- Battlestar Galactica (reimagining)
show_name = Battlestar Galactica
caption = Battlestar Galactica title screen
Science fiction, Drama
Ronald D. Moore
Edward James Olmos Mary McDonnell Katee Sackhoff Jamie Bamber
James Callis Tricia Helfer
Bear McCreary, Richard Gibbs
country = USA
language = English
Vancouver, British Columbia
runtime = 42 minutes (approx.)
network = Sci Fi Channel (US)
first_aired = December 8-9, 2003 (mini-series)
October 18, 2004
num_episodes = 2 (mini-series), 63 (episodes to date), (webisodes), (TV movie), (prequel webisodes)
website = http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/
imdb_id = 314979The "Battlestar Galactica"
science fictionfranchise, which began as a 1978 TV series, was "reimagined" in 2003 into a TV miniseries. The miniseries served as a backdoor pilot for a 2004 TV series. Three seasons of the TV series have been completed and aired, along with a two-part prequel "", which also constitutes a preamble to the fourth season. The fourth season, consisting of 20 additional episodes (excluding "Razor" which takes up an additional 2 "slots"), began airing on 4 April 2008, [ [http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/ SciFi.com - "Catch Up to Season Four" page] ] and constitutes the finale for the series. [ [http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=41709 SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel | SCIFI.COM ] ]
This new "Battlestar Galactica" is described as reimagined not only to avoid the negative connotations associated with the term "
remake", but also because it marked an entirely new direction for the franchise, while still based on the original premise; it is analogous to a "reboot" in comic books.
None of the previous efforts to remake or continue the story of "Battlestar Galactica" by
Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer, and original series star Richard Hatch involved using either the original cast or the original characters and plot proceeded beyond the development stage. [cite_web|url=http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Battlestar_Galactica_%28SDS%29|title=Battlestar Galactica (SDS) at the Battlestar Wiki|date=|accessdate=2007-10-08|last=|first=|format=|language=] Ronald D. Moore, executive producerand screenwriterof the new "Battlestar Galactica", wrote in February 2003 of his desire to continue the story of Battlestar Galactica.fact|date=August 2008
The new "Battlestar Galactica" departs from the original in several ways. In terms of style and storytelling, it rejects the traditional televised science fiction styles of "
Star Trek" (after which the original "Battlestar Galactica" series was conceived) in favor of what executive producer Ronald D. Moorecalls "naturalistic science fiction." The new series emphasizes character drama in an edgy survivalist setting and has many of the characteristics of military science fiction, shedding the light-hearted action/adventure style of the original show. Among plot differences, the key characters of Starbuck and Boomer have been recast as female roles. The Cylons are the creation of man and a new breed of Cylon models now imitate humanoidappearance down to the cellular level.
Ronald D. Moore tackled the reimagining with realism in mind, portraying the shows heroes as being part of a "flawed" humanity, and drawing inspiration from the
September 11, 2001 attacksand their aftermath. In the reimagined series, many characters struggle with deep personal flaws; for example, Adama and his son have a profoundly dysfunctional relationship, while Colonel Tigh is an alcoholic. Their enemy is capable of living among them unnoticed and willing to carry out suicide attacks, allowing an exploration of moral and ethical issues brought up by the War on Terrorism. The show has dealt with Cylon and human suicide bombers, the torture of prisoners, and a struggle motivated by intense religious differences. To add to this realism, the creative direction also redesigned "Galactica" with a decidedly ' retro' submarinelook, approximating the function of an aircraft carrier, using bullets and missiles instead of directed-energy weapons such as lasers.
The first production to be set in the reimagined universe was the
miniseriesfirst broadcast on the Sci Fi Channel on December 8, 2003. From that followed a regular television series which premiered on Sky Onein the UK and Ireland on October 18, 2004and on Sci Fi Channel in the U.S. on January 14, 2005. A spin-off prequelseries called "Caprica" has been announced and a DVD movie has been produced.
In other media, the filmed series has spawned an
Xbox/ PlayStation 2game by Warthog Gamesand a 2006 comic bookseries by Dynamite Entertainment. A second video gamefor Xbox Live Arcadeand Microsoft Windowswas released in Fall 2007.
Comparison with the 1978 series
Among the most visible changes made from the older series are the new humanoid Cylon models and the differences in casting in terms of ethnicity and gender, most notably the character of Starbuck. The new series benefits from vastly improved
special effects, thanks to computer-generated imagerywhich was not available during the time of the original series. Other changes to the look of the show include human culture in the Twelve Colonies now closely resembling contemporary 21st-century Western culture, with names and costumes often indistinguishable from other television shows. This trend is also reflected in the technology used by the show's humans; in contrast to the original series' advanced weapons and futuristic feel, technology is now deliberately retro, explained in the miniseries as a need to protect against the Cylons' vastly superior computer sciences by using hardline and shielded systems. The tone is also changed from a heroic fantasy with tinges of Cold War geopolitics to a more naturalistic survival narrative with more numerous allusions, both subtle and obvious, to modern history and current events.
References to modern society
"Time" described Battlestar Galactica as "a gripping sci-fi allegory of the war on terror, complete with monotheistic religious fundamentalists (here, genocidal robots called Cylons),
sleeper cells, civil-liberties crackdowns and even a prisoner- torturescandal". [http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1141640,00.html "Best of 2005: Television"] , By James Poniewozik, "Time", 16 December 2005] Throughout its run, the show has attempted to maintain its realism by referencing both familiar elements of real world modern history – Laura Roslin's swearing in on Colonial Onedirectly "cited the swearing in of LBJ after the Kennedy assassination" [http://www.salon.com/ent/tv/review/2006/11/10/battlestar/index.html "Space Balls: While politicians spent a campaign season avoiding the big issues, TV's bravest series has been facing them in thrilling fashion."] , By Laura Miller, "Salon" (online), 10 November 2006] – and the developing political situation since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Many people have drawn parallels between the Cylons and Al Qaeda" [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/9183391/intergalactic_terror "Intergalactic Terror"] , By Gavin Edwards, "Rolling Stone" (online), 27 January 2006] and according to " The Guardian" "Battlestar Galactica" is the only award-winning drama that dares tackle the war on terror". [http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguide/features/story/0,,1987999,00.html "The final frontier"] , By Dan Martin, "The Guardian", 13 January 2007] The show has tackled issues regarding terrorist sleeper cells with stories involving both the reality and fear of Cylon suicide attacks, Cylon Number 5 Aaron Doral in the episode called Litmus sneaks aboard the Galactica and blows himself up in the middle of the corridor, and ' sleeper agents', Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii activates after destroying a cylon basestar at the end of season 1 and shoots Commander Adama, for these stories extensively "hinted at war-on-terrorism overtones". [http://www.slate.com/id/2151425/ "Battlestar: Iraqtica. Does the hit television show support the Iraqi insurgency?"] , By Spencer Ackerman, "Slate" (online), 13 October 2006] The show also references civil liberties crackdowns during the 3rd season when the 6 members of The Circle after the Exodus from New Caprica become judge, jury, and executioner of the people who were accused of aiding the cylons during the occupation on New Caprica. They also touch on prisoner torture during season 2 when Cylons 6 and 8 (Lt. Valerii) both are attacked, raped and tortured by Lt. Thorne from the Battlestar Pegasus. After 9/11, the original series' "broad premise – the human military's struggles in the wake of a massive terrorist attack – suddenly gained resonance" and let the show tackle issues like suicide bombings, torture, "evoking the darker side of the war on terror" and "civil liberties crackdowns".
Executive producer Ronald D. Moore points out that the Cylons and Al Qaeda are not necessarily intended to be directly allegorical: "They have aspects of Al Qaeda, and they have aspects of the
Catholic Church, and they have aspects of America", and in contrast, with the New Capricastoryline the show's humans have been discussed as an allegory not for an America under attack, but for an occupied people mounting an insurgency, and turning to suicide bombings as a tactic. There is a consensus that with "its third season, the show has morphed into a stinging allegorical critique of America’s three-year occupation of Iraq" [http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12172 "Battlestar Galacticons"] , By Brad Reed, "The American Prospect" (online), 27 October 2006] as the "cameras record Cylon occupation raids on unsuspecting human civilians with the night-vision green familiar to any TV news viewer. And the reasoning of the Cylons is horrifically familiar: They would prefer not to be brutal, but they won't accept the failure of a glorious mission." According to "Slate" "If this sounds like Iraq, it should", and "In unmistakable terms, Battlestar Galactica is telling viewers that insurgency (like, say, the one in Iraq) might have some moral flaws, such as the whole suicide bombing thing, but is ultimately virtuous and worthy of support." The "really audacious stroke of this season was showing us a story about a suicide bomber from the point of view of the bomber and his comrades... because the cause of this terrorist was unquestioningly our own. We sympathize with the insurgents wholeheartedly." If the Cylon occupying force is an allegory of the Coalition Forces in Iraq, then some of the other references are equally controversial, for example, the "scene of the shiny, terrifying Cylon centurions (a servant class of robots that actually look like robots) marching down the main road of New Caprica while the devastated colonists looked on was the Nazis marching into Paris."
David Eickhas said the production staff "don't need to say 'OK, let's do the episode where we're gonna do the Abu Ghraib scandal'", and points out that events depicted on New Caprica "are as much a story rooted in political tales like the Vichy Franceor Vietnam" rather than current events, he acknowledges that they "do gravitate in those directions when it comes to the storytelling". This has led to the show addressing other current issues, such as abortion, the use of biological weapons, and labor rights.
The special effects are created by
Zoic Studios. They previously worked on the "Firefly" television series."Battlestar Galactica" is funded and produced by American (and, in the case of the first season, Britishcite web| url = http://www.nbcumv.com/scifi/release_detail.nbc/scifi-2004419132251-scifisgalactica.html| title = SCI FI’S ‘GALACTICA’ PREPARES FOR BATTLE| quote = Battlestar Galactica is being produced exclusively for SCI FI, in association with SKY One| publisher = NBC Universal] ) companies. It is filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, [ [http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?id=34526 SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel | SCIFI.COM ] ] and many of the stars — including Grace Park ("Boomer"/"Athena"), Tricia Helfer(Six), Michael Hogan (Colonel Saul Tigh), Aaron Douglas ( Galen Tyrol), Alessandro Juliani(Lieutenant Felix Gaeta), and Tahmoh Penikett(Karl "Helo" Agathon) — are Canadian. Edward James Olmos( Admiral Adama), Mary McDonnell( President Laura Roslin), and Katee Sackhoff(Kara "Starbuck" Thrace) are American, while James Callis( Gaius Baltar) and Jamie Bamber(Lee "Apollo" Adama) are British, though Bamber also holds US citizenship through his American father. Most of the secondary actors, extras, and day players are Canadian, as are many guest stars, most notably the recurring roles played by Donnelly Rhodes( Dr. Cottle), Callum Keith Rennie( Leoben Conoy) and Nicki Clyne( Cally Tyrol).
When the miniseries aired on the SciFi channel in 2003, it was the highest-rated cable miniseries of that year. The miniseries' success led to the commission of a new ongoing television program, the first episode of which drew an estimated 850,000 viewers — an 8% multichannel viewer share — on its world premiere on Sky One in the UK & Ireland. The subsequent reimagined Battlestar Galactica TV series remains the highest rated original program in the Sci Fi Channel's history.
The miniseries and the subsequent weekly TV program have received critical acclaim. "Time" magazine wrote in the spring of 2005 that the new show was one of the six best drama programs on television. It would proclaim the program the best show on television in December of the same year. The
American Film Institutenamed the show to its list of the ten best shows on television. Other mainstream publications such as the " Chicago Tribune", " Rolling Stone" magazine, and " Newsday" also named the series one of the best on television for 2005. That same year, the series won a prestigious Peabody Awardin recognition of its creative excellence.
In 2007, Battlestar Galactica was nominated for four
Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, Outstanding Sound Editingand Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series for the third season episode titled "Exodus, part 2" and a single nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for the back to back episodes "Occupation" and "Precipice".
In 2008, it again received the Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series award for the fourth season opener "
He That Believeth in Me". The also won the Short Format Live-Action Entertainment Program award and the show received another Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series.
*Regular television series (2004)
webisodes(10 2-to-3 minute online episodes leading into season 3) (2006)
* webisodes (7 2-to-3 minute online prequel episodes leading into "Razor" (2007)
*"Razor" (TV movie concerning the Battlestar "Pegasus") (November 2007)
*Unnamed 10-part webisode series leading up to the second half of season 4.
*"Caprica" prequel (Pilot/TV movie expected to air Fall 2008, with the possibility of a full season in the future.)
*"The Plan" (TV movie) set during, and just before, season 1. Expected to air in 2009 after season 4 has ended its run. [ [http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2008/08/battlestar-gala.html] ]
DVD and online downloads
For the first season, thirteen episodes were produced and all have been made available on
DVDin the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and New Zealand. The second season consists of twenty episodes, all of which have been released on DVD in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Germany and New Zealand. A third season of twenty episodes began airing on October 6, 2006on the Sci-Fi Channel in the United States, and was available on the iTunesstore (until NBC cancelled their distribution deal with Apple in 2007) [ [http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/08/nbc-universal-d.html blog.wired.com] ] and by DVD April 2008. A fourth season of twenty episodes began airing in April 2008. [" [http://www.buddytv.com/articles/battlestar-galactica/early-word-on-battlestar-galac-16678.aspx Early Word on 'Battlestar Galactica' Season 4 DVDs] " (Thursday, February 14, 2008)] A two-hour movie, "Razor", aired November 24, 2007.
In January, 2006, Apple's
iTunesbegan offering the miniseries, season 1, and season 2 episodes for purchase on its service. NBC Universal, the owner and distributor of the show, has provided a number of its shows for purchase to U.S. customers, to be released the day after the original broadcast. [ [http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/dec/06nbc.html NBC Universal & Apple Offer New Primetime, Cable, Late-Night & Classic TV Shows on the iTunes Music Store] ] In December 2007, NBC Universal pulled "Battlestar Galactica" episodes from iTunes, as part of a larger move to break ties with the online media store. [ [http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/business/appleaday/blog/2007/12/apple_vs_nbc_whos_the_biggest.html Apple vs. NBC: Who’s the biggest loser?] ] All Battlestar Galactica episodes including the miniseries were later added to iTunesin September 2008 in SD and HD formats, and the first Season 4 episode ("He That Believeth In Me") being free. All season four episodes are available for viewing at Amazon.com. In June 2008, the previous 3 aired episodes are also available for viewing on Hulu.com.
podcastcommentaries for some episodes of season one and most episodes of season two and three are also available via iTunes and [http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/downloads/podcast.php SciFi.com] . SciFi.com also usually has the latest episode available for viewing on the website. Episodes are also available at Amazon Unbox. Effective July 2008, Battlestar Galactica Seasons 1-3 (and subsequently a portion of the aired Season 4 episodes) are available for download on Xbox Live's Video Store.
Notes and references
* David Bassom's "Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion" (Titan Books 2006, ISBN 1-84576-097-2)
* [http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/ Sci Fi Channel website]
* [http://blog.scifi.com/battlestar/ Official Blog of Ron D. Moore]
* [http://www.rondmoore.com/ The Official Blog of Ronald D. Moore]
* [http://www.tv.com/battlestar-galactica-2003/show/23557/summary.html Battlestar Galactica (2003) guide at TV.com]
* [http://www.battlestargalacticadvd.com/ The Battlestar Galactica DVD Official Universal Studios Site]
* [http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Main_Page Battlestar Galactica Wiki] Comprehensive English language wiki guide; includes links to other language versions and covers the original series and
Galactica 1980as well.
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