Like the original 1970s series (Battlestar Galactica (1970s)
, this re-imagined version tells the tale of the last remnants of humanity, who are searching for the lost planet of Earth after the twelve colonies are destroyed in a surprise attack by the Cylons
. And that, it does have to be said, is very much where the similarities between the two versions end.
Whereas the original series has rightly been criticised for being pretty awful on just about every level imaginable, the new version was very much a post-9/11, hard-edged drama that took the basic premise of the original and turned it into an epic struggle for survival against unbelievable odds. And to up the paranoia level, this time around the Cylons
came in twelve different human forms — not all of which were revealed at first — meaning that the enemy could be lurking (or spying) around every corner...
As could be expected, familiar characters like Commander Adama
(Edward James Olmos), Colonel Tigh
(Michael Hogan), Apollo
(Jamie Bamber), Starbuck
(Katee Sackhoff), Boomer
(Grace Park) and Dr Baltar
(James Callis) were all present although, as may be noted, Starbuck
changed sex in the process of re-balancing the cast for a modern audience. In the case of Boomer
, the changes went a little further, as she was unexpectedly revealed to be a Cylon
at the conclusion of the original mini-series...
Unlike the 1970s series, Dr Baltar
was a highly respected member of the crew (even being elected Vice President), although unknown to anyone else he had been tricked into giving the Cylons
the information needed to launch their original attack. One Cylon
in particular, known as Number Six
(Tricia Helfer), was involved in a relationship with Baltar
before the attacks, and after being killed was still haunting him, by mean unknown. The other main addition to the cast was President Laura Roslin
(Mary McDonnell), a junior member of the previous President's staff who ascended to the top job after the Cylon
attack, and who was determined to lead the survivors to Earth, despite being terminally ill with breast cancer.
Declining ratings, and also a desire on the part of the production team to go out on a high, resulted in Season 4 (split into Seasons 4 and 5 on transmission) being announced as the final one, with several feature-length TV movies also being produced.
However, despite some sections of Galactica
fandom actively campaigning for the series to be cancelled — particularly those fixated on the religious aspects of the original series, and who consider it to be beyond criticism — most people, including the critics, consider it to be a first-rate piece of television drama which seems destined to be remembered as the first truly brilliant TV science fiction series of the 21st century.