Let me begin by saying that I watched the Battlestar Galactica miniseries about two months ago so my memory isn’t as sharp as it could be on this topic. I didn’t have strong feelings one way or another one the miniseries and I only watched it because for some odd reason it kept popping up on different mediums that I frequent (online, radio, television). The premise of the miniseries seems compelling and if I have it down right it goes something like this: humans created these robots called Cylons to help them out with everyday “stuff” (think the Jetsons). As in all good science fiction stories, the Cylons got smarter and began to kill the humans which led to the obvious war between humans and robots and the obligatory ceasefire when the robots chose to get up and live somewhere else.
The miniseries begins with the robots essentially going back on that promise and blowing up all of the humans (some 20 billion) except those who are in the Battlestar Galactica (which, incidentally, was about to be retired from the fleet) and other spaceships. The total number of humans up in the air during the attack and thus alive? A little less than 50,000. Going from 20 billion to less than 50,000 in one day is a pretty bad day on the battlefield, don’t you think?
Get that? The only humans remaining are those who are on the spaceships, which have now formed their own fleet and are desperately trying to avoid the robots so they can save our species. To avoid the robots, the humans use an FTL (faster than light) jump.
In order to form some type of respectable government, the politicians that are in space look to the senior-most official to assume the role of President. This happens to be the Secretary of Education which causes a great deal of angst among the hardened military officials who were literally minutes away from retirement before the robot attack. They don’t want to take orders from a glorified school teacher and can you blame them? The writers of the miniseries added a twist in this particular area by making President Roslin both the last remaining figure of governmental authority and diagnosing her with breast cancer. She, like the rest of the human species, is in literal race against the clock.
There are some interesting back-and-forth scenes between President Roslin (played by Mary McDonnell) and Commander Adama (played by Edward James Olmos). The first victory for the President is convincing the Commander that with almost the entire human race wiped out, the war is over and Battlestar Galactica needs to head into “save our asses!” mode. I made that phrase up, obviously.
The miniseries also has three other intriguing aspects. First, the robots have figured out how to look and act just like humans and they have spies planted on the ships. In fact, some of these spies may not even realize that they are robots until they are remotely activated. Second, these humans are not Earthlings. These people hail from an “earth” called Caprica and are part of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol (of which Earth is not a member). And the third, and related, intriguing aspect of this show is that some of the people up in space know about our Earth and think it is a legend. Nonetheless, the crew dedicates itself to finding Earth as the last hope to preserve the human species (though I assume that we’re all living pretty fine on Earth without these people).
The show was kind of fun to watch, but it had too much inside-speak for my liking. Maybe if I get a chance to watch it again I’ll understand more of what is going on during the show. If you’re into this sort of thing, then I would recommend giving this miniseries a shot; if not then I don’t think you’re missing too much in terms of pop culture by not watching! This miniseries served as the basis for the Battlestar Galactica show that is on the Sci Fi Channel now so you may want to catch a few episodes before you decide whether or not this is something that you’re interested in watching.