Second half of the 2005 Sci-Fi Channel series (11 Episodes)
Studio: Sci-Fi Ch./Universal 29833 (3 discs)
Video: Widescreen 1.78:1, color
Audio: DD 5.1, English
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Extras: Extended version of midseason cliffhanger episode, Deleted scenes, Podcasts by director and others, Producer’s video logs – incl. On the Set of the “new” Pegasus, The Magic of Battlestar Galactica, & Scenes from a Video Blog Floor
Length: approx. 8 hours, 41 minutes
The original Battlestar Galactica series starring Lorne Greene was on TV back in 1978. This 3 DVD collection is a “re-imagining” of the original story line and I think most viewers would agree it is a major improvement on the original. It has established itself as not only the top show on the Sci-Fi Channel but one of the top adult dramatic shows on TV in general. The ensemble cast is all excellent, the design and special effects are good, and the stories have plenty of drama, action and intrigue. The series is widescreen and comes with a Dolby 5.1 mix that occasionally really uses the surround channels. In between the original and this new run there was a miniseries telecast in 2003. According to the most prominent actor in the new series – craggy Edward James Olmos as the commander of the Galactica – “the series is even better than the miniseries.”
My understanding of the back-story to the series may be faulty since I don’t access the cable channel and didn’t see the mini-series, but in the original series the Cylon robot race created by humans rebelled and waged war against humankind. At the start of the miniseries humankind is spread across 12 new colonies in space and hasn’t heard from the Cylons for 40 years. Suddenly they return and in a devastating strike destroy the colonies. Commander Adama (Olmos) gets together a crew and takes his museum-grade starship back into space with smaller ships from the other colonies. All told there are about 4,500 survivors in the ragtag fleet, who are again on a quest to escape or destroy the Cylons and at the same time to search out their ancestral home – Earth.
The cliffhanger in the middle of the second season concerns the Galactica suddenly encountering a much bigger and more modern starship they thought had been totally destroyed in the last Cylon attack – The Pegasus. While at first overjoyed to find fellow military personnel, tension between the two crews and their captains begins quickly and eventually results in threatened civil war. However, this is averted by the opportunity to strike and destroy an important Cylon ship used to “resurrect” Cylons who had been destroyed in battle. An interesting development in the new series is that the Cylons have learned how to make almost exact copies of humans, and in multiple copies if they want. This brings up plot twists and turns concerning the human-like, beautiful (naturally), female Cylon prisoner which each battleship holds in their respective brigs. The one on the Galactica is in fact pregnant from one of the crew with whom she has a relationship. Another beautiful Cylon is evidently just a very real hallucination to the colonies’ vice-president, Dr. Baltar, and not visible to anyone else on the ship.
Even those who are not especially sci-fi fans may find the new series a thrilling ride. I admit I’m hooked already, but I do have a few burning questions – which may possibly be answered as I view what came prior to this set as well as since: If they had to leave so quickly and are such a ragtag fleet in space, how is it they are all impeccably dressed in great style with nice uniforms? (Except for Dr. Baltar, who always looks like he’s mussed up good from necking with his Cylon girlfriend.) What do they do for food? How are they able to make all the repairs on their battle-scarred planes and ships? And why are the command decks of both ships outfitted with old-fashioned wired telephone handsets for communication? Even the original Star Trek deck didn’t have that as I recall…
– John Sunier