Galactica 1980 comes to a close already, though given the “quality” I’m not really surprised the show fell flat on its face. Just like the first five there are a few brief ideas that work, but far too much that doesn’t, apart from the last episode, which focuses on Starbuck from the Original Series, that’s actually good! Hooray! Let’s take a closer look at the end of the original Battlestar Galactica run…
1980: a generation since they last fought the Cylons, the Galactica and its fleet of 220 civilian ships have finally discovered Earth, only to find that its people are not as scientifically advanced and that the planet can neither defend itself against the Cylons nor help the Galactica as originally hoped…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
Barely an iota of charisma between them.
Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) – The now bearded but somehow not much older Adama is forced to watch hopelessly as his fleet flies around in circles waiting for Earth to become usable, all the while taking “advice” from a child. Great times…
Captain Troy (Kent McCord) – The former annoying child Boxey is now a dull as dishwater adult. Not sure which is the more annoying to watch, to be honest…
Lieutenant Dillon (Barry Van Dyke) – The funny one who isn’t very good at being funny. Excellent.
Jamie Hamilton (Robyn Douglass) – Normal Earth woman who keeps getting caught up in the “zany” antics of the Galacticans, but fails to do anything interesting.
Doctor Zee (James Patrick Stuart) – Super intelligent child who at least now has the explanation of being born from the God-like entities from the original series. That makes this stupid plot point a bit more bearable. A BIT.
The Super Scouts (Various) – A bunch of annoying kids who can’t act jumping around and giggling. WOO… HOO.
Lieutenant Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) – Whatever happened to Starbuck? Well, we find out here! Which is more than you can say about most of the other lead cast for the original series…
Plus many more!
Somehow this scene wasn’t as stupid and funny as it looks, it was actually good!
Episode 10, “The Return of Starbuck”, is great, if not misleading. He doesn’t actually return, his fate is just shown in an episode-long flashback sequence. He crashes out, and despite all the other times in the original series where scouts a have turned around to pick up lost pilots, this time they “must keep pressing forward” and Starbuck gets left behind. He reactivates and befriends a Cylon, who comically begins to display human emotions like jealousy and anger. Eventually the two are joined by a woman, who is with-child. It turns out the woman is from the God-like race from the original series and eventually the child is sent to the Galactica and becomes Doctor Zee. Cy, Starbuck’s Cylon friend, is killed protecting him, and that’s it. Starbuck’s ultimate fate is still left up in the air, I assume because they hoped to be able to use him later in the series that obviously never happened. But it’s really good, it’s funny, examines Starbuck well and has its heart in the right place. Very odd to see it at the end of this car crash of a series, but at least the original Galactica run ends on a high note.
Although there is plenty to dislike about episodes 7 and 8, “The Night the Cylons Landed”, it does have some merit. The Super Scouts are written out, and there are some amusing scenes of the Cylons trying to blend into human society. Actually, that’s a thing, one of the Cylons is human looking! So the remake series didn’t invent the idea, technically Galactica 1980 did it first! … That’s about all 1980 has to say about itself in the long run, but hey-ho.
“Hey kids, let’s talk about farming and process that creates rain…” “But I wanted to fight cool looking robots….” “TOUGH!”
The Super Scouts based episodes are again cheesy children shows that even most children wouldn’t like. Episode 6 “Spaceball” sees them ending up playing baseball for some reason, and an evil German version of Xavier is wandering around as well (though his super stereotypical accent combined with the sentence “Oh yes, I love children…” made me laugh, I just don’t think that was the intention) and Episode 9 “Space Croppers” actually doesn’t feature them that much, but does feature a rather dull and frankly crap plot about Troy and Dillon learning how to be farmers and helping a racially abused Mexican farmer with his racist rivals. There is an awful scene where Doctor Zee explains how his ship will cause rain to fall on the farm, complete with Adama asking really obvious questions about how rain works… I mean, Jesus, even as a child that’s about a subtle as a punch in the face…. These episodes were not enjoyable. At all.
The Night the Cylons Landed does have several issues. A long intro of Dillon and Troy learning how to use planes to get around and a really unconvincing hijack attempt on the plane was pointless filler to the extreme, and a lot of a jokes, particularly surrounding DJ Wolfman Jack (as himself, though this may have been my first time seeing him, I’ve certainly heard him parodied enough in my life time…) and his kidnapping by the Cylons.
And of course, throughout all of this (apart from Episode 10) Troy is completely charismaless and … bad at reading lines, and Dillon’s attempt to be the funny one just doesn’t work because again, he’s bad at acting. He reads his jokey dialogue and smiles while saying them, but it doesn’t come across right. Casting two good actors in these roles wouldn’t have saved the show, but it would have made the process a lot more bearable.
Ladies and gentleman, the most confusing screengrab ever. This may well never be beaten.
So, yeah… Galactica 1980 wasn’t the literal worst thing ever, but there are episodes that were God awful. I think the main issue is that it’s a bad continuation of the original Battlestar Galactica, as much as it just being a bad experience. This isn’t what people wanted from a second series of the show, and the new leads were just devoid of acting ability. If you pick up the blu-ray set of both series like I did, watch the original series and then cap it off with Episode 10 of this. Just ignore the rest…
Episode 10 “The Return of Starbuck”:
Episodes 7 and 8 “The Night the Cylons Landed”:
Episodes 6 “Spaceball” and 9 “Space Croppers”: