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Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica 1978 - intro.jpg
Battlestar Galactica intro
Created by Glen A. Larson
Starring Richard Hatch
Dirk Benedict
Lorne Greene
John Colicos
Maren Jensen
Noah Hathaway
Herb Jefferson, Jr.
Tony Swartz
Laurette Spang
Terry Carter
Anne Lockhart
Jonathan Harris (voice, uncredited)
Composer(s) Stu Phillips
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 24 (list of episodes)
Production
Running time 45 minutes per episode
Productioncompany(s) Glen A. LarsonProductions
MCA/Universal
Release
Original network ABC
Original release September 17, 1978 – April 29, 1979
Chronology
Followed by Galactica 1980
Related shows Battlestar Galactica (2004)

Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, created by Glen A. Larson, that began the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Starring Lorne GreeneRichard Hatch and Dirk Benedict, it ran for one season in 1978–79. After cancellation, its story was briefly continued in 1980 as Galactica 1980 with Adama, Lieutenant Boomer (now a colonel) and Boxey (now called Troy) being the only continuing characters. Books have been written continuing the stories.

The series was remade in 2003, beginning with a three-hour mini-series followed by a weekly series which ran from 2004 to 2009. A feature film remake was also planned, to have been directed by Bryan Singer with production input from original series creator Glen A. Larson.[1][2][3]However, Larson died in 2014, and the movie has yet to go into production.

Narrations and theme music

The show begins with a narration, spoken by Patrick Macnee:

There are those who believe...that life here began out there, far across the Universe...with tribes of humans...who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians...or the Toltecs...or the Mayans...that they may have been the architects of the Great Pyramids...or the lost civilizations of Lemuria...or Atlantis.

Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man...who even now fight to survive--somewhere beyond the heavens!
(The theatrical version of the pilot ends with "far, far away amongst the stars.")

The short version of the narration, also spoken by Macnee:

There are those who believe...that life here began out there, far across the Universe...with tribes of humans...who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians...or the Toltecs...or the Mayans.

Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man...who even now fight to survive--somewhere beyond the heavens!

During the narration, the viewer sees scenes of nebulae and other celestial phenomena. Macnee provided the character voice of the Cylons's Imperious Leader throughout the series, and even appeared on-screen as Count Iblis in "War of the Gods", a two-part episode which originally aired in January 1979. The narration is followed by images of the Galactica, the colonial fleet, and other scenes. The Battlestar Galactica theme plays prominently, an orchestral piece with an emphasis on brass instruments. This was composed by Stu Phillips and Glen A. Larson.

The show closes with narration by Lorne Greene:

Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest...a shining planet known as Earth.

Plot summary

For more details on this topic, see Destruction of the Twelve Colonies.

In a distant star system, the Twelve Colonies Of Mankind were reaching the end of a thousand-year war with the Cylons, warrior robots created by a reptilian race which expired long ago, presumably destroyed by their own creations. Humanity was ultimately defeated in a sneak attack on their homeworlds by the Cylons, carried out with the help of a human traitor, Count Baltar (John Colicos). Protected by the last surviving capital warship, a "battlestar" (from "battle starship"), named Galactica, the survivors fled in any available ships. The Commander of the Galactica, Adama (Lorne Greene), led this "rag-tag fugitive fleet" of 220 ships in search of a new home. They began a quest to find the long-lost thirteenth tribe of humanity that had settled on a legendary planet called Earth. However, the Cylons continued to pursue them relentlessly across the galaxy.

The era in which this exodus took place is never clearly stated in the series itself. At the start of the series, it is mentioned as being "the Seventh Millennium of time", although it is unknown when this is in relation to Earth's history. The implication of the final aired episode, "The Hand of God", was that the original series took place after the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969 (as the Galactica receives a television transmission from Earth showing the landing). The later Galactica 1980 series is expressly set in the year 1980 after a 30-year voyage to Earth. Larson incorporated many themes from Mormon theology into the shows.[4]

Pilot

For more details on this topic, see Saga of a Star World.

The pilot to this series, budgeted at $7 million (the most expensive at that time), was released theatrically (in Sensurround) in various countries including CanadaJapan and those inWestern Europe in July 1978 (except the United Kingdom where it was released in April 1979) in an edited 125-minute version.[citation needed]

On September 17, 1978, the full 148-minute pilot premiered on ABC to high Nielsen ratings. Two-thirds of the way through the broadcast, ABC interrupted with a special report of the signing of the Camp David Accords at the White House by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, witnessed by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. After the ceremony, ABC resumed the broadcast at the point where it was interrupted. This interruption did not occur on the West Coast. After the pilot aired, the 125-min theatrical version was given a U.S cinema release in spring of 1979.[citation needed]

Criticism and legal actions

Battlestar Galactica was criticized by Melor Sturua in the Soviet newspaper Izvestia. He saw an analogy between the fictional Colonial/Cylon negotiations and the US/Soviet SALT talks and accused the series of being inspired by anti-Soviet hysteria:[5]

The galactic negotiations between the people and the Cylons really resembled the U.S./Soviet SALT talks - not in their actual form but in the perverted interpretation of the enemies of the treaty from the family of Washington hawks... Their inspiration is the pumping-up of military, anti-Soviet hysteria, which in this case is disguised in the modern costume of socio-scientific fantasy... Anti-Soviet symbolism dressed in a transparent tunic of science fiction.

Isaac Asimov commented: "Star Wars was fun and I enjoyed it. But Battlestar Galactica was Star Wars all over again and I couldn't enjoy it without amnesia."[5]

In 1978, 20th Century Fox sued Universal Studios (producers of Battlestar Galactica) for plagiarismcopyright infringementunfair competition, and Lanham Act claims,[6] claiming it had stolen 34 distinct ideas from Star Wars.[7] Universal promptly countersued, claiming Star Wars had stolen ideas from their 1972 film Silent Running,[8] notably the robot "drones", and theBuck Rogers serials of the 1930s.[citation needed] 20th Century Fox's copyright claims were initially dismissed by the trial court in 1980,[9] but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit remanded the case for trial in 1983.[10] It was later "resolved without trial".[11]

Ratings

Battlestar Galactica initially was a ratings success. CBS counter-programmed by moving its Sunday block of All in the Family and Alice an hour earlier, to compete with Galactica in the 8:00 timeslot. From October 1978 to March 1979, All in the Family averaged more than 40 percent of the 8:00 audience, against Galactica's 27 or 28 percent.[12]

In mid-April 1979, ABC executives canceled the show. An AP article reported "The decision to bump the expensive Battlestar Galactica was not surprising. The series ... had been broadcast irregularly in recent weeks, attracting slightly over a quarter of the audience in its Sunday night time slot."[13] Larson claimed that it was a failed attempt by ABC to reposition its number one program Mork & Mindy into a more lucrative timeslot.[14][verification needed] The cancellation led to viewer outrage and protests outside ABC studios, and it even contributed to the suicide of Edward Seidel, a 15-year-old boy in Saint Paul, Minnesota who was obsessed with the program.[15][16][17]

The Galactica Type Battlestar:

Overview

Galactica in its original configuration (TRSBlood and Chrome).

The class was designed and deployed by the Colonial Fleet in the early days of the First Cylon War, quite possibly as part of the Articles of Colonization, with 12 ships initially being built by, and representing, each of the Colonies (Miniseries). They included: GalacticaColumbiaAthena, andArcheron. They formed the lead ships of Cylon War era Battlestar Groups, and were represented in almost every major engagement of the War.

The original battlestars were space-going leviathans of more than 4700 feet (1400 meters) in length, designed to tackle the Cylon threat head on. They featured powerful gun batteries that ran up the center of the hull, numerous point defense turrets, and many missile silos, but their main show of force came from the multiple Viper stacks housed in the flight pods, which held up to a thousand Vipers. Initially, these stacks ran multiple stories, but were removed as the war died down (TRSBlood and ChromeRazor Flashbacks).

Unfortunately, the class didn't hold up well to the Cylon threat, with only the GalacticaAthena, and a third unnamed ship surviving the war. [8] Despite this, newer Galactica type ships were built, with newer technologies, which still remained in service at the time of the Fall of the Colonies. However, Galactica was never upgraded, and remained in its Cylon War outfit at the time of its retirement 40 years after the war. [9]

Eventually, the class is phased out in favor of the smaller Valkyrie type battlestars, and the newer Mercury class battlestars, however was inadvertently survived by the Galactica for nearly 5 years after the Fall of the Colonies.

Layout

The design common to Galactica and its sister ships can be broken down into two main sections: the main hull and the twin flight pods.

Main hull

This comprises the bulk of a battlestar and can itself be divided into three sections:

  • The fore section: Also known as the "alligator head", contains much of the living and crew areas, including the CICWar RoomObservation deck, Pilot's rec room, Sickbaycrew quarters, comfort facilities, and numerous airlocks. This section also includes the main water tanks, and water transfer hatches.
  • The mid section: Contains the main flight decks, flight pod retraction mechanisms, and service areas for the transfer of planes and pilots from flight pod, to flight pod. This section also houses the main gun batteries, missile launch tubes and support systems, and corresponding ammunition stores (Miniseries).
  • The stern section: Contains the ship's engine pods, FTL drives, and engineering facilities needed to maintain the ship's propulsion.


Flight pods

Main article: Flight pod

The flight pods serve as the most critical feature of the battlestar. They are designed to launch and retrieve support ships such as Vipers and Raptors, as well as various other support craft such as Thera Sita, and even Colonial One. The pods on theGalactica type are designed to retract into the main body of the ship, primarily for FTL operations, and support ship transfers. Under normal operations, the pods are expanded out to provide a safe landing and support area for the ship's CAP. The pods also feature airlocks that can be used to dock the entire battlestar to a station or drydock for the safe transfer of personnel and equipment.

Each flight pod comprises two main decks for flight operations: the upper landing bay, which extends the full length of the pod, and the lower launch bays, which provide some 40 launch tubes per pod. The hangar deck, located under the landing bay, is used for maintenance, repair, refueling, rearming, and launch operations and runs the length of the flight pod.

Landing approaches are made from the stern. The preferred approach is a slow run into the landing bay, prior to making a vertical landing on a defined landing area (Act of Contrition). However, in emergencies, combat landings can be made, in which a craft approaches and lands at high speed on its landing skids (Miniseries).

 

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