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"I once had a toaster that tried to kill me."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator


In the deepest reaches of space, the fight to save all human life from extinction has begun in this science fiction adventure that launched the Battlestar Galactica phenomenon! Hopeful for lasting peace following centuries of intense warfare, the Twelve Colonies gather to sign a treaty with their dreaded enemies, The Cylons. But after an act of treachery on the eve of the ceremony, the Cylons launch a devastating surprise attack, destroying the Colonies' home planets and most of their military strength. A lone flagship battlestar, the Galactica, remains to aid the surviving colonists on their epic journey for a new home to a far-off legendary planet -Earth. They must survive the pursuing Cylons in a series of epic battles that will determine the fate of the human race in this non-stop action-packed classic (1978-80) filled with cutting-edge special effects by John Dykstra ("Star Wars," "Spider-Man").

Despite voluminous protest and nitpicking criticism from loyal fans of the original 1978-80 TV series, the 2003 version of Battlestar Galactica turned out surprisingly well for viewers with a tolerance for change. Originally broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel in December 2003 and conceived by Star Trek: The Next Generation alumnus Ronald D. Moore as the pilot episode for a "reimagined" TV series, this four-hour "miniseries" reprises the basic premise of the original show while giving a major overhaul (including some changes in gender) to several characters and plot elements.

Gone are the flowing robes, disco-era hairstyles, and mock-Egyptian fighter helmets, and thankfully there's not a fluffy "daggit" in sight... at least, not yet. Also missing are the "chrome toaster" Cylons, replaced by new, more formidable varieties of the invading Cylon enemy, including "Number Six" in hot red skirts and ample cleavage, who tricks the human genius Baltar into a scenario that nearly annihilates the human inhabitants of 12 colonial worlds.


Thus begins the epic battle and eventual retreat of a "ragtag fleet" of humans, searching for the mythical planet Earth under the military command of Adama (Edward James Olmos) and the political leadership of Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), a former secretary of education, 43rd in line of succession and rising to the occasion of her unexpected Presidency. As directed by Michael Rymer (Queen of the Damned), Moore's ambitious teleplay also includes newfangled CGI space battles (featuring "handheld" camera moves and subdued sound effects for "enhanced realism"), a dysfunctional Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) who's provoked into action by the insubordinate Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), and a father-son reunion steeped in familial tragedy.

To fans of the original BG series, many of these changes are blasphemous, but for the most part they work--including an ominous cliffhanger ending. The remade Galactica is brimming with smart, well-drawn characters ripe with dramatic potential, and it readily qualifies as serious-minded science fiction, even as it gives BG loyalists ample fuel for lively debate.

Battlestar Galactica continued from the 2003 mini-series to chronicle the journey of the last surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol after their nuclear annihilation by the Cylons. The survivors are led by President Laura Roslin and Commander William Adama in a ragtag fleet of ships with the Battlestar Galactica, an old but powerful warship, as its command ship. Pursued by Cylons intent on wiping out the remnants of the human race, the survivors travel across the galaxy looking for the fabled and long-lost thirteenth colony: Earth. Unlike most space opera series, Battlestar Galactica has no aliens (apart from the man-made Cylon robots) and intentionally avoids technobabble. Instead, most of the stories deal with the apocalyptic fall-out of the destruction of the twelve colonies upon the survivors and the moral choices the survivors must make in dealing with the survival of the human race, as well as their war with the Cylons. Stories also deal with the concept of perpetuated cycles of hate and violence driving the human/Cylon conflict, and religious issues, with the implication of an active God whose angelic agents intervene on behalf of the main characters, most notably Gaius Baltar.

Over the course of the show's four seasons, the war between the colonists and the Cylons takes many twists and turns. Despite the animosity on both sides, the Cylons and humans slowly turn away from their hatred for each other. Part of this is due to a growing schism within the humanoid Cylons, led by the villainous Cylon Number One, Brother John Cavil. Cavil's obsession with hiding the true genesis of the humanoid Cylons (created by members of the Galactica Crew, who themselves are humanoid Cylons from "Earth" who had their memories erased by Cavil) leads to a civil war among the Cylons, with a faction of the robot race forming an alliance with the humans. Other plotlines involve the mysterious destiny of Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, who is the subject of a prophecy involving her as the "Harbinger of Death", who will "lead humanity to its end" as well as the redemption of Gaius Baltar, as he becomes a pariah within the fleet (after being forced to collaborate with the Cylons) but ultimately finds redemption through monotheism-based religion.

In the final episodes, Thrace (resurrected) leads the surviving Humans/Cylons to a new planet which Adama names Earth and which is revealed to be the actual planet Earth of present-day humanity. It is already inhabited by humans who are genetically compatible with the humans from the Galactica and the rest of the fleet. Human beings naturally evolved on both our world and Kobol (the original homeworld of the Colonials). The Earth of legend is now revealed to have been a different planet entirely which is a nuked out, uninhabited wasteland due to that planet's war with its Cylon creations. It is now revealed that all of the events of the series have been occurring 150,000 years prior to the era of present-day humanity. The entire group of humans/Cylons decides to live on the new planet and to discard all technology, and to destroy all of their spaceships by flying them into the Sun.

The series ends with a coda set on Earth in the present day, as two "angels", in the form of Caprica Six and Gaius Baltar, muse on whether or not the cycle of violence and war between humanity and machine will happen again or if it had finally been broken. The revelation in the series finale that the show took place more than 150,000 years before the present means that unlike most space opera science fiction stories, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica was a tale of our ancestors rather than our descendants.


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