Galactica 1980: Season 1

 
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Galactica 1980
ABC | Season Premiere Date: January 27, 1980
Summary: Only the first three episodes of the series, comprising the pilot movie, feature a title sequence beginning with "Galactica 1980." The remaining episodes begin by calling the show "Battlestar Galactica," as if this were the second season of the original show.

All the roles were written for the original cast, as if this were the second
Only the first three episodes of the series, comprising the pilot movie, feature a title sequence beginning with "Galactica 1980." The remaining episodes begin by calling the show "Battlestar Galactica," as if this were the second season of the original show.

All the roles were written for the original cast, as if this were the second season. When most proved unavailable, the parts were rewritten and a largely new cast was hired.

Set 30 years after the first season, the Galactica, guided by the mysterious teenage genius prodigy Dr. Zee. Adama, sporting a hideously fake beard, remains in command of the fleet, with Col. Boomer his second in command. Upon realizing Earth of 1980 cannot face the Cylons, and hearing Zee's warning that the Cylons followed them, Adama turns the fleet away, sending his grandson Troy (the grown up Boxey) and his wingman Dillon to explore Earth and aid in speeding up its technological development. They are helped by a reporter named Jamie Hamilton, and new technology such as personal cloaking shields and flying motorcycles.

The original premise set up in the pilot features a traitor named Xavier stealing a ship and traveling into the past in an effort to speed up Earth's development by introducing technology into the past. His first target is to help the Nazi rocket program, but he is stopped by Troy, Dillon and Jamie. He escapes their custody and heads to pre-Revolutionary America, and the pilot ends with Jamie vowing to join Troy and Dillon in the chase for Xavier through time — the implication being each episode would feature Xavier in a different era, with our trio of heroes trying to stop him from changing history.

However, when the series was picked up, this premise was abandoned, and a plot thread featuring Troy and Dillon protecting a group of Galactican children on Earth was woven through many of the episodes, with Xavier abandoning his time travel efforts.

The story of the children was an element no doubt introduced to appease broadcast standards requiring shows airing at 7 p.m. to appeal to younger audiences.
While the show was considered a critical flop, it did feature a number of recurring storylines. Among them, in addition to the children, was the military's attempt to track down any evidence of the Galactica, and Jamie's boss looking to cover the story. Recurring themes included Troy and Dillon in fish-out-of-water scenarios as they attempted to adapt to Earth, which added a level of silliness, and the idea that Galactica was the guardian of the last human stronghold in the face of the Cylon threat, which added a layer of seriousness.

Several episodes featured the following text at the end of the program: "The United States Air Force stopped investigating UFOs in 1969. After 22 years, they found no evidence of extra-terrestrial visits and no threat to national security." This may have been in response not only to the Air Force story arc, but also to the stringent educational standards of a 7 p.m. time slot.

These standards may have at first given series creator Glen Larson the idea to feature history-themed episodes as a way to provide some educational context. Instead, ABC interference probably led to the prominence of the use of the children, and several episodes were little more than trite morality plays about such things as pollution and racism. As a result, the finished product ended up being insulting to most audience members' intelligence, while alienating core fans of the series who found the new premise absurd.

The poor quality of early episodes and declining ratings were probably the impetus for Larson to reintroduce the Cylon menace so soon. The ninth episode, "Space Croppers," features a Cylon attack that hearkens back to fond memories of the first season before denigrating into the usual Earthbound dreck this season was known for.
Larson has subsequently stated his regret for this second season, and other than the finale "The Return of Starbuck," considered the episodes a waste of time. Given another chance at continuing the storyline, he said he would chalk up "1980" to a bad dream or a computer simulation, then continue the first season as if "1980" had never happened.

The existence of "1980" was cited as one reason Ronald Moore chose a new version of BSG rather than a continuation. Even so, "1980" beat him to the punch with humanoid Cylons, featured in the two-parter "The Night the Cylons Landed." Like the new BSG, "1980" dealt with the evolution of the Cylon race.
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Genre(s): Science Fiction
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