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Battlestar Galactica (2003 Miniseries)
Battlestar Galactica
2003 Miniseries
Actors: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis
Director: Michael Rymer
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
NR     2004     3hr 0min

Forty years after the Cylon Wars, humanity's deadliest enemies have reemerged with a vengeance. In a sudden, devastating nuclear attack, the Cylon robots - who have now taken human form - wipe out billions of people. Only ...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis
Director: Michael Rymer
Creators: Joel Ransom, Dany Cooper, Glen A. Larson, Ronald D. Moore
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Futuristic, Drama, Science Fiction, Miniseries
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Miniseries,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/28/2004
Original Release Date: 12/08/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 12/08/2003
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 3hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 4
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Mary C. from ERIE, PA
Reviewed on 3/7/2010...
As a newbie to the Battlestar Galactica series, this beginning miniseries totally sucked me in and made me hungry to see the rest of the series. Action-packed and great characters I can't wait to get to know and see develop as I get to watch more of the show. I highly recommend this!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Alex S. from PHOENIX, AZ
Reviewed on 9/1/2009...
Great miniseries!! I was hesitant at first because they changed the main characters around (Starbuck is now a woman, etc.). I am glad that I gave it a chance because this series, all 4 years of it, is going down in my book as one of the top 5 of all time (joining company with Firefly, Oz, Dexter and Quantum Leap).

The special effects are great, better than most big budget films (Star Wars to be exact). The acting is superb especially James Callis, Tricia Hefner & Edward James Olmos.

I definitely recommend this film and the subsequent series to any Sci-Fi fan and anyone who is interested in a great action flick that has good writing to go along with great action.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Excellent pilot; for hard SF fans, purists will hate it
NoirDame, Vintage film/TV/radio wri | Houston, TX, USA | 12/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I heartily recommend this miniseries for hard or military science fiction fans, looking for more of an edge than what appears in most media SF (film and TV). Those who are interested in character development and strong dramas will also not be disappointed. In a nutshell, if you loved Babylon 5, you'll probably enjoy this tremendously.Ronald Moore's miniseries differs substantially from the original 1970s television show. That show, featuring a dose of Mormon theology and family-friendly characters, was feel-good enjoyment more similar to the original Star Wars trilogy and its Joseph Campbell-influenced storyline. The flaws and changes made to some of the major characters from the original series have particularly upset some fans and invigorated others. "Starbuck" is now a woman, albeit played by Katee Sackhoff, a young woman who manages to convey arrogance, a smart-ass attitude and vulnerability all at the same time. In fact, along with the realistic military overtones (the miniseries even used some set elements that will be familiar to real life servicemen, and Aaron Douglas shines as a believable, solid crew chief), fraternization is one of the overriding themes. Just as in real life, relationships and emotions complicate military and civilian duties - tragically, in the case of Baltar, whose lust and arrogance brings death upon his civilization.(Fans who feel Starbuck should have been another man might do well to watch "JAG", where former BSG writer Donald Bellisario developed the character of Harmon Rabb - like the original Starbuck, searching for his father, gorgeous, womanizing, a hot dog pilot, and loyal to his friends. Interestingly, Rabb's foil "Sarah 'Mac' McKenzie," a troubled but professional woman Marine, seems to be a more popular character.)Frankly, by making Starbuck a woman, this adds a new dimension to the relationship between Apollo and Starbuck. These tensions no doubt take place on a daily basis on America's real-life aircraft carriers, staffed with women and men. Unfortunately, of all the strengths of the original series, quality airtime for its female characters (and later, favorite characters who were black, such as Boomer) was not one of them. The original character of Athena was set to be written out; Serena was killed off; and Cassiopeia was introduced in the first episode as a "sociolator," a nice euphemism for prostitute, which fortunately did not return with the 2003 miniseries.BSG features a lot of interesting themes that are rarely touched on in media (TV, film) science fiction: the disagreements between civilian and military leadership (thanks to strong performances by Olmos and McDonnell); androids who believe they are motivated by a higher power (instead of Asimov's laws of robotics); maintaining a species' existence after Armageddon.It's been 25 years, with an entirely new generation of science fiction fans having been born since the first BSG. Purists wishing for a kinder, gentler "Galactica" can enjoy the full series on DVD. Meanwhile, as an original fan, I enjoyed both a great deal - the kid in me remembering my love for the original series, the adult appreciating the more mature themes and "shades of grey" overtones of the miniseries. A number of the reviews on this miniseries have been truncated or discarded, so please keep this in mind."
An epic journey, take two...
FrKurt Messick | Bloomington, IN USA | 09/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Last year, the SciFi Channel in America brought back an old series in a new format - the late 1970s series, 'Battlestar Galactica', born on television to attempt to ride the coattails of the popularity of 'Star Wars' in the cinemas. There are some similarities, but major differences. The SciFi Channel floated a four-hour miniseries of the new Battlestar Galactica to gauge reaction, and it came back favourably. The new series is in production (fortunately the network had the presence to sign the actors to continuation agreements should the series get picked up).

There won't be any spoilers here (there can't be, as the series isn't finished yet), but the stage is set from the miniseries, which now serves as the series pilot. However, first a brief description of the original series is in order.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Original Series
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the original series, the saga opens at a peace conference, ending the 1000-year war between the humans, congregated mostly on twelve planetary colonies, and the Cylons, a machine race bent on galactic domination. Due to treachery by one of the colonial leaders (Baltar, played by John Colicos), the peace conference is in fact a trap, and a Pearl Harbouresque attack destroys all but one of the primary warships (the Battlestar Galactica). Meanwhile, the undefended colonies are similarly ransacked, left indefensible and uninhabitable. The commander, Adama (Lorne Greene), assumes leadership of a ragtag fleet of several hundred ships that sets out for a distant world known only in legend - Earth. The series continues throughout the course of the year with adventures of the human fleet encountering minor human settlements and lots of Cylons along the way - lots of space battles feature the Viper pilots Apollo (Richard Hatch) and Starbuck (Dirk Benedict), who have relationship situations with Casseopia (Laurette Spang), Serena (Jane Seymour) and Athena (Maren Jensen).

The original series ended before the journey ended; there was an earlier attempt at resurrecting the series in 'Galactica 1980' which mercifully fell victim to well-deserved bad ratings rather quickly, and purists never considered a true continuation of the series. This, of course, sets the stage for the new series criticism.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
New Series
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In this series, with a few nods to the original ideas, there are still humans on twelve planets who have an advanced civilisation, but an aging military fleet. They've been at peace for twenty years, since the Cylons (here the humans' own creation) departed, having never signed a formal peace treaty. There is no peace conference here - rather, the aging battlestar Galactica is about to be decommissioned, when an unexpected attack by dramatically more advanced Cylons takes place, incorporating not only direct military strikes but also computer internet/network hijacking, facilitated by the mentally unbalanced but ingenious Dr. Baltar. Adama takes the Galactica to a safe location while the rest of the colonies fall quickly to the Cylons; various ships in the interstellar routes survive, including one with a cabinet minister elevated to the presidency due to the emergency, Laura Roslin. The ragtag fleet assembles at a forgotten supply depot, and does a sort of light-speed jump to safety after fighting (and essentially losing) against a new Cylon death star.

There are small nods to the old series - on the Galactica preparing for decommissioning, a museum has been set up, which has models of old Cylon death stars (these are models from the original series). The specifications for Cylons show the old metallic storm-trooper, but we are also informed that no one has seen a Cylon in twenty years (they've outgrown their shiny metal armour). In one scene, the museum chatter about the history of the Galactica mentions a Commander Hatch as its first commander, an obvious nod to Richard Hatch, the star of the original series.

The character of Laura Roslin is new, and the figure of Adama is a very different one from the original. Perhaps the most shocking change is that Starbuck here, while still a cigar-chomping, swaggering, swearing, card-playing rogue of an ace pilot, is also a woman.

The pilot shows people to be very human - whereas in the original series, they were almost playing archetypes of hero, villain, father-figure, etc., in this new show the roles are nowhere as distinct. The characters have flaws, and not Persian-carpet flaws, but real, honest-to-goodness problems and personality quirks. Adama is adamant about keeping the Galactica safe but also in engaging the enemy; his clashes with the authority of Laura Roslin, a president essentially without a nation, promises to be an interesting one. Apollo is still the solid captain of the fighter squad, and Starbuck and Boomer his able lieutenants, but there are secrets lurking here, too. And then there is Dr. Baltar, in whom the line between genius and insanity is constantly being redrawn.

The fleet is assembled, and heading off toward Earth. Here, however, Earth is not the ancient migratory memory of Adama as in the original series as much as it a mythical invention to give people hope in the fleet - this could set up a very different character to their run from the Cylons. Also, the fact that the Cylons are ultimately the creation of the humans, and now look like the humans, will factor heavily into a revised story line.

Stay tuned!

Edward James Olmos .... Commander William Adama
Mary McDonnell .... Colonial President Laura Roslin
Jamie Bamber .... Captain. Lee Adama (Apollo)
Katee Sackhoff .... Lieutenant. Kara Thrace (Starbuck)
James Callis .... Dr. Gaius Baltar
Tricia Helfer .... Number 6
Grace Park .... Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer)
Michael Hogan .... Col. Paul Tigh
Don't Buy Mini-Series if also Buying Season 1 DVD
Kelly Shapiro | San Marcos, CA United States | 02/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"DON'T BUY the mini series DVD if you are also planning on buying the season 1 DVD set. I made that mistake and wasted $$$. The mini series is the first DVD in the Season 1 set."