Star Wars was definitely the pop-culture phenomenon of the 70’s. Once it caught on with the public, every entertainment-based company in the world either wanted to be part of the Star Wars marketing juggernaut or, better yet, create a Star Wars of its own. The easiest way to do this was to find an existing project that had never gotten off the ground and resurrect it. This is exactly what happened with the ABC series Battlestar Galactica.
The show began its life as ‘Adam’s Ark,’ a proposal for a Wagon Train-styled series set in outer space. This proposal, dreamt up by creator/producer Glen Larson in the mid-70’s, languished until Star Wars-mania struck the world and was then snapped up by ABC. The network committed several million dollars to the production of the series—some say the show cost one million dollars per episode. The producers also snagged a major coup in landing John Dykstra, a visual effects wizard who had contributed to the effects in Star Wars, to design the visual effects and join the production staff.
The story was set in the distant future. The 12 Colonies of Man had been nearly decimated after a vicious surprise attack from the Cylons, a warlike and cybernetic race led by “The Imperious Leader” and guided by the humanoid traitor Baltar. A group of survivors banded together and formed a fleet under Commander Adama, who led them into space with his mile-long battleship, the Galactica. Their destination was Earth, a popular myth in their culture that also happened to be their only hope for salvation. Apollo, Adama’s son, led the Galactica fighter squadron, and Starbuck was the top pilot of this squadron.
Female cast members included Ensign Athena, Adama’s officer daughter and a love interest for Starbuck, and Cassopeia, an alien medical tech who also had eyes for the rogue-ish Starbuck (uh-oh!). Boxey was the resident kid character, and his mother was Serina (she would eventually marry Apollo). The major robot characters were Muffit, a ‘daggit’ or mechanical dog, and Lucifer, Baltar’s fearsome Cylon assistant. Aliens included the Ovions, an insect-like race that ate humans, and the Lucans, a humanoid race that had two mouths.
The series began with a 3-hour premiere that cost $3 million and depicted the origin story described above. Larson wanted to structure the show as a series of two-hour television films, but ABC decided they wanted a weekly one-hour series after viewing the first half-hour of the pilot. Subsequent episodes depicted Galactica and its followers visiting new worlds as they made their long voyage to Earth and tried to elude the Cylons. Every episode would include plenty of space-battles and other visual effects, although ABC executives would later demand that effects budgets be cut. This led to Dykstra’s leaving the show early in the series. In his absence, visual effects would be recycled.
The combination of effects recycling and the sheer strain of doing a high-concept show in a limited time format and on a limited budget certainly hurt Battlestar Galactica. Still, the show did well and stayed in the Top-25 throughout its run. However, ABC canceled the series because executives felt the show didn’t perform well enough to justify its high budget. The final episode, “The Hand of God,” was telecast on April 29th, 1979. Universal, the company that produced the show, was sued by 20th Century Fox, who accused them of plagiarizing Star Wars. This lawsuit would be settled in Universal’s favor in August of 1980.
The show’s 17 episodes were later re-edited into 12 two-hour television films for syndication. Certain episodes were released on videocassette, and the pilot film was also shown theatrically around the world. After the show’s run, ABC asked Larson to develop a television film to depict what happened when the Galactica found Earth. The proposal eventually mutated into a short-lived sequel series called Galactica 1980.
There was also a revival of the series in 2003 with Edward James Olmos as Adama and a female Starbuck played by Kate Sackoff.
USA / ABC – Universal/ Glen Larson Prod. / 1x180m-e 1x120m-e 19x60m-e / Broadcast 17 September 1978 – 4 August 1979 (Battlestar Galactica) and 16 March – 4 May 1980 (Galactica 1980)
Creator/Executive Producer: Glen A. Larson / Music: Stu Phillips, Glen A. Larson / Special Effects: John Dykstra
Lorne Greene as Commander Adama
Richard Hatch as Captain Apollo
Dirk Benedict as Lieutenant Starbuck
Herb Jefferson Jr. as Lieutenant Boomer
Maren Jensen as Athena
Tony Swartz as Flight Sergeant Jolly
Noah Hathaway as Boxey
Terry Carter as Colonel Tigh
Laurette Spang as Cassiopeia
John Colicos as Baltar
Anne Lockhart as Sheba
Ed Begley Jr. as Ensign Greenbean
David Greenan as Omega
Jonathan Harris as Lucifer
Janet Julian as Lieutenant Brie
George Murdock as Dr. Salik
Sarah Rush as Rigel
Felix Silla as Lucifer
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)
Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017
Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)
In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.
Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015
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