5 Best Frakking 'Battlestar Galactica' Episodes

Battlestar Galactica Takes Over the UN

In 2003, producer/writer Ronald D. Moore made the bold choice to resurrect the short-lived 70s Sci-Fi series Battlestar Galactica. While fondly remembered by its fans, the show was not exactly epic in its storytelling, and some people, including members of the Galactica cast, wondered about the success of such a remake. They need not have worried. Although grittier and darker in tone, Moore’s re-imagined version was soon embraced by Sci-Fi fans and, over time, mainstream viewers as well. For the next five years, fans were taken on a wild ride with numerous twists and turns. Newsarama looks back at five of Galactica’s more memorable moments.

5.) Exodus: Part 2

At the end of Galactica’s second season, the story line advanced by a year to find the majority of the human survivors, including many of the Galactica crew, making a new home for themselves on New Caprica. Unfortunately for them, the Cylons locate the settlement and decide to occupy it. Heavily outnumbered, the Galactica and the Pegasus have no choice but to abandon the planet. In Exodus: Part 2, Admiral William Adama returns with Galactica and coordinates a dramatic rescue effort with resistance forces on New Caprica. The Pegasus, commanded by Lee Adama, returns as well, and is sacrificed to win the battle. The Cylons abandon New Caprica, taking with them Colonial President Gaius Baltar and the human/Cylon hybrid child Hera.

Written by Battlestar Galactica executive producers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson, Exodus was originally slated to be a single episode. “As time went on, though, David and I realized it wasn’t going to fit into one show,” says Thompson. “Then we went up to the set in Vancouver, and that’s when [director/producer] Michael Rymer suggested, ‘This really needs to be two episodes,’ so it wasn’t a big surprise to us when they decided to do just that.”

Adds Weddle, “It was a thrill to be on-set while they were filming, especially during the freeing of people on New Caprica and the blowing up of the shipyard gates. Explosions were going off, cranes were being moved about to get various shots, and a huge group of extras were running about. It really was like being on a giant movie set.”

4.) Pegasus

The Galactica crew along with the rest of the Colonial fleet are surprised to find that they are not the only human survivors of the Cylons attack on the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, when the Battlestar Pegasus, commanded by Admiral Helena Cain, suddenly appears in space. While initially pleased about this reunion and what it means to the ongoing survival of humanity, Adama and his people soon start to question Cain’s methods as she begins to exert her authority over the fleet. Colonel Tigh discovers that the admiral shot her former executive officer in cold blood for disobeying orders, while Baltar finds that the Cylon Gina, one of the Number Six models and who is being held prisoner in the Pegasus brig, has been abused by Cain’s crew. Tensions soon mount and this eventually leads to an armed showdown between the Galactica and the Pegasus.

Pegasus is loosely based on a two-part episode of the original Galactica series, The Living Legend, in which Lloyd Bridges played the role of Commander Cain. As with the re-imagined Starbuck character, Cain was rewritten as a female and Michelle Forbes, best known to her fans as Ensign Ro Laren in Star Trek: The Next Generation, was cast in the part.

Although the Cain character was later shot and killed by Gina in Resurrection Ship: Part 2, Forbes subsequently reprised her role in the Galactica TV movie Razor.

3.) 33

Imagine running for your life and barely having time to eat, wash or, most importantly, sleep. This is the dilemma facing the-then Commander William Adama and his crew of the Battlestar Galactica in 33. This Hugo Award-winning episode, which is the series opener, follows the Galactica and what remains of the Colonial fleet as they are forced to execute a faster-than-light (FTL) jump every 33 minutes to evade pursuing Cylon basestars. Meanwhile, stranded on Cylon-occupied Caprica, Lt. Helo is captured by humanoid Cylon Number Six, only to be rescued by his fellow officer Lt. Sharon “Boomer” Valerii, who, in subsequent episodes, reveals herself to be a humanoid Cylon as well.

In preparation to shoot this episode, Edward James Olmos (William Adama) consulted an expert on sleep deprivation, and he along with some fellow cast mates even limited themselves to three hours sleep per night to more realistically convey their characters’ plight.

Says Olmos, “When the story begins, five days have gone by since the [2003] miniseries and the Galactica has completed its 237th jump. It’s been five days of having only 33-minute respites in-between each encounter with the Cylons. During that time, we have to contemplate our next move as well as try to deal with the [emotional and physical] stress of what we’re going through, so it’s a very intense piece.”

2.) Crossroads: Part 2

Who would have thought that Bob Dylan’s version of All Along the Watchtower would become part of the re-imagined Galactica’s history. The music is used at the end of the episode as a trigger to help Colonel Tigh, Sam Anders, Chief Tyrol and Tory Foster realize that they are, in fact, four of the five final Cylons. Prior to this big reveal, Gaius Baltar’s trial for crimes against humanity concludes with the ex-colonial president being acquitted with the help of Lee Adama, who is serving as part of his defense team. The icing on the top of this story is when, in its final seconds, Starbuck miraculously turns up alive and well, having previously been lost on a mission and presumed dead.

For actor Jamie Bamber, parts one and two of Crossroads served as a major turning point for his character of Lee Adama. “I think Baltar’s trial changed Lee totally,” notes the actor. “Not only was there the experience of re-engaging with his [deceased] grandfather – this legal champion of human rights – but also having to examine the Baltar question and accept that to every angle there is an opposite one, and that justice is more than just a power shared by President Roslin and Admiral Adama.

With Starbuck’s surprise return, every effort was made to keep it a secret from fans until the episode aired. “We put out false script pages for the Cylon story arc as well as Starbuck’s reappearance just in case the script got out,” recalls co-executive producer Mark Verheiden, who wrote Crossroads: Part 2. “We even took Katee Sackhoff’s [Starbuck] name out of the opening credits and went that extra mile to make it look like her character might not be back.”

1.) Revelations

In an effort to get back the five final Cylons, Number Three, D’Anna Biers, takes President Roslin and several Colonial soldiers hostage onboard the rebel Cylon basestar. When Tory Foster decides to rejoin her fellow Cylons, the identities of her fellow three humanoid Cylons onboard the Galactica becomes known. At the urging of Tigh, Tyrol and Anders, Starbuck reexamines the Viper she was piloting at the end of Crossroads, Part 2 and discovers that it is transmitting a signal that will lead them to Earth. With the Cylon basestar and the Galactica preparing to exchange fire, the two parties agree to a truce and head for Earth. Upon arriving, they find a radioactive wasteland, all that remains of a great city once inhabited by the human Cylons.

As if this discovery was not enough of a blow to the show’s characters, Edward James Olmos revealed that things would only get darker for them, and he was telling the truth. The remaining episodes of the series have seen a mutiny, further death as well as betrayal and more shocking reveals.

No doubt the number one Galactica episode will ultimately be the series finale, Daybreak, Part 2, which airs tonight (Friday, March 20th). Many questions still remain, and in a recent conference call with journalists, Ron Moore promised that as many loose ends as possible would be tied up with this episode. We’ll have to wait and see.


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