Battlestar Galactica – The Original Series Episodes 19 – 24 Review

BSG TOS P4

My journey through the original Battlestar Galactica comes to an end (well, until I tackle the apparently awful Galactica 1980 at some point…) as I finish off the one solitary season of the show. Oddly the first four episodes (well, three really as 19 and 20 are one story) have a complete lack of Cylons, or indeed robots at all! Still on the plus side Boxey has seemingly been written out, so hooray! Let’s take a closer look at the last four stories of the original Battlestar Galactica…

Synopsis:

In a distant part of the cosmos, the human race is embroiled in a thousand-year-long war with the robotic Cylons. Aided by the human traitor Baltar, an armistice turns out to be a ruse by the Cylons who launch a massive surprise attack against the Twelve Colonies of humanity, almost wiping them out. Only the Galactica, led by Commander Adama, and a ragtag fleet of 220 civilian ships survive, beginning a journey across the galaxy in search of long-lost sister civilization Earth. But the Cylons will not rest until every last human has been eliminated, and pursue them across the galaxy…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

BSG TOS P4 4

This has to have been a playset at some point, right?

Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) – The ever present head of the Galactica, plus a prominent member of the Council of Twelve, making him the most influential person in the remnants of humanity (well, the humanity from the 12 Colonies, anyway…)

Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch) – Near flawless ace pilot of the Galactica who is so nice I’m pretty sure if you punched him in the face he’d smile and apologise for his face getting in the way of your fist…

Lieutenant Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) – Roguish and cocky pilot, Starbuck is also a bit of a playboy who’s having trouble with the idea of settling down… as if your whole race nearly being wiped out wasn’t enough, eh?

Lieutenant Boomer (Herb Jefferson Jr.) – Top pilot who is also talented with certain technology… he doesn’t really have much else to talk about, mind…

Lieutenant Sheba (Anne Lockhart) – Top pilot who despite being so strong willed to start with has slowly but surely become a weeping woman watching the men from the sidelines…

Baltar (John Colicos) – Joined the Cylons and helped them attack the last remnants of his people instead of getting executed, Baltar is now a prisoner on board the Galactica, with plans to escape…

The Cylons – Robot race intent on destroying all human life, but has been left in the dust by the Galactica. They still have plans in order to find their location again, however…

Plus many more!

The Good:

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The Eastern Alliance help with the escape… by making people laugh at their impractical helmets…

The series ends on a high note with Episode 24 “The Hand of God”. After receiving a mysterious transmission that might be from Earth, the Galactica is left with no choice but to face off with a Cylon Basestar which has suddenly shown up. Apollo and Starbuck end up going on board the massive base by using one of their ships as cover. After 7 Cylon-less episodes, it was nice to see the overly shiny robots again, and it generally had a feeling of “big final space battle” about it (which ended up being more true than they’d liked it to be, I’m sure…) The nod that the transmissions were from Earth was also fitting given the inadvertent end…

Episode 21, “Baltar’s Escape”, was also really good, and a weird nod to the previous few stories in that Baltar escapes with the help of the Borellians from Episode 17 and the “Eastern Alliance” people from Episodes 19/20. They also have help because some really gullible politicians decide to take control of all military matter now the Cylons have been left behind, which obviously works out well! It has some good scenes and some cheesy scenes (mostly due to how overly evil both Baltar and the Easter Alliance are…) and is generally an enjoyable 48 minutes.

Darting around a bit here, I know, but the next best in my opinion would be Episode 23 “Take the Celestra”. Apollo and Starbuck end up on the ship known as the Celestra after Starbuck sees his lost love appear when the ship’s commander is given a medal onboard the Galactica. Sadly for him, his love and her gang stage a failed coo and end up being taken back for processing… until it turns out the commander, Apollo, Starbuck and the rebellious faction are sent away to get lost in space by the Celestra’s second in command Charka, who wants to take command himself. Sounds a bit awkward but it really works well, the extra characters are played well (super-ultra 70s hair cuts aside!) and the couple of twists stop the episode from slowing down.

The first half of the two-part story “Greetings From Earth” (Episodes 19 and 20, though on the blu-ray they’re presented as one continuous story…) has some really good points. A mysterious ship is found with words and technology unknown to the crew of the Galactica, and it soon becomes a game of “should we do this?” relating to the frozen crew onboard. They could be carrying germs or not be suited to the air etc. It brings up some good points about meeting potential new species, especially when it turns out they’re right and the people on board are badly effected by the ship’s gravity and air conditions. Sadly, that’s all that’s good about it…

The Bad:

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One of the inhabitants of Terra, and a f**king annoying android thing. Hooray…

At the same time as that’s going on you have annoying school classroom segments (with the last appearance of Boxey! Hooray!) and during a lot of these scenes, and a few others, there are some really obnoxiously obvious over-dubbing that doesn’t match the original lip movement at all! Really annoying. Then it gets to the second half of the story where Apollo, Starbuck and his lover Cassiopeia arrive on the off-world planet that the inhabitants of the shuttle they intercepted were heading to. This includes a group of three kids who give Boxey a run for his money in terms of awkwardly bad acting and two apparently “funny” robots called Hector and Vector that are so child-friendly they’re like they’re from another show entirely. There’s even a scene where they perform a song and dance for the children… it’s… not good. Then the evil “Eastern Alliance” arrive and while I can’t help but smirk at their Imperial Army from Star Wars-ness (minus the cool armour) it didn’t help this story out. It’s a shame, it had a good premise at the start…

That leaves Episode 22, “Experiment in Terra”, where Apollo is once again kidnapped by the God-like light beings from “War of the Gods” and is given a mission to prevent a nuclear war on Terra (the Earth-like planet where the Eastern Alliance and the shuttle inhabitants came from) as they themselves can’t be seen to directly intervene. I like the super advanced race stuff, but otherwise this story is a bit of a mess. Firstly Apollo is made to look like someone who was believed missing on Terra so he doesn’t haven to explain anything, but he ends up not knowing who he is supposed to be or what to do, so ends up looking crazy and gets thrown in prison! No wonder Apollo becomes more and more pissed off as clearly-meant-to-be-God man. Starbuck soon joins him and by a stroke of luck it all works out and Terra is saved, but man… the God-like beings certainly left a lot of it up to chance, most of their actual plan was bollocks and go undone almost straight away…

Overall Thoughts:

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“God, be honest with me, will there ever be another series of Battlestar Galactica, with me in it?”  “Well… sort of, yeah…”

So that’s it then, the end of the original series of Battlestar Galactica. It had a few good stories left to tell, but the loss of the Cylons and arrival of Terra and the “Eastern Alliance” was a failed gamble. Still, the last episode ended the series on a high, and I do feel sad that there isn’t more to be told by this cast (especially as I don’t hold up much hope of being pleasantly surprised when I get around to watching Galactica 1980…)

Episodes 21, 23 and 24:

4 Star Watch

Episode 22 “Experiment in Terra”:

3 Star Watch

Episodes 19/20 “Greetings from Earth”:

2 Star Watch

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