Battlestar Galactica refers to a "re-imagined" science fiction universe debuting in 2003 and based on the 1970s Universal Studios movie and television franchise of the same name. It is not simply a remake, but a new direction taken from the same premise, analogous to a "reboot" in comic books. The term "re-imagining" has been used to describe the show since its early promotion to differentiate it from the original 1978 series.
The first production to be set in the re-imagined universe was a miniseries that was first broadcast on the Sci Fi Channel on December 8, 2003. From that followed a regular television series which premiered on Sky One in the UK and Ireland on October 18, 2004 and on Sci Fi Channel in the U.S. on January 14, 2005. A spin-off prequel series called Caprica has been announced. A comic book series was released in 2006 by Dynamite Entertainment, featuring the characters from the re-imagined show.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Re-imagining
- 2.1 History
- 2.2 Comparison with the 1978 series
- 2.3 References to modern culture
- 3 Series information
- 4 Episodes and DVD/online download information
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The new BSG series departs from the original in several ways. In
terms of style and storytelling, the new BSG rejects the traditional
televised science fiction styles of Star Trek (after which the original BSG series was conceived), in favor of what executive producer Ronald D. Moore
calls "naturalistic science fiction". The new series emphasizes
character drama in an edgy survivalist setting, shedding the
light-hearted action/adventure style of the original show. Among plot
differences, the key characters of Starbuck and Boomer have been recast
as female roles. The Cylons
are creation of man (perhaps alluding to Man being ultimately
responsible for his own destrction.) And the new breed of Cylon models
now imitate humanoid appearance down to the cellular level. The new series benefits from vastly improved visual effects, thanks to computer-generated imaging special effects, which weren't available during the time of the original series.
When the miniseries aired on the SciFi channel in 2003, it was the highest-rated
rated cable miniseries of that year. The miniseries' success led to the
commission of a new ongoing television series, the first episode of
which drew an estimated 850,000 viewers—an 8% multichannel viewer
share—on its world premiere on Sky One in the UK & Ireland. The
subsequent reimagined Battlestar Galactica TV series remains the
highest rated original program in the Sci Fi Channel's history.
Among media critics, the miniseries and the subsequent weekly TV
series have received critical acclaim. Many regard the new BSG to be
superior to the original -- Time magazine
to declare in the spring of 2005 that the new show was one of the six
best drama series on television. It would proclaim the series the best
show on television in September of the same year. The American Film Institute named the show to its list of the ten best shows on television. Other mainstream publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone magazine, and Newsday also named the series one of the best on television for 2005. In 2006, the series won a prestigious Peabody Award in recognition of its creative excellence.
Among fans of the original (1978) Battlestar Galactica series, a
small group loudly disapproved of the changes made to the show's
creative direction and premise. Missing from the reimagined series are
the sci-fi high-tech gadgets, interaction with other alien and human
societies, and the upbeat ending of every episode. The creative
direction has purposefully recast the Galactica warship with a
decidedly 'retro' look, approximating the function of a World War II
era aircraft carrier. In the tradition of science fiction series such
as Star Trek and Babylon 5, BSG examines social, moral,
and ethical issues of human-society in allegory -- but without the
charm and light-heartedness of other scifi shows.
North American DVD release of the first season.
Previous efforts to remake or continue the story of Battlestar Galactica by Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer, and original series star Richard Hatch
involved using either the original cast or the original characters and
plot. None of these projects proceeded beyond the development stage.
Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and screenwriter of the new Battlestar Galactica, wrote in February 2003:
"Here lies a slumbering giant, its name known to many, its voice
remembered by but a few. For a brief moment, it strode the Earth,
telling tall tales of things that never were, then stumbled over a
rating point and fell into a deep sleep."
He tackled the re-imagining with realism in mind, portraying the
show's heroes as being part of a "flawed" humanity. Those flaws include
Adama and his son harboring resentment toward one another, Colonel
Tigh's alcoholism and deep personal demons, and an outdated battlestar
prone to problems and outside sabotage. The special effects and space
battles are portrayed with muted sounds unlike the unscientific sounds
commonplace in most television and film science fiction. Comparatively
realistic Newtonian physics first seen in the science-fiction program Babylon 5 and the use of bullets and missiles instead of energy weapons such as lasers also make the re-imagining stand out.
Ronald D. Moore has admitted that the miniseries and series drew inspiration from the events of 9/11
and its aftermath. The shows feature elements such as "sleeper" agents,
the threat of sneak terrorist attacks using civilian transports, Cylon
and human suicide bombers, the torture of prisoners, and a struggle
motivated by intense religious differences. Episode thirteen of the
second season featured political activists attempting to use sabotage
against the fleet to force "peace talks" with the Cylons.
 Comparison with the 1978 series
Main article: Comparison of Battlestar Galactica (1978) and Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Among the most notable changes made from the older series are the
inclusion of Cylon models which mimic humans and numerous characters
who are of a different ethnicity or gender. Human culture is made to
closely resemble contemporary 21st century Western culture, with names and costuming often indistinguishable from other television shows. Human technology is deliberately retro,
which is explained as a military necessity given Cylon technical
advantages, such as their ability to infiltrate networked computer
systems. The tone is also changed from a heroic fantasy to a more naturalistic survival narrative with many allusions, both subtle and obvious, to current events.
 References to modern culture
The re-imagined show references many aspects of modern culture and the military. The original Cylon attack plays upon post-9/11
fears; frequent outbreaks of xenophobia and fear of Cylon "sleeper
agents" mirror current fears of terrorist "sleeper cells" in Europe and
North America. In one episode, a Cylon agent blows itself up in a successful suicide bombing attempt. In the first episode of the series, 33,
Apollo and Starbuck are ordered to destroy a civilian transport
attempting a suicide attack on Galactica, having serious ethical
ramifications later. In later episodes, New Caprica is conquered by the
Cylons and an insurgent resistance is formed. This sets the stage for
numerous comparsions to the situation in Iraq at the time of broadcast,
including human suicide bombings, weapons caches in places of worship,
and vigilante justice in the form of masked police that cause suspected
enemy collaborators to "disappear" without a fair and open trial.
The show has also addressed other issues, such as abortion, the morality of prisoner torture, and the use of biological weapons.
 Series information
- Miniseries (2003)
- Regular television series (2004)
- "Caprica" prequel (not yet in production)