiders, but Galactica is severely damaged from the missile impact. Onboard the ship, Tyrol and Captain Aaron Kelly try to stabilize the damage, while several responses are deployed to the damaged area. Tigh orders Tyrol to decompress the flight pod to prevent the ship's fuel lines from being destroyed. Tyrol initially argues, but reluctantly carries out the order. As a result, 85 crew members die.
Back on the Caprica surface, Boomer and Helo draw three numbers and the lucky winners come forward. The final number is an elderly woman who is standing next to Baltar, and can't read her number. Helo sees Baltar in the crowd and calls to him, and Baltar says the woman has the correct number and brings her to the centre. Helo then tells Boomer he can't go with her, and tells her to take Baltar in his place. Baltar then sees a vision of Six in the crowd before he boards. Reluctantly, Boomer accepts Helo's decision, and takes off while he watches.
Onboard Colonial Heavy 798, the flight crew notices a government message, and Roslin asks for them to send her government identification code. She then tells Apollo that she is 43rd in line for the presidency. Soon after, Roslin receives a response back informing her that she is the only government official at the cabinet level left alive, and is now being assigned presidential duties due to emergency succession. She is then sworn in by a priestess, Elosha, and the ship adopts the new call sign Colonial One.
On Galactica, Tigh informs Bill of the deaths due to venting the flight pod. He also informs Bill that there is a munitions depot called Ragnar Anchorage, which can be used to refill the ship's ammunition. Soon after, Tyrol tells Bill that Tigh acted too quickly in making his decision, but Bill says that if he were in Tigh's position, he would have done the same thing.
Dualla informs Bill that the Atlantia and every other Battlestar in the fleet has been destroyed. Bill assumes fleet command and orders all surviving Colonial Fleet ships to rendezvous at Ragnar Anchorage and prepare for a counterattack.
Colonial One begins a rescue mission for several nearby ships as Galactica transmits its orders. She contacts them and refuses Bill's order to regroup at Ragnar, saying she has to continue the civilian rescues and orders him to come and assist. However, she is interrupted by the appearance of two Cylon Raiders. As the Raiders launch missiles towards the group of ships, Roslin refuses to leave, while Lee runs down to the ship's cargo hold and activates a piece of machinery on his Viper.
Galactica sees the missiles on their telemetry screen, then what appears to be a nuclear explosion. Tigh attempts to console Adama for the loss of his son as the episode ends...
- Adult Fear:
- Six walks up to a stranger in the street, fusses over a baby, picks it up and, when the mother turns away for a second, breaks the child's neck. And leaves it there for the mother to find.
- One of the passengers on Colonial Heavy 798 says that his kids are on one of the colonies that has just been nuked.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: With Galactica's modern Viper wing too far to assist, Starbuck and the other pilots are forced to use the vintage Mark II squadron that has been set up as part of the museum exhibit.
- The Galactica herself - since she wasn't upgraded like the rest of the fleet was, she's the only warship capable of fighting back against the Cylons. Double points in that she was going to be an actual museum.
- Bright Is Not Good: Doral wears a red blazer, while Six wears black and red clothing.
- Camera Abuse: When the courier officer's ship is destroyed, a piece of debris hit the camera and sends it flying.
- Chekhov's Gun: Bill Adama's old fighter (which is flown by Lee during the decommissioning ceremony) is later used to defend Colonial Heavy 798/Colonial One when the Cylon attacks begin.
- The electric pulse generators Lee spots when he lands on Colonial Heavy 798. We see him approach them as the Cylons close in on the ship, what he's doing is revealed in the next episode.
- Deadline News: When the bombs go off.
- Distant Reaction Shot: After Baltar's home is destroyed, the scene cuts away to a low-orbit shot showing mushroom clouds erupting all over Caprica.
- Dramatic Landfall Shot: Used to introduce the Caprica City skyline. Later used at the beginning of each episode's credit sequence.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- The Colonials frequently say "God" and Colonel Tigh says an ad-libbed "Jesus," whereas the show would establish that the dominant Colonial religion is polytheistic and based on Greco-Roman mythology.
- Colonel Tigh refers to Lieutenant Gaeta as "Guy-ta," instead of "Gay-ta."
- Helo uses the term "mark" when reporting the position of the Cylon fighters, while the show would use "carom" instead.
- Six's glowing spine while having sex with Baltar. The effect made one more appearance before being dropped entirely.
- Everything Is Online: For the more modern Colonial hardware, a fact the Cylons exploit.
- Fighter-Launching Sequence: A rushed one, due to the nature of the attack and that the ship was going to become a museum. Comes with the territory when the main ship is the successor to the Trope Namer of The Battlestar.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Adam uses the comm to announce to the crew that a Cylon attack is underway, Cally and a fellow deckhand, Prosna, are seen exiting a room while hastily pulling their jumpsuits back on. This makes her reaction when she finds his burned body later on (due to the section he was working in being vented) much more understandable.
- Glasses Pull: Adama does this multiple times, particularly when he tosses out his speech and then when he learns that the entire fleet has been destroyed.
- Hollywood Old: Ryan Robbins plays the armistice station officer in aged makeup. This is because the opening originally envisioned showing the officer coming to the station every year and growing old until the Cylons return.
- Homeworld Evacuation: The group of Capricans trying to flee the planet. Given what we later see, this was happening on the other worlds as well (though we don't see it on-screen).
- Infant Immortality: Averted with a vengeance.
- It's All My Fault: Baltar gets this after realizing it was Caprica-Six who shut down the colonies' defense systems through his gullibility.
- It Has Been an Honor: Said by Kelly and Gaeta to Adama during the introduction, as he's about to retire and they're going to be reassigned.
- It's Probably Nothing: Lt. Gaeta shows Adama the housekeeping messages they've been sent, including a request for ships to check on the overdue officer at Armistice Station. Adama brushes this off, noting that they're busy with decommissioning the ship.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The Cylons use several volleys of missiles to destroy fighter squadrons (and entire planets) during the attack on the Colonies.
- Mildly Military: It's shown that the crew (who are waiting out the days until decommissioning) were prone to lax standards. The XO is an alcoholic known for Drinking on Duty. Their best pilot gets herself thrown in the brig after getting in a brawl with the aforementioned XO. One of the pilots (of evidently questionable talent, based on her repeated rough landings) is having an affair with one of the maintenance chiefs, who is stated to be reporting directly to her, and so on. The attack on the Colonies forces them to shape up, though they never completely break from their old ways.
- Military Maverick: Somewhat deconstructed with Starbuck. She also gets away with her dysfunctions only through being among the best at what she does, being among the only at what she does and being heavily favored by Bill, who regards her as a surrogate daughter.
- Money Is Not Power: One of the refugees tries to buy his way onto Boomer's Raptor with 50,000 cubits, with someone else shouting out an offer of 60,000. As all banks have been vaporized by now, it obviously doesn't work.
- Mythology Gag: The Colonial officer at the Armistice Station is reading schematics of a Cylon Centurion; they depict the Centurion from the 1978 series. Then a pair of new-model centurions arrive, symbolizing the new series superseding the old.
- The Neutral Zone: The Armistice Line.
- Official Presidential Transport: Before the episode is over, Colonial Heavy 798 becomes Colonial One.
- The Oner: The post-cold open is a three-and-a-half minute continuous moving camera shot that goes around and through the CIC and introduces no fewer than eight major characters.
- Say My Name: Adama calls out his son's name right before Colonial One appears to be destroyed.
- Sex Sells: In the first scene of the series, Six walks into the room in a tight red skirt suit, and passionately kisses the Armistice officer. A few scenes later, she walks into Gaius Baltar's apartment wearing a see-through black dress with sexy black lingerie showing through it.
- Sitting Duck: Galactica's Mk. 7 Vipers, due to a backdoor the Cylons installed in their software.
- Shout-Out: Look closely, and you can see a Firefly-class transport over Caprica City from the doctor's office.
- They Look Like Us Now: The modeled-number Cylons.
- This Is Not a Drill: Said almost verbatim by Gaeta after the initial reports of the Cylon attack come in.
- Throwing Out the Script: Adama does this during his retirement speech.
- Turned Against Their Masters: " Then came the day the Cylons decided to kill their masters "
- Unexpected Successor: Secretary of Education Laura Roslin becomes President of the Colonies after everyone else in the presidential cabinet is killed. To hammer home how truly the "Unexpected" part of this trope is, she was forty-third in line.
- Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The opening credits for the pilot begin with music by Richard Gibbs. The first proper episode, "33", begins with the now-familiar Bear McCreary theme.
- Watching Troy Burn: The destruction of the colonies.
- You Are in Command Now: With the ranking admiral dead and Picon Fleet Headquarters destroyed, Adama assumes command over what little remains of the Colonial Fleet.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: You can clearly see this on Baltar's face when an old woman who can't find her glasses (which are on her head) asks him to read her ticket number. He can already deduce that she has the winning number for the last spot on the Raptor.