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Battlestar Galactica:

Original Series (1978-1980)

the original Battlestar GalacticaAfter the success of Star Wars (1977), TV network ABC responded with Battlestar Galactica, created by Glen A. Larson. The series began with a three-hour (including ads) TV movie, followed by a weekly series. Broadcast of the original three-episode pilot was interrupted for an hour, about 30 minutes before the end, by news of the signing of the Camp David Accords; afterwards, the episode resumed where it left off.

The series was characterized by multi-part episodes. The show’s 24 episodes included the original three-episode opener and five other two-parters.

In April 1979, ABC cancelled the show, citing ratings and cost overruns, after a single season. Just months later, in the fall, ABC met with series creator Glen A. Larson to discuss bringing back the show.

In order to offer a hook for new viewers, Galactica 1980 would feature the Galactica finding Earth and covertly protecting it from the Cylons. This would help keep costs down, because much of the show would be set on then-present-day Earth. That setting didn’t please fans of the original show, however, who preferred outer space.

Fans were also not pleased by Galactica 1980‘s focus on an almost completely different cast of characters than the original series. Adama returned, as did Boomer, although the latter had little screentime. Starbuck returned in the final episode. Otherwise, the entire list of characters had changed.

The series was also hurt by airing on Sunday nights, then reserved for child-safe programming. The show thus was forced to limit its violence and insert educational content. To appeal to this audience, several episodes also focused on children from the Galactica.

The show also wasn’t helped by recycling footage or by poor writing.

Galactica 1980 began in January 1980 as a mid-season replacement. Like the original, the show started with a three-episode TV movie. ABC cancelled the show even faster than the original, after a mere 10 episodes.

Several Battlestar Galactica movies, both for TV and theaters, were created using footage from the two shows. In 1978, even before the show debuted, an edited version of the three-episode pilot was released (as simply Battlestar Galactica) to theaters in Canada, Australia, and continental Europe. In 1979, the film was released in the U.S. and U.K. The film differs from the TV version, most notably by killing off Baltar.

No other films were released theatrically in the U.S. However, a second film, titled Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack was created by editing footage from the two-part “The Living Legend” with “Fire in Space.” In 1979, it was released in continental Europe and Japan; in 1980, it was released in the U.K. A third film, titled Conquest of the Earth, was created by editing footage of the Galactica 1980 three-episode debut with footage from that show’s two-part “The Night the Cylons Landed.” It was released in 1981 in continental Europe and Australia.

In addition, the original 24 episodes were turned into a series of 12 two-hour TV movies for syndication. These included a new edit of the three-episode debut, slightly expanded versions of the five two-parters, five TV movies made by combining two unrelated episodes, and a final TV movie made by combining an expanded version of “Experiment in Terra” with scenes from the final Galactica 1980 episode “The Return of Starbuck” and new footage of an astronaut discovering Commander Adama’s logbook.

Original Series

Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #1

“Saga of a Star World, Part I”

first episode; aired 17 Sept 1978

Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #2

“Saga of a Star World, Part II”

aired 17 Sept 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #3

“Saga of a Star World, Part III”

aired 17 Sept 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #4

“Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I”

the Galactica discovers Kobol, the world from which humanity originated; aired 24 Sept 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #5

“Lost Planet of the Gods, Part II”

Cylons attack, destroying the city on Kobol and killing Serina, Apollo’s new wife
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #6

“The Lost Warrior”

aired 8 Oct 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #7

“The Long Patrol”

aired 15 Oct 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #8

“Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part I”

aired 22 Oct 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #9

“Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part II”

aired 29 Oct 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #10

“The Magnificent Warriors”

aired 12 Nov 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #11

“The Young Lords”

aired 19 Nov 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #12

“The Living Legend, Part I”

the Galactica reunites with the Pegasus; aired 26 Nov 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #13

“The Living Legend, Part II”

the Pegasus is apparently lost again; aired 3 Dec 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #14

“Fire in Space”

aired 17 Dec 1978
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #15

“War of the Gods, Part I”

aired 14 Jan 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #16

“War of the Gods, Part II”

aired 21 Jan 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #17

“The Man With Nine Lives”

aired 28 Jan 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #18

“Murder on the Rising Star”

aired 18 Feb 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #19

“Greetings from Earth, Part I”

aired 25 Feb 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #20

“Greetings from Earth, Part II”

aired 25 Feb 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #21

“Baltar’s Escape”

aired 11 Mar 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #22

“Experiment in Terra”

aired 18 Mar 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #23

“Take the Celestra”

aired 1 Apr 1979
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 #24

“The Hand of God”

final episode; in the final scene, Apollo and Starbuck fail to receive transmissions from the Apollo-11 moon landing; aired 29 Apr 1979

Galactica 1980

Galactica 1980 #1

“Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I”

first episode; 30 years after the original series, Galactica finds Earth; aired 27 Jan 1980

Galactica 1980 #2

“Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II”

in an attempt to speed up Earth’s development so it can aid in fighting Cylons, Commander Xavier takes an experimental Viper and travels back in time to give Colonial tech to the Nazis; aired 3 Feb 1980
Galactica 1980 #3

“Galactica Discovers Earth, Part III”

aired 10 Feb 1980
Galactica 1980 #4

“The Super Scouts, Part I”

aired 16 Mar 1980
Galactica 1980 #5

“The Super Scouts, Part II”

aired 23 Mar 1980
Galactica 1980 #6

“Spaceball”

aired 30 Mar 1980
Galactica 1980 #7

“The Night the Cylons Landed, Part I”

aired 13 Apr 1980
Galactica 1980 #8

“The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II”

aired 20 Apr 1980
Galactica 1980 #9

“Space Croppers”

aired 27 Apr 1980
Galactica 1980 #10

“The Return of Starbuck”

final episode; aired 4 May 1980


Tagged Battlestar Galactica, Cylons, Galactica 1980, Glen A. Larson.