Contains only mild spoilers!
After Battlestar Galactica was cancelled in 1979, fans reacted angrily, but making Battlestar Galactica turned out to be very expensive, so NBC created a follow-up series, Galactica 1980, which mostly plays out on Earth, which would reduce the costs. They also could re-use lots of Battlestar Galactica and Viper scenes and also re-use other scenes. It also bugs me that the creators didn’t even created a decent intro/leader for this follow-up series but instead also only using footage from Battlestar Galactica.
Battlestar Galactica certainly isn’t perfect but Galactica 1980 couldn’t even match that by a long shot! To be honest, Galactica 1980 is a weak show, probably the only reason it has ever been released on DVD or Blu-ray is because of Battlestar Galactica. If this wasn’t linked to Battlestar Galactica, I think Galactica 1980 would have long been forgotten! Harsh words indeed and I really think so…but although it’s far from great, I love watching it! I really looked forward to watch every episode, even though it mostly lacks quality! Don’t ask me to explain it but it’s probably nostalgia, but I really enjoyed watching it again, a little bit more I think than my previous viewings.
Of course the series finale, “The Return of Starbuck” is by far the best episode! I believe it would have been the best episode also if it was an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica series. This one episode, makes up for the whole season, it’s truly a gem. When I was looking on IMDb for Galactica 1980, I noticed that there where 3 more episodes in planning before it was cancelled! Something I also never knew, because I never looked or searched for it. The 3 more episodes were planned:
- The Day They Kidnapped Cleopatra
- A Flight for Life
- The Wheel of Fire (Starbuck returns)
The last one is of course the most interesting one, Starbuck would return again! This would of course be a massive impulse for the lackluster follow-up series. Not sure if Starbuck would return as a regular if there ever was going to be second season, but more likely as a recurring character, which could have been very exciting. Sadly this never happened we can only imagine how this would be expanded. Suddenly I am sad that Galactica 1980 only has 10 episodes!
What are the best episodes and what are the weakest ones:
Well of course, as said earlier, the very best episode is “The Return of Starbuck”, where Starbuck fixes a Cylon, he names him Cy, because he’s all alone on that planet and he feels lonely. Are there more okay to good episodes? I think so, I thought the first two parts of the 3-part pilot episode were okay and also the 2-parter “The Night the Cylons Landed” I thought was okay. Here we see a first glimpse of the evolution the Cylons go through as we see also happen in Ronald D. Moore reimagined version of Battlestar Galactica but a bit further along the way. What bothered me a bit was the fact that the Andromus (Roger Davis) let the heavy lifting over to the original version Cylon, as if the more evolved Cylon wasn’t strong enough or something. Sidenote, William Daniels who is the voice of K.I.T.T. in The Knight Rider, is the clown we see here in this episode, he plays Norman.
The weakest episodes I thought were the boy scout episodes “The Super Scouts” and even weaker than that was “Spaceball”. What I also in general disliked was the fact that Adama (Lorne Greene), who was a strong commander in the original series, in Galactica 1980 he almost was an assistant to Dr. Zee, I don’t know how else to explain it. He almost shows nothing of the commander we knew from the original series. Thought that was a real shame.
Also Blatantly re-using BSG78 footage is happening through-out the season but also re-usage of scenes which do not fit with the next scene. For instance, in episode 9, Troy and Dillon fly away on their motors. First when you see them ride you see a road inland, when they fly up you see them on a highway with a police vehicle chasing them! Strange why they need to “fly” in this particular scene, episode is done, no threat, why unnecessary expose yourself?
Episodic or Story-arc?:
In 1980, you mostly watched episodic television but like Battlestar Galactica, Galactica 1980, although episodic in nature I think, to a point, could also be considered a story-arc TV show. A story-arc is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling and Galactica 1980 definitely falls under that category, perhaps even more so than Star Trek: Voyager.
So no Galactica 1980 isn’t a great show but if you are like me, from the 70s, I think you still can appreciate it, if only for the series finale. If you watch the original series, you might as well watch Galactica 1980, if nothing else, it’s nostalgia, therefore, rewatch recommended!