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 »a handful of Colonial forces are left to shepherd the few survivors to safety. Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos), the highest-ranking military officer left alive, reactivates the Battlestar Galactica to once again face humanity's greatest nemeses.
Outnumbered and outarmed, Adama reluctantly concedes that the newly sworn-in President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) is correct - this battle was lost before it had begun. With no choice but to flee, the ragtag fleet of survivors and humanity's only hope set out in search of the mythic 13th Colony of Kobol? a legendary planet known as Earth.« less
This is the defining television show of a generation. Considered the gold standard for science fiction and probably the darkest Scifi opera America has ever produced. Aired on the Syfy Channel 2003-2010. You'll see many reflections of human history here, both ancient and recent parallels. It bears only a tenuous bond with the show from the 70's. This is a completely different beast. And it is the type of show which completely transcends it's subject matter. So if you hate Scifi, give it a try.
The first couple seasons are rock solid white knuckle ride. I remember some of these episodes almost giving me panic attacks. Could hardly wait a week to see each one. Seasons three and four are still mostly good. There are some amazing revelations along the way. I think the writers were getting a little bored or worn down. In the end, some plot threads are left unresolved. Well worth the ride though.
There is a prequel show "Caprica" which I would recommend watching before this series (even though it aired after) and then another prequel movie "Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome" which portrays Commander William Adama's time in the first Cylon war. This packaging has cardboard sleeves, which can really scratch up Dvds. I recommend the Blu-ray version, as those are rather scratch resistant.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cast: 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."
Ever try something new and everything works out just fine?
No Reason | Left Coast | 08/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I fear change. I shy away from bleeding edge technology. I stay safe. There was no way I was going to install some commercial program that stays resident and runs in the background on my computer. (After all, it was probably written by cylons.) But then 'they' got me. What a dirty trick: BSG3 would be released in England next month, but not in the US for the indefinite future. If I wanted to watch BSG (which is the greatest program on television, bar none), I would have to risk installing 'Unbox.' As an avowed conspiracy theorist, you know what I thought about that. Grudgingly, I downloaded the Unbox Player and installed it. I had to turn the computer on and off a few more times than expected; but that's par for the course on most installations. Then I decided to splurge. I spent $1.99 to check out an episode. Seemed a safe risk for the money, and the software installation had gone so quickly I was left with time on my hands to monkey around with this 'Unbox' thing some more. So I logged in, spent my $1.99 and prayed. Just as I started to exhale, a little notice popped up in the bottom right-hand corner. Aha! I knew things were going too well. I peered at the little message window and it read, "Your video is now ready for viewing." Huh? This must be a trick. I opened the Videos section of the Unbox player, and there was BSG, begging to be played. So I just hit the button and prayed. The Gods of Kobol answered. I spent the next hour watching my favorite cylons play havoc with their tormented human pets. Nothing makes me happier. As other reviewers have noted, BSG3 spends more time on character psychology, etc., etc. But it is still blessed with a sufficient amount of random violence, special effects, and surprising concepts to guarantee your satisfaction. Needless to say, I downloaded the entire season, plugged in the S-video cable (everything looks better on a large screen), and stayed up late for a few nights. The only downside of this 'Unbox' thing is that you need a megadrive to accomodate the video files unless you want to spend a lot of time shuttling videos to "backup" media, an experiment I will leave for another day. Thank you for reading my adventure. I wish you the same luck that I enjoyed."
Great pilot, better series, bad DVD
Erik | 07/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The 2003 3-hour (minus commercials, that is) pilot/miniseries update of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was a very well-done, very good pilot. I say that because pilots generally aren't as good as the series they lead up to, they merely lay the groundwork you need for the show, and GALACTICA is no exception. While it is very good on its own, it lags at times, loses its focus every once in a while, and it is obvious that it is a pilot for a TV series.
Thankfully, we got that TV series.
It is nothing short of amazing. Far surpassing the already-great pilot, it is the best show on TV at the moment.
This miniseries DVD, however, is crap.
I say that not because the picture or audio quality is bad (they aren't), or the extras are lacking (they are), but because in the upcoming Season 1 set, they include this exact disc, plus all the extras on this one on a separate disc in that set. This entire $22 set is pointless to buy if you buy Season 1.
There is a catch, though, that lets me say that this disc does need to exist.
If you buy Season 1 from Best Buy before September 30th, it is the UK set modified for Region 1, so it DOES NOT have this disc anywhere in it. THE ONLY REASON YOU NEED THIS DISC IS IF YOU ARE BUYING THE UK VERSION FROM BEST BUY. The only reason you need the UK version is because it has alternate opening music, the music used for Season 2 in America.
But, I want to say this: DO NOT BUY THE BEST BUY VERSION JUST BECAUSE YOU OWN THIS. The Best Buy version has NONE of the features on it, like commentary, making-of, sketches and art, that the official US version will. The Best Buy version, available from July 26 through September 20, has only deleted scenes, and unless this has been changed from the UK version, not even chapter stops. On September 20, the official American version (with different cover art even) will be released with the deleted scenes AND all the other features, plus an extra disc for the pilot/miniseries.
So unless you plan on getting the Region 1 UK version of Season 1 with the alternate opening music (the one that is used now in Season 2), you don't need this disc. I own it, but I will be getting the US version that includes it, and selling my miniseries disc on eBay.