Battlestar Galactica: The Legacy’s End
To take the final, and only acceptable, episode of Galactica 1980, and remove all aspect of that show to make it fit into the timeline of the original series.
Battlestar Galactica: The Promised Land -
To take the much disliked (outright hated) Galactica 1980, and see if it can be re-edited in some way to make it a more satisfying ending to the original Glen A. Larson Battlestar Galactica series.
The opening shots include new CGI Viper shots that I build and animated, based on the designs from the Tom DeSanto Battlestar Galactica film that did not make it into production. I used a few voice clips from the episode Hand of God to fill out the conversation between Starbuck and Boomer during this flight. The new FX sequences were all created by me.
Battlestar Galactica: The Promised Land -
This is more than an edit of one particular episode of the series, but a mixing of bits and pieces from various episodes from Battlestar Galactica and Galactica 1980 to attempt to build a cohesive story that gives us a satisfactory ending to the series.
Battlestar Galactica: Judgement Day -
Dr. Zee’s narration bookends to the episode. Dr. Zee’s narration throughout the episode.
Battlestar Galactica: The Promised Land -
Jamie Hamilton, flying motorcycles, invisible Vipers, time travel, Doctor Mortinson, and anything with them riding the bikes around on Earth. All aspects of Super Scouts. All aspects of human Cylons. Limited amount of Dr. Zee with an attempt to give Adama more of his authority, and not simply listening to Zee for every move.
The original Battlestar Galactica is one of those great tragedies in Hollywood...a series with great promise and ambition let down by hasty network decisions and executive meddling. The first season is arguably one of the best series of anything attempted at television, the scope is grand, the characters likeable, the stakes are high...to think all of that goes wasted on Galactica 1980 commands so much negative emotion from fans old and young alike, and tarnishes the memory of this endearing series.
But never count out the imagination and ambition of the show's fandom community. David Kerin's edits here are one such example. I first stumbled upon his work on Youtube a few years ago. A large part of my fanediting career now was influenced by the work he had put into his BSG edits. I contacted David and he was kind enough to supply me with these final two episodes in his collection.
These are very much Star Wars Special Editions done right, they give the series a fresh coat of paint, different effects, alternative outcomes, all while retaining the core essence of what the show is and what motivates each character.
Judgement Day is a great outing for Dirk Benedict, who chews up the scenery courtesy of an electric double-act with his Cylon co-star, it's a story that is a pure delight, and it works so much better here as a part of the original BSG line-up. While I think the closing moments of the episode need a little more work, it's also not the fault of the editor as he was essentially conjuring up a new epilogue from scratch...it's also a lot more satisfying to see Starbuck come home at the end rather than be left on the planet alone, not knowing if rescue will come, which is the sombre note we concluded the original Galactica on.
It's with the last episode, "The Promised Land", that Kern shows that he was a master of mixing and matching footage however. Presented in widescreen fofmat to best accomedate the use of movie footage ranging from Independence Day to Starship Troopers, Kern is able to put together the story all fans wanted to see but were denied...the Galactica discovering Earth and bringing the full might of their enemies down on it's doors. The action is fenetic, fast, furious and leaves no time for the Galactica 1980 cast to bore you to tears. Adama takes centre stage and has a proper character arc that transforms him back into the tried and true warrior he was. Dr. Zee has an arc too, one that ties him even closer to the show's vast mythology and provides a logical conclusion. The ending, which I won't spoil, is also the kind of climax we as fans deserve of the show, something that gives us closure on one journey and assures us the story is not over and never will be, the future is just beginning to form.
While it doesn't quite give you everything, and the "new" effects have aged slightly, don't let that deter you, Legacy's End is a fascinating insight into the creative process of fanediting, and how a lot of effort and even luck can result in editors achieving limitless potential with their projects. Galactica's fanbase have a near unrivaled and underestimated passion, and that passion leads them to achievements like this. Never rule them out.
Now, if only something could be done with the footage of Galactica The Second Coming....
A brief recap, BSG created by Glen A. Larson, was originally intended to be a series of television movies, not a weekly series. The first three movies were all mapped out and in various stages of production — Saga of a Starworld (the 3 hour pilot), Lost Planet of the Gods and Gun on Ice Planet Zero. However, the early reviews of the pilot and then extraordinary ratings on premiere night caused the network to change gears and order BSG immediately as a weekly series. This of course left the production team scrambling for scripts and special effects. So yes, some true stinkers were produced that first and only season (The Young Lords) but also some incredible gems were produced too — The Living Legend, War of the Gods, The Hand of God. Also, there were some very unique elements to this show that was still pretty much unheard of 70s adventure shows — large recurring supporting cast, serialized storylines, incredible production values — things that we take for granted today, BSG was one of the first to do it seriously.
Unfortunately due to internal network politics and Galactica’s expensive budget (it was easily the most expensive show on tv at the time), the show was not renewed for a second season though everyone had expected it to return. But very quickly, the network realized what ratings gold they had because every other show they put in to replace it bombed. So the network did something unheard of, they asked Larson to bring back Galactica, though under very strict conditions — a child friendly early time slot (ie no sex or violence, but educational tidbits inserted into the stories) and a slashed budget.
Why Larson accepted this offer, I have no idea. Most of the writers, producers and actors from BSG were unavailable or uninterested in returning, so Larson came up with the idea of setting the story a generation later with the Galactica finding Earth. It could have been an interesting idea, ripe with potential stories but what was produced was a complete unwatchable mess. Some the worst episodes of television ever created. The show was dumbed down to the point where even I a 10 year old felt insulted. ADAMA (the only real returning character) was diluted into a weak shadow of his former self looking to DR. ZEE (a kid genius) for constant instruction and support. The new actors playing Troy (Boxey all grown up) and Dillon were more boring than watching paint dry. And worst offender of all, the show made no attempt to adhere to its own wonderful mythology.
Fans of the original series immediately abandoned the sequel show, and it was quickly axed after 10 episodes. Though there was one small gem produced, the final episode RETURN OF STARBUCK. It is the only episode most BSG fans will acknowledge, otherwise G80 is just a very bad dream.
So it even more amazing in my opinion David was able to craft a story out of the garbage that makes up the G80 series. A story that is not only coherent with a definite beginning, middle and end, but that honors the mythology of the original series too. Even more extraordinary, he was able to salvage Adama and re-establish him as a figure of hope and authority, while making Zee a more interesting and vital character.
It is a fantastic piece of editing and narration.
For me, this is canon. This is the final lost chapters of the Battlestar Galactica saga.