After Battlestar Galactica was cancelled in 1979 after just one season (and just as they were getting really good) the infuriated fans started a massive write-in campaign in favor of restoring the show. Back then this was unheard of and it prompted ABC to re-think their reasons for canceling the show. After some deliberation, they contacted Glen A. Larson to see about reviving the series, albeit in some modified and less-expensive format. That was almost as good as not bringing it back again, because from a ground breaking scifi tv show that spawned a memorable franchise, the show was reduced to a low budget, heavily tamed and bad tv show (compared to what it was) called Galactica 1980. At times called the “worst tv show ever”, rather harshly I must add, the spinoff injected a lot of humour into the show mainly because they were being shown at an early time and a lot of kids would be watching it.
Larson & Donald Bellisario set about looking at ways to work with the lower budget and they had to settled for cutting out most of the cast and setting it 30 years after the events of the final episode of BSG. From what I know they tried to set it at 5 years after the previous show ended but couldn’t get all the actors that they wanted back. Hence only Lorne Greene as Commander Adama & Herb Jefferson, Jr. as Boomer return; the later now promoted to second in command as the Colonel replacing Col. Tigh. No explanations were given as to what happened to Apollo, Athena, Cassiopeia, Tigh and any of the other main characters or recurring stars. We assume that they all died in battle with the Cylons along with Count Baltar. Poor Boomer, who was the 4th main male lead was reduced even further to a recurring role in Galactica 1980 appearing in only 3 episodes. So 30 years later, with many deaths among the humans in space, they finally reach earth but find her technology not advaced enough to help the Galacticans or defend themselves from the Cylons. Adama decides to keep the fleet away from earth so as not to alert the Cylons to the location and sends small groups of warriors covertly to the planet to work incognito with various members of the scientific community, hoping to advance Earth’s technology. The creators decided to make Boxey, now called Troy a captain just like his father Apollo, as the main lead along with Lt Dillon (played by Ket McCord & Barry Van Dyke respectively) and the show focuses on their efforts to settle a group of young children on earth and form a colony. They would be joined by human reporter Jamie Hamilton (my first tv crush Robyn Douglass) and the main protagonist would be Cmd Xavier, a rogue Galactican who wants to use time travel to go to earth’s past and influence & speed up our technological advancements. There is also Doctor Zee a genius & mysterious child prodigy who advices Adama on various matters.
In the 3 part episode Troy & Dillon are sent to Los Angeles where they try to meet an earth scientist Dr. Mortinson, a nuclear physicist at the Pacific Institute of Technology. They are however mistaken for being terrorists and are arrested and get tangled with a reporter Jamie Hamilton. They must evade the local police as well as the US military, who tracked some “UFOs” movement in the area. Meanwhile Xavier who also meet Mortinson and get some information that he needs from him. Jamie finds out who the Troy & Dillon really are and to avoid the cops they must take her with them on their vipers to the Galactica. Initially stunned with all this revelation about aliens who are really earth human’s cousins, she agrees to join the duo in earth’s past, back in Nazi German and using the help of an American major, they stop Xavier’s plan to accelerate the Nazi rocket program (as theirs was the most advanced rocket program of the time). Unfortunately Xavier, using his personal shiled that makes him invisible, escapes from the trio once they are back in 1980. Troy & Dillon later put Jamie back on a bus and ride their flight capable bikes back to the field where they left the bikes only to find that the military has found them when the shield’s battery ran out the ships became visible. Xavier’s ship is also found and the two get Jamie’s help to sneak into the military base and steal their ships back. They are unable to stop Xavier from escaping with his ship and head back to the Galactica.
In the next episodes the two main men must bring a group of kids to earth where they disguise them as a Scouts group of orphans and along with Jaime must also help the kid when they fall sick due to chemicals in the water. Ridiculously in episode 6 the kids use their superhuman strengths as ringers in a baseball game while Xavier plots their abduction. In the double episode The Night The Cylons landed, a special Cylon raider crashes on earth finding the planet by chance and in it were the latest Cylon experiment – Cylons that look and talk like humans! Troy & Dillon reach the crash near the NYC area but are unable to stop a surviving humanoid Cylon and a Centurian from getting away. The Cylons are mistaken for Halloween participants and are taken to a party where they find out that they are near a a radio station and they force Wolfman Jack (played by himself) to the station and use the Emergency Broadcasting System for their transmission to alert the location of earth to the rest of th Cylon fleet. Troy and Dillon are able to reach them just in time and stop the signal from being sent and the two Cylons are destroyed. In episode 9, Troy & Dillon buy part of a farm from a Hispanic farmer in financial trouble. They then get Jamie to bring the Galactican children to help the farmer & his family by using their advanced strength in planting the crops and the using their technology to create rain which enables the plants to grow quicker. Then some of the people from the fleet are quickly moved to the land to help grow more crops for the fleet.
That was the last we saw of the major part of the cast and of earth in the final episode we come to learn what happened to Starbuck and how his “spiritual child” Doctor Zee was sent out in a small pod to meet up with the rest of the fleet when still a baby. It is funny that the worst of the BSG series, has the very best, sad and most memorable episode ever. Based much like Enemy Mine (unsure of if the episode was influenced by the book) this is a great episode. You can read by post on that episode here. Thus ends the promise of a great show started in 1978 and ended up mostly as a joke with crappy cheesy stories and humour in Galactica 1980 which ended with just 10 episodes. However the show is nostalgic and establishes a few good points like the Humanoid Cylons which would be put to great use and fleshed out in the rebooted universe.