Experiment in Terra (TV movie)

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
For other items of the same name, see: Experiment in Terra (disambiguation)

Universal Logo
"Experiment in Terra"
An installment of the TV movies
Episode No. Movie 2
Writer(s) Glen A. Larson
Story by
Director Rod Holcomb
Ron Satlof
Gene Palmer
Assistant Director
Special guest(s)
Production No.
Nielsen Rating
US airdate USA {{{US airdate}}}
CAN airdate CAN {{{CAN airdate}}}
UK airdate UK {{{UK airdate}}}
DVD release
Population {{{population}}} survivors
Extended Info Telemovie on "Saga of a Star World", "Experiment in Terra", "The Return of Starbuck"
Episode Chronology
Previous Next
Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack Experiment in Terra Conquest of the Earth (VHS)
[[IMDB:tt{{{imdb}}}|IMDb entry]]
Listing of props for this episode
Related Media
@ BW Media
Promotional Materials
Online Purchasing
Amazon: Standard Definition | High Definition
iTunes: [{{{itunes}}} USA]

A longer, television-movie version of "Experiment in Terra" with scenes from other episodes, such as Galactica 1980's "The Return of Starbuck".


This section covers the differences between the series episode of "Experiment in Terra" and this television movie.

A depiction of a reptilian, serpent Cylon from the "Experiment in Terra" television movie.

Original Content[edit]

  • A narration provided by Patrick Macnee provides an overview of Earth's explorations into the galaxy.
  • An astronaut (name indiscernible) happens across an object floating through space during EVA. Disregarding all safety precautions, he grabs the object, discovering it to be a written log book from the battlestar Galactica.
  • Returning to his ship, the astronaut reads through the log book (with narrations provided by Lorne Greene), which tells of the origins of the Cylons and the Thousand Yahren War with them. Adama explains about the recent events before the end of that war: the Battle of Molecay, Baltar's betrayal of humanity, the Battle of Cimtar and subsequent fall of, and exodus from, the Twelve Colonies.

Content from "The Return of Starbuck"[edit]

  • The bulk of the footage from the Galactica 1980 episode "The Return of Starbuck" is included in this television movie release, except for anything relating to Doctor Zee or Angela, and it is implied that Starbuck returned to the Fleet in the ship he constructed.

Content not included in the episodic version of "Experiment in Terra"[edit]

  • Several scenes were not included in the episodic version of "Experiment in Terra", including:
    • Tigh suggests to Adama that they bypass Lunar 7 and head toward Terra; Adama is reticent to do so, seeing as they do not have all the facts regarding the situation on Terra, and that both sides (the Nationalists and Eastern Alliance) could be in the wrong.
    • After Apollo's disappearance, Starbuck and Boomer discuss their options on whether or not to go looking for Apollo, particularly in light of the fact that they have barely enough fuel to complete their mission and return to Galactica.
    • A later scene provides six seconds of footage of Starbuck's Viper flying off, while Boomer rolls his eyes.
    • After Apollo and Starbuck talk with General Maxwell and his aide, Stone, there are various shots that include:
      • Terra as seen from space.
      • A desert on Terra.
      • The Eastern Alliance war room in an underground bunker.
      • Starbuck and Brenda Maxwell searching for the Vipers.
    • After Brenda tells Starbuck that she doesn't know what to believe, he tells her to stop the vehicle. The action then switches to an extended scene of the speeches by Arends, General Maxwell, and Apollo.



  • This movie version of "Experiment in Terra" clarifies that there were only five battlestars left by the end of the Thousand Yahren War, Pegasus notwithstanding.
  • There are contradictions with the established information which arise from information already provided in the television series:
    • The scenes of the Battle of Molecay are reused stock footage depicting the Fleet; the Fifth Fleet would likely not have been comprised of civilian ships, like the freighter Gemini or the Colonial Movers ship.
    • The scenes of a disheveled Baltar being presented to the succeeding Imperious Leader are explained as having happened before the Battle of Cimtar. It is implied that they had captured Baltar and subsequently released him based on his epistle. Of course, the footage is reused from the end of "Saga of a Star World", well after the Battle of Carillon and the death of the first Imperious Leader, hence Baltar's comment regarding the Imperious Leader's not knowing him and the Leader's comment about giving him command of a baseship entirely under his command.
  • The collage of footage provided indicates an interstellar spacefaring Terran culture, but still not one as advanced as the Colonials were prior to the Colonial holocaust.
  • The odds are astronomically against humanity ever finding that log book floating through space. The universe is a large place and thus for a human (or anyone for that matter) ever finding that log book would have been next to impossible. However, given the establishment of the Beings of Light and other forces outside of "human comprehension", the astronaut's "discovery" of the log book may have been the result of these external forces.


  • How long has Adama's log book floated through space?
  • Did Galactica ever reach Earth? Or was it destroyed just short of Earth and the logbook somehow survived intact?
  • Was the flaw in the Imperious Leader's programming deliberate or accidental?

Official Statements[edit]

Noteworthy Dialogue[edit]

Patrick Macnee: There are those who believe that life here on Earth began out there. Far across the universe with tribes of humans, who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans, that they may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Again and again we launched our spacecraft into the solar system to probe and search for a planet having the same composition as our Earth. The planet with the air and soil so essential to life, as well as the necessary geological processes. A planet from which extraterrestrial visitors to Earth might live, or might once have lived, and although it became more apparent with each space exploration that such a planet could exist, it always eluded us.
It was on one such routine expedition that the astronaut, [indiscernible], accidentally saw an object floating in space. Disregarding the space hazards, he retrieved the object, which upon examination proved to be a log book from the battlestar Galactica.
It was the first documented proof that life as we know it, as well as other forms, exist or existed in the galaxy. But in the galaxy, as on Earth, where ever mankind is present, love and warfare prevail, as well as mankind's dream of everlasting peace.
Adama: In case we do not survive, this is a true record of the war between the Cylon Centurions and the human race in the star system. Commander Adama, Battlestar Galactica.
Somewhere in sometime in our galaxy, there evolved an intelligent race of serpents known as Cylons. First they created machines of super-intelligence: the Cylon Centurions. Then they created the ultimate in machinery technology, the ruler known as the Imperious Leader. But due to a slight error in their programming, the Imperious Leader turned against his creators and ordered his subjects to exterminate all human life forms. Thus began a war with the Cylon Centurions that erased all of the human race in the star system.
One of our greatest defeats was the Battle of Molecay. The Fifth Fleet, including its flagship, the Pegasus, under our great military leader Commander Cain was destroyed.
After a battle alleging to depict the Battle of Molecay:
Now there remains only one fleet of warships consisting of five flying battlestars, with the flagship, battlestar Galactica, under my command, to protect the tired and weary Twelve Colonies.
After the new Imperious Leader spares Baltar's life to explain to the humans his policy of tolerance:
Unexpectedly, the Cylon Centurions sued for peace, asking for an armistice conference. They chose the ruthless and treacherous Baltar as their liaison. And unknown to our intelligence force was Baltar's bargain with the Cylons, whereby he would rule over our colonies after we were conquered. Nor were we or Baltar aware of the Cylons' real plans.
After Adama warns Adar of the incoming ships, which attack the battlestar fleet:
And so we were taken by surprise as a thousand Cylon Centurions attacked and engaged our fleet in battle.
In order to protect our colonies, I left the fighter craft to defend the fleet and turned the battlestar Galactica toward our planet home base, Caprica. Unfortunately, while our fleet was under attack, a greater force of Cylon Centurions attacked our home planets and completely destroyed all Twelve Colonies.
The problems of this time seem almost insurmountable: we're short of fuel, water, and food. But worst of all we no longer have a home planet. After much deliberation, I've decided to set course in search of the only remaining outpost and colony of humanity in the universe. Now so that mankind in our galaxy can survive I shall someway, somehow seek out that Thirteenth Colony which lies far beyond our star system. A planet called Earth.
My immediate problem is to obtain food for the survivors and fuel for the ships, without endangering my people or my Fleet. Carillon is the only logical answer. It's an old mining outpost abandoned by the Cylons, but that too presents hazards. It is well known that the Cylons mined the only passage way to Carillon. I have no choice but to clear a channel.

Guest Stars[edit]

As ordered by the beginning credits.

Others that are not (apparently) credited.

For more Galactica telemovies, see TV movies

External Links[edit]