Battlestar Galactica (TV series)



Battlestar Galactica is a science fiction television series created by Ronald D. Moore that first aired on October 18, 2004 in the UK & Ireland on Sky One, and January 14, 2005 in North America on the Sci Fi Channel. Repeats of episodes have also been shown on NBC. The introduction to the television series is a three-hour miniseries that first aired on December 8, 2003 on the Sci Fi Channel. The series has gained a wide degree of critical acclaim, and has won Peabody, Hugo, and Saturn awards.

The concept of the show, as described by the opening text in each episode:

The Cylons were created by Man.
They Evolved.
They Rebelled.
They Look and Feel Human.
Some are programmed to think they are Human.
There are many copies.
And they have a Plan.

47,875 survivors
In search of a home
Called Earth

Battlestar Galactica follows on from the 2003 mini-series to chronicle the journey of the last surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies of Man after their nuclear annihilation by the Cylons. The survivors are led by President Laura Roslin and Commander (later Admiral) William Adama in a ragtag fleet of ships with the Battlestar Galactica, a massive warship, at its lead. Pursued by the Cylons who are 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.

Season 1 (2004-2005)

While the first season mostly consists of stand-alone episodes plus one two-part episode, it features a number of major story arcs, including:

* What happens to Helo, who chose to stay behind on Caprica in the miniseries.
* How the relationship between Adama and Roslin evolves.
* How Dr. Gaius Baltar manages to evade being exposed as the man responsible for the fall of the Colonies to the Cylons.
* How the fleet tackles its shortages of supplies and fuel.
* What happens to Boomer, who is revealed to be a Cylon sleeper agent in the miniseries.
* What the Cylons' master plan really is.
* How the humans handle the discovery of the believed-mythical world of Kobol, the original home of humanity, and its secrets.

Season 2 (2005-2006)

Moore has stated that in the second season, he wanted to resolve the many cliffhangers from the first, while examining the Cylons and the religious themes already introduced in more detail. The second season went on scheduled hiatus from September 2005 to January 2006.

The second season's main story arcs include:

* Commander Adama's recovery from Boomer's assassination attempt.
* The Kobol landing party's struggle for survival and subsequent rescue.
* Starbuck's mission to Caprica to retrieve The Arrow of Apollo, which Roslin requires to complete her role as "the dying leader who will lead her people to Earth."
* The escape from Caprica of Starbuck, Helo, and the Caprican copy of Boomer.
* Deposed president Laura Roslin's escape from imprisonment and expedition to Kobol, in search of the way to Earth.
* The progression of Roslin's cancer and her eventual recovery.
* The discovery of a group of humans on Caprica who have survived the Cylon attacks and maintain a resistance against their presence on the planet.
* Reconciliation between Adama and the fugitive Roslin and Apollo, and eventually the fleet as a whole, after Adama reunites with the fugitives on Kobol and shares their discovery of the prophesied "map" to Earth.
* The discovery of perhaps the only other surviving Battlestar, Pegasus, under the command of Admiral Helena Cain, and subsequent conflicts between Cain and Adama.
* The birth of Caprica-Boomer's baby.
* The use of propaganda to further one's cause.
* Prisoner abuse and the implications of being a cylon in human captivity.
* The campaign for the Presidency of the Twelve Colonies.
* The discovery of and settlement on New Caprica.

Battlestar Galactica in its current incarnation deals with a number of interesting themes. As in the original series, it is loosely based on ancient astronaut theories and carries over several motifs from the Original Series which Glen Larson based on Mormon theology. But the producers of the new Galactica decided to take a more serious approach to the concept of refugees fleeing mass genocide. Conflict and even violence between the Colonial characters are the rule rather than the exception. By taking this "heavier", more naturalistic approach, the show attempts to raise meaningful questions about human nature and the meaning of life.

The evolution of the troubled relationship of Adama and son is a cornerstone of the show. In a more metaphorical sense, Galactica's characters are all members of a family -- the extended family of the whole ship, and their individual "families" like Chief Tyrol's deck workers. The theme of family is always present in the show, sometimes subliminally and sometimes very clearly.

The Adama family features a complex dynamic between Bill Adama, his son Lee (Apollo), Kara Thrace (Starbuck), and Adama's dead son Zak. Commander (later Admiral) Adama loves his son Lee, but has difficulties becoming close to him due to personal differences—at one point, these differences place the Commander and his son on opposing sides of what almost becomes a civil war. (When Adama decides to resolve this and re-unite the fleet, he refers to it as "putting the family back together"—referring not only to himself and Lee, but metaphorically to the entire fleet and crew of the Galactica as a family as well.) Starbuck and Apollo's relationship is competitive and even violent, yet deeply close. Executive producer David Eick has described it as "like a brother and sister, or two repressed lovers -- pick your metaphor". Lee admits in the second season to loving Starbuck, and throughout the series feels a gamut of conflicted feelings towards her. In other episodes, Starbuck is considered the Adamas' last link to Zak, although Adama himself says he loves Starbuck like a daughter. After endangering the fleet searching for her, Adama explains, "Kara was family. You do whatever you have to do. Sometimes you break the rules."

When Chief Tyrol has a psychotic episode and attacks one of his deck crew, his priest tells him to return to work and face them because they are his family. Similarly, Roslin grieves at the death of her aide Billy, explaining he was the closest thing to family she had left.

The humans worship the Lords of Kobol, these being the gods of the ancient Greek Pantheon (references to other pantheons are scattered throughout the series - to date only the Greek Pantheon has been specifically named as being on Kobol). The series implies that humans believe they originated from the planet Kobol where they lived with the gods "in paradise".

In contrast to the polytheistic beliefs of the humans, the Cylons gained their concept of a soul and a unique religion. Unlike the polytheistic humans, the Cylons are monotheists, believing in "one true God", like prevalent modern Earth Abrahamic religions. The clash of beliefs between the Colonial and Cylon religions is a major theme of the show: the Cylons believe they have been ordered on a religious crusade by their one god to eradicate the unworthy humans.

There are nonetheless many shared beliefs between the Cylons and humans—they share a belief in eternal recurrence and in the validity of ancient human prophecies to the point where Cylons quote human scripture and claim to know it better than the humans themselves do.

In a deleted scene, members of the Galactica crew are discussing Kobol and reveal that paradise was supposedly destroyed when one god tried to take control from all the others. The illusory Six explained that this god was the only true god and the others were pretenders. This suggests that the Cylon god was one of the Lords of Kobol, and rebelled against them, making Him perhaps the equivalent of Lucifer. It is unclear if this deleted scene is canonical.

The first season showed two characters, Roslin and Baltar, neither of whom were particularly religious, gradually growing in faith. While Roslin's beliefs prior to the events of the first season are uncertain, she has a series of visions partially induced by an alternative drug she is taking to treat her cancer. These visions, and the interpretation of those visions by Roslin's priest Elosha, gradually convince Roslin that she is playing out the prophesied role of the dying leader who will lead humanity to the promised land. At the end of the first season, she has become so convinced of her faith that she suborns mutiny aboard the Galactica in order to retrieve a sacred relic from occupied Caprica.

Baltar's conversion follows a similar path. Due to his recurrent visions of Number Six and a series of events throughout the first season, Baltar's staunch atheism gives way to a fanatical belief not only in the Cylon God, but in his own status as an instrument of God.

Other issues explored in the second season include the influence of religion in a largely secular society. Roslin reluctantly uses her role as a religious figure to secure support during her conflict with the military government established by Col. Tigh, as well as during her escape from Galactica, creating tension with her more secular supporters as well as with the atheist Tigh and Adama, who at one point dismisses Roslin's faith-based appeal to the fleet as "religious crap". These very tensions later place her in conflict with Tom Zarek and eventually Dr. Baltar, who establishes leverage in his presidential campaign by attacking Roslin's use of religion in her governing practices. The colony of Gemenon is also established as a particularly religious society—the survivors of Gemenon are among the first to flock to Roslin's cause during the division of the fleet, but later remain a difficult constituency to maintain due to the issue of abortion, in much the same way as the issue of abortion is central to certain religious factions in the United States.

Unlike the original series, the new Galactica has a fairly detailed and significant political aspect. Adama commands the military but he is not absolute ruler; Laura Roslin leads a civilian government under at least nominal rule of law. The hard choices that have to be made in such extreme circumstances are a constant source of conflict and dramatic tension. The character of Tom Zarek, portrayed by Richard Hatch who played the original Apollo, is a former guerilla fighter echoing Yasser Arafat or Nelson Mandela. Although he is definitely an antagonist, he is not unsympathetic and often raises "inconvenient truths" the main characters would rather not deal with.

At the end of season one, President Roslin interferes with Adama's authority over his own people, convincing Starbuck to hijack a captured Cylon spacecraft and return to Caprica. As a result, Adama stages a military coup and assumes total authority. This results in unrest, rebellion, and ultimately the break-up of the fleet -- a situation which is not resolved until several episodes into the second season.

In addition, later season two episodes have seen extremist factions emerge. Both Cylon sympathizers who want to negotiate human surrender, and anti-Cylon hardliners who believe the military has been infiltrated and duped by the Cylons, have used violence and sabotage to achieve their aims.

The Cylons, too, are beginning to face political dissent and internal conflict. The second season finale introduced an atheistic Cylon who, until discovery, was masquerading as a human priest. Coupled with the events of the earlier episode Downloaded, this raises some questions about how united the Cylons' society's beliefs are. Previous episodes implied a rivalry between some models, with the Sixes considering the Eights (Sharon) unreliable, and the theme is ripe for further examination in future seasons. Ron Moore has stated that the Cylons are a young species: they have not yet encountered significant internal differences or contrasting beliefs, but gradually begin to.

The first season's main title is divided into two segments, the first containing clips from the 2003 miniseries, and the second an action-oriented montage of images from the coming episode. Moore intended the montage sequence to be a direct homage to the titles of Space: 1999, which used a similar device at the start of each episode of its first season.

The Sky One version of the title sequence for season one featured a Hindu mantra, the Gayatri Mantra, taken from the Rig Veda. In the U.S., the music was an original instrumental piece by composer Bear McCreary called "Two Funerals" originally written for the episode "Act of Contrition". As of season two, the main title sequences in all territories where the show airs now uses the Sky One title sequence, the Gayatri Mantra written by miniseries composer Richard Gibbs.

The words in the mantra are "OM bhūr bhuvah svah tat savitur varēnyam bhargō dēvasya dhīmahi dhiyō yō nah pracōdayāt", which may be translated in various ways but means approximately: "May we attain that excellent glory of Savitri the Goddess / so May she stimulate our prayers."

For the second season, the Sci Fi Channel eschewed Moore's "in this episode" montage until the fifth episode, as some fans complained that the sequence spoiled the episode.

As of season two, the opening intro lists the exact number of survivors in the fleet. The number is updated for each episode following deaths and births from the previous one.

The score for the series was created by composer Bear McCreary, generally following the template set by Gibbs for the miniseries but adding a great number of Western influences. It includes a number of vocal pieces, including songs in Irish and Latin as well as a spoof Italian operatic piece entitled "Battlestar Operatica," which includes the lyrics (translated from Italian):

Woe upon your Cylon heart
There's a toaster in your head
And it wears high heels

Number Six calls to you
The Cylon Detector beckons
Your girlfriend is a toaster

The full lyrics to "Battlestar Operatica" are presented in Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion (Titan Books, 2005), written by David Bassom.

Another example of McCreary's eclectic approach is the track entitled "Wander My Friends", which aired in the episode "The Hand of God" in Season One. With flourishing Uilleann pipes and vocals, the motif is associated with the relationship between William Adama and his son Lee, and can be heard twice in the episode. The motif repeats at least twice in Season Two, usually whenever the theme of family is brought up in the storyline.

A sample of the Irish (Gaeilge) lyrics appears below, from the official "Battlestar Galactica: Season One Soundtrack":

(original Gaeilge)

Siulaigi a chairde, siulaidh liom
Mar cheo an tsleibhe uaine ag
imeacht go deo
D’ainneoin ar dtuirse leanfam an tsli
Thar chnoic is thar ghleannta
go deireadh na scrib’.

(English Translation)

Walk my friends, walk with me
Like the mist on the lonely mountain, travelling eternally
Despite our weariness,
we’ll follow the road
Over hills and glens
to the end of the journey

On several occasions, the show's soundtrack incorporates music by acclaimed composer Philip Glass, including excerpts from his albums Glassworks and Metamorphosis Five.

Season 1

The first season of thirteen one-hour episodes was announced by the Sci Fi Channel on February 10, 2004, and aired in the UK & Ireland between October 18, 2004 and January 24, 2005 on Sky One, which co-financed the series with the Sci Fi Channel and NBC Universal. Produced in 2004 by David Eick and Ronald D. Moore and starring the original cast from the 2003 miniseries, it was aired in the United States from January 14, 2005 and from January 15 in Canada. Moore left his position as producer on HBO's Carnivàle after its first season to concentrate more on BSG.

Battlestar Galactica's first season aired in the UK & Ireland three months ahead of the show's premiere in the U.S. & Canada. This rare example of a North American television show being aired across the Atlantic before its first broadcast "at home" was the result of Sky's partially funding the first season's production.

The time lag between the UK & Ireland and the U.S. screenings led to widespread distribution of episodes via peer-to-peer networks, such as eDonkey and BitTorrent, often within only a few hours of Sky One airing them. Although Sci Fi and Moore deplored this and publicly appealed for downloaders not to pirate the show, there was widespread speculation that its unauthorized electronic distribution contributed to the U.S. success of the show by creating a favourable word of mouth impression among key demographic groups. Perhaps in recognition of this, the first episode was later made available for viewing in its entirety and without charge from the Sci Fi website. Moore also sought to address the "Internet generation" by posting podcast commentaries on individual episodes on the Sci Fi website.

The series proved successful on its UK & Ireland premiere, attracting favorable comments from reviewers and generating considerable anticipation in the U.S. The first episode aired in the U.S. became one of the highest-rated programs ever on Sci Fi with 3.1 million viewers. Successive episodes proved equally successful. The first episode of the regular series, "33", won the 2005 short form Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Season 2

Following the success of the 13-episode season one, the Sci Fi Channel commissioned a full 20-episode second season. The season premiered in the U.S. on Sci Fi Channel on July 15, 2005, with the UK, Ireland & Canadian premiere in January 2006. In the Fall of 2005, production on the second season halted as it was part of Sci-Fi Channel's standard production schedule normally used for its Stargate series, which was to split a 20-episode season into two parts (a "winter season" and a "summer season", to avoid heavy competition with major networks that follow a spring/fall schedule). The Sci-Fi Channel took this break as an opportunity to package the episodes aired thus far into a DVD set, calling it Season 2.0. The final episode of the first half, "Pegasus," was originally 15 minutes too long for broadcast, but according to creator Ronald Moore, the production team decided to cut the episode to time rather than pad it out to fill 90 minutes, as this was deemed impractical. The longer version of "Pegasus" will appear on the Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5 DVD set, which is set for release in the U.S. on September 19, 2006. Sky did not contribute financially to the second season, although they are credited at the end of every episode because many of the sets from the first series were co-funded by them.

Season 2.5 began airing on January 6, 2006, after a three-month hiatus during which the Sci-Fi Channel mounted a huge publicity effort. Battlestar Galactica picked up considerable critical acclaim from the mainstream press, including being named the #1 show of 2005 by Time Magazine, and being listed on numerous Top Ten lists by publications such as the Boston Globe. The American Film Institute also named it one of the 10 best television shows of 2005. There was some criticism that a few episodes following "Resurrection Ship, Part 2" were not up to par with previous episodes, such as the episode "Black Market" which even Ron Moore especially expressed his dislike for, and his embarrassment at how it turned out. Moore stated in his blog that he felt this was a result of the larger workload the series faced with 20 episodes instead of 13 in season 1. However, episode 15 "Scar" was thought to bring the series back up to its Cain-trilogy levels of quality, and subsequent episodes "The Captain's Hand", "Downloaded" and the two part finale "Lay Down Your Burdens", were hailed by fans and critics alike. Moore has expressed that he feels that the longer break between seasons 2 and 3 (four months instead of two) will help to ensure that all episodes are up to the high level of quality that the production team is trying to maintain.

Season 2 was released on DVD in Australia on August 15, 2006. The entire season is collected in one box set. Season 2 however began its first run on Australian television just 2 weeks prior to this on Channel Ten, at 11 p.m. on Wednesdays, meaning that the complete season became available the day before the third episode aired.

NBC Universal announced that there will be a web series of ten "webisodes" called Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance. The series is designed to focus on events that take place on New Caprica between seasons two and three of the television series, and will air on SCI FI PULSE. Almost no news appeared after the original announcement due to legal issues that had surfaced, but the broadcast date was eventually revealed on August 28, 2006 on Sci-Fi's website by Sci-Fi's head of Internet Programming Craig Engler. The first Webisode was posted September 5, followed by the second on Thursday, September 7. A new Webisode will be posted each Tuesday and Thursday through Thursday, October 5, the night before Season 3 begins.

The Sci Fi Channel has ordered a 20-episode third season, which will premiere in both the US and the UK & Ireland on 6 October 2006, after the Stargate shows (Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis) after which it aired the previous season have gone on midseason hiatus. There will be no "split" between episode 10 and episode 11. Production began in April 2006 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Michael Taylor has joined the writing staff for season 3. Taylor was previously a writer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and The Dead Zone. He is known for writing the acclaimed Deep Space Nine episode "The Visitor", as well as "In the Pale Moonlight", which was controversial in challenging some of Star Trek's utopian ideas.

The season openers, "Occupation" and "Precipice" (a two hour premiere dubbed "Occuprice" by writer Ronald D. Moore), and the following episodes "Exodus, Part 1", "Exodus, Part 2", "Collaborators", "Torn", and "Hero", continue the story of the Cylon occupation and the preceding year on New Caprica. The Sci Fi Channel debuted the first preview teaser for the third season in July.

On April 26, 2006 the Sci Fi Channel announced that a prequel spin-off of BSG (known as 'Caprica') was in development. It will take place over 50 years before the current series, before the original Cylon War, and will chronicle the Adama family and Caprican society as well as show the advancement of technology leading to the Cylon revolt.

Main characters

* Edward James Olmos - Admiral William 'Husker' Adama
* Mary McDonnell - Laura Roslin
* Katee Sackhoff - Captain Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace
* Jamie Bamber - Commander Lee 'Apollo' Adama
* James Callis - Gaius Baltar
* Grace Park - Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii, Number Eight
* Tricia Helfer - Number Six

Supporting characters

* Rekha Sharma - Tory Foster
* Paul Campbell - Billy Keikeya (2004-2006)
* Nicki Clyne - Specialist Cally
* Aaron Douglas - Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol
* Richard Hatch - Tom Zarek
* Michael Hogan - Colonel Saul Tigh
* Alessandro Juliani - Lieutenant Felix Gaeta
* Lucy Lawless - D'anna Biers, Number Three
* Kandyse McClure - Lieutenant Anastasia 'Dee' Dualla
* Tahmoh Penikett - Lieutenant Karl C.'Helo' Agathon
* Samuel Witwer - Lieutenant, Junior Grade 'Crashdown' (2004-2005)

Guest appearances

* Graham Beckel - Colonel/Commander Jack Fisk
* Matthew Bennett - Aaron Doral, Number Five
* Leah Cairns - Lieutenant Margaret 'Racetrack' Edmondson
* Erica Cerra - Maya
* Luciana Carro - Louanne 'Kat' Katraine
* Dana Delany - Sesha Abinell
* Colm Feore - President Richard Adar
* Michelle Forbes - Admiral Helena Cain
* Lorena Gale - Priestess Elosha
* John Heard - Commander Barry Garner
* Bodie Olmos - Brendan 'Hot Dog' Constanza
* Alonso Oyarzun - Specialist Socinus
* Callum Keith Rennie - Leoben Conoy
* Donnelly Rhodes - Doctor Cottle
* Dean Stockwell - Brother Cavil
* Michael Trucco - Samuel Anders
* Kate Vernon - Ellen Tigh
* Connor Widdows - Boxey
* Rick Worthy - Simon

Boxey was originally intended to appear regularly during the first season, but virtually all scenes featuring the character were edited out of the final episodes; these deleted scenes are included on the season one DVD release. There has been some speculation of some of the cast of the original series, beyond Richard Hatch, possibly guest starring in future episodes.

The Colonial military is organized much the same as in the original series. From the episodes aired, a Battlestar is apparently meant to be the lead vessel in a battle group which normally consists of many smaller vessels. The reimagined series explicitly places the Galactica as one of two or three battlestars within battle group 75. A Colonial Fleet and Colonial Marines exist; there are very few of the latter as Galactica only had a small contingent on board due to its impending decommissioning.

Officers in the Colonial Fleet are given ranks that are a fusion of those presently used in western armies and navies. Ronald D. Moore outlined the rank structure in a blog entry in February of 2005, stating that he wanted to keep the "co-mingled" ranks of the original series rather than reassign ranks based on real-world naval structure.

The Colonial Fleet commissioned officers are identified as:

* Admiral
* Commander
* Colonel
* Major
* Captain
* Lieutenant
* Lieutenant (junior grade)
* Ensign

The ranks for enlisted crewmen are:

* Chief Petty Officer
* Petty Officer (first class)
* Petty Officer (second class)
* Petty Officer (third class)
* Specialist
* Deckhand
* Recruit

The Colonial Marines have a different rank structure for enlisted men: Private, Corporal, Sergeant, etc. Their officer rank structure has not been shown and it is unknown whether any commissioned Marine officers survived (Marines on the show have only been led by Fleet officers such as Apollo, Starbuck, or Tigh).

The command and executive officers of the Galactica are a Commander and Colonel, respectively, and have been since before the destruction of the colonies. Dr. Cottle holds the rank of Major, as did Lee Adama prior to his promotion to Commander. There are a few senior officers with the rank of Captain as well as several lieutenants. The second season introduced Admiral Helena Cain (played by Michelle Forbes), in command of the Battlestar Pegasus.

Recurring Marine characters include Galactica's Master-at-arms, Sergeant Hadrian, played by Jill Teed, and Corporal Venner, played by Chris Shields. In addition to these Marines, Privates and a Gunnery Sergeant are known to exist.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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