Battlestar Galactica (Miniseries, 2003)

Anthony G Williams

Apr 18, 2007
This series passed me by when it emerged in the 2000s but I'd heard good things about it so I saw the first two 90 minute programmes which constituted a "miniseries". The first, that is, since the 1970s version which I had also missed. For those unfamiliar with the setting, a brief summary follows.

The time is the far future when faster-than-light technology has permitted interstellar travel. Humanity is settled on a dozen colony worlds, and to assist with further exploration of inhospitable environments has developed Cylons – tough, intelligent robots of humanoid shape. The Cylons had eventually rebelled against humanity and after a stalemated war had withdrawn from human space forty years before the story begins. But now they are back, on a war of annihilation – with the aid of a new form of Cylons who are almost indistinguishable from humans. Their initial attack is successful, leaving the only hope for humanity the last surviving Battlestar – a giant space warship named Galactica.

After the initial scenes most of the action in set on board the Galactica or its one-person "Viper" combat craft. There is a varied cast of generally well-drawn characters with many personality clashes driving the plot. Despite this, I found the whole feel of the series to be rather old-fashioned and unoriginal – a kind of blend of Star Trek and Star Wars, with just a few of its own twists thrown in. As a matter of personal preference, I have also never liked the "enemy within" kind of story, in which the viewer/reader knows which of the "good guys" is really a "bad guy" – but the good guys do not.

Overall I enjoyed the miniseries, but faced with a further 70 or so episodes I decided that Battlestar Galactica wasn't quite intriguing or likeable enough for me to want to devote that much time to it. I probably would have followed it to the end had I watched it week by week when it first came out, but as I get older so I become increasingly picky about what I'm prepared to watch or read, especially if that involves a major time commitment – too much to do, not enough time!

(An extract from my SFF blog:
I would urge you, very strongly, to keep Faith until at least the end of series 1. I would be prepared to put money on you being very pleasantly surprised!

Furthermore, just to say, the 'enemy within' narrative is there purely to reflect the real world political climate of the time which is brilliantly surprisingly close to the bone at the start of series 3!
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I enjoyed it greatly, but I can understand it not gripping someone. After countless discussions with other fans over the years, it seems to be one of those shows that you need to somehow become attached to a character or two in order to keep going and watch the series in its entirety. The story itself seems to lose steam for viewers that are not tuning in partly because of certain characters.
The series was good, but the ending was a bit disappointing, kind of like Lost. That being said, there was such wonderful acting and storylines up until the end that it makes the majority of the episodes wonderful viewing. I really enjoyed the president and Adama scenes and relationship.
As I said on another thread, sublime. Anyone willing to invest a little of their time will be amply rewarded. Yes, as Alter Business (welcome to Chrons btw) said, the ending is a little sucky but the rest is addictive viewing. This is adult viewing not monster of the week. So, do yourselves a favor, folks, find it, watch it, treasure it. Or not. Your call, as always.
I liked the series and had no problem with the ending .:)
I really enjoyed the president and Adama scenes and relationship.
The resolution for those two was probably the only satisfying one. The ending was a bit shaky, and it did have trouble occasionally writing itself out of some corners, but it was often excellent and thought provoking. I can definitely see how it would be a tough sell for some people, as it requires a lot of investment in a lot of characters. If you are willing to roll the dice with it though, I think you'd wind up feeling it was time well spent.