Battlestar Galactica (miniseries)
Battlestar Galactica is a three-hour miniseries (comprising four broadcast hours) starring Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell, written and produced by Ronald D. Moore and directed by Michael Rymer. It was the first part of the Battlestar Galactica remake based on the 1978 Battlestar Galactica television series, and served as a backdoor pilot for the 2004 television series. The miniseries aired originally on the Sci Fi Channel in the United States starting on December 8, 2003. The two parts of the miniseries attracted 3.9 and 4.5 million viewers, making the miniseries the third-most-watched program on Syfy.
|Directed by||Michael Rymer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||2|
|Running time||180 minutes|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original release||December 8 –|
December 9, 2003
|Preceded by||Galactica 1980|
|Followed by||Battlestar Galactica|
After a 40-year armistice in a war between the Twelve Colonies (the homeworlds populated by humans) and the Cylons (human-created robots), the Cylons launch a surprise nuclear attack intended to exterminate the human race. Virtually all of the population of the Twelve Colonies is wiped out. Most of the Colonial military is either rendered ineffective or destroyed due to malware in the military computer network that renders it vulnerable to cyber attack. The malware was introduced by Number Six (Tricia Helfer), a Cylon in the form of a human woman, who seduced the famous scientist Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) and exploited their relationship to gain access codes under the cover of an insider contract bid.
The Battlestar Galactica, a hybrid battleship/aircraft carrier in space that fought in the earlier war, is in the final stages of being decommissioned and converted to a museum when the attack occurs. During her decades of colonial service the Galactica's computer systems had never been networked so the Galactica is unaffected by the Cylon sabotage. Its commander, William Adama (Edward James Olmos), assumes command of the few remaining elements of the human fleet. He heads for the Ragnar Anchorage, a military armory station where the Galactica can resupply itself with weaponry and essential supplies.
Secretary of Education Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), who was aboard the Galactica attending the decommissioning ceremony on behalf of the Colonial government when the attack begins, is sworn in as the new President of the Twelve Colonies, after it is confirmed that the President and most of the government have been killed (Roslin is 43rd in line of succession). The government starship carrying her (Colonial One) manages to assemble a group of surviving civilian ships.
During the attack, Galactica's Viper Mk VII Squadron escorted by a Colonial Raptor shuttle from the Galactica encounters a group of 2 Cylon Raiders. Although thought to be piloted, they turn out be pilotless and are able to transmit the Cylon virus thus disabling the Vipers before they are finished by missiles. Meanwhile, the Raptor tries to escape but is damaged in the process and is forced to land briefly for repairs on the Twelve Colonies' capital world of Caprica along with their two-person crew, Sharon Valerii (callsign "Boomer") (Grace Park) and Karl C. Agathon (callsign "Helo") (Tahmoh Penikett) who later offer to evacuate a small group of survivors. Helo remains on the stricken planet, giving up his seat to evacuate Gaius Baltar, whom he recognizes for his celebrity status as a scientific genius.
During these events, Adama is reunited with his estranged son Captain Lee Adama (callsign "Apollo") (Jamie Bamber), a Viper pilot who is scheduled to take part in the Galactica decommissioning ceremony. When the Cylons attack, Apollo is escorting Colonial One back to Caprica and he saves the ship from a Cylon missile attack. Apollo aids Roslin's efforts to assemble a civilian fleet, but refuses his father's orders to travel to Ragnar immediately. As Part 1 closes out, Colonial One, her fleet, Roslin and Apollo are apparently killed in a Cylon nuclear strike.
While Colonial One is believed to have been destroyed, it is revealed that thanks to Apollo's tactical genius, the ship and her small fleet have escaped destruction. Roslin decides to gather all of the civilian ships she can find and to form a fleet to escort the surviving civilians to safety. Roslin's efforts are aided by Boomer whose Raptor is picked up by Colonial One after departing Caprica. Using Boomer's Raptor's faster-than-light (FTL) jump drive to expedite matters, Roslin is able to gather a significant fleet of civilian ships.
As the fleet gathers, however, a Cylon Raider locates it and jumps away to gather reinforcements. Apollo urges that they must jump immediately to the Ragnar Anchorage to meet up with Galactica for safety despite the fact that many of the ships lack FTL drives. Roslin reluctantly agrees to Apollo's proposal, privately admitting to her assistant Billy Keikeya (Paul Campbell) that she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. As the FTL-capable ships jump away, a squadron of Cylon Raiders arrive and destroy the remaining ships with a nuclear attack.
Galactica is able to jump safely to Ragnar Anchorage to resupply where the crew meets Leoben Conoy (Callum Keith Rennie), an arms dealer with a noticeably sick appearance. While examining the station, Adama and Leoben get cut off from the rest of the crew by an accident and must make their way back alone. As Leoben's physical condition worsens, he shows sympathy towards the Cylons, drawing Adama's suspicions. Eventually, it's revealed that Leoben himself is a Cylon. The storm surrounding the Anchorage gives off a radiation that is destructive to Cylons' silicate circuity - which is why the Colonials had chosen the location in the first place. Leoben attacks Adama, but Adama is able to club Leoben to death with a flashlight and return to Galactica with Leoben's body for autopsy.
As the civilian fleet joins the Galactica at Ragnar, President Roslin appoints Dr. Baltar, who has not disclosed his suborning by the Cylons, as one of her scientific advisers to combat the Cylons. Number Six reveals herself to Baltar in hallucinatory form while attempting to direct his behavior. She suggests that she may have planted a microchip inside Baltar's brain while he slept, allowing her to transmit her image into his conscious mind. Number Six draws Baltar's attention to a device in the Combat Information Center (CIC) that matches one her corporeal counterpart had been carrying around in her briefcase. Baltar realizes that the device is Cylon but cannot reveal his knowledge of it without exposing his treasonous actions.
After Adama returns to Galactica with Leoben's body, the fact that the Cylons have taken on human form becomes known to the command crew and by extension Baltar as the new expert on Cylons. Deciding he needs to "expose" someone as a Cylon to get the device removed, Baltar chooses to target Aaron Doral (Matthew Bennett). Doral is a public relations executive assigned to the planned Galactica museum who has constantly questioned Roslin's decisions and leadership. Baltar reasons that Doral is an outsider that has been on Galactica for weeks, has had virtually unlimited access to the CIC and would've been in a perfect position to plant the device. Baltar has Doral arrested and fakes creating a test that has pointed to Doral being a Cylon. Despite Doral's protests and the fact that he is displaying no symptoms as Leoben did, he is abandoned on Ragnar Anchorage with food and water. Baltar also uses the opportunity to bring the device to executive office Colonel Saul Tigh's (Michael Hogan) attention, and it's removed after Anastasia "Dee" Dualla (Kandyse McClure), the Galactica's communications officer, determines that it's not a bomb.
Running a reconnaissance mission, Viper pilot Kara Thrace (callsign "Starbuck") (Katee Sackhoff) discovers a Cylon fleet waiting outside of Ragnar for Galactica's fleet. While Adama initially plans to continue the fight and leave the civilians behind at Ragnar, Roslin attempts to convince him that the war is over, they have lost and they must run. After learning of the Cylon fleet, Adama finally concedes that Roslin is right and orders an FTL jump plotted to the Prolmar Sector, which is uncharted space.
To enable the civilians to escape, Galactica and its Viper fleet engage the Cylon fleet in battle. Despite suffering multiple missile strikes and several Viper losses, Galactica is able to hold the Cylons off long enough for the civilians to escape. During the battle, Apollo's Viper suffers heavy damage and Starbuck uses a risky maneuver to save his life and board Galactica before the ship can jump away.
In the aftermath, a memorial service is held for those lost on Galactica. Noticing the crew's depressed state, Adama reminds them that there is a legendary Thirteenth Tribe of Kobol somewhere out there in the universe and that this Thirteenth Tribe settled on a planet called Earth. While Earth is considered a myth, Adama claims to know where it is and promises to lead the fleet to Earth as their new home. Afterwards, Adama is confronted by Roslin, who knows that he lied. Adama admits this, stating that he did it to give the people hope and a reason to live. The two are able to come to an agreement where Roslin controls the civilian part of the fleet and Adama is in charge of the military.
Adama later finds a note in his quarters stating that "there are only 12 Cylon models." This is implied to have been left by Baltar who was told exactly the same thing by Number Six on Caprica. Number Six tells Baltar that the human race has only been granted a reprieve and states that the Cylons will eventually find and destroy them. Number Six reminds Baltar that there are very likely other Cylon agents within the fleet waiting to strike. Number Six reveals that some of these agents might not know they are Cylons at all. Instead, these Cylons will be "sleeper agents" programmed to believe that they are human until they are activated to carry out their missions.
After the human fleet leaves, the Cylons board Ragnar Anchorage, where a visibly ill Doral remains. The arriving Cylons include several copies of Leoben and Number Six and a second copy of Doral, confirming his identity as a Cylon. Doral tells the other Cylons that the humans have left, but he has no idea where they went. As the other Cylons discuss how long it will take them to hunt down the human fleet, another Cylon joins them, assuring the Cylons that they will do whatever it takes to find them. The new Cylon is revealed to be identical to Boomer, revealing that Boomer is secretly a Cylon agent.
None of the previous attempts to remake or continue the story of Battlestar Galactica by Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer, and original series star Richard Hatch, were successful. From the mid-1990s onwards, actor Richard Hatch (Captain Apollo from the original version of the series) made numerous efforts to revive the series, including co-writing several novels and a comic book series, and even went as far as to produce a proof-of-concept trailer called The Second Coming. Hatch's campaign was based on the continuation of the original series, set several years after the final episode. DeSanto and Singer's planned version, which actually went into pre-production before being delayed and then scrapped following the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, was also a continuation, set some 25 years after the original series. Both versions ignored the events that occurred in Galactica 1980.
In 2002, Universal Pictures (the legal rights holder to Battlestar Galactica), instead opted for a remake rather than a sequel. David Eick approached Ronald D. Moore about a new four-hour Battlestar Galactica miniseries for Universal. Moore developed the miniseries with Eick, writing the scripts and updating the old series, also developing a backstory that could work for a regular weekly series, should the miniseries be successful. At the same time, Moore was approached by HBO about running a new television series, Carnivàle. While Moore worked on the first year of Carnivàle, Eick ran the day-to-day production of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries in Canada. Battlestar Galactica aired in 2003 and became the highest-rated miniseries on cable that year, and the best ratings that year for any show on Sci-Fi. After Carnivàle reached the end of its first season and the Sci-Fi Channel ordered a thirteen-episode weekly series of Battlestar Galactica, Moore left Carnivàle to assume a full-time executive producer role on Battlestar Galactica.
The special effects of the miniseries were created by Zoic Studios, who previously worked on the Firefly television series. In the opening minutes of Part 1, as the character of Laura Roslin sits in her doctor's office, a Firefly class ship is seen flying above the city. The ship does not appear in the Season 2 episode Epiphanies, where Roslin reflects on her wait in the doctor's office.
The regular series also contains effects by Atmosphere Studios, Enigma Animation Productions and the production's own effects team. Executive producer Ronald D. Moore said the outer space battles were created and rendered to look like a Discovery Channel crew was actually shooting footage. Filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The soundtrack for the miniseries was largely scored by Richard Gibbs. Many of the cues from the Miniseries soundtrack have been re-used as incidental or background music in the regular series beginning in 2004.
- 2003 Visual Effects Society Awards – Outstanding Visual Effects in a Television Miniseries, Movie or a Special
- 2003 Saturn Awards – Best Television Presentation
- 2003 Visual Effects Society Awards – Outstanding Compositing in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial
- 2003 Visual Effects Society Awards – Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial
- 2004 Emmy Awards – Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Miniseries, Night 1)
- 2004 Emmy Awards – Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Miniseries, Night 2)
- 2004 Emmy Awards – Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Miniseries, Night 1)
- 2003 Saturn Awards – Best Supporting Actress on Television, Katee Sackhoff
In 2005, Tor Books published Battlestar Galactica (the miniseries), by Jeffrey A. Carver—a novelization of the 2003 miniseries. The book incorporates deleted scenes and gives background information not seen on screen.
- Credited with the pseudonym "Christopher Eric James"
- Adam B. Vary (March 12, 2009). "The Beginning of the End: A 'Battlestar Galactica' Oral History". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Archived from the original on March 16, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
- "NBC Spotlights Sci Fi Channel Miniseries Hit 'Battlestar Galactica' in Special Presentation on Saturday, January 8" (Press release). NBC. December 6, 2004. Retrieved November 11, 2007 – via The Futon Critic.
- "Ron Moore Collection". Finding Aid of the Ron Moore Collection. USC Libraries Cinematic Arts Library. 1979–2010. Retrieved March 20, 2014. Cite journal requires
- "Heavy-Duty VFX Management for Battlestar Galactica".
- ""Battlestar Galactica" Artists Recognized with 2008 Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series".
- Moore, Ronald D. (writer); Eick, David (executive producer); Rymer, Michael (director) (December 28, 2004). Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries — Audio commentary (DVD). Universal Home Video.
- "Battlestar Galactica". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 21, 2011.