- For information on the parent series, see Battlestar Galactica (TOS). For information on the 2004 "Re-imagined Series," see Battlestar Galactica (RDM).
"Galactica 1980" is a science-fiction television series, a spin-off from the original 1978 "Battlestar Galactica." "Galactica 1980" was first broadcast on the ABC Television Network in the United States from January 27, 1980, with its final episode first airing on May 4, 1980.
Set a generation after the Original Series, battlestar Galactica and its Fleet of 220 civilian ships finally discover Earth, only to find that the planet cannot defend itself against the Cylons as originally expected. Therefore, teams of Colonial warriors are covertly sent to the planet to work incognito with various members of the scientific community, hoping to advance Earth's technology.
Promotional material for the show indicated it was set thirty years in the future of the original show.
Commander Adama and Colonel Boomer—now second-in-command in place of Colonel Tigh—send Captain "Boxey" Troy, the adopted son of Adama's own son Apollo, and Lt. Dillon to North America. The two become entangled with TV journalist Jamie Hamilton who aids them in devising ways to help Earth's scientists and outwit the Cylons.
- Lorne Greene - Commander Adama
- Robyn Douglass - Jamie Hamilton
- Herb Jefferson Jr. - Colonel Boomer
- Richard Lynch - Xavier
- Kent McCord - Captain Troy
- Allan Miller - Colonel Sydell
- Patrick Stuart - Doctor Zee
- Robbie Rist - Doctor Zee
- Barry Van Dyke - Lieutenant Dillon
Greene (Adama) and Jefferson (Boomer) were the only major cast members of the Original Series to reprise their roles in first nine episodes, with Dirk Benedict reprising his role as Starbuck in the last episode.
The series had a promising start with a three-hour adventure that saw Troy, Dillon and Jamie sent back in time to Nazi Germany to save the future, but the series could not sustain this momentum. The series was unceremoniously cancelled after only ten episodes, many of which were multi-part stories, or what would be referred to now as arcs. The final episode featured the return of Dirk Benedict as Lt. Starbuck from the original series in a flashback episode, but it wasn't enough to save the series.
The series also suffered from what are now considered science fiction clichés. For some fans, the addition of the mysterious Doctor Zee, a prodigy child that serves as counsel to Adama, pushed their suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.
Many fans see "Galactica 1980" as a poor, non-canonical spin-off of the Original Series, perhaps one of the worst shows in television science fiction history. However, most fans exclude their contempt of this show when considering its last episode, "The Return of Starbuck," whose story of the fate of a popular character of the Original Series was well written and full of the same energy found in many of of the Original Series episodes.
One curious Cylon character in the two-part episode, "The Night the Cylons Landed" may be the one significant contribution to the "Galactica" saga. In the episode, Cylons disguised in human form arrive on Earth to cause mayhem. This character may have inspired the sinister and mysterious humanoid Cylons that wreak terror and havoc amongst the Colonies in the re-imagined "Galactica" series that debuts 23 years later.
In the fall of 1979, ABC television and Univeral approached Glen A. Larson to bring back the Galactica series, and all the parties agreed that the discovery of Earth would be a suitable vehicle for drawing back viewers. However, many of the actors had moved on to other roles, most of the sets had been struck, and the time available for completing the production before the proposed January 1980 airdate was short. Actors and production personnel who worked on Galactica 1980 describe a crazy shooting schedule that involved working on multiple episodes at the same time, last minute re-writes, and working days that extended well into the night. As a result of having crews work overtime, the budget for the series continued to creep up in cost. That, in conjunction with ratings that went from historic highs with the first episode down to a dismal showing by April, spelled the early end of the program.
Syndication and beyond
The ten "Galactica 1980" episodes were rolled into the television syndication package for "Battlestar Galactica" and were given the same title as its parent program. Several episodes were also released on home video under the title "Conquest of the Earth."
While the Sci-Fi Channel periodically airs the series, very few out-of-print copies of the episodes remain publicly on sale. Unlike its Original Series parent, "Galactica 1980" is not yet available in DVD format as of July 2006.
- Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I – January 27, 1980
- Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II – February 3, 1980
- Galactica Discovers Earth, Part III – February 10, 1980
- The Super Scouts, Part I – March 16, 1980
- The Super Scouts, Part II – March 23, 1980
- Spaceball – March 30, 1980
- The Night the Cylons Landed, Part I – April 13, 1980 (guest-starring Wolfman Jack)
- The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II – April 20, 1980 (guest-starring Wolfman Jack)
- Space Croppers – April 27, 1980
- The Return of Starbuck – May 4, 1980