Battlestar Galactica – Saga of a Star World

by Alan Rapp on February 7, 2015

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Battlestar Galactica – Saga of a Star World
  • wiki: link

“Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely
quest…a shining planet known as Earth.”

Battlestar Galactica - Saga of a Star WorldIt was the TV-movie that started it all. Born from the mind of Glen A. Larson, “Saga of a Star World” premiered in 1978 as the most expensive television pilot of its time (it was even released theatrically to help make back some of the cost). A Wagon Train to the stars, Battlestar Galactica began with the fall of the human race to their robotic enemies the Cylons. The lone surviving warship, Galactica, would lead a ragtag fleet of the remainder of tweleve tribes of humanity looking for a lost colony known as Earth.

While not every episode of the series is a winner, “Saga of a Star World” holds up remarkably well more than 35 years later. The practical special effects, particularly the dog fights have aged better than modern CGI used in movies and TV series decades later. Despite the more dramatic themes of the later reboot of the franchise, I still prefer the look and style of the original when it comes to the (extremely cool) Cylons and their ships, and the uniforms and Viper fighters of the Colonial Warriors.

The pilot is really two separate episodes as the first-half introduces the series’ main characters and gives us the destruction of humanity at the hands of the Cylons. Those we meet include Commander Adama (Lorne Greene), the last living member of the ruling counsel of humanity and in charge of the last remaining Battlestar, his son Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch), and Apollo’s more lecherous best-friend Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) whose loves include Apollo’s sister Athena (Maren Jensen) and the beautiful Cassiopeia (Laurette Spang). We’re also introduced to the character of Baltar (John Colicos) who betrays humanity to the Cylons. Killed in the original version of the movie, the story was altered to bring Colicos back as a recurring villain for the series.

The second-half of the pilot deals with the complications of the cobbled together fleet and the discovery of an impossible utopia in the middle of nowhere on the mining planet of Carillon where humanity’s last survivors are almost led to slaughter. This part of the movie further fleshes out the characters including Apollo’s connection to the Serina (Jane Seymour) and her young son Boxy (Noah Hathaway) who are among the survivors of the Cylons’ attack. I don’t think it’s as strong as the first-half of the story, but it certainly provides its moments including the discovery of what the planet’s inhabitants really want the humans for.

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