Man From UNCLE
now on DVD!
Battlestar Galactica was cancelled by ABC after only one season. Low ratings were not the problem, however, it was a question of budget overruns. Production costs had to be reduced for the network to continue to air the show. The disappointing result was Galactica: 1980, which premiered on January 27 of that year.
It told the story of the fleet as it finally arrives on Earth, some 20 "yahrens" after the destruction of the colonies. Promotional footage suggested a great deal of excitement, but this was unfortunately misleading. By incorporating Cylon raiders into stock footage from 1974's Earthquake, they created a very effective sequence of an attack on Earth by the Cylons.
This "war of the worlds" premise would have added a great deal of drama to the show, perhaps taking Galactica in a fresh direction altogether. But alas, it turned out to be a mere simulation constructed by the Galactica's war computers to demonstrate the folly of joining the population of Earth. Instead of immediately joining their Terran cousins, the refugees plan to slowly infiltrate Earth's population, subtly raising its technology to a level that will help protect it from the Cylons.
Many of the original cast members had been invited to participate in the new incarnation. Richard Hatch decided to turn it down because he felt the new show had destroyed the premise of the original.
Dirk Benedict felt it was not as good as the first series, based on the scripts he was shown. Out of all the shows he has done, he regards Starbuck as the one time when he did a fully dimensional character who was not only humorous and lighthearted but also, at the other end of the spectrum, had a seriousness and an underlying emotional quality. Being so fond of Starbuck, he couldn't bring himself to do it, equating it to cheating on one's wife.
Lorne Greene on the other hand accepted the offer to reprise his role, as did Herb Jefferson Jr. Now Col. Boomer, he aided Adama while Apollo's adopted son is now grown, going by the name of Troy. Together, he and his buddy Lt. Dillon are sent to the surface to make contact with the civilian population. These roles were played by Kent McCord (of Adam-12 fame) and Barry Van Dyke (who ABC originally wanted as Starbuck in the first series), respectively. On Earth, they win the trust and friendship of news reporter Jamie Hamilton, played by Robyn Douglas.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER THIS AD
Kent McCord was attracted by the concepts presented in The Day the Earth Stood Still, a classic science fiction film of the 1950s. However, ABC scheduled the program for Sundays at 7, when typically children's or family shows are aired. Instead of high-minded ideas of man's role in the universe, McCord was relegated to juvenile plot devices such as babysitting a group of Galactican children stranded down on Earth. -
But Benedict did take one last turn as the lovable space rogue. In what would be the last (and best) of the 10 episodes produced, it is revealed that he had crash landed on a distant planet following a tangle with a Cylon raider. After Starbuck repairs and reprograms one of the Cylon centurions, a mysterious woman joins their small encampment, and over time, she and Starbuck fall in love, and a child is born. When a Cylon raider finds them, Starbuck is able to destroy the pilots. The woman is revealed to be of the race from the mysterious Ships of Light from the original show. Starbuck is able to use the Cylon raider to send the woman and child back into space to locate the fleet. Benedict was very happy with the script, and approached Glen Larson about doing a show featuring Starbuck's adventures as he tries to locate the Galactica, sort of a Fugitive in Space.
The Return of Starbuck served to explain the origin of a controversial character of Galactica: 1980, Dr. Zee. Zee is a teenage savant, whom Adama consults on most matters. Gifted with an intellect far above that of other humans, Zee serves as defacto advisor to Adama. Most fans felt this undermined the leadership of Adama, and diminished the character portrayed so well by Lorne Greene on the original show.
The show also suffered as writers tried to demonstrate through very forced humor the interaction between the advanced Galactican population with the "backward" people of Earth. While fans of the original series may not have approved, the new show did have its high points, such as the dramatic footage of the Cylon attack on Earth. Viewers were also given a glimpse of the evolution of the Cylons, as well as the villainous Commander Xavier (played by Richard Lynch).
While some of the new show's ideas failed to measure up to fans expectations, the fact of the matter is that Galactica 1980 was never intended to be a weekly series. It began as an idea to continue the Galactica saga in a limited format, but with the response, ABC ordered more episodes. Knowing the difficulties of getting on the air in the first place, producers rushed into production, with the hopes that the network would lend the new incarnation greater support, and in time, any rough spots would be ironed out.
Ultimately, Galactica: 1980 was the victim of its own inception. Network execs believed that the only audience interested in Battlestar Galactica were preadolescent children (wrong), and by eliminating the action and adventure of the space epic, they could produce a show that was just as successful (also wrong) without the cost. Their only accomplishment was to diminish a promising science fiction program by reducing it to pablum.
If the show is believed a failure, it is through no part of the cast and crew. Much of the fault lies with the network. ABC sought a runaway hit, and because Galactica didn't measure up to their expectations, they applied pressure to the producers to deliver the series while pulling much of their support. What ended up on TV screens across America represents only a fraction of the effort that went into producing the show.
Yet for a TV series that amounts to only 25 hours of programming, Battlestar Galactica has a devoted fanbase, and is a strong presence both online and at science fiction conventions. New fans are discovering it through airings on the Sci-Fi Channel. Some will insist it holds up quite well, with special effects that don't have the dated appearance of most 25 year old science fiction programs.
Naturally, talk of a revival began. Many cast members are very enthusiastic, assuming a network or studio is committed to the idea, and good scripts can be provided. With ancillary markets in Europe and Asia, the actors are often surprised to discover how widespread Galactica fandom is. This enthusiastic following of a 25-year old show is often overlooked by the part of the networks.
Lockhart adds that she would love to revisit the role of Sheba, one of her favorite roles. She tells the worldofltsheba.com website, "The very sudden and surprising cancellation of Galactica left me feeling like, 'Wait a minute, I wasn't done!' I had so much more to explore with her, because she was such an interesting and complex person. I would love to explore where she's been in the ensuing 20 years. I certainly hope she's gotten a promotion past lieutenant."
Battlestar Galactica: the Original Series
Battlestar Galactica: the Original Series - part two
Battlestar Galactica: the Original Series - part three
Please consider a donation
so we can continue this work!
Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / Dawn Wells / Gavin McLeod / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Actor Ed Nelson / Death of Archie / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Love, Loss & What I Watched
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Batman TV Show on DVD Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|