08 May 2016

BSG Review: The Original Battlestar Galactica

Having finished a recent run through of the original Battlestar Galactica series, I thought it might be a good idea to summarise the journey in the series' first and only season.

The difficulty I face is drawing too many comparisons with its modern day counterpart, the reimagined series that aired in 2004.

Overall, Battlestar Galactica is quite enjoyable as it focusses on the last remnants of a civilisation who are looking for a new home after a terrible attack by the Cylons, a robotic/cybernetic race who want the human race destroyed. The Cylons pursue the fleet through much of the first half of the series. What at least gives us a sense that the characters are travelling is that the Cylon attacks eventually become less frequent, to the point we don't hear from them until the final episode.

Using the effects of the time, the show holds up reasonably well, though the many dogfights and battle sequences do get quite repetitive after a few episodes. The reuse of shots is not limited to the special effects either and budget cuts later in the series mean for less dynamic set design or stories told in less extravagant locations.

Drama, politics, action and disaster all come in to the different stories. While most of it centres on the key characters; Adama, Apollo and Starbuck, there are many others we are introduced to as well - and some we are forced to say goodbye to.

Of the villains, Baltar is there from the beginning and to the end. No doubt he would have continued in some form if the series had gone into another season. Then there were the Cylons and later threats from a mysteriously powerful being known as Count Ibli and the fleet came up against the Eastern Alliance as they approached a new star system.

There were also allies in the ship of lights, another lost Battlestar and some of the people on planets the crew passed.

The series had plenty of stand alone stories which were easy to jump in to, which were interspersed with two-parters for longer adventures which usually held more importance to the storyline. 

Most episodes ended on a lighter note and I have to say that even though Baltar would threaten the fleet and plot and scheme, I never truly believed he could ever overwhelm our heroes as his character became more like Wile E. Coyote vs the Roadrunner than anything that seriously had teeth and could actually do harm to the main characters. Which is a shame - but maybe for the time it played out better for weekly viewers. Perhaps this is a drawn comparison with the new BSG where almost every episode ended with some peril, danger or threat that was actually felt.

In any case, my ratings for each episode give the series a score of 6.21/10, which isn't too bad.

I'll soon have a look through the follow-up series 'Galactica 1980' to see what that was like. I'm not too confident from articles and reviews I've read but it's still part of the BSG universe. 

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