Battlestar Galactica (2003)
This TV series was very popular in the post-Star Wars SF boom. Lorne Greene [Bonanza] and John Colicos [ Star Trek ] are the only big names in it. Richard Hatch played the central character, Apollo - he has not worked since the series was cancelled, and has spent the last 20 years trying to get the show back on the air again.
Dirk Benedict, on the other hand, went on to star in The A-Team and was last seen in Official Denial . Here he is excellent as the Han Solo-style cigar-smoking gambler, Starbuck. This reviewer's favourite scene is when the 2 women Starbuck had seduced meet face-to-face - and just as they start to cat-fight over him, he ditches them both in favour of a poker game!
The villains are Cylons, stormtrooper-like robots that wish to destroy the entire human race. They almost succeed - they annihilate the 12 colony worlds. The few human survivors board a ragtag fleet of space vessels and follow their sole surviving warship [the Battlestar Galactica itself] in a quest for the mythical human homeworld ... Earth.
Finally this series is being repeated, for the first time since Winter 1997. Boomer and the other pilots [including Ed Begley Jnr!] are taken down by an unknown virus contracted near a Cylon base. They have to be replaced - by female shuttle pilots and trainee cadets like Apollo's fiance, Jane Seymour. Starbuck's socialator [Laurette Spang] pops up as the receptionist in med-bay!
John Colicos is back from the dead - he got his head chopped off in some versions of the pilot episode, but he has now been put in charge of the Cylon pursuit.
The Galactica is stuck between the Cylons and a magnetic void where no starlight can be seen - an idea seemingly stolen by ST: VGR 20 years later.
Starbuck and Apollo are the only fighter pilots fit to fly; they train up the women and lead them in an attack on the Cylon base so the medics can get samples of the purestrain virus and create a cure. This leads to a mildly humorous scene where the female warriors make macho chat about who was the best pilot, while Apollo and Starbuck discuss plans to redecorate their quarters.
Apollo is sensitive enough to avoid giving Lord Flasheart's advice of
Treat your fighter like you treat your woman -
get in the cockpit 5 times a day and take her to heaven and back!
However, Starbuck mentions that The controls are as sensitive as a schoolgirl's ...
The fleet discovers the lost world of Kobol, which looks a bit like the ruins of Ancient Egypt. Starbuck is captured by the Cylons, and Baltar [John Colicos] offers Peace to the humans. Jane Seymour and Apollo [Richard Hatch] get married - and since she is only a Special Guest Star instead of a regular cast member, her life expectancy is significantly lowered.
Apollo crash-lands on a planet that looks suspiciously like the Wild West. The local gang boss has a Cylon bodyguard whose armour can withstand the locals' handguns - only Apollo's blaster-pistol is powerful enough. Apollo must pretend to be a harmless farmer until he discovers the Cylon's origins, in case there are more of them.
Lance DeGault pops up as the brother of the woman who hides Apollo. He also appears in other episodes of the show as a religious cultist aboard the Galactica's fleet.
Starbuck takes a starfighter prototype on a test-flight. Unfortunately, his ship is stolen and he is thrown in prison. The other prisoners are descendants of the original prisoners, sentanced there over 700 years previously. The prisoners make Ambrosia all day - Starbuck realises that the liquor will make him rich, but the viewers will all realise that the reset button will be pressed by the end of the episode!
The ship-thief broadcasts a message in a strange code - Galactica picks it up, and sends Apollo and Boomer out to destroy the prototype so it does not fall into enemy hands. Athena [Starbuck's GF] explains the situation to Laurette Spang [Starbuck's other GF]. Galactica only compared the strange code to all known MILITARY codes - Ms Spang recognises it as a CIVILIAN code [as all viewers can guess!].
Starbuck and a rookie are on viper patrol, doing recon work along the fleet's path. They are shot at ... by a planetary weapons system! The rookie crash-lands, and is captured. However, Starbuck escapes and brings word of the danger.
The superweapon must be taken out on the ground, in a commando raid. So to destroy the guns of Navarone Apollo recruits the Dirty [half-] Dozen.
The Colonials are helped by local resistance - clones who are used as slave labour by the Cylons.
The Cylons attack the fleet, and hit the 3 agricultural ships [which resemble those in Deep Running ]. The fleet needs grain, or the population will starve ...
Luckily, there's an M-Class world nearby. It has a Wild West settlement, besieged by rowdy natives. Starbuck tries to con the locals into helping, but he ends up with more than he bargained for.
The undercover nature of the mission is all well and good, but Adama goes along - as well as a middle-aged seductress who has her eyes on him. Plus Boxy and his robo-dagget, Muffet!
While Adama's lack of brains and backbone [especially compared to his treatment of Ray Milland in the pilot episodes] is shocking, the real genius of the story is ... Starbuck, of course!
This ep was written and directed by Donald Bellisario - the brains behind Quantum Leap and Airwolf. He's ex-USN, and his most recent series is J.A.G. - which is often set aboard USN aircraft carriers!
Starbuck and Boomer are on patrol. Starbuck's viper gets shot up, so he crash-lands on an M-class world. It's garrisoned by Cylons, commanded by an android named Specter.
Starbuck is rescued by a horde of children, who have their very own unicorn. They want their father [Bruce Glover - Diamonds are Forever ] back after he was taken by the Cylons. The kids memorise their mission plans in a rhyme, like in The Dirty Dozen.
There is some delightful interplay between Baltar [John Colicos] and his sidekick, Lucifer [Johnathan Harris - Lost In Space ] who is jealous of the success of his counterpart, Specter.
The crew of the Galactica discover there is another Battlestar still operational - the Pegasus, under the legendary Commander Kane [Lloyd Bridges].
It turns out that Kane's ex is Starbuck's GF, Cassie the Socialator. Worse, Kane's aggressive command style clashes with Adama's.
Baltar leads the Cylons in an all-out attack on the humans.
Baltar and his cylons close in on the fleet. Kane forces Adama into helping in a full frontal attack on a Cylon world. Apollo and Starbuck lead a commando raid on the target, along with Kane's daughter Sheba [ Anne Lockhart ], her sidekick rookie Bojay and Cassieopeia the socialator [now the medic!].
The guys get to run around firing with a blaster in each hand, but the direction is nowhere near as good as that of John Woo or the directors of Farscape . No surprise there, of course, it merely shows how much potential this episode had.
The Cylons launch kamikaze attacks on the Galactica. They cripple the bridge, and put Adama into the ICU.
This is a bottle show, focusing on the crew under stress rather than exploring another M-Class world. Boomer, Athena and Boxy are trapped together, in a storage compartment with no way out ...
Sheba and Bojay are still among the Galactica's crew. Bojay and his patrol disappear without trace, abducted by a UFO. Sheba goes out to search for him, along with Starbuck and Apollo.
They go to a planet where everything is filmed through fancy lenses [like in BSG (2003) ], where they discover the remains of a crashed ship. They also encounter the mysterious Count Iblis [Patrick MacNee - The Avengers]. They take him back to the fleet, where he promises to guide them to Earth if he is given Adama's role as commander.
This episode involves with a 2-a-side basketball contest. Apollo and Starbuck prove that white men can jump, and they don't even break a sweat doing it.
Iblis tricks Baltar into declaring a truce, which allows the cowardly Colonials to doublecross him. Adama is still suspicious of Iblis, and realises that Baltar knows the truth about him.
Apollo and Starbuck discover the truth about Iblis, and end up in a showdown with him. Hell, MacNee also provides the voice of the Cylons' Imperious Leader!
Starbuck meets up with a con-man called Chameleon [Fred Astair] who claims that he might be Starbuck's father. They get DNA tests, courtesy of Cassieopiea. She is Starbuck's only love interest this episode - Athena is nowhere in sight. As for the DNA tests: when this was written over 20 years ago, it must have seemed a completely SF idea!
However, Chameleon's real motive is to hide from a couple of Cultists, one of whom is played by Lance DeGault. In what seems a nod to Star Trek , the Cultists have lots of non-human make-up such as huge eyebrows and really thick ridges on their foreheads.
Another notable cameo is Alex Hyde-White [ Biggles ], here unrecognisable as a long-haired pilot.
Galactica recovers a relatively primative starship. It contains 4 humans in suspended animation. Apparently it's from Terra - is this the big clue to Galactica discovering Earth?
The doctor and a scientist try to find a way to revive the sleepers. However, the civilians [including the Council of 12 and their security guards] can board the Galactica at will. They even start a riot in the hangar bay!
20. 1-20 50947 25 Feb 79 Greetings From Earth (2) 21. 1-21 50927 11 Mar 79 Baltar's Escape 22. 1-22 50928 18 Mar 79 Experiment in Terra
Adama holds a ceremony to give a medal to his old mentor, Kronos. Starbuck recognises an old flame - Aurora, who he had assumed killed in the Cylon invasion. Naturally, this disrupts his relationship with Cassie.
Unfortunately Aurora is involved in a Space Mutiny against Kronos. It turns out that Kronos has been running his ship like a military dictatorship. Starbuck assures everyone that the rest of the fleet is more lenient. But since there's no real civilian authority in the fleet [Adama got around the Council of 12 whenever he needed to] then the civilian workers have no hope.
Apollo has discovered an observation bubble on a ship's hull. He takes Starbuck, Sheba and Cassie there, and likens sitting in to sitting in The Hand of God [though the Colonials don't seem to have a god]! They pick up a strange old-fashioned radio signal, which seems to be from Earth.
The title says it all. 30 years have passed since Apollo and Starbuck intercepted Earth signals sent in 1969. For some reason it is now Earth year 1980. Adama is still in command, although he has a beard now. The Galactica now has improved tech, such as invisibility shields for Vipers, courtesy of creepy child genius Dr Zee.
Apollo and Starbuck are nowhere to be seen, but now Boxy is all grown up and takes their place. He's called Captain Troy, and gets sent to explore California with his partner, Lieutenant Dillon. Their mission is to help build nuclear reactors [this is before Chernobyl] and outwit hippies. They also have to dodge the USAF investigator [this is before MIBs went mainstream].
Our square-jawed heroes try to fit in, which leads to the predictable fish-out-of-water humour. They speak perfect English [though they don't understand the vernacular], but they don't have fingerprints!
This is just cobbled together from a couple of episodes of the disasterous Battlestar Galactica spin-off, Galactica 1980 . Usually the second part is the cylon ship crashes on Earth one - this time it is the go back to 1944 and stop Dr Xavier from helping the Nazis story.
Dr Zee tells Adama that the Colonial children must go to Earth and integrate. Hopefully it won't be too hard. The Aliens speak perfect English, although they strangely use the word Orac for Gold!
They fall foul of the CHIPs, but luckily they have flying motorbikes and invisibility switches. Unfortunately, they also have to worry about USAF Special Detachment One [AKA the MIBs].
3 of the Colonial children fall sick. It turns out the silly kids had been drinking stagnant water. The moral of the story is an Environmentalist one, although previous eps were pro-nuclear power.
6. 1- 6 55115 30 Mar 80 Spaceball 7. 1- 7 55116 13 Apr 80 The Night the Cylons Landed (1) 8. 1- 8 55117 20 Apr 80 The Night the Cylons Landed (2) 9. 1- 9 55105 27 Apr 80 Space Croppers 10. 1-10 55118 4 May 80 The Return of Starbuck
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