"Frack" is a Colonial expletive, roughly analogous to "shit" or even the milder "rats" or "darn" of the Original Series. Its subversive value, exploited far more extensively in the Re-imagined Series, is that it sounds like a variant of "fuck," and in the latter series it actually conveys that meaning.
There are two main ways to spell the term, but "frack" is how it appears in the Writer's Guide, dated October, 2, 1978.
With the exception of the Galactica 1980 episode "The Return of Starbuck," it is used solely in the Original Series episodes and publications relating to that series. For the first nine episodes of Galactica 1980, the term "felgercarb" is used in lieu of "frack," likely because of the "Kiddie Hour" time-slot 1980 held at the time.
Usage by episode
- "Frack!" is used once each in "Saga of a Star World," "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I," "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part II," "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part II," and "Fire in Space." It is used twice in "The Magnificent Warriors."
- "Holy frack!" is used once each in "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part I," "The Magnificent Warriors," "War of the Gods, Part I," "Experiment in Terra" and "The Hand of God."
- "Oh, frack!" is used twice in "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I" and once each in "The Long Patrol" and "Baltar's Escape."
- In "Greetings from Earth," Boxey says, "Oh, frack," in a classroom where Athena is teaching a group of children, loudly enough for the entire room to hear, but there is no indication that he was punished or reprimanded.
- Starbuck uses the term "frack" after being hit in the battle that results in Starbuck crashing on planet Starbuck (Galactica 1980: "The Return of Starbuck").
"We never had time to shut down and say 'Let's get a writer in here and fix this.' We just did it. We just did it. If the actors had a problem, we would find out a way. If they would get frustrated because they wanted to say 'Fuck!' in here, and you can't say 'Fuck!,' I said 'Well then say Frack!' Let's just say something else. Let's stop saying 'Gosh darn it!' because isn't that stupid in the middle of it, but some other guttural, kind of expression that you can just use and it'll feel ok. So, in television, you go out and you capture moments. It's much more like the Jackson Pollock approach to film making; looking and waiting for the happy accident, giving the actors freedom to do what they do as well as they can, encouraging them to surprise you [and] surprise the audience."