Earlier this week, I set up Tivo to record the US premiere of Battlestar Galactica. While I was looking for it, I noticed that the Sci Fi Channel was also airing an episode of Galactica 1980. Wise move, this. By comparison, the new BG looks like Shakespeare. Still, for nostalgia reasons, I ordered Tivo to record Galactica 1980.
The potentially bad news: The episode of G-1980 turned out to be part one of three. The utterly frightening news, my wife turned it on mid-show, noticed this and recorded all three parts. Yes, that’s right: the woman I chose to spend the rest of my life with was hooked by an episode of Galactica 1980. I swear, if I had known this when we married…
So I sit here with “Galactica Discovers Earth (Part 1)“, the premiere episode of G-1980, running in the background. My head immediately reels at the badness. This thing is steeped in stink.
The first blow to any hope of quality was the appearance of Cousin Oliver (from the Brady Bunch) as a super-smart mutation who acts as oracle aboard the ship. He warns Adama (played with total lack of interest by Lorne Greene) of the Cylon army silently following them lo those many years. If the humans lead them to Earth, the Cylons will kill everyone – bad thing. On the other hand, Cousin Oliver…er…Dr. Zee…is sure that Earth is populated by a nearly archaic species. His proof? He’s been monitoring our TV stations. Good idea, Brainiac. His solution is to delay landing until Earth can be brought up to technological speed.
To convince the leaders, Dr. Zee shows them a computer reconstruction of the Cylons attacking the L.A. streets. This is where my lonely childhood paid off (in a sad, twisted sort of way) because I noticed that the footage that they used for the collapsing buildings was pulled straight from the movie Earthquake, which starred Charlton Heston and (drum roll, please) Lorne Greene. So, now I’m playing the Kevin Bacon Game because it’s more entertaining that the show.
Adama orders the crew to use their “navigational computrons” to steer the ship away from Earth while Captain Troy (the character of Boxy from the original BG, now grown up and sporting a 70’s ‘do – flash obligatory picture of Richard Hatch here) and Lieutenant Dillon land on Earth, make their ship invisible, and use flying motorcycles (you read that right) to escape a band of threatening bikers.
Our perfectly coiffed heroes need to investigate and advance Earth technology, so they head to a nuclear power plant. Obviously. What a perfect way to insert an anti-nuke message. But wait! No time to groan just yet. The plant manager is played by Robert Reed. Now I’m thinking an impromptu Brady reunion is bound to happen what with Cousin Oliver hovering over the Earth. However, given the quality of this trash heap that is Galactica 1980, this might not be all that bad a thing.
The suckiness pretty much continues throughout. Sporadically placed throughout the show, the writers throw in the outsider’s view of Earth society (awkward moments such as when they refer to money as “denomination of currency”, or when they call the smog surrounding L.A. some sort of force field, that sort of tripe). The episode ended on a cliffhanger with some kid in the park who sees the suddenly-visible ship. I’ll pass on parts 2 and 3, thanks.
Fortunately, G-1980 is consistently bad. No, that’s a good thing. Minor moments of quality would only draw attention to how bad it is. With a consistent level of suck, the viewer is lulled into a state of numbness for which death is the only release.