Intense. That’s the single word I’d used if I needed to describe the new Battlestar Galactica if I had to use just one word. Galactica could be on its way to being the best produced SF show to date. Intensity, political intrigue, action – its all there. Battlestar Galactica Season 1 is now out on DVD, so if you’ve missed out so far, now’s your chance. Read More for my review, and feel free to leave your own, of the first season or the DVD set specifically.
With the 12 colonies of man virtually destroyed in the climax of a hundred-year war with the Cylon Empire, President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) gather up the few humans left and embark on a journey to find the mythical planet Earth, not realizing that the Cylon robot is no longer a recognizable enemy. Battlestar Galactica is a complete re-imagining of the 1970s series ? upping the ante on the action, adventure, and drama that made the original so popular. Now, experience all 13 thrilling episodes of Season 1 and the four hour TV miniseries that started it all in this 5 disc DVD set loaded with explosive bonus features and presented in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.
The series picks up precisely where the miniseries left off. The Galactica is leading a fleet of random ships with less than 50,000 human survivors, supposedly looking for Earth – except most believe Earth is just a myth and doesn’t really exist. However, legend and prophesy may prove otherwise.
The very first episode (and one of the best), “33”, sets the tone – as I said, intense. The fleet is being dogged by the Cylons jumping in every 33 minutes on the dot, and have been doing so for 5 days, leaving no time for the crew to rest. Everyone is on edge and starting to break down. Finally they begin to suspect that one of the ships in the fleet may not be what it seems, and a terrible decision must be made.
From there, the suspense and intrigue carries through the rest of the 13 episodes, as we try and figure out what Boomer is up to, what President Roslin wants from Caprica, and what Starbuck’s motivations are.
We even get a treat for fans of the original show. “Bastille Day” features a rebellion on a prison ship, with a charismatic leader played by Richard Hatch – who played Captain Apollo in the original show. He also appears later in the season.
This DVD set also includes the miniseries – it is NOT the same disc as the separate miniseries release – this one has only a commentary track. It leaves off the other special features, so don’t feel too bad if you already have it. Most episodes also include commentary tracks, mostly by Ronald D. Moore, and the last disc includes 8 different and interesting featurettes, deleted scenes, the SCI FI Channel’s Battlestar Galactica: The Series Lowdown, and a Sketches and Art section which is set to music, which made it more interesting than just a straight-up slideshow.
The 5 discs come in 5 separate slim plastic cases, which are contained in a double-wide cardboard slipcase with a nice metallic finish.
The on-disc main menus are rather simplistic. No animation, just a simple image of Six with glowing eyes over a star background with ghostly Vipers. The resolution of the image seemed a bit poor. Disc 2 contains some previews for other shows but can be skipped.
Each disc can play all the episodes in order, and also has a episode submenu, when then leads to episode descriptions. The background images here look better.
Plot/Story: Best in a while for a series. It takes us through all the troubles of trying to establish order and still flee a menace. And things change over the course of the season, instead of a “reset button” being pushed at the end of every episode, so there is the feeling we are actually going somewhere. 5/5
Characters/Acting: Consistent quality acting from all involved, as well as consistent characters. The whole Apollo traitor thing was weird and didn’t seem realistic, but otherwise no issues. 4/5
Effects/Visuals: They switched to HD video shooting from film, but you wouldn’t notice much of a difference, although they did say in one of the featurettes that had to be more mindful of the sets, needing to dirty them up more. 4/5
DVD Extras/Packaging: None of the fan-fave outtakes, but plenty to go along with a 13-episode season. Too bad they didn’t include the extras from the miniseries as well – completists may need to buy the separate disc as well. 3/5
Overall: One of the best shows on TV, helping to give SF some mainstream recognition. Lets hope we can see some mainstream Emmys next year, as opposed to some marginal-SF shows like Lost. 5/5
Total: 4.2 out of 5. Everyone should have this.