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Galactica 1980: Still Sucks After All These Years

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.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

16 Comments on Galactica 1980: Still Sucks After All These Years

  1. I recall there being **one** good episode. It featured a follow-on to the original stars and had them finding Starbuck lost on some planet.

    But otherwise, the show bit the big one.

    Why they changed a halfway decent format (the first season) is beyond me. It follows on other great loser changes, Space: 1999’s second season, Buck Rogers second season…hmmmm…I seem to detect a pattern…

  2. I’ll be working extra shifts all weekend, so I won’t be able to see the new show until Tuesday or so…how was it?

  3. So, John, were you expecting BG1980 to get better with age? Or, perhaps, were you expecting senility to set in and as an after effect, that would make it better?

    I’ll write up a review of the first two for you Fred. But it will take me a bit to do so…

  4. SciFi channel aired two episodes of the new BG back-to-back. The two epsiodes, “33” and “Water” were very good in my opinion.

    They also aired half-hour “Series Lowdown” (you might call it a commercial) special where they talked with the stars and writer. Aside from the “this show rocks” comments from those who have a vested interest in it, there were some interesting points and a few scenes and dialogues with Richard Hatch who guest stars in an upcoming show. Anyone who has immediately dismissed this show because of past loyalties to the old show are doing themselves a disservice. The new BG is a rare breed: a good sf TV show.

  5. Battlestar Galactica 1980

    With the new Battlestar Galactica series showing on SciFi Channel, John over at SFSignal decided to take another look at Battlestar Galactica 1980. The poor, poor man.

    His review is worth reading if only to remind yourself that, yes, it really was t…

  6. Battlestar Galactica 1980

    Okay, this is what I was on about. John@SFSignal has suffered so that we do not need to….

  7. Boy when I saw the new Galactica episodes, I almost died of boredom. *Yawn* Since at that moment I didn’t want to spend any money on videogames, I found myself a couple of freeware games online. Had fun with Magnant, NG Gladiator, Astroseries, Trius (or wathever). One thing in common: All of those freeware games sucked far less than watching the new Galactica.

  8. john w. strader // July 3, 2006 at 1:20 pm //

    where can i get copies of galactica 1980 on dvd or tape

    6thanks

    john

  9. I think, out of common decency, that Galactica 1980 is legally barred from being sold in digital format. It is only through some squirmy loophole – or a pact with Satan – that SciFi channel is able to air it. :-@

  10. The question is, does Ronald suck less than Galactica 1980?

    😛

  11. Big Shrek // March 4, 2010 at 12:58 am //

    Ok, just because Wal-mart had it on sale for $14.95, I bought the Galactica 1980.

    So far I’ve made it thru the first three episodes…which seemed easier with the passing of time since I watched the Original Battlestar Galactica a few years back when SCIFI played it.  It was easier to swallow, but still made me wince a few times.

    And the OP is right about one thing, it’s hard as heck to watch the series without Starbuck (Dirk Benedict)…heck, I patterned my LIFE after Starbuck!!!  Hotshot rogue with delusions of good gambling skills…but seemed to find good luck with many willing women 😉

    It’s amazing how many women are willing if you can shovel with a sparkly smile 😉

    I really miss those motorcycles 😀 

    I’ve got a Yamaha V-Max I’m thinking about converting into a replica of the Turbo-Cycle 😉

    heck, I still have the plans for a Trylon Viper sitting around here somewhere…three-wheeled vahicle that looked like a Cylon car 🙂

    I’ll be watching the rest of the series…I’ll let everyone know if it’s as painful to me as the OP 😉

  12. Do you want to get rid of the trylon viper plans?

  13. The new BSG became terminally icky as well after the episodes on Caprica 2 — and the way the Cylons are portrayed was gratingly offkey from the start (to say nothing of the series’ attitude towards science).

  14. The only episode that didn’t suck was “The Return of Starbuck” http://www.hulu.com/watch/13354/galactica-1980-the-return-of-starbuck

  15. sharcnet // June 14, 2010 at 11:27 am //

    The reason why the original BSG was canceled was not because of ratings, it was because of expenses with sets, graphics & actors salaries.  Remember, this was near the end of 70’s and BSG was the most expensive TV series on the air at that time.  It was just too costly.  Richard Hatch wants to do a new BSG based upon the old series but I am not sure how far that project is moving and with some of the actors no longer with us, it will never  be what it was.

  16. I had gotten my 10 year old daughter into TOS Battlestar via netflix on PS3.  So when I told here that they did another series she said she wanted to see it.  I warned her it was bad. I remember watching it at 7 years old.  lol The first few episodes weren’t available on the PS3 netflix thing, but, I found it HULU. 

    BSG was strikingly horrible quality even compaired to the original that came out, what? A year earlier. It was really noticble when you watch TOS one day and this the next. We just finished watching the crapfest “conquest of earth” a couple of minutes ago.

    haha I was laughing through the thing with the flying motercycles and the soundtrack that was half BSG and half TJ-Hooker, Dad Brady and cousin oliver. Then there was the scene where they show what would happen if the cylons found earth. They didn’t hit any people in all that shooting!  Sure they blew a newstand apart, though. LOL

    Another stupid thing they did was reuse footage from a TOS episode. They actually redubbed Baltars voice (not the whole thing just words) to make sense in the situation. I completely forgot about that one (remember I was 7 the last time I saw this!).  The sad thing is you could tell it was dubbed.. the voice was different. hahahaha  My daughter was sitting there like WTF?!  I bet if you made it through the whole first part you could easily figure out what scene I’m talking about.

    The only thing I found intriquging is the actor that plays John Chrichton’s Dad Jack in Farscape was the dark haired dude in this (see I’m starting to block this viewing from my memory!).  I’m a Farscape freak so that was very cool to me.

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