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(written from a Production point of view)

Battlestar Galactica (BSG for short) was a science fiction franchise conceived by Glen A. Larson in the late-1960s. The basic premise concerned the annihilation of The Twelve Colonies of humanity by the artificially intelligent robotic Cylon race. Led by Galactica, humanity's last surviving capital warship, called a "battlestar" and under the command of Commander Adama, a "Rag Tag Refugee Fleet" carrying the last few remaining humans, sets out to find the lost and mythical thirteenth colony of mankind, only known as "Earth".

While the basic premise had little in common with that of Star Trek aside from being a space-based science fiction show, and with in-camera crossover references being few and far between in either, as franchises both shared similarities in their histories. Apart from this, there were many behind-the-scenes connections, which held especially true for Ronald D. Moore's re-imagined version of the 2000s.

The two franchises, however, did share some commonalities in themes. Both BSG and Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) had a heavy influence from American westerns, and the country's white pioneer heritage (particularly given Larson's Latter-day Saint aka Mormon background). Other similarities in the franchises include humans being hunted by a ruthless cybernetic race, beings who are so highly evolved as to appear gods, Erich von Däniken-esque ancient astronaut themes, lost human space colonies, the fraught relationship between a space military and civilian colonists, and a wandering crew à la Voyager. Star Trek writer Harlan Ellison was highly critical of Glen Larson calling him "Glen Larceny" for his alleged plagiarism. ("Glen A. Larson does Star Wars!": Empire Magazine, No. 261; [1](X))

As such, the original BSG series was broadcast in the gap between TOS and Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), meaning there was no direct competition between the franchises on the small screen initially – Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS) had also been cancelled a few years previously. After the cancellation of BSG, there was a major fan-based letter writing campaign, somewhat similar to that which occurred after the axing of TOS. Unlike TNG, however, BSG's first revival, BSG 1980, became a flop.

Original Battlestar Galactica (1978-1980)

Original Battlestar Galactica series opening title and logo

Originally called Adam's Ark, Glen Larson had been working on the outline since 1968. When Larson landed one of his first professional jobs as a writer on the television series It Takes a Thief (1969-1970), he met former TOS writer and producer Gene L. Coon in his first gainful employment as a television writer after he had left Star Trek. Coon was known for his tendency to act as a mentor for aspiring writers, and this he also did for Larson, helping him out to beef out and professionalize his story treatment, which Larson, grateful for "Coon's perception of science fiction", in the process renamed to Galactica. [2]

Coon's help notwithstanding, Larson was not able to sell his premise for the next decade, until the first Star Wars film premiered in 1977. The entire industry taken aback by the huge and completely unexpected runaway success of the film, Larson found Universal Studios suddenly interested in the property. Universal actually, had something to set straight, as they were one of the studios that had turned down George Lucas, when he approached them with his Star Wars proposition in the mid-1970s. [3] Nor was Universal the only Hollywood studio caught unawares by Star Wars: Paramount Pictures, too, was taken aback, leading up to their spur-of-the-moment decision to upgrade their television series Star Trek: Phase II, which at that time – October 1977 – was in an advanced state of development, into the theatrical feature Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with all the repercussions it entailed. (See: The Motion Picture: Production history)

Renamed Battlestar Galactica on the insistence of the studio (in an obvious ploy to capitalize on the "star" in Star Wars) and armed with an hitherto unheard of production budget of US$1 million per episode, Larson set to work on the two-part pilot episode of his series, "Saga of a Star World", which was actually, again as a ploy to capitalize on the success of Star Wars, re-edited into the May/July 1978 theatrical feature Battlestar Galactica, becoming the de facto start of the franchise, before the main series, picked up by broadcaster ABC (one of the broadcasters to turn down the original Star Trek back in April 1964, only to turn down Star Trek yet again in the fall of 1986 when John S. Pike approached them with the pitch for The Next Generation), started its television run on 17 September 1978.

Battlestar Galactica in Star Trek

While there had been few in-camera crossover references in either franchise, then and later, there were a couple from original BSG that made it as homages into the later Star Trek: Voyager incarnation, specifically in the season seven episode "Flesh and Blood",

Cast crossover appearances

Since Battlestar Galactica as a television series began a decade before Star Trek restarted its run in 1987 with Star Trek: The Next Generation, most of the then relatively young performers who appeared in both, appeared first in Galactica before making their Star Trek appearances. But there were several original Star Trek veterans as well though, most notably Kor performer John Colicos in an equally memorable role for original BSG, as well as John Hoyt and Paul Fix, the USS Enterprise ship doctors, before DeForest Kelley was cast in the role.

Worthy of mention was the noticeable guest star appearance of Lloyd Bridges in the two-part episode "The Living Legend" (re-edited into the little known 1979 theatrical feature Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack), playing the part of the strong but misguided Commander Cain, commanding the battlestar Pegasus, incorrectly presumed destroyed previously. In 1964 Bridges had been one of the very first choices of Gene Roddenberry to play the lead in the pilot, "The Cage" for a proposed science fiction series. Bridges turned down the role, not wanting to be involved in another science fiction project following the failure of his 1950 film Rocketship X-M and feeling that doing a "space show" would hurt his career. [4](X) [5](X) Years later, Roddenberry still considered hiring Bridges, this time for the role of Gary Seven in the proposed series "Assignment: Earth", and later in the backdoor pilot episode of the same title. However, Bridges again turned him down. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two) A glimpse of what the Original Series' first captain of the Enterprise might have looked and acted like, was therefore proffered when Bridges did concede to appear in a "space show" after all.

Actors who have appeared in Star Trek and the original Battlestar Galactica.
Actor Star Trek role Star Trek episode/film Date Galactica role Galactica episode Date
Ian Abercrombie Abbot VOY: "Someone to Watch Over Me" 28-04-199 Forger 7 Battlestar Galactica: "The Long Patrol" 15-10-1978
Milo VOY: "Spirit Folk" 23-02-2000
Sharon Acker Odona TOS: "The Mark of Gideon" 17-01-1969 Anne Galactica 1980: "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I" 27-01-1980
Arthur Batanides Lt. D'Amato TOS: "That Which Survives" 24-01-1969 Central Park Cabbie Galactica 1980: "The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II" 20-04-1980
Ed Begley, Jr. Henry Starling VOY: "Future's End", "Future's End, Part II" 06-11-1996
Ensign/Flight Sergeant Greenbean 6 Battlestar Galactica episodes: from "Saga of a Star World, Part I" to "War of the Gods, Part I" 17-09-1978
Geoffrey Binney Compton TOS: "Wink of an Eye" 29-11-1968 Second Warrior Battlestar Galactica: "Saga of a Star World" 17-09-1978
Larry Cedar Nydrom DS9: "Armageddon Game" 30-01-1994 Cadet Shields Battlestar Galactica: "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part I" 22-10-1979
Tersa VOY: "Alliances" 22-01-1996
Tessic ENT: "Marauders" 30-10-2002
John Colicos Kor TOS: "Errand of Mercy" 23-03-1967 Count Baltar 14 Battlestar Galactica episodes: from "Saga of a Star World, Part I" to "The Hand of God" 17-09-1978
DS9: "Blood Oath", "The Sword of Kahless", "Once More Unto the Breach" 27-03-1994
Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming 1998
Walt Davis Tantalus therapist TOS: "Dagger of the Mind" 03-11-1966 Vickers Battlestar Galactica: "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part I and II" 22-10-1978
Romulan crewman TOS: "Balance of Terror" 15-12-1966
Klingon Soldier TOS: "Errand of Mercy" 23-03-1967
Dick Durock Elasian guard TOS: "Elaan of Troyius" 20-12-1968 Imperious Leader (uncredited) Battlestar Galactica: "Saga of a Star World" 17-09-1978
Marj Dusay Kara TOS: "Spock's Brain" 20-09-1968 Mildred Galactica 1980: "The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II" 20-04-1980
Paul Fix Doctor Mark Piper TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" 22-09-1966 Commander Kronus Battlestar Galactica: "Take the Celestra" 01-04-1979
Ted Gehring Second Policeman TOS: "Assignment: Earth" 29-03-1968 Croad "The Long Patrol" 15-10-1978
Sheriff "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II" 03-02-1980
Sandra Gimpel Talosian TOS: "The Cage" February 1965 Seetol Battlestar Galactica: "Saga of a Star World" 17-09-1978
M-113 creature TOS: "The Man Trap" 08-09-1966
Robert Hitchcock Janus VI civilian engineer TOS: "The Devil in the Dark" 09-03-1967 Council member "Greetings from Earth" 25-02-1979
Erik Holland Ekor TOS: "Wink of an Eye" 29-11-1968 Second German Galactica 1980: "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II and III" 03-02-1980
John Hoyt Doctor Phil Boyce TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II"; DIS: "If Memory Serves" February 1965
Sire Domra Battlestar Galactica: "Baltar's Escape" 11-03-1979
John de Lancie Q 8 TNG episodes: from "Encounter at Farpoint" to "All Good Things..." 28-09-1987
People's Nationalist Force Officer Battlestar Galactica: "Experiment in Terra" 18-03-1979
DS9: "Q-Less" 07-02-1993
VOY: "Death Wish", "The Q and the Grey", "Q2" 15-02-1996
LD: "Veritas" 24-09-2020
Star Trek: Borg 06-11-1996
Anthony De Longis Culluh 5 VOY episodes: from "State of Flux" to "Basics, Part II" 10-04-1995
Taba Battlestar Galactica: "The Man with Nine Lives"; "Baltar's Escape" 28-01-1979
Lance LeGault K'Temoc TNG: "The Emissary" 1990-10-01 Bootes Battlestar Galactica: "The Lost Warrior" 08-10-1978
Maga Battlestar Galactica: "The Man with Nine Lives"; "Baltar's Escape" 28-01-1979
Charles Lucia Ves Alkar TNG: "Man of the People" 05-10-1992 M.C. Galactica 1980: "The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II" 20-04-1980
Mabus VOY: "Alliances" 22-01-1996
Keene ENT: "Fortunate Son" 21-11-2001
Ken Lynch Chief engineer Vanderberg TOS: "The Devil in the Dark" 09-03-1967 Hornig Battlestar Galactica: "Experiment in Terra" 18-03-1979
Grover Galactica 1980: "The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II" 20-04-1980
Richard Lynch Arctus Baran TNG: "Gambit, Part I", "Gambit, Part II" 1996-01-22 to 1996-09-04 Wolfe Battlestar Galactica: "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part I and II" 22-10-1978
Xaviar Galactica 1980: "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I, II, and III" 27-01-1980
Count Iblis Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming 1998
Arlene Martel T'Pring TOS: "Amok Time" 15-09-1967 Adulteress 58 Battlestar Galactica: "The Long Patrol" 15-10-1978
Allan Miller Alien Star Trek III: The Search for Spock 01-06-1984 Colonel Jack Sydell Galactica 1980: "The Super Scouts, Part I and II"; "Spaceball" 16-03-1980
George Murdock "God" Star Trek V: The Final Frontier 09-06-1989 Dr. Salik 5 Battlestar Galactica episodes: from "Lost Planet of the Gods: Part 1" to "Greetings from Earth" 24-09-1978
Admiral J.P. Hanson TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" 18-06-1990
Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming 1998
Reggie Nalder Shras TOS: "Journey to Babel" 17-11-1967 Bartender Battlestar Galactica: "Saga of a Star World" 17-09-1978
Nehemiah Persoff Palor Toff TNG: "The Most Toys" 07-05-1990 Supreme Commandant Battlestar Galactica: "Experiment in Terra" 18-03-1979
Brock Peters Admiral Cartwright Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Chief Opposer Solon Battlestar Galactica: "Murder on the Rising Star" 18-02-1979
Joseph Sisko 6 DS9 episodes: from "Homefront" to "Shadows and Symbols" 01-01-1996
Logan Ramsey Proconsul Claudius Marcus TOS: "Bread and Circuses" 16-03-1968 Moore Battlestar Galactica: "Experiment in Terra" 18-03-1979
Peter Mark Richman Ralph Offenhouse TNG: "The Neutral Zone" 16-05-1988 Colonel Briggs Galactica 1980: "The Night the Cylons Landed, Part I and II" 13-04-1980
Ned Romero Krell TOS: "A Private Little War" 02-02-1968 Hector Alonzo Galactica 1980: "Space Croppers" 27-04-1980
Anthwara TNG: "Journey's End" 28-03-1994
Chakotay's grandfather VOY: "The Fight" 24-03-1999
Eric Server Bajoran peace officer DS9: "The Circle" 03-10-1993 Dipper Battlestar Galactica: "The Magnificent Warriors" 03-02-1980
Felix Silla Talosian (uncredited) TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II" February 1965
Lucifer (uncredited) 10 Battlestar Galactica episodes: from "Saga of a Star World, Part I" to "War of the Gods, Part I" 17-09-1978
Michael Strong Doctor Roger Korby TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" 20-10-1966 Resistance Leader Galactica 1980: "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II and III" 03-02-1980
Norman Stuart Vulcan Kolinahr master Star Trek: The Motion Picture 07-12-1979 Statesman Battlestar Galactica: "Saga of a Star World"; "War of the Gods, Part I and II" 17-09-1978
Bruce Wright Sarish Rez DS9: , "Crossfire" 29-01-1996 Deckhand Battlestar Galactica: "Saga of a Star World" 17-09-1978
Colonial/Council Security officer Battlestar Galactica: "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I"; "War of the Gods, Part I" 24-09-1978
Fer'at ENT: "The Expanse" 21-05-2003 Corporal Lomas Battlestar Galactica: "The Man with Nine Lives" 28-01-1979
Aide Galactica 1980: "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II" 03-02-1980

Production staff crossovers

The original incarnation was served by future Star Trek Visual Effects (VFX) Producer Dan Curry as matte painter, (Assistant) Director Winrich Kolbe, VFX Compositor David Stipes, [6] with production illustrators Andrew Probert and his mentor Ralph McQuarrie (commissioned previously in a similar role on the abandoned Star Trek: Planet of the Titans project) as concept designers.

Of critical importance to the production was famed former Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Star Wars visual effects (VFX) wizard John Dykstra (who also served as co-producer on BSG for the duration of his tenure, and who was brought aboard because of his Star Wars credentials in the first place) and his mostly uncredited staff. During his tenure on the pilot and the subsequent three series episodes, Dykstra formed his Apogee, Inc. company and the effects he and his team produced were extensively reused as stock footage throughout the remainder of the original franchise. This was actually the exact same original intent for the effects produced by ILM for The Next Generation pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint" a decade later. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (3rd ed., p. 31)) Dykstra's protégée Patricia Rose Duignan, who was featured in a 1978 behind-the-scenes video made on personal title by the VFX crew, albeit unidentified, [7] served alongside him as an uncredited production associate on BSG.

Directly after the February 1979 VFX debacle, he was offered a VFX commission on Star Trek: The Motion Picture by his former mentor Douglas Trumbull. Actually, Dykstra had already been approached earlier by Paul Rabwin as one of the VFX companies sought out after the upgrade decision in October 1977, while he was still working on his BSG commission (during which he had formed his company), and had already committed his company to a follow-up project, the 1980 film Altered States, so he had to decline on that occasion. Trumbull was faced with the gargantuan task of recreating all the VFX from scratch for the film at the eleventh hour, and suggested his former protégé in order to get a head-start on VFX production, as he needed time to revitalize Future General Corporation (FGC), his own near dismantled VFX company. At that particular time though, Dykstra had to decline again as he and his company was still working on Altered States. However, less than a month later, the project was taken away from the company and Dykstra, with no further work left in the pipeline, was able to offer the services of his company, along with most of his BSG staff, to a relieved Trumbull after all. (Cinefex, issue 2, p. 51; Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, pp. 46-47, 372-374) Dykstra and his team subsequently provided signature contributions for the film. (See: The Motion Picture: Visual Effects) The Galactica pilot episode had earned Dykstra a 1979 Emmy Award, shared with original Star Trek veteran Richard Edlund (one of only two known original Star Trek production staffers to serve original BSG as well), both of whom having already shared an Academy Award for Star Wars, the year previously, with Dykstra having earned an additional one in a technical category to boot. Dykstra went on to become an Acadamy Award nominee for The Motion Picture as well one year later, making him a laureate of three major science fiction franchises in only as many years.

Two important, albeit also uncredited, members on Dykstra's BSG team were VFX cameramen Hoyt Yeatman and Dave Stewart. Both men were originally part of Trumbull's FGC company, but the latter was forced to let them go when work on the science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind was completed in November 1977, whereupon both men joined Dykstra's team on BSG. However, both men were among the few that opted not to join Dykstra's newly-formed Apogee and stayed on at Universal after Apogee had left for the remainder of the series, and to subsequently start work on the pilot of Larson's follow-up project Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Nonetheless, their skills were sorely needed for The Motion Picture, and Trumbull managed to re-hire both men back into FGC again after the February 1979 VFX debacle, around the same time Apogee was sub-contracted, and where they were made responsible for that film's studio model photography as eventually realized. (Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, pp. 324-325) A third VFX cameraman concerned Don Dow, as identified in the same behind-the-scenes video Duignan was featured in. [8] Like Duignan, Dow did not join Trumbull's outfit, but opted to return to ILM, both yet to work on several later Star Trek films, starting with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Robert Bralver was the second known original Star Trek production staff veteran (continuing being so for Berman-era Star Trek as well) to serve original BSG as stunt coordinator. Like Bralver and Apogee, Inc., Probert too went on to work on The Motion Picture after the original Galactica film was completed, whereas Curry started his long Star Trek association with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, on that occasion joined by McQuarrie. Stipes joined Curry as VFX supervisor on the later seasons of The Next Generation and beyond, as did Kolbe as director.

Furthermore, the director of the pilot episode/theatrical feature, Richard Colla, later directed The Next Generation first season episode "The Last Outpost", in which the Ferengi were introduced. Additionally, Art Director John E. Chilberg II and his subordinate, Set Decorator Mickey S. Michaels, shared an Emmy Award nomination for their work on the pilot episode. Chilberg later served as such on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (his only theatrical feature film credit), whereas Michaels, as part of Herman Zimmerman's staff, later worked as set decorator on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as well as on the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, likewise earning him an Emmy Award co-nomination for its pilot episode "Emissary". Original BSG series' Sound Effects Editor Jim Alexander reprised his function as such later on for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

In the merchandise department, Nicholas Yermakov aka Simon Hawke, wrote the novelizations of the two-part episodes "The Living Legend" and "War of the Gods", before he penned his three Star Trek novels in the 1990s. Richard J. Anobile adapted the original BSG theatrical feature into a fotonovel, Battlestar Galactica: The Photostory, published in May 1979, before he did the same for the first two Star Trek films, the first of which published one year later. Reference book author Shane Johnson has also written on both franchises, though his writings were in some cases, particularly where original BSG was concerned, limited to fan publications.

Reception and demise

While the 1978 theatrical feature was generally well received, earning eight industry award nominations of which it won two, including the one Dykstra and Edlund received, [9] critics quickly changed their minds once the regular series started airing. By and large their main criticism boiled down to their assessment that Battlestar Galactica was nothing more than a cheap copy of Star Wars, which, given the original intent of Universal, [10] was not entirely unfounded. Noted scientist, science fiction writer, Roddenberry friend, and unapologetic "trekkie" Isaac Asimov summarized all the criticism in one scathing September 1978 commentary, "Star Wars was fun and I enjoyed it. But Battlestar Galactica was Star Wars all over again and I couldn't enjoy it without amnesia," thereby joining the ranks of critics like fellow science fiction author Harlan Ellison. [11] Star Wars production company 20th Century Fox saw it the same way and sued Universal for plagiarism the same year, (Universal Studios vs. Battlestar Galactica, 2007, pp. 10, 171, ISBN 9780615170305) which was however immediately met with a counter-suit by Universal, accusing Fox of plagiarizing their 1930s Buck Rogers serials and their 1972 science fiction film Silent Running [12] – which was incidentally also served by Dykstra and his then-mentor Trumbull – and rightfully so, according to Susan Sackett, the long-serving personal assistant of Gene Roddenberry. Already in 1978, she had observed that "they're all ripping off Star Wars, which ripped off Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers to begin with". (Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 41) Both suits petered out eventually, evidently "resolved without trial". [13](X) Echoing these to-and-fro accusations of plagiarism were the later Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 productions, though in these cases, both franchises refrained from actually starting legal proceedings.

Science fiction fans on the other hand, left wanting for more after Star Wars – which at the time was nowhere near the franchise juggernaut it later became – were of a decidedly different mind. Excepting the ubiquitous reruns of original Star Trek in syndication, no other science fiction show of its kind was aired at the time, and BSG managed to quickly acquire a substantial and loyal fan following of its own.

It were these fans who made the series a ratings success for ABC initially. However, ABC was forced to play fast and loose with time slots in response to competitors shifting time slots of then particularly popular television shows into the ones BSG originally held, causing ratings to fall as interpreted by ABC. ("Battlestar Show Blasting Nowhere at Light Speed", The Montreal Gazette, 27 March 1979; Wilmington Morning Star, 11 January 1979) For ABC executives it became the primary public reason to cancel the show near the end of the first season, though the high production costs were unofficially the actual major factor for the cancellation decision. ("Battlestar Galactica, Five others to be Cancelled Next Fall by ABC", The Toledo Blade, 24 April 1979) In more than one way this chain of events was very reminiscent of the way NBC came to its decision to cancel the original Star Trek series a decade earlier.

And like NBC before them, ABC saw itself unexpectedly confronted with a fierce fan backlash, complete with fans picketing the ABC offices and, worse still, the nation-wide publicized suicide of a young fan because of the cancellation, after he had written a letter to ABC to reconsider, to no avail. [14] [15](X) Unlike their Star Trek counterparts however, the fans did not succeed to save the series for another season.

Series creator Glen Larson in the meantime was set to work on the other property he was concurrently contracted for, the remake of Universal's 1930s Buck Rogers serials, somewhat ironically picked up by former Star Trek broadcaster NBC. Following the same pattern set by BSG, to wit, pilot episodes re-edited into theatrical feature to start off the renewed franchise, the new series, called Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, started its television run later that year on 20 September 1979. Production-wise the series had the advantage of being able to use production assets already constructed for Galactica and it too was served by some Star Trek alumni, past and future, most notably Dan Curry who had moved over from Galactica. In visual style unsurprisingly very reminiscent of BSG, the series fared slightly better than its predecessor, running for two seasons, before it too was cancelled in 1981 for pretty much the same reasons as Galactica and original Star Trek had been.

However, while production for Buck Rogers was being geared up, ABC came to reconsider their cancellation decision of Galactica, due to the letter-writing campaign fans had embarked upon, in imitation of Bjo Trimble's famous 1967/1968 "Save Star Trek" letter-writing campaign, which had caused NBC to buckle. Essentially doing the same, but in this case belated, ABC commissioned Universal to proceed with Galactica, but not before some of ABC's most pressing concerns, i.e. production costs, were addressed. Glen Larson, who now had to divide his time between two television productions, was set to work on its development, working in some elements envisioned for the never produced second season, and it was decided to proceed with a separate spin-off sequel series, taking place when Galactica had actually reached contemporary 1980s Earth. But more importantly, it was reasoned that it also afforded considerable cost savings as most of the action was Earthbound, if only for the fact that most Galactica production assets had already been re-purposed for Buck Rogers, enabling the studio to make use of its standing sets, whereas most of the original cast was shed and replaced by unknown, and therefore cheaper performers, with screen-time of the few that were retained limited to an absolute minimum. Furthermore, since outer space visuals was also kept to an absolute minimum, no new visual effects needed to be produced, as use was made of the library of stock footage, including some not previously used, produced for the original series.

Titled Galactica 1980, the spin-off series premiered on 27 January 1980. It was not what fans expected and most definitely not what they had hoped for, because of the overuse of the by then already tired science fiction clichés, the mostly contemporary Earth-based settings, as well as its heavy emphasis on light family entertainment with children taking up an inordinate amount of quality time, and which actually had already started to cripple the later episodes of the main series on the ill-advised insistence of ABC, contributing to its fall in ratings – thus foreshadowing similar fan criticism of Wil Wheaton who played the part of the child prodigy Wesley Crusher, The Next Generation's counterpart for BSG's Boxey. BSG's Story Editor Allan Cole recalled a testy remark an overworked and exasperated Glen Larson once made when ABC continued to pester him with their incessant demands of including more children on the show, "Okay, I'll give you kids crawling out of your ears!", which he subsequently did. Right from the start, the series became almost overnight an unmitigated and costly ratings disaster, as the studio did not quite realize the savings it had hoped for either, and then some, as the per episode production costs actually surpassed that of the original series. [16](X) After only ten episodes, with a nearly completed eleventh one not even allowed to be finished, the series was unceremoniously cancelled in May, effective immediately. In this at least, TOS had fared a little better, as it was allowed to finish up on its third season by NBC when it was definitively cancelled halfway trough its production, albeit shy of a full season by two episodes – much like the later fourth season of Star Trek: Enterprise was, when that series was cancelled halfway through its fourth season production.

ABC had not been the only broadcaster in their misguided belief that dumbing down a production would result in higher ratings and viewerships. A decade earlier, NBC too demanded less talk and more action – though not more children, if one is to disregard the "And the Children Shall Lead" episode – on top of severe budget slashes when it, after Trimble's letter campaign, reluctantly embarked upon the third season of TOS. It only resulted in that season becoming the least well-received by fans for decades. And when a relieved NBC finally managed to cancel the series in 1969 without much further ado during the season three run, there was no fan outcry this time around, barely even a whisper. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, 1997, p. 409) The showrunner for that season, Fred Freiberger (who was put in charge over Roddenberry), was forced by networks to do something similar to later television shows, including the initially well-received British science fiction series Space 1999 – taken over by American producers after its first season – with very similar results, earning him the unenviable sobriquet "Series Killer".

NBC coincidentally, had been an industry partner of Universal since the 1950s, and the two companies formalized their longstanding relationship in May 2004 when they merged into what is currently the media conglomerate NBCUniversal.

Deeply disappointed with this incarnation of BSG, the fanbase as well as most of the associated production staff, including Larson himself, [17](X) consider Galactica 1980 to this day as non-canon or "apocryphal", and the series has never even been considered once for contemplation in later revival attempts. In effect, a very similar fate befell Star Trek: The Animated Series six years earlier, which became even disavowed by creator Roddenberry himself, before the franchise elevated the series to canon in 2006 for commercial reasons after Roddenberry had passed away. However, as had been the case with the TAS episode "Yesteryear", there was one episode of Galactica 1980 that was favorably received by fans and production staff alike, the series' finale "The Return of Starbuck". In that episode original Starbuck performer Dirk Benedict reprised his role as a guest star, befriending a Cylon after both had crashed on a deserted planet, the only episode with a more or less mature theme, later explored in more depth in the small and unnoticed, yet acclaimed 1985 film Enemy Mine, itself essentially the science-fiction remake of the 1968 World War II film Hell in the Pacific (featuring Toshiro Mifune). A such, fans consider only this Galactica 1980 episode as being semi-canon, much like their Star Trek counterparts do "Yesteryear". (Star Trek: The Animated Series: "Yesteryear" – text commentary) Incidentally, the 2003 season two Enterprise episode "Dawn" is in itself essentially a remake of Enemy Mine, down to the near identical reptilian adversary Trip Tucker eventually befriended.

Following the cancellation of Galactica 1980, ABC commissioned Universal to re-edit the multi-part episodes of both Galactica series into twelve television films, which it repeatedly aired in the early 1980s in order to recoup some of the production costs. [18] Of these, Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack, cobbled together from the action-packed episodes "The Living Legend" (Part I and II), "Fire in Space", and "The Hand of God", directly after the main series had wrapped, was not only the first, but also the most notable one, as it has seen a limited 1979 theatrical release outside the USA a few months before Star Trek: The Motion Picture premiered. Unlike Star Trek in syndication however, this ploy failed to rekindle interest in the Galactica franchise.

Still, while considered "camp" by modern audiences, the original series – as does Larson's Buck Rogers for that matter – retains to this day a relatively small, yet loyal, fanbase, both having attained a cult status in the process. Both these series are regularly re-issued on home video formats as complete collection editions, including on Blu-ray Discs, these brought forth by the success of re-imagined BSG. Unsurprisingly, Galactica 1980 is rarely re-issued and left out of the main series collection releases, though it has itself seen an one-time-only 2007 bare-bone (meaning no special features included) DVD release as the most recent one.


The perceived dismal performance of original BSG, combined with an all-time low interest for televised science fiction in the 1980s, and the near-similar per episode price-tag attached to it, were almost certainly the reasons for ABC to decline the new Star Trek: The Next Generation pitch, when Paramount Television CEO John Pike approached the studio six years later in 1986 in search for an outlet for the new show. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) Yet it was precisely The Next Generation that proved conclusively that a considerable science fiction television audience was still out there when it soared in popularity around the turn of the decade, spawning two successful spin-off series of its own, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, in 1992 and 1994 respectively, and being joined on television in 1993 by a new, equally successful science fiction franchise, Babylon 5. It is therefore not too much a stretch of the imagination to argue that The Next Generation heralded a new era of televised science fiction, as well as paving the way for re-imagined BSG.

Nonetheless, it took some time for minds to ripen to even consider revisiting BSG. First and foremost there was original BSG performer Richard Hatch, who had played the original Captain Apollo, one of the main characters in the original series. Though he had declined to reprise his role in Galactica 1980, having been skeptical of the premise of that series, he remained a staunch and vocal believer and supporter of the original series throughout the 1980s and 1990s. A frequent convention attendee, writer of several BSG tie-in books and novels, and founder of the website, Hatch tried hard to keep the original series in the awareness of the public and studio. His efforts to get BSG back on the screen culminated in 1998 in the four minute, proof-of-concept, trailer Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, which he co-wrote/produced/starred in/directed, and, coming in at a cost-price of US$20,000, paid for by himself. [19] Intended as a sequel to the original series, discounting Galactica 1980, it was received to great fan acclaim when shown at conventions. Featuring brand new CGI visual effects, Hatch also managed to enlist the help of several former BSG performers, including Star Trek performer Richard Lynch, who thereby gained the distinction of becoming one of only two performers to appear in all three original BSG live-action incarnations – the other one being original Colonel Tigh performer Terry Carter. Despite the fan acclaim though, and much to Hatch's frustration, the trailer failed to get the attention of Universal. Hatch himself though, was yet to make a significant contribution to the live-action franchise later on.

In hindsight, and unbeknownst to Hatch at the time, there was actually a reason for this. It turned out that Universal had let the BSG film rights slip back to creator Larson, who subsequently was in the midst of developing his own BSG sequel film called Battlestar Atlantis (in which Commander Cain and his battlestar Pegasus was slated to make a re-appearance) at the same time Hatch was busy with his. A simple trailer, only featuring graphics, was presented before Hatch's more professional one, but like Hatch's, Larson's proposal failed to gain traction as well. The reason for this in both cases was that Universal was still licking its wounds after the costly failure of their own ill-fated 1993-1996 The Next Generation emulation attempt, seaQuest DSV – incidentally also served by some Star Trek alumni, past and future. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 54)

After Universal had regained the BSG rights, it contracted Star Trek performer and X-Men director Bryan Singer and Producer Tom DeSanto in January 2001 to develop a new BSG sequel series for their and, most ironically, Fox's television divisions, again discounting Galactica 1980. Announced on 22 February 2001, [20] Singer stated at the time, "[T]he Galactica brand is a sleeping giant. It was a show I watched during its initial run, from the pilot to the final episode. The essence and the brand name is quite potent in a climate where there's a great deficit of sci-fi programming." [21] The development, however, was thwarted by the 9/11 terror attacks, and by the time the project could be taken up again, Fox had dropped out, Singer was forced to decline further participation as he was committed to direct the second X-men film, and Universal itself had already decided to go with the different concept of David Eick and Ronald D. Moore. Singer, incidentally, shortly thereafter conceived Star Trek: Federation, a spin-off proposal that was not developed either.

All these revival attempts were very reminiscent of the struggle Gene Roddenberry and others had to go through to get Star Trek back on the screen in the 1970s. (See: The Motion Picture: Production history)

Re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (2003-2012)

Revamped logo

Prior revival attempts having come to naught and prompted on again by industry competitors to revisit its old science fiction property, it was only after the dismal failure of seaQuest DSV and the 9/11 Attacks that Universal Studios decided in 2002 to start anew with a remake instead of a sequel as previously proposed. Despite being industry distribution partners, Universal had by then become one of the Hollywood studios that became increasingly envious of Paramount Pictures for its Star Trek franchise due to the property's stable and highly profitable revenue stream for that studio, particularly in the early-to-mid 1990s when Star Trek was at its peak in popularity, being Paramount's most profitable property for a period of time, admitted as such by them. Universal desperately wanted something of their own like Star Trek as well, and that had been the primary reason for the ill-fated seaQuest DSV project in the first place. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 50-51, 54)

In service of that goal, Universal appointed Producer David Eick for its development as showrunner. Eick immediately sought out former Star Trek Writer/Producer Ronald D. Moore – who had been responsible for many of Star Trek's most popular episodes in the Berman-era, just like his predecessor Gene Coon had been on original Star Trek – to serve alongside him as an equal. Eick reasoned that if anyone had a thorough understanding of what made a mature, modern science fiction show tick, it must have been Moore; seaQuest DSV had failed precisely because it did not tick.

The franchise was successfully relaunched as an original production on Sci-Fi Channel (which continued to be the broadcaster for the subsequent remainder of the revamped franchise) with the 8-9 December 2003 two-part miniseries Battlestar Galactica, subtitled "Night, Part 1" and "Night, Part 2". Sci-Fi Channel itself was in effect launched on 24 September 1992 by USA Networks, a 50/50 joint venture of Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures, and had aired the original and animated Star Trek series, but was sold off by them in 1997. Gene Roddenberry and original BSG critic Isaac Asimov had actually served on the initial advisory board of the broadcaster, but neither had lived long enough to see its launch. [22] Universal though, repurchased the broadcaster as sole owner in 2002, in anticipation of the new BSG show they had in development, which was testament to their commitment to the project.

The series was well received by both fans and critics, earning eight industry award nominations of which it won two – purely by coincidence the exact same numbers the 1978 original had – enticing the studio and broadcaster to continue with the production. Essentially one itself, the miniseries has, like Star Trek, seen several spin-off live-action productions. The first was the 2004-2009 four-season main series (into which the miniseries was incorporated as the re-edited pilot episode). Then came four smaller webisodes series (delving deeper into the background of events referenced to in the main series), of which two (Razor and Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, in 2007 and 2012 respectively, the latter becoming the last live-action outing in the re-imagined franchise) were re-edited into feature length television movies. They were joined by a specifically-made third one (The Plan, 2009), and eventually a spin-off prequel series Caprica (2010). Coined "Re-imagined BSG", the renewed franchise became also frequently referred to as "Rebooted BSG" or "Revamped BSG", akin to the later alternate reality Star Trek films as produced by J.J. Abrams.

Like Roddenberry before him on The Next Generation, the new BSG showrunners were legally obligated to bring in creator Glen Larson in an official capacity on the revamped show because of his "created by" credit. Given the official "Consulting Producer" title, Larson, however, unlike Roddenberry on The Next Generation, largely left the showrunners to their own devices, though he was consulted by them, asked for his input, and generally kept in the loop. This was in stark contrast to Roddenberry when he was given a similar title – but no function – for the five subsequent Star Trek films following The Motion Picture.

The looks and settings modernized, and using imaginative cinematography for the space action scenes – a variation thereof also introduced in later live-action Star Trek, starting with the 2009 alternate reality movie Star Trek – the miniseries largely followed the story-line of the 1978 original pilot episode/feature film, but the subsequent spin-offs, starting with the main series, differed substantially in story thematics from the more straightforward, superficial, somewhat "campy" – typical for television action shows of the 1970s-1980s era – and action driven ones of its progenitor. "Taking the series seriously" and incorporating lessons learned from 1990s television, the showrunners crafted episodes with more depth in which television audiences could see their own lives and the contemporary social issues they had to contend with reflected realistically in the lives and events of the series' characters in a mature manner. (The 2000's, S01E01: "The Platinum Age of Television, Part Two") In this the showrunners followed in the footsteps of Moore's great example Gene Roddenberry, who had already intended something similar for both his Original and The Next Generation series. In order to focus on the human condition and human drama, the re-imagined franchise, contrary to the original one, featured no aliens whatsoever.

Even the original alien Cylon race – having been for BSG what the Borg race was for Star Trek – were re-imagined as being human-created, and who had risen up against their makers, reflecting the growing ethical concerns in contemporary society about artificial intelligence as voiced by such luminaries as Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk. [23] [24] Not only constructed as lifelike humans (actually already foreshadowed in the unsuccessful Galactica 1980 series, where a human-like Cylon was introduced in the two-part episode "The Night the Cylons Landed"), the newest, cybernetic/cyborg hybrid models were also burdened with human emotions, doubts, and fallacies they had inherited from their creators, leading eventually up to a Cylon civil war. The particular theme of a robotic intelligence rising up against its creators only to go to war with itself had actually already been explored in the prior Voyager season two episode "Prototype", whereas the internal conflict had an additional counterpart in Star Trek in the form of the Unimatrix Zero Borg resistance, established in later Voyager episodes. In the even earlier TNG season two episode "The Measure Of A Man", the difficult ethical question was postulated of whether or not an artificial, yet sentient, lifeform remains the property of its creator, to be exploited at will by said creator. This in re-imagined BSG was in effect the very reason for the uprising of the Cylons against their makers, further explored in the prequel spin-off series Caprica, which dealt with the origin of the sentient Cylons – as indeed it became more explicitly in the later season two "Identity" two-part episode of the TNG-inspired science fiction series The Orville from Seth MacFarlane. These two Star Trek episodes therefore, foreshadowed in themselves the advent of re-imagined BSG.

The theme of the fraught relations between artificial lifeforms and their creators, went on to play a major part in season one of the 2020 series Star Trek: Picard, especially in regard to the destruction of Mars by rogue synths, which is very reminiscent of the Cylon surprise attack which set off both incarnations of BSG – including the hacking of defense nets by the attackers in both Picard and reimagined BSG.

There were until 2009, however, two major differences with Roddenberry's enlightened atheistic (human) universe; first, the basic premise itself made BSG by default a far more darker and grittier universe, especially after the franchise was rebooted, with its thinly veiled references to among others, the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War, and terrorism. Secondly, religion played a major part in re-imagined BSG, particularly in Caprica, in which religious intolerance and fanaticism served as social commentary on contemporary real world growing religious intolerance. Creator Larson had actually already incorporated subtle references to the Mormon faith, to which he belonged, in his original incarnation. [25] These references, however, were lost on non-believing viewers of the superficial, action-driven original series. While Star Trek's universe has remained largely atheistic, it did become grittier and darker after 2009, first under the reign of J.J. Abrams for the alternate reality films, and subsequently and more prominently under that of Alex Kurtzman and his associates for the CBS All Access-era television series.

Star Trek in Battlestar Galactica

USS Enterprise joining the "Rag Tag Refugee Fleet" in the upper right, proceeded by the Astral Queen two places up front, with the Gemenon Liner in the lower right corner

In the miniseries, one of the "Rag Tag Refugee Fleet" ships had the call sign "Gemenon Liner 1701". The colonial fleet also included a ship named Astral Queen, a reference to the ship of the same name in TOS: "The Conscience of the King". A Constitution-class starship is briefly visible in one shot of the colonial fleet in the miniseries. The footage is subsequently recycled in the first season opening credits, as well as selected stock footage in several episodes themselves. [26] [27] It was later revealed that former Foundation Imaging digital artist Lee Stringer, a Star Trek: Voyager veteran, had been responsible for the latter insertion. (Battlestar Galactica: Designing Spaceships, p. 173, ISBN 1858758009)

Moore has revealed that the first name of the "Kara "Starbuck" Thrace" character, one of the main protagonists from the revamped Battlestar Galactica, was inspired by Deep Space Nine's Kira Nerys, played by Nana Visitor. [28] Incidentally, for Moore's Galactica, the "Starbuck" part was recast as female from the original male character and played by Katee Sackhoff, which, however, was initially met with disdain by its original performer Dirk Benedict. [29](X)

In the episode "The Ties That Bind" (S04E05), Colonel Tigh, Chief Tyrol, and Tory Foster meet in weapons locker "1701D", like the "Gemenon Traveler 1701" a reference to BSG show-runner Moore's previous Star Trek work, The Next Generation in particular.

In the Caprica spin-off series finale, "Apotheosis" (S01E19), right before landing Daniel Graystone's personal airplane can be seen flying past a large building featuring a banner which (apart from a new color scheme) is identical to a banner previously seen in the conference hall for the IME conference on Dekendi III in ENT: "Stigma". The large overlap in VFX crew between the two series had more than likely something to do with this.

Cast crossover appearances

Contrary to the original incarnation, the re-imagined franchise started its television run at the tailend of Berman-era Star Trek, and, excepting Rekha Sharma and James Callis, all other performers who appeared in both had already made their Star Trek appearances.

The revamped version's principal star Edward James Olmos' Hollywood Walk of Fame star is right next to that of Patrick Stewart. Amusingly and like Loyd Bridges had been previously in a similar case, Olmos had been invited to audition for the part of Jean-Luc Picard before Stewart was ultimately cast for the role. [30] Olmos has been on record of being skeptical of the science fiction genre, particularly for its portrayal of aliens (and therefore declining the audition invitation), yet in 1983 he was already seriously considered for a role in The Search for Spock, ironically for the part of the Klingon Kruge, at the express wish of Director Leonard Nimoy. Olmos only accepted his BSG role as Commander William Adama – played by Bonanza star Lorne Greene in the original franchise – when it became apparent to him that the series was to be primarily drama-driven and not to feature any "outlandish" life forms. (Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series Blu-ray Disc-special features, "Cast And Crew Take A Look Back", "The Last Frakkin Special")

Noteworthy was that Bridges' original part as Commander Cain had also been recast as a female for the new version with Michelle Forbes now playing the strong, but equally misguided Admiral Helena Cain.

Playing the part of a cancer patient in the season four episode "Faith", Nana Visitor was brought aboard on the express wish of writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson, like Moore, former Deep Space Nine production staffers. According to Thompson, Visitor was the first person Weddle thought of after reading the script. According to Weddle, Moore attempted to cast Visitor in the previous season and jumped at the opportunity to cast her in this episode. "We have always thought she is a tremendous actress with great range," Weddle said. "We thought she could deliver an amazing performance in this particular role. She did not disappoint us." [31] Cast as Kira Nerys, Visitor was actually the replacement for Michelle Forbes, who had declined to reprise her The Next Generation alter ego role as the primary Bajoran character on the new Deep Space Nine show.

Roger Cross was slated to play the role of Tomas Vergis in Caprica and had actually already played the role in several deleted scenes of the pilot episode before the role was recast in subsequent episodes with John Pyper-Ferguson for unknown reasons.

Star Trek regular Dwight Schultz did not appear in any of the live action productions, but did voice a character in the November 2003 Battlestar Galactica roleplaying video game, set in the original universe and released one month before re-imagined BSG premiered. Original BSG actor Dirk Benedict also reprised his original Starbuck character as voice actor; Schultz was co-starring alongside regulars Benedict and Lance LeGault in the popular 1980s series The A-Team. Likewise, frequent Berman-era Star Trek guest star James Horan lent his voice talents to the game as an older Adama, as did Malia performer Kristanna S. Loken for two parts.

Actors who have appeared in Star Trek and re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.
Actor Star Trek role Star Trek episode/film Date Galactica role Galactica episode/film Date
Karen Austin Doctor Kalandra DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong" 21-10-1996 Lilly Battlestar Galactica (2004): "Escape Velocity" 25-04-2008
Miral VOY: "Barge of the Dead" 06-10-1999 Ruth Caprica: "Caprica pilot" 22-01-2010
James Callis Maurice Picard PIC: "Monsters" 14-4-2022 Gaius Baltar 74 Battlestar Galactica (2004) episodes 08-12-2003
Bruce Davison Jareth VOY: "Remember" 09-10-1996 Dr. Michael Robert Battlestar Galactica (2004): "The Woman King" 11-02-2007
Menos ENT: "The Seventh" 06-11-2002
Michelle Forbes Dara TNG: "Half a Life" 06-05-1991 Admiral Helena Cain Battlestar Galactica (2004): "Pegasus"; "Resurrection Ship, Part Ⅰ and II" 23-09-2005
Ensign/Lieutenant Ro Laren 8 TNG episodes: from "Ensign Ro" to "Preemptive Strike" 07-10-1991
Battlestar Galactica: Razor 24-11-2007
Paula Malcomson Madeline Reed ENT: "Silent Enemy" 16-01-2002 Amanda Graystone 19 Caprica episodes: from "Caprica pilot" to "Apotheosis" 22-01-2010
Brian Markinson Vorin TNG: "Homeward" 17-01-1994 Jordan Duram 13 Caprica episodes: from "Caprica pilot" to "Apotheosis" 22-01-2010
Lieutenant Pete Durst VOY: "Cathexis", "Faces" 01-05-1995
Sulan VOY: "Faces" 08-05-1995 Commander Silas Nash Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome 09-11-2012
Doctor Elias Giger DS9: "In the Cards" 09-06-1997
John Pyper-Ferguson Eli Hollander TNG: "A Fistful of Datas" 09-11-1992 CaptainCole 'Stinger' Taylor Battlestar Galactica (2004): "Pegasus"; "Resurrection Ship, Part Ⅰ" 23-09-2005
Tomas Vergis 6 Caprica episodes: from "Know Thy Enemy" to "Things We Lock Away" 05-03-2010
Tech Sergeant Xander Toth Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome 09-11-2012
Rekha Sharma Ellen Landry
Ellen Landry (mirror)
DIS: "Context Is for Kings", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "What's Past Is Prologue" 01-10-2017
Tory Foster (Final Five Cylon Model) 32 Battlestar Galactica (2004) episodes: from "The Captain's Hand" to "Daybreak, Part III" 17-02-2006
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan 27-10-2009
Mark A. Sheppard Leucon VOY: "Child's Play" 08-03-2000 Romo Lampkin 7 Battlestar Galactica (2004) episodes: from "The Son Also Rises" to "Daybreak, Part III" 11-03-2007
Dean Stockwell Colonel Grat ENT: "Detained" 24-04-2002 (Brother) John Cavil (Cylon Model #1) 15 Battlestar Galactica (2004) episodes: from "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part Ⅰ" to "Daybreak, Part III" 03-03-2006
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan 27-10-2009
Shane Sweet Mimetic simbiot of Commander Charles Tucker ENT: "Similitude" 19-11-2003 Student Caprica: "The Reins of a Waterfall" 05-02-2010
Kate Vernon "Commander Valerie Archer" VOY: "In the Flesh" 04-11-1998 Ellen Tigh (Final Five Cylon Model) 23 Battlestar Galactica (2004) episodes: from "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" to "Daybreak, Part III" 13-12-2004
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan 27-10-2009
Nana Visitor Major/Colonel Kira Nerys
Intendant Kira Nerys
173 DS9 episodes: from "Emissary" to "What You Leave Behind" 03-01-1993
Emily Kowalski Battlestar Galactica (2004): "Faith" 09-05-2008
Sam Witwer Xindi-Arboreal ENT: "The Shipment" 29-10-2003 Alex "Crashdown" Quartararo 11 Battlestar Galactica (2004) episodes: from "33" to "Fragged" 14-01-2004
Rick Worthy Automated Unit 3947
Automated Commander 122
VOY: "Prototype" 15-01-1996 Simon O'Neill (Cylon Model #4) 9 Battlestar Galactica (2004) episodes: from "The Farm" to "Daybreak, Part III" 12-08-2005
Kornan DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire" 29-04-1997 Battlestar Galactica: The Plan 27-10-2009
Elloran officer Star Trek: Insurrection 11-12-1998
Noah Lessing VOY: , "Equinox", "Equinox, Part II" 12-05-1999
Jannar 10 ENT episodes: from "The Xindi" to "Zero Hour" 10-09-2003

Production staff crossovers

That subtle references to Star Trek were on occasion sneaked into the Battlestar Galactica franchise should not come as a surprise as Moore was an unadulterated "trekkie" himself, having brought in his former Deep Space Nine co-workers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson as writers/producers to form the nucleus of his creative writing staff on Galactica, joined by Jacques Gravett and Michael O'Halloran as film editors. Jane Espenson, who eventually became showrunner on Caprica (alongside Moore and Eick) and Michael Taylor joined from season three onward. After Star Trek: Enterprise had wrapped these staffers were shortly joined by longtime Star Trek director Allan Kroeker, who directed two episodes for Moore's Galactica, as did former Voyager regular cast member Roxann Dawson, who directed one episode of Caprica. Dawson's husband Eric already served as casting director for both series of re-imagined BSG. Duras performer Patrick Massett joined Moore's team on Caprica as writer/producer. Moore himself incidentally, made a cameo appearance at the end of the 2004 series finale "Daybreak, Part III". Moore additionally brought along Maril Davis as his personal production associate, and who was quickly becoming for Moore what Susan Sacket had been for Gene Roddenberry. [32]

Nor were Moore and his writing staff the only production staffers on the franchise with a strong Star Trek pedigree, not by a long shot. The VFX department in particular was heavily manned with many former Star Trek production staffers. First and foremost there was Gary Hutzel who served as VFX supervisor, just like he had on Star Trek, but now serving right from the start in 2003 as the most senior VFX staffer, becoming Moore's right hand as far as the VFX were concerned, serving even longer than Moore had, as the latter left before the franchise finished its run in 2012. After Star Trek prime temporarily ceased its existence in 2005 with the demise of Enterprise, the VFX department was, after the first season of the 2004 series, substantially strengthened with additional "refugees" from the Star Trek franchise, Doug Drexler and David Takemura the most senior ones, both personally recruited by Hutzel upon the cancellation of Enterprise and now serving as his right hands. (Battlestar Galactica: Designing Spaceships, pp. 183-184) Already staffed with several ex-Foundation Imaging employees and Star Trek veterans such as Jose Perez and his already mentioned former Foundation colleague Lee Stringer [33] who were among the very first digital artists to work on the revamped show, Zoic Studios (where Mark Stetson became a senior VFX staffer from 2010 onward, though he did not work on the final, 2012 BSG installment), the VFX house for Battlestar Galactica, became inundated with digital artist, who had moved over from Eden FX, the last VFX house to serve Star Trek prime in the Berman-era. A far from exhaustive catalog of former Star Trek VFX staffers employed at Zoic, included such artists as Robert Bonchune, Pierre Drolet, [34] [35] Adam Lebowitz, Gabriel Koerner, and David R. Morton, to name but a few. Like they had done for Star Trek, these staffers helped the Battlestar Galactica franchise to its slew of VFX Emmy Award wins and nominations. A Zoic Studios addition had been Digital Artist Fabio Passaro, a prolific prior and later Star Trek (non live-action) franchise contributor. [36] Several of these VFX staffers have appeared in the various special features on the DVD/Blu-ray home video releases, discussing their work on re-imagined BSG.

In the merchandise department, an official "Map of the Twelve Colonies" was released by Quantum Mechanix in 2011, drawn by Star Trek: Star Charts creator Geoffrey Mandel. Four systems are depicted, in a 2×2 grid, designated Helios Alpha through Delta. The four maps are ordered on the chart following the same unusual pattern as the four quadrants of the Star Trek galaxy (i.e. clockwise from top left: Gamma, Delta, Beta, Alpha). Frequent Star Trek novelist Peter David has written one tie-in for the BSG franchise as well, Sagittarius Is Bleeding, while the main series was being aired. Author Paul Ruditis has written reference books for both franchises.

Re-imagined BSG production staffers Mark Verheiden (Producer/Writer), Anne Cofell Saunders (Writer) and Michael Rymer (Director/Writer) have Star Trek universe characters named after them, when novelist David Mack introduced Agents Verheiden and Cofell, as well as Captain Rymer respectively in his 2007 novel Reap the Whirlwind, the third outing in the Star Trek: Vanguard series, the covers of which incidentally, created by Doug Drexler during his tenure on BSG. Cofell Saunders incidentally, went on to become officially part of Kurtzman-era Star Trek, starting in 2020 when she joined season three of Star Trek: Discovery as co-executive producer/writer.


The favorable reception by fans and critics alike of the 2003 miniseries, was continued with its follow-up; The main series, including the television movie Razor and The Face of the Enemy webisode series, added no less than eighty-six industry award nominations to the ones already received for the miniseries, of which it won thirty-three in the timespan 2005-2009, besides numerous other media honors. Caprica added another seven nominations to the array, but this time only winning one of them. Remarkable was, despite the emphasis on the human conditions for which the primary cast was acclaimed in the media, that none of them received an Emmy Award in the "Actor" categories, or were even nominated as such. This re-imagined BSG had in common with Star Trek – though for the latter Leonard Nimoy had become the only actor ever to be nominated for one, and that cast member of both franchises did receive other awards in the "Actor" categories, the Saturn Awards in particular.

Nonetheless, a rift started to appear between fans and critics after the main series had concluded its run 2009. The movie The Plan, produced back-to-back with the main series was received with mixed feelings by fans, feeling it failed to deliver on explaining what the titular "plan" of the Cylons, mysteriously referred to in all the title cards of the main series, exactly entailed. Even more sceptical were fans of the prequel series Caprica. Even though showrunner Ron Moore took care not to include the Battlestar Galactica moniker in front of the series title – just like the showrunners had done for the first three seasons of Enterprise before him – in order to differentiate the series from the main one, and that critics were by and large favorable in their assessment of the series, precisely for its focus on the human condition, the majority of fans themselves were of a different mind – even though the series retained a small loyal fanbase of its own. Deeming the series, that featured virtually no space bound scenes, too far off the beaten track, viewership dropped from a high of 1.6 million viewers to less than 900,000 halfway through the series with rating droppings to match. In comparison, the main series started out with 3.1 million viewers. [37] But unlike their Star Trek counterparts had been with Enterprise and Star Trek Nemesis (see below), disenchanted BSG fans were not nearly as vehement or vocal in their disapproval, they simply tuned out or did not even to bother to tune in at all. Shy of five episodes, Sci-Fi – by then renamed to SyFy Channel – cancelled the series before all episodes were even aired, though they were included on the later home video releases. In this re-imagined BSG resembled Babylon 5, the fierce Star Trek franchise competitor which had just finished its television run shortly before re-imagined BSG started its; Once the primary narrative had been told in both franchises' respective main series, fan interest started to wane sharply for the spin-off productions.

The by fans far better received movie Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, drawing in 1.2 million viewers when it was first aired by SyFy channel on 10 February 2013 and placed as a bridging narrative between Caprica and the main series, turned out to be the final coda for the re-imagined live-action franchise. Moore had by then already left, though many of his former co-workers on the franchise, including those with the Star Trek pedigree, stayed on for the coda. It was partner David Eick who headed that very last forray into the franchise. And in this re-imagined BSG resembled Enterprise; Facing dropping ratings and viewership, its last season saw a revival once other showrunners had taken over, though it did not save Star Trek prime from indefinite termination either for the time being.

Despite the critical acclaim, there were die-hard fans of the classic series, who denounced the re-imagined series right from the start, increasingly referring to the re-imagined franchise by the acronym "GINO" – Galactica In Name Only [38](X) – and these fans were subsequently joined by others critical of the later BSG spin-off productions, Caprica in particular. It was precisely for this reason that Richard Hatch, the original Captain Apollo performer, was offered, and had accepted, a recurrent role – albeit cast as a different character, the terrorist turned politician Tom Zarek, a nod to the Irish IRA organization – on the revamped 2004 series in an effort to appease both sides of the fanbase by showing that he, the vocal defender of the original incarnation, endorsed and validated the re-imagined series, thereby gaining the distinction of becoming the only performer to appear in both BSG incarnations. (Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series Blu-ray-special feature, "The Last Frakkin Special") In this, it has resembled the fan criticism that befell The Next Generation prior to, and during its first season, and the subsequent appearance on the show by Leonard Nimoy, in his case reprising his original role as Spock and having already done pretty much the same for TNG what Hatch would later do for re-imagined BSG. (TNG Season 5 DVD-special feature, "Mission Overview Year Five") And like in The Next Generation and beyond, more and more references to the original BSG, including the appearances of classic Cylon models and ships, were incorporated in re-imagined BSG too as production progressed, not only to appease the classic fanbase, but also because many production staffers were fans of the original as well, as was the case in Berman-era Star Trek, including Moore, Bonchune, Hutzel, and Drexler themselves.

Moore himself reacted to this criticism with humor when he made a cameo appearance in the "A Space Oddity" episode of the crime series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (S09E20, 2009) – incidentally co-written by his former Next Generation writing colleague Naren Shankar; the subplot in that episode involved a young director/producer remaking an old science fiction series with a brand new concept, angering fans with Moore, as a convention attendee, being the first person to speak out in order to denounce the remake.

Incidentally, Richard Hatch himself became tied to the Star Trek universe as he was pegged by his friend Alec Peters to appear as the Klingon Kharn in the latter's fan film Star Trek: Axanar, having actually already appeared as such in the 2014 introductory twenty-minute teaser featurette to the film, Prelude to Axanar. However, Hatch's death in February of 2017 precluded any further contribution to the Star Trek universe. [39]


The first season of the main series started its first-time run in January 2005 and overlapped that of Enterprise's last, the only time both franchises did so in their histories. Received to great acclaim, re-imagined BSG soundly beat Star Trek in all ratings categories. [40] Prime universe Star Trek was at that time actually in deep trouble. Both Enterprise and the 2002 movie Nemesis were poorly received by the fanbase, because of perceived continuity and canon violations and the overall disappointment with story premises, which were considered weak and in violation of what they deemed "Roddenberry canon". In countless contemporary internet blogs the more vocal fans vehemently voiced their displeasure, with the more fanatical ones even going as far as to organize an on-line petition to have Star Trek showrunners Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, both Ron Moore's former colleagues on Star Trek, removed from control. (See Demise of "The Franchise" in the prime universe) It was now that the success of Moore's Galactica came into play.

Even though franchise management had already decided to terminate Star Trek prime for internal studio reasons, both cast and the production staff of Enterprise had not been informed of this yet and were being kept in the dark – even though they had their suspicions. When they were eventually formally informed, management used their former colleague's ratings successes against them as the in-house justification for the cancellation decision. However, Larry Nemecek has – after he had taken a closer look at the ratings and citing the changing television landscape of the early 2000s – noted,

"Here's the dirty little secret about Enterprise: It's the only year that Enterprise overlapped with Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica, which we all know now was a breakout hit. It was great for Ron, it was great for that fandom. He reinvented an old show. Tons of new fans. They loved the darker, grittier storytelling. It's a very post-9/11 mood, broke out of the box. But Galactica was on Syfy, So even though you have UPN-slash-CW, which was a broken, crippled, little network here, which was like a cable net, not reaching 80 percent of the country, and Syfy is on cable. Syfy is a smaller pond, but it gets all the buzz, it gets all the attention. "Oh, my God, this huge breakout show. Why can't the Star Treks do what Galactica is doing?" Well, the little secret is by the time you actually compare numbers to numbers, that last year of Enterprise overlapping with the first year of Galactica, when it was a breakout hit, Enterprise was still pulling in a million more viewers a week than Galactica. So you talk about franchise fatigue, you talk about poor, little shriveled-up Enterprise and the Star Trek franchise, and fans are deserting it in droves. Galactica was a huge, great breakout show. But it still didn't have the numbers that, uh..., the one year they had head-to-head competition-- Not to make it a competition between Ron and his former Star Trek franchise, but just seeing what people were watching, the numbers for Enterprise were still above what the "hit" Syfy show of the year was." (Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise, Part 3: "Final Approach")

Unwittingly and unintended, it was one of the very few times, if not the only one, that the one franchise directly influenced the other in a negative manner, even though it was not even the root cause, as implied by Nemecek. Worse still, an increasing number of Star Trek fans started to tune in on re-imagined BSG, and used the series as a prime example of how a proper science fiction show should be made, equally voiced vocally on countless internet blogs at the time as well. For a short period in time BSG eclipsed Star Trek in popularity, until the advent of the first 2009 alternate reality film, that premiered in the same year that the re-imagined BSG main series was concluded, and which managed to largely rekindle "Trekdom".

In contrast to the original incarnation, and the somewhat lackluster reception of The Plan and Caprica notwithstanding, Universal Studios was pleased with re-imagined BSG and entered into negotiations with creator Larson for a remake of the original 1978 theatrical feature in February 2009, one month before the re-imagined main series ended its run on 20 March. ("Universal in talks for 'Battlestar' movie", The Hollywood Reporter, 20 February 2009) Essentially slated to become a third live-action incarnation of the BSG franchise, Bryan Singer was for a second time contracted as director/co-producer in August 2009 for the project ("Bryan Singer to direct 'Battlestar' film", The Hollywood Reporter, 13 August 2009), who subsequently commented after a 12 August 2012 script rewrite, "It will exist, I think, quite well between the Glen Larson and Ron Moore universes." [41] However, development was slow and Singer had to again leave the project due to other motion picture obligations. The project appears to be still in the development stage, as Universal has appointed a new team of producers, writers and director in 2016. [42](X) [43] Creator Glen Larson was by that time no longer involved either because of his death in 2014.

Less well fared NBCUniversal's broadcaster SyFy Channel after re-imagined BSG had finished its run. As the first of its "SyFy Original Series", the broadcaster seemed to have been taken off-guard by its huge success, and failed to deliver afterwards in the public eye, causing the broadcaster to slip considerably in ratings for an extended period of time. It took the network over six years of arduous restructuring and formula rethinking in order to slowly finds its way up again. [44] Ironically, SyFy had in 2007 acquired the after-the-fact rights to Enterprise, which began airing on 8 January 2007 in its first US syndicated rerun, alongside the series some held responsible for its demise. Original network UPN had been terminated as well, shortly after it had cancelled Enterprise, once considered its flagship when that series premiered in 2000.

Similar in concept to the 2006 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection Star Trek auction, the aforementioned Alec Peters managed to secure for his auction house Propworx, Inc. the commission from Universal to auction off the series' production assets, after the main series of re-imagined BSG had wrapped, in two specialized auctions held on 17-18 January, and on 8-10 May 2009 at The Pasadena Convention Center, followed up by a third, smaller 27 August 2011 one after Caprica too was cancelled in 2010. [45] Based on the strength of their BSG auctions, Propworx became in 2010 also the commissioned auctioneer for the assets of the defunct Star Trek: The Experience attraction as well. Also starting in that year were a series of smaller specialized Star Trek auctions, in which Propworx auctioned off the production assets retained/saved by former Star Trek production staffers, including those of concurrent former BSG production staffers such as Doug Drexler as well as Gary Hutzel in the more recent ones.

Science fiction icons lamenting being typecast

In the popular, heavily Star Trek referencing, sitcom The Big Bang Theory (S04E04: "The Hot Troll Deviation", 2010) lead actress Katee Sackhoff made an appearance as her Galactica alter ego Starbuck, conjured up by series' principal character Howard Wolowitz, who has the hots for Starbuck. Sackhoff/Starbuck, miffed at being the object of adolescent sexual fantasies – having already appeared as a figment of his overheated imagination in the prior episode "The Vengeance Formulation" (S03E09) – tries to gives Wolowitz romantic advise but is shortly thereafter joined by an equally imaginary George Takei in his Hikaru Sulu outfit from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, trying to do the same. Sackhoff/Starbuck starts bickering with Takei/Sulu, questioning his credentials to give Wolowitz romantic advise, while poking fun at Takei's homosexuality. Both, however, are also lamenting and exchanging notes on being typecast as Starbuck and Sulu respectively.

In stark contrast to the Star Wars and Babylon 5 franchises, rivalry between the fanbases of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek had been comparatively light, if there was any to speak of at all. The reasons for this can be found in the disparity between the two basic premises, the fact that – the last season of Enterprise excepted – there had been no overlap of first time airings, the large overlap of former Star Trek production staff in re-imagined BSG, the circumstance that re-imagined BSG has served as a temporary refuge for "trekkies" disenchanted with Enterprise/Nemesis, or any combination thereof.

That the Battlestar Galactica fanbase has become more modest than its Star Trek counterpart, became evident in September 2015, when the webmaster of the original Battlestar Wiki, Joe Beaudoin Jr., announced, "Due to diminishing interest in BSG and the fact that most of the main contributors have since moved on, I am looking at the possibly of shutting down the website come early next year." By March the following year the Wiki, at the time featuring 4,528 articles, had indeed gone dark. [46] Nonetheless, diligent fans by then had saved a large part of its contents on the Wayback Machine internet archive, but not all of it (featuring 3,534 articles, about a quarter was lost at first). Two new, from the ground up rebuilt, and different BSG wikis went up a year later ( and, though featuring far less content. In early 2017 a cloned live version of the original archived Wiki was put back online as a reference source only at first, but became fully operational again on 11 May 2019 with all articles restored, courtesy Beaudoin himself.

The disparities between the two fanbases notwithstanding, there are several franchise licensees who have served both with their merchandise, which included such companies as, besides Quantum Mechanix, FASA (one of its very first product releases was a 1979 BSG role playing game, after which their subsequent and more succesfull Star Trek: The Role Playing Game became modelled [47]), Revell-Monogram (modelkits), Eaglemoss Collections (collectable display models and derivative reference books), Bif Bang Pow! (toy figurines), and Galoob (collectable toy models).

Prolific Star Trek reference book authors Mark A. Altman and his writing partner Edward Gross have authored an exhaustive work on the history of the entire BSG live-action franchise as well, modeled after their recent The Fifty-Year Mission: The First 25 Years and The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years Star Trek live-action franchise histories. The 720-page work, titled So Say We All: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Battlestar Galactica (ISBN 1250128943), was released on 21 August 2018. "So Say We All" refers to an improvised expression introduced in the re-imagined miniseries by Edward James Olmos, going on to become a staple in the subsequent BSG productions. While not as widespread as Star Trek's "Beam me up, Scotty" has become before, it became a popular pop-culture catchphrase as well.

This title was followed in 2020 by a reference book entitled Battlestar Galactica Shipyards (ISBN 1858756111), and in 2021 by one titled Battlestar Galactica: Designing Spaceships (ISBN 1858758009), both of them released by Eaglemoss and based on their similar and prior publications released on behalf of the Star Trek franchise.

Additionally, the Sci-fi and fantasy convention company Creation Entertainment, has in equal measure organized specialized conventions for both franchises.

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