Monday, February 4, 2008

GALACTICA 1980: THE COMPLETE SERIES

The original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA television series was cancelled by ABC after one season in 1979 not so much because of low ratings, but because of the astronomical cost of producing the show. So, after failing to replace the show with anything more successful on Sunday nights, ABC forced Universal and producer Glen Larson into resurrecting the series, insisting that it be produced much cheaper. Reluctantly, the studio went to work, and ended up with GALACTICA 1980.

This DVD set contains all ten episodes of this low-budget, kid-friendly continuation, which chronicled the Galacticans (as the Colonial survivors now referred to themselves) discovery of Earth. Most of the original cast chose not to return to the show, so it was set 30 years after the original, and a new generation of characters (with the exception of Lorne Greene’s "Adama) were introduced. Stories were flat-out stupid, and production values were embarrassingly non-existent.

Okay, I know that this series is utter crap, and in fact, sinks to whole new depths of sci-fi crapitude, but still... I can't help but have a warm spot in my heart for it.

For one thing, I absolutely adored the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA when I was a kid and was friggin' traumatized when it was cancelled. I was further traumatized when this impoverished, kiddie-oriented spin-off, came about, because I missed damn near every episode! I never saw the three-part premiere (although I did eventually rent the truncated "movie version" on VHS) and only caught the ends of the next few episodes because my family never seemed to be home at 7:00 on Sunday nights.

I do remember seeing the Halloween episode (or the first part of the two-parter), "The Night The Cylons Landed," which introduced human-looking Cylons (long before the new series) and guest starred Wolfman Jack. My folks were visiting friends and to keep me occupied, I was sent into their rec room to watch TV.

But I never saw the final and best episode, "The Return of Starbuck," until Goodtimes Home Video released it on budget videotape in the mid-80's.

The full-frame transfers are adequate, and the Dolby 2.0 Mono is clear enough. There are no bonus features. Universal has released this generally ignored sequel (labeling it "The Original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA’s Final Season) hoping to trade off the popularity of the reimagined version of GALACTICA airing on the SciFi Channel, but only devoted franchise completists (like myself, admittedly) will want it.