When it was first announced that after years of speculation there would be a new Battlestar Galactica miniseries, science fiction and genre TV fans weren’t too sure whether or not it would be worth the effort. After all, as beloved as the original TV series was, it was far from brilliant. With lovably questionable production values, an uneven cast and some very patchy writing, it was little more than an enjoyable diversion for those fans drawn into SF by Star Wars. A short lived first run in 1978 was followed by the spectacularly bad Galactica 80, which is really best left forgotten. If you had told us at the start that a remake of this patchy SF yarn would become the greatest science fiction TV franchise around, many of us would have laughed in your face.
But here we are. After the miniseries showed so much promise, the new era of Battlestar Galactica became a cult hit, then an international phenomenon as each successive season brought in new fans, eager to catch up with the drama. How the hell did this happen? Aside from the extremely high production values on this new vision of Galactica, it was down to a great cast, superb scripts and a very nice twist on the classic formula. Things were turned on their head somewhat, but it worked, and worked beautifully.
DVD sales of the new Battlestar Galactica series have proven the show’s popularity with contemporary audiences, and the retooling of the original concepts from the first Galactica show were given enough of a modern sheen that fans became addicted. Hats off to the writers and stars of Ronald D Moore’s new Battlestar Galactica- they have brought us the definitive Science Fiction TV event of the decade, as well as a new generation of genre TV stars such as Tricia Helfer and Katee Sackhoff, who have won the hearts of sci-fi fans the world over.
There is talk of a new feature film based on the original incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, but this seems awfully counter-productive, taking into account just how popular the new version of the series is. Why not just leave the franchise to close with the end of the new era? Let it end properly. New fans don’t want to see the classic series brought back again- they are more than happy with the incredible new model.
Despite the Cylons being redesigned, the story changed a little, and the complexity ramped up a thousandfold, the new Battlestar Galactica won legions of new fans for a franchise many thought long since dead, and through extras such as the spin-off project Razor (plus other forthcoming films) and the upcoming prequel series Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica story will continue to echo in the science fiction pantheon long after the series has ended.