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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive debut
When writer/producer Ronald D. Moore recently won an award in Los Angeles for his work on the 'reimagined' Battlestar Galactica, host and noted science fiction critic Harlan Ellison congratulated him for taking the 'worst SF TV show' of all time and turning it into the best. Perhaps hyperbolic - there's far worse shows out there than the 1978 iteration of Battlestar...
Published on 9 Nov 2006 by A. Whitehead

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a mini series!
Just to specify this is not a mini series this is the pilot episode which goes on for 3 hours. It is a great episode though and kick starts of battle star galactica.
Published 12 months ago by Gavin


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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive debut, 9 Nov 2006
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
When writer/producer Ronald D. Moore recently won an award in Los Angeles for his work on the 'reimagined' Battlestar Galactica, host and noted science fiction critic Harlan Ellison congratulated him for taking the 'worst SF TV show' of all time and turning it into the best. Perhaps hyperbolic - there's far worse shows out there than the 1978 iteration of Battlestar Galactica - but an increasingly common sentiment that has seen publications such as Time Magazine, Rolling Stone and the New Yorker declare the new BSG to be the best thing on television, in any genre.

Most of these comments stem from the excellent second and third season. Rolling back to the mini-series, it is a surprise to see how fully-formed this show leapt onto the screen. Ususally there is a long 'breaking-in' period that has to elapse before writers and actors really start to feel comfortable on their show. Here, however, the characters appear fully fleshed-out from the start, with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell turning in sterling performances from the start, with James Callis also particularly worthy of mention. The plot is straightforward: the Twelve Colonies of Mankind are destroyed in a nuclear holocaust unleashed by the Cylons, killing machines humanity created forty years earlier which rebelled and disappeared into deep space. 50,000 survivors flee to reach the safety offered by the last major warship to survive the attack, the Battlestar Galactica, along the way generating plenty of conflict between the democratic, civilian viewpoint (espoused by McDonnell's President Roslin) and the military, pragmatic one (personified by Olmos' Commander Adama). A feeling of paranoia creeps in once it is confirmed that some Cylons now resemble humans and have infiltrated the colonists for their own ends.

At three hours long, the pacing in the mini-series is well-handled, although a couple of scenes near the end feel a bit superfluous. There is a lot of story to handle here and a lot of characters to introduce, however, and this fills the time admirably. The 'naturalistic' shooting is a success and the effects are superb, rivalling or exceeding most of their big-screen counterparts, although the jumpy camera work takes a while to adjust to.

There is little wrong with the mini-series. Perhaps some scenes are not explained well (a brutal murder near the start of the story is supposedly self-justified as a mercy killing by a Cylon agent aware of the imminent nuclear holocaust, but this excuse, feeble though it is, is never even voiced in the episode) and there are a few wince-inducing lines, but the uniformly good acting and writing more than make up for this. The semi-cliffhanger ending also leaves you eager to pick up the Season 1 DVD box set. Overall, an impressive and enjoyable work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Viewing, 15 Mar 2009
By 
A. Mueller "muelly" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
If you have bought season one and haven't a clue what's going on it's because you haven't got the miniseries that preceeded it. Suddenly, all makes sense!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the original!!, 28 Sep 2006
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SJ SMART "Smartie" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I don't have Sky at home and ignored this DVD for years, despite the great reviews and friends raving about it because I grew up with and loved the original series so much. But this year I relented and was totally blown away and hooked!

Its so dark, so real and so brilliant. I loved the fact that Cylons have human looking agents now to confuse and infiltrate. Starbuck is now a hard good looking woman but still gambles, chews cigars and resents authority which is great twist too.

I would recommend this to any fans of the original series, I watched this and then went out to buy Season 1 and Season 2 on DVD. Now waiting for Season 3 to appear. This really needs 10 stars!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the strongest opening produced for any science fiction series., 4 Oct 2007
This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
OK, so if you're unsure about how this fits within the context of the main show (as I was at first) this is a three hour long extended pilot (though this is technically a miniseries both episodes have been stuck together here so it's essentially one episode on the DVD) made to test whether the show would go into a full season, and thus comes first in the timeline of the show, with the series labeled 'season one' coming after it.
The plot follows an advanced human civilization as it comes under attack from the cylons, intelligent machines who rebelled against their creators about forty years before hand and then vanished once peace was declared. The bulk of the story is focussed on a large aircraft-carrier-esque war ship called the Battlestar Galactica and the crew's reaction to the crisis.
One of the really nice touches is the nature of Galactica. This is not the starship Enterprise, it's an archaic vessel by the standards of this civilization (and to a certain degree by our own standards), using corded telephones, un-networked and old fashioned computers, and other oddities of technology in order to prevent interference by the cylons, whom it was designed to fight. It's not crewed by the elite, in fact it's crewed by the sort of people the military would give a dead-end unimportant post to - an alcoholic XO, a commander unable to deal with his past, a chief mechanic having an illegal affair with his superior officer, the list goes on. It should be pointed out that though these characters are flawed, the show doesn't focus on the flaws, they actually get a good bit of fleshing out into three dimensions and none could be quickly summed up. All are excellently acted with particularly stand-out performances from Edward James Olmos as commander Adama and Mary McDonnell as the education minister suddenly elevated to power in the wake of the attacks.
The Cylons in this series are excellently realized, taking a lot from films like Blade Runner they are not two-dimensional evil robots, they have some very interesting facets that it will be interesting to see developed later on e.g. the unexpected look of anguish on the face of a cylon agent having accidentally killed a human child. In the original 70's show cylons had metallic costumes and a creepy red light for eyes, here many look and act like humans and the ones who don't have been given a serious makeover so they now look and act like killing machines which - in a break with sci-fi tradition - are actually very good at killing.
The battle scenes are mind blowing, deep drum beats and military sounding chants play over dulled sound effects and incredible looking CG followed using Firefly's documentary-style camera work to give the viewer an up close and extremely tense view of the action. The ships aren't shooting laser beams against deflector sheilds, they're pounding heavy armour plating with missiles and explosive ordinance picked right out of the reality of what space warfare would be like if we used our current technology. It's this constant use of the familiar that makes the action feel so real, you don't know what a photon torpedo does but we've all seen the footage of the Hiroshima bombing and we know what nuclear bombs look like so when you here the shouts that one's headed for the ship you get an instantly real sense of danger.
For fans of the original series this will be an initially unwelcome show, it makes so many changes to so many aspects of the show that it will be hard to adjust at first. But give it a chance, watch this through and there's good odds you'll be sold.
In conclusion, this is three hours of pure gold. It's gripping, thrilling, compelling and just plain entertaining from start to finish. Once you finish watching it you'll be heading strait to the first full season, and trust me, you won't be disappointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You've got to love it., 2 Dec 2005
This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
What is so good about the new Battlestar Galatica? It is definitely influenced by that which has gone before it,namely SG-1 and Joss Weadon's Firefly. The joy of this show is that it attempts to show, not a fantasy vessel loaded with super-technology as in star trek, but something which could be regarded as much more realistic. Thats the key, the realism - especially when this word is applied to a sci-fi show. The characters are believable, the plot lines are convincing, and it shows a real core of human emotion - and thats not always a good thing. People making exceptionally hard but necessary choices, leading to hundreds of deaths. Everything in this show is based on a real inspiration, with the Galatica itself coming across as a hi-bred of aircraft carrier and submarine, with believable physics, just adds to the belief in this university. It we ever build a space warship, it'll work like that battlestar does.
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74 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally original, 3 Jan 2005
This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I was a jaded sci-fi fan who had seen it all. I was totally unimpressed by CGI, space fights and mortal enemies of the human race. Attractive men and women in uniforms did not interest me. 'Vulnerable' characters with 'pasts' left me cold. I had no interest in yet another space opera from the States. Then I saw the pilot for a new series of Battlestar Galactica and was blown away. It has all those elements yet it is totally fresh, totally original: totally unlike anything I have ever seen before.
Galactica is made by people who seem to be as jaded by sci-fi cliches as its prospective audience. Given that one of the brains behind it is Ron Moore of long Star Trek association I'm probably not far wrong in that assesment. It has a giant space ship, but it's not filled with top notch officers and high tech gismos. In fact, most of the crew members are (realisitically) sqauddies and NCOs and the rest are either fighter pilots, comissioned officers who weren't quite up to being posted elsewhere or both. Yet never once to you feel as if you are watching the token screwed-up kid, feminist or dipsomanaic. These characters are far too well written for that. The ship is a technological antique from a war in which networks and computerisation meant vulnerability to the enemy. It's a giant aircraft carrier in space, complete with cramped quarters, cabin fever and the most impressive dog-fight sequences I have ever watched.
The action is immediate and the CGI is naturalistic - at one point a piece of shrapnel hits the 'camera', terminating a frame. The focus moves in and out as the shot zooms from huge mothership to tiny one-man fighter ships. These 'Vipers' flip and handle in a totally new way, complete with visable thrusters and unprecedently full use of the 360 degree axis. And the music - none of your full orchestra melodrama but tense, understated drum tattoos and vocal chants lend an air of urgency and otherness.
The background culture of the series is thoroughly thought through, down to the religions, architectural and design themes (they use pentagons like we use quadrangles) and social history of the 'Twelve Colonies'. Furthermore the production and costume designers have outdone themselves in giving clothing and archetectural styles that we recognise from our culture a fresh twist then consistenly applying it across the board.
The scripting of this pilot works excellently, exploiting the episodic nature of television expertly, setting up at least 5 sub-plots that will develop troughout the course of the series and, best of all, doing it all with great slickness. I won't throw out any plot spoilers except to add that the interaction between the military and the civilian government is refreshingly unusual and realistic. Our guys aboard Galactica are accountable for their actions, if grudgingly. Furthermore, although the civilian characters are outnumbered by the military they are just as well thought out and the acting is universally of high quality. The understated talent of Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos shines and James Callis and Katee Sackhoff in particular make what could potentially be two very flat characters totally convincing.
In terms of extras, the DVD features only a short teaser movie - presumably aired before the mini-series to hook potential audiences. Given the quality of the three hours worth (it's amazing how short these things become when you take out the ads) of film however, don't let this put you off.I cannot praise this pilot highly enough - there is something for everyone, whether they think they like sci-fi or not. Although some fans of the earlier series are unhappy with the (rather extensive) changes I would urge them to look at this as something new and be inspired by the justice it has done to the concept - because it takes everything that has gone before it to new heights. Well worth 5 stars and certinly worth spending a few quid on.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Entertainment, 28 Feb 2006
This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
In many respects I've done things backwards - I watched series 1 before I realised this extended preamble existed. A shame really, as the series felt incomplete to me until I had enjoyed its premise. All the character issues, plot lines etc of the series find their origin here and while series 1 is by no means confusing, this introduction is far more satisfing than encountering the new Galactica already on the run.
Overall a satisfying, even if not too demanding, sci-fi drama that is well paced, well put together and keeps the viewer interested. Not overly weighed down in homage to the original Battlestar series, I think it manages a nice balance between breaking new ground and retaining some of the better aspects of the old series. ( I for one was delighted not to have to face the antics of the cyber doggie moffet?muppet? once again.
For sci-fi fans this is a credible addition to your collection and for casual interest you can do a lot worse than spend a few pounds for a good few hours viewing pleasure. Only drops a star because...we'll maybe I'm slightly mean...and because it's simply not one I feel I'll watch over and over again on evenings when I'm bored with the telly. That of course is a matter of personal taste. A good effort.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Beginning, 22 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
A brilliant start to the new series, presenting the explanation of how the battlestar Galactica ended up heading the fleet escaping from the colonies attacked by the cylons, and the introduction of the major characters of the running show. This is where you have to start watching if you intend to see the rest of the series. The acting performances are great; the effects mind blowing; the story line more interesting than most science-fiction series out there.

This mini series plays as if it were a movie. Just put it in, hit play and the whole thing runs without pause; no breaks for credits or replaying of the intro - just 174 minutes and 11 seconds of scenes woven together as elegantly as nobody's business.

The bonus material, "the lowdown", starts out like a trailer, but carries on with commentaries from the makers and actors. For a little over 20 minutes, you get to hear about the challenges of remaking an old series with new technology and new ideas, as well as the actors' views on their characters and their relationships. This all mixed with clips from the actual film. Considered a must-have on new DVD releases, the bonus material is exactly what you expect it to be; a little extra taste of what is to come, but nothing exceptional.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Battlestar galactica in the 21st Century, 22 Sep 2007
By 
Mr. A. C. Darke "darkelight" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Originally envisioned by TV legend Glen A Larson. Battlestar Galactica was a product of its time. camp, action packed, optimistic and sometimes cliche. But in the 2003 it was reborn from the mind of Ronald D Moore and David Eick. (Ronald D Moore)being responsible for some of the darker moments in Star trek's history. This new Galactica is darker, more threatening with aqn impending sense of doom as the survivors of the twelve colonies of man escape in their rag tag fugitive fleet. Many thingsa have changed from the first battlestar to this current incarnation. Cylons are no longer dumb chrome plated robots, but agile killing machines intent on killing their creators and it seems that only Adama can save humanity with a little help from his his eqiually rag tag allies. Tigh an alcoholic XO, Apollo a son that despises him, President Laura Roslin a terminally ill junior minister who was the sole survivor of the human government, the duplicitious Dr Baltar who he himself isn't sure of his own sanity and finally Starbuck a dangerous Maverick, but deadliest pilot in the fleet. This is not hopeful sci-fi, this is not a heroic adventure. This is a battle to survive. If you think you know Battlestar open your eyes to this and never look at your toater the same way again
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What do you hear? Nothing but the applause., 10 April 2007
By 
R. Archer "ancient history guy" (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series [2003] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This miniseries is the start of what is, undoubtedly, one of the best television series ever made and, if it wasn't for the fake swearing, I wouldn't have to qualify that statement (seriously - please swear for real or not at all, anything else is just irritating).

Battlestar Galactica has a depth and realism to it that even most series that aren't classed as sci-fi would kill for, let alone those that are. I've seen this referred to as 'sci-fi for people that don't like sci-fi'. I think this is drama for anyone that appreciates drama.
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