Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Battlestar Galactica (1978) Information

Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, created by Glen A. Larson, that began the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Starring Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict, it ran for one season in 1978"79. After cancellation, its story was 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"2009. A feature film remake is also planned for 2013, directed by Bryan Singer, with production input from original series creator Glen A. Larson.

Narrations and theme music

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

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

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.

This 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. It was composed by Stu Phillips and Glen A. Larson.

The show closes with narration by Lorne Greene:

Plot summary

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" called Galactica, the survivors fled in any ships that were available to them. 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 relentlessly pursue them 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", though 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, though it is also claimed that the voyage to Earth took 30 years which contradicts the Apollo moon landing transmission which was only 11 years earlier.

Larson incorporated many themes from Mormon theology into the shows.


The pilot to this series, budgeted at $7 million (the most expensive at that time), was released theatrically (in Sensurround) in various countries including Canada, Western Europe and Japan in July 1978 in an edited 125-minute version.

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. The theatrical cut of the pilot was also released in US cinemas some months later.

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:

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."

In 1978, 20th Century Fox sued Universal Studios (producers of Battlestar Galactica) for plagiarism, copyright infringement, unfair competition, and Lanham Act claims, claiming it had stolen 34 distinct ideas from Star Wars. Universal promptly countersued, claiming Star Wars had stolen ideas from their 1972 film Silent Running (notably the robot "drones") and the Buck Rogers serials of the 1930s. 20th Century Fox's copyright claims were initially dismissed by the trial court, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit remanded the case for trial in 1983.


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.

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." Larson has claimed that it was a failed attempt by ABC to reposition its number one program Mork & Mindy into a more lucrative timeslot. The cancellation led to viewer outrage, protests outside ABC studios, and even contributed to the suicide of Edward Seidel, a 15-year-old boy in Saint Paul, Minnesota who was obsessed with the program.


While primarily English, the Colonial language was written to include several fictional words that differentiated its culture from those of Earth, most notably time units and expletives. The words were roughly equivalent to their English counterparts, and the minor technical differences in meaning were suggestive to the viewer. Colonial distance and time units were incompletely explained, but appear to have been primarily in a decimal format.

Time units included millicenton (approximately equivalent to one second), centon (minute), centar (hour), cycle (day), secton (week), quatron (unknown, perhaps 1/4 yahren), sectar (month), yahren (Colonial year), centuron (Colonial century).
Distance units were metron (meter) and micron (second of time when used in a countdown, but also a distance unit, possibly a kilometer.)
Expletives included "frack", also spelled "frak" (interjection), "felgercarb" (noun), and "golmonging", also spelled "gall-monging" (adjective).
Other terms included daggit (a dog-like animal indigenous to one of the colonies), ducat (ticket), pyramid (card game), triad (a full-contact ball and goal game similar to basketball), and lupus (a wolf-like animal indigenous to another of the colonies).
Figures of speech There were a number of these used in the series, such as "daggit dribble", a term used to condemn falsehood, and "daggit-meat", used as an expression of contempt.

See also

  • List of Battlestar Galactica characters
  • List of Battlestar Galactica (1978, 1980) episodes
  • Battlestar Galactica (ship)
  • Galactica 1980
  • Battlestar Galactica, the 2003-2009 reimagined series

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Battlestar_Galactica_%281978_TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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