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Battlestar Galactica (1978)

After the destruction of the Twelve Colonies of Mankind, the last major fighter carrier Battlestar Galactica leads a makeshift fugitive fleet in a desperate search for the legendary planet Earth.

Battlestar Galactica was the first weekly television series budgeted at over $1,000,000 per episode. Much of this high (for the time) budget was taken up by the special effects processes used. This necessitated the frequent, often glaringly obvious, reuse of effects footage throughout the series wherever possible.

Episodes 1-3: Saga of a Star World (Feature Length Pilot)

In a distant part of the cosmos, the human race is embroiled in a thousand year long war with the robotic Cylons. Aided by the human traitor Baltar, an armistice turns out to be a ruse by the Cylons who launch a massive surprise attack against the Twelve Colonies of humanity, almost wiping them out. Only the Galactica, led by Commander Adama, and a ragtag fleet of 220 civilian ships survive, beginning a journey across the galaxy in search of long-lost sister civilization Earth, but the Cylons will not rest until every last human has been eliminated, and pursue them across the galaxy.

What to look out for:

  • Rick Springfield (singer of Jessie’s Girl) as Lt. Zac.
  • Lew Ayres (Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Magnum P.I., The A-Team, ) as President Adar .
  • Wilfrid Hyde-White (The Plank, Dr Goodfellow in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century) as Sire Anton.
  • Ray Milland (Fantasy Island) as Sire Uri.
  • Randi Oakes (Officer Bonnie Clarke in CHiPs) as Young Taurus woman
  • Ed Begley Jr. (Pineapple Express, Wonder Woman, Cat People, This Is Spinal Tap, Star Trek: Voyager, Kingdom Hospital, Veronica Mars, Arrested Development) as Ensign Greenbean.
  • Norman Stuart (Vulcan Master in Star Trek: The Motion Picture) as 2nd Statesman
  • Bruce Wright (Speed, Twister, Apollo 13, The X-Files) as Deck Hand.
  • Carol Baxter (writer of She-Ra Princess of Power cartoons) as Woman in elevator
  • Dick Durock (Swamp Thing, Stand By Me) as Imperious Leader
  • Sandra Lee Gimpel (Stunt double for Andy in Goonies) as Seetol
  • Felix Silla (Twiki in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Ewok in Return of The Jedi) as Lucifer.
  • David Tress (Missing in Action) as Sandell

Episode 4-5: Lost Planet of the Gods – Parts 1 & 2

luciferWith many warriors suffering from an unknown ailment, the Galactica recruits new viper pilots—mostly young women, including Apollo’s new bride, Serina. Led by Adama’s spiritual interpretations, the fleet enters a vast magnetic void, emerging at the planet Kobol, the legendary world from which humanity originated.

Fact 2: This is the only episode of the show to feature foreign location footage shot especially for Battlestar Galactica. A second unit was sent to Egypt where stand-ins for Jane Seymour, Richard Hatch and Lorne Greene were filmed walking through the ruins at Luxor.

What to look out for:

  • Jonathan Harris (Lost in Space) begins his role as the voice of Lucifer.
  • Larry Manetti (Rick in Magnum P.I.) makes the first of many appearances as Gile.
  • Leann Hunley (Tamara Jacobs in Dawson’s Creek) as 1st Female Warrior.
  • Serina’s ventriloquist scream that takes place when Adama, Apollo, and Serina are in the section of the tomb with the tomb robber, and the gate suddenly traps them, Serina screams, but her lips never move.

 bg blEpisode 6: The Lost Warrior

Marooned on a frontier planet, Apollo befriends a young widow and her son, rallying a town against “Red Eye”— a likewise marooned, yet memory-damaged, Cylon centurion gunslinger.

Fact 3: The storyline is based on the classic western Shane.

What to look for:

  • Lance LeGault (Narrator on Airwolf, Col. Decker in The A-Team) as Bootes.
  • Claude Earl Jones (Re-Animator2) as Lacerta
  • Red West (Road House) as Marco
  • Johnny Timko (Weird Science) as Puppis
  • Listen carefully as Apollo removes the branches from around his Viper after he crashes. That scraping sound does not sound correct!

bg mainEpisode 7: The Long Patrol

After losing an experimental Viper to a smuggler, Starbuck is imprisoned on a penal colony, but this new environment holds a possible clue to the location of Earth.

What to look out for:

  • Nancy DeCarl (Sherese in Buck Rogers in the 25 Century) as Slayer.
  • Ian Abercrombie (Mr Miro in Otherworld; Tom Brockman in Twin Peaks; Alfred Pennyworth in Birds of Prey; Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Forger 7.
  • Arlene Martel (T’Pring in Star Trek) as Adultress 58
  • Ted Gehring (The Invaders, Kung Fu, T.J. Hooker) as Croad.
  • James Whitmore Jr. (Director of Quantum Leap, Buffy, The Pretender, Nowhere Man, Roswell High, Witchblade, 24, Dawson’s Creek, NCIS) as Robber.
  • Robber’s asteroid home is in fact the same set that was used the previous episode The Lost Warrior.


Roy Thinnes as CroftEpisodes 8 -9: Gun on Ice Planet Zero – Parts 1 & 2

Herded into a confined area of space by the Cylons, the fleet must pass within close range of a lethal Cylon pulsar cannon—unless an expedition of officers from the Galactica and a team of convicts can penetrate the ice-bound fortress housing the weapon and destroy it.

What to look out for:

  • Roy Thinnes (David Vincent in The Invaders) as Croft
  • James Olson (The Andromeda Strain, Amityville II: The Possession, Commando) as Thane
  • Christine Belford (Regina Cunningham in Christine) as Leda.
  • Richard Lynch (Serpico, Invasion USA, Trancers II, Super Force, Phantom 2040) as Wolfe.
  • Britt Ekland (The Man With The Golden Gun, The Wicker Man, Get Carter) as Tenna.
  • Jeff MacKay (Fireflight in the original Transformers cartoon) as Komma.
  • Larry Cedar (Cornelius Hawthorne in Community, Leon in Deadwood) as Cadet Shields.
  • Paper-mache rocks.
  • Starbuck’s hair.
  • When Starbuck shoots down a Cylon fighter on the ice planet, the film then cuts to the explosion of the baseship near Carillon, from Saga of a Star World.

Dennis Fimple in House of 1000 Corpses. Episode 10: The Magnificent Warriors

When a Cylon attack destroys the fleet’s food supply, Adama and the others must agree to certain compromises with old acquaintances and with the inhabitants of a grain-rich, yet politically turbulent planet.

What to look out for:

  • Boomer can’t count! He says he counts six Cylon Raiders during the opening battle, yet his computer display clearly displays five!
  • Brett Somers (Blanche in The Odd Couple) as Siress Belloby.
  • Dennis Fimple (House of 1000 Corpses, Maverick, Matt Houston, Kyle Murtry in Alias Smith & Jones) as Duggy.
  • Olan Soule (The Day The Earth Stood Still, Science Fiction Theatre, Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, Batman in The Superfriends) as Carmichael.
  • Ben Frommer (Plan 9 From Outer Space, Scarface, Psycho II) as Nogow.

Audrey Landers meets Starbuck!Episode 11: The Young Lords

Crash-landing on the planet Atilla, Starbuck befriends a group of young siblings trying to free their castle, their planet, and their father from the Cylons.

What to look out for:

  • Maybe Boomer was right? Three incoming Cylon Raiders can be seen on Boomer’s scanner but there are four of them in the actual dogfight. He needs to get his ship looked at!
  • Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper in Dallas, Veronica in Burn Notice) as Miri. 

Lloyd Bridge as Com. Cain.Episodes 12-13: The Living Legend – Parts 1 & 2

The Galactica is reunited with the Battlestar Pegasus, previously thought destroyed. Led by the brilliant but arrogant Commander Cain, the fleet is torn in its loyalty between Adama and Cain until the human traitor Baltar launches a devastating attack.

What to look out for:

  • During the initial attack on the Colonial fleet, a Cylon fighter totally disappears without being shot at.
  • Sheba’s insignia changes mid-flight.
  • Llloyd Bridges as Commander Cain.
  • Anne Lockhart (daughter of June Lockhart – Lost in Space) as Sheba.
  • More scanner issues! As the Pegasus is approaching the three Cylon base ships, the scanner shows two ships, immediately followed by a shot of all three ships in close formation.
  • When Pegasus attacks the two base ships, they fire back. We see a shot on the bridge, reacting to an explosion. Adama and Tigh seem to have moved ships to the Pegasus.
  • Baltar’s fighter avoids being hit by the Pegasus by using some king of trans-dimensional mirror drive as the Pegasus nameplate is backwards.

Episode 14: Fire in Space

The Galactica is rammed by Cylon Raiders making suicide runs on the main bridge and a landing bay. With Adama lying critically injured and the ship in flames, Boomer and Athena lead a group of survivors in the rejuvenation centre, relying on Boxey’s robot daggit Muffit to help them.

Fact 4: This is the last episode to feature a battle between Vipers and Raiders until the final episode of the series.

What to look out for:

  • If you are a big fan of The Towering Inferno (1974) you may recognise a lot of this episode.
  • Sheba’s insignia goes crazy again! When she is shown launching from the Galactica she is wearing her Pegasus crest helmet. She appears to sort this error though as later she’s seen wearing a helmet with Galactica insignia on it.
  • Keep an eye on the right hand wall when “Energizer 2” blows up (seen from the door outside). The explosion makes it shake so much it turns into what appears to be a wooden frame holding the wall-set up.

Lt. ShebaEpisodes 15-16: War of the Gods – Parts 1 & 2

Vipers are disappearing from regular patrols, and mysterious bright lights are flying around the Galactica at immeasurable speed. On an eerie, red-glowing planet, the enigmatic Count Iblis is found, apparently the sole survivor of a major catastrophe.

Fact 5: When War of the Gods Part 2 aired for the first time on 21st January 1979, it had a scene where Apollo, Starbuck and Sheba went inside the crashed ship on the planet. They saw the bodies of the ship occupants and they were in the form of, “Devils”, or, “Demons”. This scene was removed due to the religious implications and only the audio was aired while the video showed static. Rerun airings have the scene edited out entirely.

What to look out for:

  • If you were a fan of Brave New World (1980) you may recognise half of the set.
  • Those crazy scanners are at it again: According to dialog, four Viper pilots have disappeared – yet in the opening scenes we see five of them.
  • John Williams (Dial M for Murder) as Sire Montrose.
  • Janet Julian (Nancy Drew) as Lt. Brie.
  • Kirk Alyn (Superman in 1948) as Old Man.
  • Paula Victor (The Entity) as Old Woman.
  • Sheba the quick changer! Sheba is seen in a dress before the triad match but when the match starts, she is shown on a viewer screen in her flight uniform and then next in a live shot, back in her dress next to Count Iblis.

Episode 17: The Man with Nine Lives

An old con man, Chameleon, meets Starbuck and cons him into believing he may be his father in order to gain his help in evading a trio of blood-thirsty Borellians who are after him seeking revenge for a previous con. In the process, Starbuck’s girlfriend Cassiopeia learns that Chameleon’s con may not actually be a con after all.


Fact 6: Fred Astaire contacted producer Donald P. Bellisario to ask if he could play a small guest part to please his grandchildren, who were enormous fans of the show. Bellisario enthusiastically responded: “Mr. Astaire, I will write a two-hour episode around you!” It eventually became just one hour.

What to look out for:

  • Fred Astaire!
  • Lance LeGault (last seen in The Lost Warrior) appears again – this time as Maga.
  • Robert Feero (The Chrome Robot from THX 1138) as Bora.
  • Anthony DeLongis (V, Road House, Blade in Masters of the Universe, Renegade, Star Trek: Voyager, and Marshall Leigh Johnson in the Red Dead Redemption video games) as Taba.
  • Fred Astaire is Starbuck’s Dad but only Cassiopeia knows the truth!

Frank AshmoreEpisode 18: Murder on the Rising Star

When Starbuck is implicated in a rival triad-player’s murder, Apollo and Boomer come to his defence as Protectors. They eventually uncover a plot involving Karibdis, a traitor alongside Count Baltar in the Destruction of the Twelve Colonies.

What to look out for:

  • Apollo’s shuttle appears to have a mirror flight drive as its writing and markings are printed backwards!
  • Brock Peters (Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird; Chief Hatcher in Soylent Green; Ab Decker in Roots: The Next Generation; General Newcastle in Challenge of the Gobots; Boneyard in Grave Dale High; Admiral Cartwright in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Joseph Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as Chief Opposer Solon.
  • Lyman Ward (Mr Grady in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Tom Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ted in Legit) as Pallon / Karibdis.
  • Frank Ashmore (Airplane, Airplane II: The Sequel!, Martin/Philip in V, The Guild) as Flight Sgt. Ortega.
  • Newell Alexander (Howl’s Moving Castle, Flushed Away, Astro Boy) as Elias.

Episode 19-20: Greetings From Earth – Parts 1 & 2

A ship of humans in suspended animation is found drifting in space. When brought aboard the Galactica, the Colonial leaders debate whether to awaken its occupants. Their ship is eventually escorted by Apollo, Starbuck, and Cassiopeia to the planet Paradeen which is embroiled in a bitter war with the Eastern Alliance.


Fact 7: The last episode to feature Boxey and Athena. It has been suggested that Maren Jensen’s (Athena) role was reduced as the show progressed as those making the show felt her acting was below par compared to the rest of the cast. Years later she tested positive for Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), leading some to claim it was EBV that impacted on her acting without her realising she had it.

P.S. Don’t worry about Boxey, he turned up in this:

Fact 8: The street scenes in the abandoned Paradeen capital city were filmed on location in Montreal, Canada in the leftover pavilions from Expo ’67. The footage was later reused on the T.V. shows Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and “Quantum Leap”.

What to watch for:

  • Aeroplane? Apollo is explaining to Michael that they have plenty of power to handle the Alliance. Right after Apollo blows up a barrel with a single shot of his laser gun, the camera pans to Michael and to the right of his head (obviously appearing through some type of time distortion!) is a aeroplane flying around!
  • Ray Bolger (The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz) as Vector.
  • Randolph Mantooth (Charlie Horse in Sons of Anarchy) as Michael.
  • Murray Matheson (Mr Agee in Twilight Zone: The Movie, Mr Lane-Marriot in Kolchak: The Night Stalker) as Statesman Geller.
  • Curt Lowens (Dr. Schuller in Firefox, Dr. Wilkes in The Entity, Dr. Maurice Jankowski in V, Varn in Babylon 5, Cardinal Ebner in Angels & Demons, Fred in Legit) as Krebbs.
  • Lloyd Bochner (Mayor Hamilton Hill in Batman: The Animated Series, Terence Baggett in The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear) as Commandant Leiter.
  • Gillian Greene (daughter of Lorne Greene and wife of Sam Raimi) as Melanie. 

BaltarEpisode 21: Baltar’s Escape

Baltar escapes from the prison barge by hijacking a shuttle piloted by Boomer and Sheba. Taking advantage of lax security imposed by the new governing council, Baltar kidnaps the council members from a Galactica landing bay and demands to be released.

What to watch for:

  • Maga, Taba, and Bora return. They were last seen in Episode 17: The Man with Nine Lives.
  • John Hoyt (Dr. Phillip Boyce in the original Star Trek pilot: The Cage) as Sire Domra. 
Edward Mulhare as John.
Edward Mulhare as John.

Episode 22: Experiment in Terra

The mysterious bright lights return again, transporting the bewildered Apollo to the planet Terra to avert war with the Eastern Alliance. Exposing a plan by the devious president, Apollo has Starbuck warn the Galactica, which uses its laser cannon to destroy all the ballistic missiles avoiding planetary holocaust.

Fact 9: Richard Hatch (Apollo) expressed concerns that Apollo was viewed as being “square” and Starbuck being the opposite, to accommodate his concerns story editors Jim Carlson and Terrence McDonnell simply reversed the names of the main characters on the script.

What to watch for:

  • The long search – Starbuck and Brenda are searching for his Viper in the middle of the night. The next shot of the building shows that it is day time. Later, we see Starbuck and Brenda still driving around at night.
  • Liquid/Solid – Despite saying several times that he has no body and being told by Starbuck he would walk “straight through” him (presumably because of his insubstantiality), John nevertheless places his hand squarely and firmly on Apollo’s shoulder as they walk down the street together at the end of the episode.
  • Melody Anderson (Dale Arden in Flash Gordan, Detective Brooke McKenzie in Manimal) as Brenda Maxwell.
  • Edward Mulhare (Devon Miles in Knight Rider, Capt. Daniel Gregg in The Ghost & Mrs Muir) as John.
  • Sidney Clute (Det. Paul la Guardia in Cagney & Lacey) as Stone.
  • John de Lancie (Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Odin in Charmed) as Officer.

Episode 23: Take the Celestra

When Starbuck encounters his long-lost love Aurora, she complicates matters by taking part in a mutinous rebellion aboard the Celestra. Her rebellion, undertaken for a noble cause, is soon overshadowed by a sinister mutiny by Charka, the Celestra’s power-hungry second-in-command.

What to watch for:

  • Keep a close eye on Apollo Viper when it “lands” on the Celestra in their Vipers, The metal framework that makes up the front of Apollo’s Viper is visible at the bottom of the screen.
  • Paul Fix (Marshal Micah Torrance in The Rifleman) as Commander Kronus.
  • The floor and seating of the awards ceremony is the same as that used for the presidium in the previous episode.
  • When Apollo jumps on Charka at the end he seems to become another person!
  • During Commander Kronus’ funeral, he is clearly breathing!

Episode 24: The Hand of God

Tigh Fighter!Receiving a mysterious radio signal possibly from Earth, Adama and the crew are wary of a Cylon trap, and decide to turn the tables by attacking the Cylons with a stolen Cylon Raider. Apollo and Starbuck, in the series finale’s last scene, narrowly miss receiving Apollo-11 moon-landing transmissions from Earth.

Fact 10: For some reason the laser fire of the Vipers makes a different sound than normal?

What to watch for:

  • Starbuck and Apollo’s landing of the Cylon fighter on the Galactica is exactly the same as the previous episode “Take the Celestra.”
  • Upgraded lazers? When the Galactica’s forward laser hits the Cylon baseship it explodes on contact, previously they only inflicted damaged by burning.
  • The battle sequences seem to re-enact all the battle sequences from the pilot: Saga of Star World.
  • Cylon baseship DIY with silver duct tape!

Questions of the series:

  • If the Cylons are all robots, why do their baseships need an internal atmosphere?
  • Why did Adama not notice his daughter Athena vanished?
  • Did Apollo not notice Boxey and Muffit vanished?
  • Why did Apollo let Starbuck mess around on his sister?
  • More so, why did Adama let it happen?
  • Why didn’t Jonathan Harris have an onscreen cameo?
  • Was Col. Tighe the hardest man on the ship?
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