May contain mild spoilers only!
I am a 70’s kid, grew up with SCI-FI TV Shows Like Star Trek, Doctor Who (5th ), Blake’s 7, Buck Rogers, Six Million Dollar Man, The Incredible Hulk and of course Battlestar Galactica and also Galactica 80. At that time, I think Battlestar made the biggest impression on me. I really loved the comradery between Starbuck and Apollo and obviously Starbuck was my favorite character and I guess this is the case with most of you also. He wasn’t as serious as Apollo was but when needed Apollo and the rest of the fleet could always count on him. He would do what was necessary. These two characters were the face of this TV show and in my opinion also the heart of the show.
Although I really like the original Battlestar Galactica, I have to say, the stories are not always that strong and of course nowadays it is considered a bit campy. I doubt we thought so when we were watching this for the first time. Most of the episodes I feel are a bit ordinary and only a handful I think are really exciting. And although I feel this way, I really have a soft spot for this TV show.
In 2004 I bought the DVD set of the complete series and this was the first time I watched it after its original run. Perhaps I watched an episode or two in a rerun somewhere but it was approximately 25 years before I watched the show for the second time from A through Z. Few years later I watched if again on DVD but about in 2014 the show was released on Blu-ray and that was the 4th time I watched it. I was amazed at the PQ of the Blu-ray set and this, in 2021, was my 5th watch. I know this won’t be the last time, yes it is perhaps not the best SCI-FI TV show out there, but it’s fun, it’s a bit silly at times but that does not take anything away of the viewing pleasure. How strange it might sound, I have the same feeling about Galactica 1980! This is certainly much weaker than the original but for some reason I again am looking forward to watching it. Afterwards I probably think: Again 9 hours wasted of my life, except of course the 10th hour “The Return of Starbuck”. More on that in the Galactica 1980 blog.
Although the original series can be considered episodic in nature, the first and only season had no less than five two-parters! “The Lost Planet of the Gods”, “The Gun on Ice Planet Zero”, “The Living Legend”, “War of the Gods” and “Greetings from Earth”. Greetings from Earth could also be considered a 3-parter with Baltar's Escape if you ask me. My favorite episodes of the one and only season are: the Pilot “Saga of a Star World”, “Lost Planet of the Gods Part 2”, “The Living Legend Parts 1&2”, “Baltar’s Escape” and the series finale “The Hand of God”.
My absolute favorites are the last 3 I mentioned above. First one, The Living Legend, what a great episode! Lloyd Bridges as Commander Cain! Of course in no way comparable with Cain (Michelle Forbes) from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. The TV movie "Razor" is truly phenomenal, and Michelle portrays a disturbing commander, very uncomfortable to watch but she plays it overwhelmingly perfect. SO although it’s certainly not on par with “Razor”, The Living Legend certainly is one of the most exciting episodes and we got a new regular in the name of Sheba (Anne Lockhart) who was a nice addition to the cast. She only was annoying in “The War of the Gods”. This episode I did not like very much, found it to be an annoying episodes all around. Even with the great Patrick Macnee as Count Iblis.
As I said “Baltar’s Escape” can also be considered as the last part of a 3-part story. I really liked this episode because the episode is really exciting and entertaining. I wish would be the standard of the whole season. It’s a joy to see Baltar (John Colicos) in so many scenes, plotting his way to freedom. I thought it was interesting to see that Adama no longer was in charge, although the council of 12 did not seem too bright except perhaps council member Siress Tinia.
The final episode, “The Hand of God”, for me is probably the best episode, Baltar was also heavily involved in this episode. Instead of fleeing Adama now takes the offensive against the Cylons and some interesting scenes in the dome, the highest place on the Galactica where they stumble on a transmission, possibly from Earth. One thing that stood out was a conversation Apollo had with Sheba where she talks about Serina, Boxey’s mother as if she knew her but she came aboard long after Serina was gone. Could be, somehow, that she knew her on Caprica at some time but more logical is that the creators made an chronological error.
BSG78 vs BSG2003:
Of course you really can’t compare those two TV shows, okay the backstory is the same, the characters’ names are mostly the same but the execution of the backstory for both shows is quite different from each other. BSG2003 has a much more darker tone, characters are also quite different from their original counterparts. BSG78 was mostly episodic but there was of course a story-arc in the background of getting to Earth, while BSG2003 is much more a heavily story-arced tv show. Of course the fact that reimagined version had 4 seasons instead of one is also a reason but on the other hand, episodic story telling was the standard in the late 70s, early 80s. But still, in regard of overarching storytelling, I think I would compare BSG78 with Star Trek: Voyager. Always to background to go home, to Earth and getting there with MOSTLY episodic television.
If I am honest, in terms of quality, the reimagined version is superior to its original, but there a number of reasons why it is entirely possible, SCI-FI fans prefer the original TV show. For one thing of course, nostalgia, if you are a 60-80s kid, I believe that can be a big reason. The dark and gritty setting of the reimagined against the fun and campy setting of the original. Also the characters, for me, I do not really care much for the Apollo, Starbuck and even Boomer characters of the reimaged version, they are no match for the original ones. Especially Dirk Benedict as “Starbuck” because he is irreplaceable. Perhaps that is the reason why Starbuck was turned into a female. Ultimately I love them both but in my heart I love the original more and probably is mostly due to nostalgia.
I’ve had a lot of fun rewatching the original version, I know it’s not the best TV show in terms of quality but it’s the original one and Starbuck and Apollo are reasons I tuned into in the past and that hasn’t changed. I absolutely do not have these feelings with these characters of the reimagined show, other characters, like Baltar, Adama, Roslin and Tigh are the main reasons for me to love this show, but that does not mean that is a bad thing. The original Battlestar Galactica remains a favorite and I will continue to rewatch this show every 5 years or something. Rewatch recommended.