Battlestar Galactica—The Miniseries (2003)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

The beginning of something great

Doesn't work as a stand-alone mini-series


Meet the new Toasters

The Cylons have returned after years in space, and they are seeking to destroy their creators.  With new human identities, the Cylons have stolen military secrets from Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) and are now using them against the Twelve Colonies.  With a backwards compatible ship called the Galactica, Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) finds himself leading the battle against the vastly superior Cylons.  As the strike occurs, the Secretary of Education Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) learns she’s now the President.  Can humanity be saved or have the Cylons won the war?


I might be a woman now, but I still love to smoke and play cards

Based on the original Battlestar Galactica series which ran from September 17, 1978 to April 29, 1979, Battlestar Galactica—The Miniseries was a two episode pilot/kick-off to the new series.  It aired from December 8 to December 9 in 2003 on SyFy and surprised many critics with great reviews.  The series was nominated for Emmies for its effects and sounds and has been collected both as an individual miniseries and as part of Battlestar Galactica—Season 1.

I enjoyed the old Battlestar Galactica which was relatively short-lived but fun.  I am always pretty skeptical of TV sci-fi which can either be great or awful.  This series really kicks off something good by combining a great story with great special effects.  The big switch-up for this version are the humanoid “toasters” and the gender switching of Starbuck and Boomer.


Are we going to have problems?

I have to commend the casting directors of the series.  Most of the actors were unknown at the start of the series, and much like a series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Veronica Mars, the series has a huge cast that is slowly introduced (but always present throughout the series).  If you have seen more of Battlestar Galactica, it is fun to go through this mini-series and see how some of the minor characters became big players as the series progressed.  In this miniseries features the appearance of an updated Boxey who just disappears quickly as the series’ first season begins.


The swearing in is supposed to match LBJ’s

I love how Battlestar Galactica looks.  The battle scenes are as good (or even better) than some of the big screen space movies.  The single-camera style of shooting with snap zooms and shifting camera works to make the fights and battles realistic and very kinetic.

Battlestar Galactica—The Miniseries isn’t the best stand-alone series.  The series ends rather open ended so you can’t really watch the mini-series and accept that you are finished by any means.  The ending provides multiple cliffhangers that will have you returning for Battlestar Galactica—Season 1.


“Episode 1”

Episode 1 Airdate:  12/08/03

After a forty year armistice, the Cylons strike back at the Twelve Colonies, and this time they have new tricks.  The Cylons have taken human form and according to Number Six (Tricia Helfer) there are twelve versions.  Using codes she stole from high ranking expert Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis), Number Six uses Baltar’s codes to lead an all-out attack.  The Battlestar Galactica is being decommissioned, and Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) is preparing for retirement when the Cylons strike.  The Secretary of Education Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) finds herself facing a difficult medical situation but is forced to take the Presidency when she learns that she’s the highest ranking official alive.  Captain Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber) deals with his brother’s death and finds himself at odds with his father Commander Adama who he blames.  Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) butts heads with Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) but quickly learns Galactica’s old non-network compatibility keeps it from Cylon control.  A forced landing on the planet has Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharon “Boomer” Valerii (Grace Park) rescuing survivors including Baltar while being forced to leave Lieutenant Karl “Helo” Agathon (Tahmoh Penikett) behind.  As Commander Adama tries to take control of the situation, he finds himself facing the newly empowered President Roslin.


“Episode 2”

Episode 2 Airdate:  12/09/03

Apollo’s quick thinking saves President Roslin and the ship but leaves Adama thinking his son is dead.  Roslin reveals her condition to her assistant Billy Keikeya (Paul Campbell) and learns being President means making tough decisions.  An accident leaves Adama trapped with another member of the humanoid Cylons (Number 2—Callum Keith Rennie) and learns that the Cylons now can mimic human form.  Boomer saves a young boy named Boxey (Connor Widdows) and is reunited with Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas).  Baltar finds himself suffering hallucinations of Number Six and reveals to Lieutenant Felix Gaeta (Allessandro Juliani) that his program is being used by the Cylons to attack.  A discovery by Baltar aboard the Galactica reveals to him that there is a Cylon aboard the Galactica.  Starbuck is sent on a recon mission and makes a big admission to Lee about his brother.  Baltar is asked to root out Cylon spies and uses it to implicate Aaron Doral (Matthew Bennett) as a Cylon.  A sit down between Adama and Roslin leads to a change in strategy for Adama and a desperate attempt to save the human race.  Adama meets with the people and makes them a promise of Earth, and Roslin learns his bluff.  Starbuck faces off against Tigh and challenges him.  The more of the twelve Cylons are revealed as Baltar questions his allegiance.

Related Links:

Battlestar Galactica:  The Plan (2009)

Battlestar Galactica:  Blood & Chrome (2012)

Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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