Friday, February 10, 2017

What Might've Been: Battlestar Galactica (1978)

In the 60's, Gene Roddenberry's seminal Star Trek had been described as Wagon Train being reset in space. That wasn't quite accurate, though. A lone starship doesn't equate a wagon train.

In 1978, Glen Larson introduced viewers to Battlestar Galactica, which was more befitting of being a galactic Wagon Train. Unfortunately, ABC placed Galactica in a very difficult Sunday night berth, where a couple of variety shows and Irwin Allen's remake of Swiss Family Robinson had failed before it. Opposite The Wonderful World of Disney and 60 Minutes, despite both being often delayed or pre-empted during football season, Galactica didn't have the ratings muscle to gain a renewal, despite a devoted fan following.

Two years later, Larson tried again with Galactica 1980, but that, too, failed. We'll look at that another time. More than 20 years later, the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) brought the Galactica back to life, and more than exceeded the original, as this version ran for 5 seasons.

The original Galactica boasted a veteran ensemble cast, including Lorne Greene (ex-Bonanza, Last of the Wild), Terry Carter (ex-McCloud), Richard Hatch (ex-All My Children), and Dirk Benedict. During the latter's run on The A-Team in the 80's, the producers had a scene where Templeton Peck (Benedict) encountered a Cylon as an in-joke referencing Galactica. The 21st century remake offered up Edward James Olmos (ex-Miami Vice) in Greene's role as Commander Adama.

Let's take a look back at the intro. Narration is by Patrick MacNee (ex-The Avengers), who would guest star in a 2-part episode.

Writer-producer-director Donald Belisario, of course, would go on to develop a couple of more successful hits for Universal in the 80's, namely Magnum, PI & Airwolf. His last Universal entry, Quantum Leap, brought him back to the sci-fi genre. Wouldn't surprise me if that's eventually rebooted, although Belisario has since moved his tack to CBS-Paramount.

No rating. Didn't see enough of the show to merit a rating.

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