Galactica, Its Sequels, and a Lack of Perspective

Michael O. Varhola

When the wildly popular remake of Battlestar Galactica ended in 2009, its creators followed up with the prequel series Caprica. Never, perhaps, has such a decent show been so unjustly and stupidly reviled by the fans for which it was created. No, it was not as "good" as the series for which it was a spinoff, but there was hardly any way it could have been. And yes, there were things about it that I did not particularly like. But in tone and production quality it was comparable to the original series, and it had a sophisticated storyline and quality actors. But the fans whined and agitated and what do they have now for a Galactica franchise show? Nothing, that's what. (There is always the hope, of course, that there will be more like the 2012 TV movie Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome). 

On the face of it, this ingratitude was stupid and self-defeating, but it also reveals a profound lack of perspective. A healthy dose of this, however, can be gained from going back in time a little more than three decades and taking at look at the sequel that followed the original Battlestar Galactica series. That show, which incorporated into its title the year of its debut, was Galactica 1980.

It is hard to emphasize not just how substandard this earlier sequel was but also how dissimilar it was from the original series and how disingenuosly they were linked together. In short, it is a clunky amalgam of bad storylines, second-rate actors, inferior direction, indifferent choreography, cheap wigs and fake beards, cheesy stage sets, foolish antics, throwaway scenes, and maudlin oversentimentality. It is perhaps one of the worst sequels or science-fiction programs ever made. The simple fact that it is set in 1980 Los Angeles is a prime indicator of the intellectual wasteland in which is was spawned. In variance to Caprica, which simply failed to measure up to the standards of the blockbuster series that preceded it,Galactica 1980 actually betrays the integrity of its predecessor and it is almost impossible to imagine that its creators deceived even themselves that they were creating anything but crap.

Think I'm overstating the case? Check it out for yourself! Galactica 1980 is readily available for those who are interested from Netflix and other venues. Watch it, see what an earlier generation of sci-fi fans was given as a followup to their favorite series -- and then shut the hell up and quit being such whiny little bitches about Caprica