Galactica was the most highly publicized new
series of the fall 1978 schedule.
Reported to have cost one million dollars per hour to produce - the highest budget
ever for a regular series - it used spectacular special effects to depict
a mighty life-and-death struggle between the forces of good and evil in
outer space, thousands of years in the future. Lasers flashed, majestic
spaceships lumbered through deep space, and dashing, caped heroes fought half-human,
half-robot villains for no less than the survival of mankind.
If this sounds like a copy of
the movie Star Wars, it was.
Galactica was such a
literal imitation of Star Wars that
the producers of the movie sued ABC for "stealing" their
film. Part of the similarity lay in the special effects, such as laser
battles and close-ups of the spacecraft, which were created by John Dykstra,
the same man who worked on Star Wars.
setting was the seventh millennium, A.D. Galactica was the only surviving
battlestar after a surprise attack by the evil Cylons, aided by the
treacherous Count Baltar, had shattered the interplanetary peace and wiped
out most of human-kind. Now the Cylons were pursuing Galactica and her
attendant fleet of 220 smaller spacecraft as they sped through space toward a last
refuge, a distant, unknown planet called Earth.
the mile-wide Galactica was the stoic, silver-haired Adams. His son, Apollo,
led Galactica's fighter squadron (another son was killed off by the Cylons in the premiere). Starbuck was his ace pilot, as well as a
smooth-talking con artist and ladies' man. Muffit was the mechanical canine
Daggit. Many other characters came and went from the large cast, including
the singing Android Sisters, who entertained with two sets of mouths apiece,
in a surrealistic outer-space bar peopled by oddly shaped creatures from
other civilizations (remember that scene in Star Wars?).
the hype, the audience for Galactica declined sharply, until eventually only
the kids were left watching. It left the air after a single season, then
returned in early 1980 retitled
new series of films was set 30 years later, and only Lorne Greene remained
from the original regular cast. Galactica had finally reached Earth, only
to find that the Cylons were planning to destroy that, too. Capt. Troy (Boxey
as an adult) and Lt. Dillon were sent to the planet's surface, incognito, to enlist the
aid of California's high-powered Pacific Institute
of Technology in preparing Earth for the forthcoming battle. Novice TV newswoman,
Jamie Hamilton of United Broadcasting latched on to them, and, sensing
a big story, insisted that she accompany them when they were called back
to the mother ship. Also in the revamped cast were Dr. Zee, a 14-year-old boy
genius, and Xavier, a renegade member of Galactica's 12-man ruling counsel.