June 23, 2012
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.