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Battlestar Galactica is a franchise of science fiction television series and films. The franchise started with a 1978 TV show created by Glen A. Larson, followed by a sequel TV series, a line of book adaptations, original novels, comic books and video games. A reimagined miniseries developed by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick aired in 2003, continuing with a regular television series aired from 2004 to 2009 and a prequel series to be aired in 2010.

All of the Battlestar Galactica productions share the same premise: In a distant part of the universe, a civilization of humans lives on a series of planets known as the Twelve Colonies. In the past, the Colonies have been at war with a cybernetic race known as the Cylon. With the help of a human named Baltar, the Cylons launch a sudden ambush on the Colonies, laying waste to the planets and devastating their populations. The human survivors flee into space aboard any spacecraft they can reach. Of all the Colonial Fleet, the Battlestar Galactica appears to be the only military capital ship that survived the attack. Under the leadership of famed military leader Commander Adama, the Battlestar Galactica and its crew take up the task of leading the small fugitive fleet of survivors into space in search of a fabled refuge known as Earth.

Original series (1978 and 1980)

Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Glen A. Larson, the Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica, has stated in many interviews that he originally conceived of the Galactica premise, which he originally called Adam's Ark, in the late 1960s. However, he was unable to get the project greenlit for many years.

Battlestar Galactica was finally produced in the wake of the success of the 1977 film Star Wars. In fact, 20th Century Fox sued Universal Studios (the studio behind Battlestar Galactica) for copyright infringement, claiming that it had stolen 34 distinct ideas from Star Wars. Universal promptly countersued, claiming Star Wars had stolen ideas from the 1972 film Silent Running (notably the robot "drones") and the Buck Rogers serials of the 1940s .

Initially, Larson envisioned Battlestar Galactica as a series of made-for-TV movies (a three-hour pilot and two two-hour episodes) for the ABC television network. A shortened version of the three-hour pilot, Saga of a Star World, was released in Canadian theaters (before the series aired) and American theaters (after the series aired), and instead of two additional movies, a weekly television series followed.

In 1979 at the 6th Annual People's Choice Awards, the series won for Best New TV Drama Series.

The initial episode of the series was broadcast on September 17, 1978. However, approximately 60 minutes into the first episode, the broadcast was interrupted for a significant period—almost an hour—by the announcement of the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords, deeply marring the broadcast as much of the initial episode was not seen. During the eight months after the pilot was broadcast, 17 original episodes of the series were aired (five of them two-part shows), totaling 24 hours of broadcasting. Citing declining ratings and cost overruns, ABC canceled Battlestar Galactica in April, its last episode "The Hand of God" premiering on April 29, 1979.

Galactica 1980

During the autumn of 1979, ABC executives met with Galactica's creator Glen A. Larson to consider a relaunch of the series. A suitable concept was needed to draw viewers, and it was decided that the arrival of the Colonial Fleet at contemporary Earth would be the storyline. A new television movie entitled Galactica 1980 was rushed into production. Again, it was decided this new version of Galactica would be made into a weekly series. Despite the early success of the première, the show failed to achieve the popularity of the original series and was canceled after only ten episodes.

In this 1980 sequel series, the fleet finds Earth and covertly protects it from the Cylons. This series was a quick failure due to its low budget (e.g., recycling footage from the 1974 Universal Studios film Earthquake during a Cylon attack sequence), widely-panned writing, and ill-placed time slot (Sundays at 7:00 p.m., a time slot generally reserved for family-oriented programming and, more specifically, 60 Minutes). The show also had to adhere to strict content restrictions such as limiting acts of violence and being required to shoehorn educational content into the script and dialogue. To cut costs, the show was set mostly on contemporary Earth, to the great dismay of fans.Another factor for fan apathy was the nearly complete recasting of the original series: Lorne Greene reprised his role as Adama (and worked pro bono), Herb Jefferson Jr. played (now Colonel) Boomer in only half of the episodes (with almost no screentime), and Dirk Benedict as Starbuck for only one (the abrupt final episode), which was mostly unused footage from the original series. Richard Hatch (Apollo in the original series) was sent a script for Galactica 1980 but turned it down since he was not sure what his part in the series would be now that all the characters had changed.

Some syndication packages for Battlestar Galactica incorporate the episodes of this series.

Cinema releases

Besides a re-edited version of the pilot, released originally in Canada, Europe and parts of Latin America and, following the broadcast of the series, in the U.S., two other Battlestar Galactica feature films were released in cinemas. Both Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack and Conquest of the Earth were made up of various episodes of the original series and Galactica 1980 respectively. (See: List of Battlestar Galactica feature films)

Attempted revivals

The original series maintained a cult fandom, which has supported efforts by Glen A. Larson, Richard Hatch, and Bryan Singer (independent of one another) to revive the premise.

Richard Hatch produced a demonstration video in 1998–1999 which featured several actors from the original series combined with state-of-the-art special effects. This video, titled Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, was displayed at science fiction conventions, but did not lead to a new series.

In 1999, Wing Commander producer Todd Moyer and original series producer Glen A. Larson revealed plans to produce a motion picture based on the television series. It would have featured Battlestar Pegasus.

In 2000, the director and an executive producer of the X-Men film, Bryan Singer and Tom DeSanto, began developing a Galactica television miniseries with Studios USA for Fox. Intended to air as a backdoor pilot in May 2002, filming was scheduled to begin in November 2001. However, production delays caused by the September 11, 2001 attacks meant Bryan Singer had to drop out, due to his directing commitment on X-Men 2. This led Fox to lose interest in the project.

On 20 February 2009, IGN announced that they had information regarding a proposed revival of the 1970s version of the series as a feature film, with Glen A. Larson as writer and producer. On August 14, 2009, it was reported that the new film was "a complete reimagination" and Bryan Singer had signed to direct and produce the new film with Larson as producer.

2003 reimagining

Despite attempts to revive the series over the years, none came to fruition until it was reimagined in 2003 by Universal Television as a miniseries. Sky1 and the Sci-Fi Channel, with Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, were the creative forces behind it. Academy Award-nominated actor Edward James Olmos stepped into the role of Commander Adama, while two-time Academy Award nominee Mary McDonnell was cast as President Roslin. A weekly new Galactica series followed, premiering on Sky1 in the UKmarker and Irelandmarker in October 2004, and on Sci-Fi in the U.S. in January 2005.

Miniseries

In December 2003, the American Sci-Fi Channel broadcast a three-hour miniseries that reimagined Battlestar Galactica. This miniseries was so successful that Sci-Fi opted to develop this new version of Galactica into a television series.

Television series

The new series first aired in the UK and Ireland on Sky1 in October 2004. The series debuted in North America on the Sci-Fi Channel in January 2005. Featuring most of the original cast from the mini-series, Edward James Olmos returns as Commander William Adama and Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin. Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Grace Park and Tricia Helfer round out the original cast. Richard Hatch, who played Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica series, returns as Tom Zarek, a former freedom fighter who becomes part of the government.

An edited version of the "pilot" miniseries was broadcast on NBC—a corporate sibling of the Sci-Fi Channel—on January 9, 2005, five days before the Sci-Fi series premiere. NBC also aired three selected first-season episodes to promote the show in advance of the second-season premiere in July 2005. Three and a half seasons aired on Sci-Fi and Sky One between 2005 and 2008. Owing to production delays caused by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild strike, the fourth season was split into two parts, with a 7 month hiatus in between. The second half of the season began airing January 16, 2009. The fourth season will also air on Universal HD beginning in July 2009. A two-hour film (set during the show's second season), Battlestar Galactica: Razor, aired on Sci-Fi on Saturday, November 24, 2007, as a prelude to the fourth season.

The series has won widespread acclaim among many mainstream non-genre publications. Time magazine, and New York Newsday named it the best show on television in 2005. Other publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, National Review and Rolling Stone magazine also gave the show positive reviews.

The show has received a Peabody Award for overall excellence, several Emmy Awards for Visual Effects, and Emmy nominations for Writing and Directing. Time magazine has named it one of the 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.

Webisodes: The Resistance

The first set of webisodes were a series of shorts produced to promote the third season of the show. They filled in some of the events between the second and third seasons and featured some of the main cast. These webisodes were made so as not to reveal what would happen in the beginning of season three. Season 3 was also set up so that missing the webisodes would not leave a viewer confused about the story.

Each of the ten webisodes was approximately three minutes long, and they were released twice a week leading up to the U.S. Season 3 premiere.

Webisodes: Razor Flashbacks

The Razor Flashbacks were a series of seven webisodes set during William Adama's fighter pilot days during the later stages of the First Cylon War. They were released on the Internet as "webisodes" leading up to Razor's release. They are now available on the DVD of Battlestar Galactica: Razor, and some are inserted into the extended cut of the movie on the DVD (as opposed to none, on the shorter version which aired on television). The installments that didn't make the final cut include 1, 2, & the latter half of 7.

Razor (TV movie)

Battlestar Galactica: Razor is a television movie produced and broadcast in the gap between Seasons 3 and 4. Razor is also technically the first two episodes of Season 4 though it chronicles events on Battlestar Pegasus in two time periods, both of which are "in the past" with respect to the Season 4 continuity. The "present day" framing scenes are set during Lee Adama's command, in the latter half of Season 2, while "flashback" scenes depict Helena Cain's command in the period between the Cylon attack and the reunion with Galactica in the second season episode Pegasus. Also during the extended episode the Razor Flashbacks, which were previously released as webisodes, were integrated into the movie but only several were inserted into the shortened television cut. It aired in the United States and Canada on November 24 and in Britain and Ireland on December 18, 2007. An expanded version of the movie was released on DVD on December 4, 2007.

Webisodes: The Face of the Enemy

In late May 2008, a set of 10 webisodes were announced to be in the works which will be released during the 7 month hiatus between episodes 10 and 11. The web series premiered on December 12, 2008 on SciFi.com. The webisodes are also available to view on Hulu.com, the iTunes Store and on DirecTV's OnDemand service.

The Plan (TV movie)

On August 7, 2008 SciFi Channel officially announced the production of a two-hour TV movie which was originally supposed to air after the final episode of Season 4. The movie began production on September 8, 2008. The movie premiered exclusively on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download on October 27, 2009 and is tentatively scheduled to air in 2010 on SciFi. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Edward James Olmos, The Plan storyline begins before the attack on the 12 colonies and shows events mainly from the perspective of two Cylon agents, Cavil and Anders. Tricia Helfer states that the disappearance of Shelly Godfrey in "Six Degrees of Separation" will be explained. Scenes including Aaron Doral preparing for the suicide bombing seen in "Litmus", Anders awakening in a Cylon resurrection chamber, and Cavil berating Boomer for failing to kill William Adama in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" appeared on IGN.com prior to the release of the film. In addition to Shelly Godfrey, there is a dark-haired Six called "Tough Six" in the script. A sneak peek was made available by SciFi on June 12, 2009, showing Cavil and Ellen Tigh during the events of "33". Cast members include Olmos, Michael Trucco, Aaron Douglas and Dean Stockwell. All the actors playing Cylons were present in the movie, except Lucy Lawless. Tricia Helfer, Grace Park, Rick Worthy, Matthew Bennett, Callum Keith Rennie, Michael Hogan and Rekha Sharma are all featured.

On July 24, 2009, Edward James Olmos stated that The Plan will not be the last BSG reimagined movie.

Caprica

Caprica is a television series, set to premiere on Syfy in 2010, described as "television's first science fiction family saga". It was originally a 2-hour back door pilot for a possible weekly television series but on December 2, 2008 Sci-Fi gave the go-ahead to expand the project into a full series. Caprica will be set on the fictional planet Caprica around fifty years before the events depicted in the 2004 reimagined series. The show will revolve around two families, the Adamas and the Graystones, the building of the Cylons, and the beginnings of the first Cylon War.

The pilot is directed by Jeffrey Reiner (Friday Night Lights), and stars Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson and Polly Walker. The pilot was released on DVD on April 21, 2009.

Feature film (2010/2011)

Creator Glen A. Larson is in talks with Universal Pictures to bring Battlestar Galactica to the big screen. The film will not be based on the Sci-Fi Channel series of the same title; it will be based on the original series which starred Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and the late Lorne Greene.

Bryan Singer is to direct the feature film version of Battlestar Galactica.

Comic books

A series of comic book publishers have adapted Battlestar Galactica since its inception.

Marvel Comics published a 23-issue comic book series based upon the show between 1978 and 1981. Walt Simonson, who later wrote and drew Thor, and also had a long stint on Marvel's Star Wars comic, was the artist for the series at its conclusion. Other comics have since been published by Maximum Press, Grandreams, Look-in Magazine, Realm Press and, currently, Dynamite Comics. Of all these series, only those by Marvel, Grandreams and Look-In actually completed their storylines and brought the story to a conclusion. All the other series were cancelled at various points during their run, with no resolutions.

Both the Grandreams and Look-In comic strips take place early in the series. The other comic series based on the 1978 series have been set after the final episode of the series and ignored Galactica 1980.

The Maximum Press series began with the discovery of a completely unpopulated Earth some fifteen years after the conclusion of the TV show. The look and the feel of the comics had been changed considerably from the series, to give the stories a "more nineties" feel.

The Realm Press series picked up immediately after the conclusion of the final episode of the original series in an attempt to present what they called "Season Two" of the original show.

Dynamite Entertainment is currently publishing comic books featuring both the classic and reimagined Battlestar Galactica series. In June, 2009, it was announced that Dynamite Entertainment will be releasing a Galactica 1980 comic series. It will be written by Marc Guggenheim and will be a re-imagining of the original series and is expected to be released in August 2009.

Games

Wiz Kids, Inc. (a collectible game manufacturer) produced the Battlestar Galactica Collectable Card Game based on the 2003 mini-series and 2004 TV show. The premier set of this game was released in May 2006. After the release of one expansion set, Wizkids announced the game's cancellation on March 13, 2007.

The original series inspired a Battlestar Galactica board game. The game is set during a training mission, where two to four players maneuver pieces representing Colonial Vipers in order to capture a damaged Cylon Raider. Skillful play includes using terrain elements and a number of special-ability cards to the players' advantage.

A Battlestar Galactica role playing game was released in August 2007 by Margaret Weis Productions at Gen Con.

FASA in 1979 released a tabletop counter piece game for Battlestar Galactica based on the fighter combat, which included the Galactica and a basestar to be launched from, attack with and attacked/defended. The counters for the Vipers and the Raiders included three model versions MKI/MKII/MKIII not just the MKII Viper and Raider MKI.

Fantasy Flight Games has produced Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. It is a semi-cooperative game for 3-6 players with some players being Cylon agents, either aware at start of the game or become aware later, as Sleeper agents. Each of the 10 playable character has their own abilities and weaknesses, and must all work together in order for humanity to have any hope of survival as well as attempt to expose the traitor while fuel shortages, food contaminations, and political unrest threatens to tear the fleet apart. In June 2009, an expansion to the board game was announced, to be released in the Fall of 2009.

In November 2003, shortly before the premiere of the re-imaged TV series, Sierra released the 3D space combat game Battlestar Galatica for the original Xbox and Playstation 2. The game took place 40 years before the original series and featured an ensign Adama flying a Viper during the Cylon war. The game was developed by Warthog.

There is also a Xbox 360 Live Arcade Title called Battlestar Galactica which is 2D in nature where you can co-op or dogfight with up to 8 people over Xbox Live. (The game is rendered using polygonal rendering, but you can't go up or down.)

Battlestar Galactica is also featured as a separate Mod for the PC game Homeworld 2.

See also



References

External links




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