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Battlestar Galactica, or BSG, is a franchise of American science fiction films and television series, the first of which was produced in 1978. A series of book adaptations, original novels, comic books and video games have also been based on the concept. A re-imagined miniseries aired in 2003, with a regular television series starting in 2004.

All of the Battlestar Galactica productions share the same premise: In a distant part of the universe, a civilization of humans live on planets known as the Twelve Colonies. In the past, the Colonies have been at war with a cybernetic race known as the Cylons. With the help (knowing or unknowing) of a human named Baltar, the Cylons launch a sudden sneak attack on the Colonies, laying waste to the planets and devastating their populations. A few thousand of 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 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 ragtag fugitive fleet of survivors into space in search of a fabled refuge known as Earth.

Original series (1978 and 1980)

Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Main article: Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series)

Glen A. Larson, the Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica, has stated in many interviews that he originally conceived of the Galactica premise in the late 1960s, which he originally called Adam's Ark. 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. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed in 1980.

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. [1]

During the eight months after pilot was broadcast, 17 original episodes of the series were aired (five of them two-parters), totaling 24 hours of broadcasting. Citing declining ratings and cost overruns, ABC cancelled Battlestar Galactica in April, its last episode "The Hand of God" premiering on April 29, 1979. Template:Further

Galactica 1980

Main article: 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).[citation needed] The show also had to adhere to strict content restrictions such as limiting acts of violence and being required to shoe horn 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. 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 & 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 each other) 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.[2] [3][4] 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.[5] However, production delays caused by the September 11, 2001 attacks meant Bryan Singer had to drop out, due to his directing commitments on X-Men 2. This led Fox to lose interest in the project.

2003 re-imagining

Main article: Battlestar Galactica (re-imagining)

Despite attempts to revive the series over the years, none came to fruition until it was reimagined in 2003 by Universal Television in association with Sky One and the Sci Fi Channel with Ronald D. Moore as the creative force behind it. Edward James Olmos stepped into the role of Commander Adama. A weekly new Galactica series followed, premiering on Sky One in the UK and Ireland in October 2004, and on Sci-Fi in the U.S. in January 2005.

Miniseries

Main article: Battlestar Galactica (TV 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

Main article: Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)

See also: List of Battlestar Galactica (re-imagined series) episodes

Featuring critically-acclaimed veteran actors Edward James Olmos as Commander William Adama and Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin, the new series first aired in the UK and Ireland on Sky One in October 2004. The series debuted in North America on the Sci-Fi Channel in January 2005.

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.[citation needed] NBC also aired three selected first-season episodes to promote the show in advance of the second-season premiere in July 2005. Three seasons aired on Sci-Fi and Sky One between 2005 and 2007. A two-hour "prequel" film, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, aired on Sci-Fi on Saturday November 24, 2007. A fourth, reportedly final, season is scheduled to begin airing April 4, 2008.[6][7] Owing to production delays caused by the 2007-2008 Writers Guild strike, it has been reported that the fourth season will be split into two 10-episode pieces, the second part of which will air in 2009.[8]

The series has won widespread acclaim among many mainstream non-genre publications. Time magazine,[9] Rolling Stone magazine[10] and New York Newsday[11] named it the best show on television in 2005. Other publications like The New York Times,[12] The New Yorker[13] and National Review[14] also gave the show positive reviews.

Webisodes

Main article: Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance

The 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 in length, and they were released twice a week leading up to the U.S. Season 3 premiere.

Razor

Main article: Battlestar Galactica: Razor

Battlestar Galactica: Razor is a television film produced and broadcast in the gap between Seasons 3 and 4. 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. It aired in the United States and Canada on November 24 and in Britain and Ireland on December 18, 2007. An expanded version was released on DVD on December 4, 2007.

Caprica

Main article: Caprica (TV series)

Template:Mergefrom

Caprica is a proposed television series described as "television's first science fiction family saga". Caprica will be set on the fictional planet Caprica around fifty years before the events depicted in the 2004 re-imagined series. The show will revolve around two families, the Adamas and the Graystones, the building of the Cylons, and the beginnings of the Cylon War. A two-hour backdoor pilot is scheduled to air in late 2008.[15][16]

Comic books

Main article: Battlestar Galactica (comic book)

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. 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 canceled 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 are currently publishing comic books featuring both the Classic and Re-Imagined Battlestar Galactica series.

Games

A Battlestar Galactica video game was published on the Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox platforms. It failed to repeat the success of the series and movies.[citation needed]Wiz Kids, Inc. (a collectible game manufacturer) produced The Battlestar Galactica collectible 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.[17]

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.

Battlestar Galactica the role playing game was released in August 2007 by Margaret Weis Productions at Gen Con.[18]

A community-created space flight simulator game set in the Battlestar Galactica universe is in development. "Beyond the Red Line" is based on the open-source FreeSpace 2 game engine. In 2007 a multi-player demo, including three single-player missions, was released. Work on the full version of the game is continuing. Players can participate in deathmatch-style dogfight missions, or in team-based missions, on the side of the Colonials or the Cylons. Beyond the Red Line won the 2007 Mod of the Year award.[19]

Development of a community-created real-time strategy Battlestar Galactica game is also in progress. Battlestar Galactica: Fleet Commander is a Homeworld 2 total conversion. Beta versions of "BSG: Fleet Commander" are available for Windows and the Macintosh. Players command human or Cylon fleets from both the original series and the 2003 re-imagined version of the series. [20][21]

On October 24 2007, a Battlestar Galactica video game was released by Sierra for download on XBox Live Arcade. This game, which is also available for Windows, is a top down arcade style shooter with both single and multiplayer aspects. Critical reception has been poor on both platforms, according to the average review scores archived by GameRankings.[22]

'Cylon Attack' by A&F Software for the BBC Micro in the 1980's was another game based on the original series (1978) http://www.bbcmicrogames.com/bestrest.html

See also

References

External links

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