Galactica 1980 (1980)

TV Series   |    |  Sci-Fi


Episode Guide
Galactica 1980 (1980) Poster

When the Battlestar Galactica finally arrives at Earth, they find they must subtly raise its tech level while protecting it from the Cylons.


5.6/10
3,137

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  • Curt Lowens and Louis Turenne in Galactica 1980 (1980)
  • Galactica 1980 (1980)
  • Lorne Greene and James Patrick Stuart in Galactica 1980 (1980)
  • Galactica 1980 (1980)
  • Robert Reed in Galactica 1980 (1980)
  • Barry Van Dyke in Galactica 1980 (1980)

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Cast & Crew

Top Series Cast



Creator:

Glen A. Larson

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


3 June 2003 | stp43
7
| Trouble-Plagued Sequel To Battlestar Galactica
ABC's decision to cancel Battlestar Galactica after one season didn't sit well with viewers, and the show's strong ratings (it out-rated almost every ABC series renewed for 1979-80) easily justified continuation. But with costs rising faster than expected ABC and Universal Studios wanted the show for substantially less than the per-episode costs of the original show, and at a time when SFX technology was not as advanced as today (modern SFX technology allows maintenance of a series' high production values at greater affordability, as well as allowing greater production of original SFX footage), there was no practical argument against the economics angle that hurt the show.

Nonetheless, ABC tried to continue the Galactica mythos on a budget, and regardless of whether series creator Glen Larson was involved. Larson signed on to try and make it work, but the result, Galactica 1980, was a bitter disappointment to all.

The show's weaknesses were extensive, but by far the greatest weakness lay in the deception used in promotion before the first episode aired. Promotions used the footage of Cylon raiders blasting Los Angeles extensively and gave the impression that the Cylon empire had found Earth and was in process of slaughtering the last planet of humanity, a premise that would have given the show a much stronger punch. But this footage was merely part of a "what if?" computer simulation to illustrate why the survivors of the Twelve Colonies cannot colonize Earth - "If we land, we will bring destruction upon Earth as surely as if we'd inflicted it ourselves," as Commander Adama succinctly puts it in one of the show's best lines.

With this premise of real life Cylon predation against Earth thus vetoed, the show begins to suffer, hurt even more by the excessive juvenile angle in the platoon of children rescued from the freighter Delphi after it is ambushed by Cylon raiders and forced to land on Earth, and also in the use of the mysterious Seraph youth Doctor Zee - had Doctor Zee been a Cylon creation (like the humanoid Cylon featured in "The Night The Cylons Landed" or better yet the Cylon IL Lucifer from the original series) that had turned against its masters, this angle would have made more sense - as it was, Zee's genesis did make for the show's best episode and surprisingly one of the best sci-fi episodes of any series, "The Return Of Starbuck." Subsequent graphic-novel speculations about Doctor Zee does make the character more understandable.

The show also suffered from several embarrassing incidents, notably the Halloween angle of "The Night The Cylons Landed" and the general incompatibility of the Kobollian survivors with the culture of Earth, leading to numerous bits of forced comedy that really aren't funny.

But despite these weaknesses, the show did have some superb moments - the Cylon attack on Los Angeles, deception or not, is compelling footage, lasting roughly ninty seconds on-screen and superbly mixing stock matte-FX footage of Cylon raiders over outtake footage from Universal's 1974 disaster film "Earthquake." The sequence thus becomes one the best SFX sequences ever done for television - I especially liked the shots of Cylon raiders blasting the Capitol Records building, Cylon raiders diving into strafing runs then cutting to the Cylon POV shot of a street being attacked, the street being strafed as seen from above then from low angle as a raider flies toward and then past the screen, and the triumphant flyover of Cylon raiders over the now-ravaged city.

The introduction of new Cylons in the human-form combat ILs in "The Night The Cylons Landed" as well as the new command-class AB raider (first seen mixed with the stock FX shot of Cylons strafing the Delphi in "The Super Scouts" but not fully explored until "Night") is also an intriguing look into the evolution of the Cylon empire; not surprisingly this idea was developed to great fruition by Ronald Moore for the 2003 version of Battlestar Galactica.

The arguments between Commander Adama and Commander Xavier (Richard Lynch) in the three-part pilot episode are well done - Lynch's Xavier gives the show as compelling a villain in his own way as John Colicos' Baltar, whose non-presence is particularly missed here. Also well done is the interaction between Troy (Kent McCord) and Dillon (Barry Van Dyke), especially early in the opening episode when we learn something of Troy's background. The presence of Boomer (Herbert Jefferson Jr.) is welcome with no other original cast members available except for Dirk Benedict's appearance in "Return Of Starbuck," and the series does tackle some moral dilemmas (notably the Nazi-Jewish angle in the three-part opening episode) generally avoided in the original series.

By no means is Galactica 1980 great television, but it does have some excellent moments, and the cast deserves credit for trying to make it work.

Critic Reviews


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V

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The series was originally to focus on Commander Xavier (Richard Lynch) travelling through time to disrupt Earth history, with Captain Troy (Kent McCord) and Lieutenant Dillon (Barry Van Dyke) chasing him as they try to restore proper Earth history. While this concept was dropped, it was said to inspire this show's Producer, Donald P. Bellisario, to create Quantum Leap (1989).


Quotes

Captain Troy: Well, how did you like that?
Jamie Hamilton: Don't bother me, I'm praying.


Goofs

At the beginning of the series, the Galactica arrives at Earth in the year 1980. It is said by Adama that their voyage has taken 30 years which means that the events of Battlestar Galactica (1978) took place around 1950 in Earth time. However, at the very end of the original series (in the episode "The Hand of God"), the Galactica receives a television transmission that shows the 1969 Apollo moon landing. Since the fleet's journey to Earth had only started a few months prior, it means that the events of Battlestar Galactica (1978) must have taken place at least in the late 1960s Earth time. In fact it would be at least in the 1970s since television signals travel at the speed of light and the Galactica was obviously far more than a light year away from Earth at the time they received the transmission.


Crazy Credits

Several episodes end with the disclaimer: "The United States Air Force stopped investigating UFOs in 1969. After 22 years, they found no evidence of extra-terrestrial visits and no threat to national security." This is due to the series featuring an Air Force division dedicated to looking for UFOs.


Alternate Versions

Some episodes in syndication carry the title "Battlestar Galactica," instead of Galactica 1980.

Storyline

Plot Summary


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Sci-Fi

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