on 27 January 2004
Battlestar Galactica must be one of the few sci-fi series to only last 24 episodes but still mantain a loyal following over 20 years after it's first showing. So much so that the Sci-Fi Channel have just made a new version of the show for the new millennium.
The show had it's fair share of big name celebrities too including Fred Astaire and Lloyd Bridges. And the whole cast seem to have had fun making it, as shown in the excellent 45 minute documentary included here as a bonus.
And for those of us who know the episodes inside and out there are over 2 hours of deleted scenes.
It's annoying that the audio commentaries that were on the US Region 1 DVD haven't made their way across the Atlantic but I'm happy to see this excellent series on DVD in the UK.
But you could save yourself a tenner by buying the standard version. This "Special Edition" consists of a large silver box with a plastic Cyclon's head stuck to it. And that's it. The DVDs are the same as the standard issue. Then you can use the tenner to buy the soundtrack CD to listen to while you watch the music-less picture gallery. Just a thought.
'There are those who believe
that life here began out there...'
Thus begins the tale of Battlestar Galactica, full of meaning and hope and mystical importance, spoken with the majestic voice of Patrick Macnee (best known from The Avengers).
Okay, enough theology for the moment.
Or, maybe not. The first episode, a movie-length introduction to the series, along with the first several episodes, definitely has theological undercurrents. It is the fight between good and evil. It is a wandering in the desert (of space) looking for the promised land. It is about hope and humanity, sensitivity and courage.
And, as a 12 year old (when I first saw it) I of course understood none of this. I merely loved the special effects in my own home (as opposed to the Star Wars which required payment at the movie theatre), the characters and the technology. I was amazed that every computer on the bridge set of the Galactica actually worked.
Today I'm amazed that the computer on which I'm typing this review has more power than all those computers combined!
The story is basic. Ambush in space because of a monumental betrayal by a sinister bad guy who is in turn double-crossed (Baltar), a quickly-organised escape from the evil mechanical Cylons (who both symbolise the terrors of technology as well as of autocratic rule--remember the Cold War?), a daring journey, and finally a hope. Unfortunately the series became a wandering in the desert with little hope for reaching the promised land, and in television-series timelines and lifelines, this just wasn't acceptable.
In video form, the entire series was not available. It was frustrating that not all of them are available, as watching them in sequence left some gaps. However, there are enough dedicated fans who would purchase these (as is evidenced by the amount of BG 'junk' being auctioned at ebay and other such places) that the DVD generation has made all of the episodes available. This includes the complete set of Battlestar Galactica (please note that Galactica: 1980 is a different, if related, series).
The series was fated only to last one year, due to high costs (a million an episode may be a standard 'ER' actor's salary, but back then it was big bucks even in Hollywood), a slumping viewership (which in retrospect was never as small as reported), and an overall lack of direction (not just that of the fleet). The journey was just taking too long for the era of instant gratification.
The first episode is a three-hour extravanganza. The whole premise is set up here, and the rest of the episodes look back to this set-up. The acting is fairly basic, occasionally rising above a level playing field (particularly Lorne Greene, the leading figure as Commander Adama), but the audience was supposed to be so 'wowed' by the special effects and sets that they wouldn't notice the slightly-above-average acting. For the time, the effects were great; some scenes still hold up well.
The plot of this film goes from the destruction of the colonies, through the assembly of the 'rag-tag, fugitive fleet' to a final battle with some Cylon Death Stars, leaving an open-ended but hopeful conclusion between Apollo (Richard Hatch) and Starbuck (Dirk Benedict in pre- A-Team days).
Outstanding episodes of the series include Living Legends (guest starring Lloyd Bridges), the Man with Nine Lives (with Fred Astair), the War of the Gods (with Patrick Macnee out of the shadows of Imperious Leader) and the three-episode arc when the Galactica encounters a planet named Terra, which is very earth-like in appearance.
There are documentary/interview segments worthwhile, including Dirk Benedict, Glen Larson (the creator/producer) and long-term fan and advocate/star, Richard Hatch. There is also a trailer for the new Sci-Fi soon-to-be released series.
on 3 December 2005
When I first bought this I hadnt watched it since I was a small child, Im part of the Star Wars generation. From what I remembered this was top stuff. Set in another part of the Galaxy a race of humans is almost exterminated by the evil robot Cylons and forced to flee in the form of a rag tag fleet, under the protction of the last surviving military vehicle The Battlestar Galactica.
At first I found it hard to watch, the special effects are a bit dated, but I have to admit that despite the same library shots being used again and again throughout the series, I did enjoy it. The acting isnt great, but there is real chemistry between Apollo and Starbuck. The strories arent great either, there were various problems in production that resulted in scripts being written over night and actors receiving scripts an hour before shooting, but the series does get better as it goes on.
The special features are good, theres a great documentry that highlights what a tragedy it was that this show was cancelled so early. With a huge cult following it is easy to see what is great about this short lived TV series, ignore the terrible hair cuts and seventies decor, this is great Sci Fi stuff.
If youre a fan its worth paying the extra for this Cylon head box set, there are no more special features, but it looks well cool in your collection!
on 21 January 2014
Although I initially owned the series back when it was originally released this American set add extras not available in the UK. THese were a substantial amount of deleted scenes with all but two installments covered.Varying in picture and sound quality this trims give a fascinating glimpse into how episodes may have looked had they been extended.
The series itself is charming and niave, and at its heart is an adventure romp in outer space. There are a few truly poor episodes and a few that are "OK" but on the whole it stands up well and has aged gracefully.
The core of the show was the flight from the Cylons a race of beings who had become robots. Whilst this theme was carried over to the remake in 2003 this is a very different show.
Sadly cancelled after one season (to be resurrected as the forgettable Galactica 1980) this show will appeal to young and old and to fans of 70s TV sci fi.
Picture quality is pretty good with some print damage visible but nothing to write home about.
on 8 November 2004
Amazing series, and it comes in a cool box! However, at £86 it's a bit extortionate considering you're paying £40 extra to have a box shaped like a cylon, and that's all you're getting extra, the box! Still, if your diehard enough to want it then by all means, but I'd go for the normal box myself
Well, they have finally realised how cool Battlestar Galactica was. It never made as big of a splash as Star Trek but believe me it has a cult following. Dedicated enthusiasts who will no doubt buy this six disc special edition Box set. With features like interview with series creator Glen Larson, deleted scenes, documentaries, photo galleries and 'Inside Battlestar Galactica: The Cylons'. The box set may have been good, but this is the Special Edition baby! A collectors item and well worth it for all Battlestar Galactica enthusiasts.
on 11 December 2003
I've reviewed before the original Battlestar Galactica DVD theatrical release & gave my dissapointment of its lack of features. This collection is Universal Studios best effort, but not its graetest. First off is the sound. It's labeled on the box as 5.1 Dolby. But after much listening it's more like Surround sound. The picture quality is excellent. Especially since the original was filmed in Technicolor.All of the episodes, including the premiere have deleated scenes.Some are rather funny, but many are in need of restoration.The premire episode is the longer US TV version.With Commentary by Actors Richard Hatch, Dirk Benidict,& Herb Jefferson Jr.(Great to listen to.) Also seperateinterviews with Glen Larson (BSG's creator & writer) and composer Stu Philips. There's one retrospective on the last disc with some of the cast members & production personnel.There's also a small booklet with a Synopsis of every episode.A very enjoyable box set.My only wish is that Universal would have enough guts to bring back the old series. The new one is lacking & cold in its characters.The special effects on the old BSG were repetative, but the great stories made up for it.It may look a bit dated, But it hasn't lost its magic.The New retooled series of BSG pales in comparison to the original. Truly Epic!!!