HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection
HTS Overall Score:69
When most people think of “Battlestar Galactica” their thoughts immediately turn toward Ronald Moore’s dark tale of human kind’s near extinction that lasted a whopping 4 season on the SyFy channel. Very few of us are old enough to remember the original series, as well as the 1980 spinoff series that followed the next year. In a way the show is almost obsolete in many of our minds not because of the new series being NEWER, but just how really GOOD the new series is, supplanting the original show in quality as well as age. That’s not to say the original should be obsolete. I mean, is “Star Trek The Original Series” obsolete now that “The Next Generation” and “Deep Space Nine” came along and simply destroyed its ratings? Not at all. Much like “Star Trek TOS”, the two “Battlestar Galactica” seasons are filled with that 1970s camp that kitch that made them so mind bendingly fun, as well as ridiculously campy. Same goes for “Galactica 1980” which spun-off the original show and featured what would happen once the Galactica actually made it to Earth.
Besides names and the general premise, the original 1978 “Battles Galalctica” holds very little resemblance to the Ronald Moore iteration. Starbuck is a guy, So is Boomer, Apollo is in love with a beautiful woman (played by Jane Seymour), and Baltar is much less complicated and conniving. In fact he’s pretty much pure villainous evil. Made back in a different era, it gets away with portraying the simplistic hope of the future and isn’t mired down with melodrama and suffering. Back then “Star Wars” fever was in full swing, and while “BSG” isn’t a rip-off of said movie, it certainly borrowed that same hopefully optimism and serialized nature that made “Star Wars” a hit.
The basic premise is much the same as the later series. The Cylons have offered peace to the Human race and the council of 12 is eager to accept this peace. The only problem is, the Cylons have no intention of keeping their arrangement. Setting an ambush for the human fleet, the Cylons keep the fleet occupied while sending home more ships to wipe out the 12 human colonies. The ‘Galactica’ Battlestar is the only remaining war ship in the fleet, leaving Admiral Adama (Lorne Green) in charge of leading what is left of humanity on an expedition to find the fabled 13th colony, Earth. Along the way they encounter Alien species, infighting amongst the people as well as the crew, and of course the constant threat of annihilation by the Cylons. A rogue human named Baltar (John Colicos) was the one who betrayed the fleet to the Cylons, but instead of being the tortured human duped the Cylons, he is a full-fledged traitor who sides with the Cylons in an effort to wipe out humanity (in exchange for his own colony’s safety).
The series is a bit more expansive in the way it treats the galaxy than Moore’s interpretation. We see Alien races, new planets, full on battles with the Cylons, but it also takes a back seat as well. The incredible character work in the modern series isn’t there as much, as the show deals more on a superficial level. It’s a tradeoff of sorts. The series is infinitely lighter hearted and can be watched in a more relaxed fashion, but that intensity that sucks you in just isn’t as prevalent. It’s very much a product of its time, with stories dealing with the social upheaval that was going on in the world after the Vietam.
“Galactica 1980” is a bit of a different animal. Only taking place a year after the original series was cancelled, it picks up after decades of searching for Earth. Once found, they see what people in 1980 would have seen. Normal humans without any space technology, Viper fighters or defenses against the Cylons. Adama wants to come down, but a child prodigy informs them that if they go down to the surface in force, the Cylons WILL attack the undefended world. Sending down a grown up Boxey, now calling himself Troy (Kent McCord, some of you may recognize him as John Chrichton’s dad in “Farscape”) and Lt Dillon (Barry Van Dyke….Dick Van Dyke’s son) the humans try to find a way to integrate themselves into Earth society, as well as prepare the Earth for the following Cylons.
“Galatica 1980” stumbles a little bit in comparison to its predecessor. The plots tend to be campier and the writing just as much. It’s not a bad series by any stretch of the imagination, but its kooky and a little less wieldy. Only running 10 episodes, it was a lot of 80s fun, but failed to really drive home the series. It’s fun, and certainly cool to see a different take on what happens when the ‘Galactica’ gets to Earth, and a welcome addition to the complete set for sure.
Also included in this set is the “Battlestar Galatica” movie, which is basically the first three episodes of the original TV series framed for Widescreen and edited into one 2 hour and 4 minute piece. If you have the original series, you have the episodes, but it’s nice to see it cut in such a way that it feels less cramped with the TV commercial edits and the like.
Not Rated by the MPAA / Not Rated by the MPAA / PG
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45298[/img]Here’s where it gets fun. “Battlestar Galactica” and “Galactica 1980” have both been completely remastered for the Blu-ray release (not to be confused with restored) and it has never looked better. Not only did Universal decide to put the series in its original 4:3 formatting on disc, but they have gone back to the original source master and reframed the series for widescreen as well. After A/Bing the releases and poring over screen shots it looks like the widescreen version is not some cheap crop of the 4:3 images. The 1.78:1 framed widescreen releases are cropped a bit on top, but they are also opened up on the sides, showing more side information for a completely new framing. I’m a huge fan of Original Aspect Ratios, but the 1.78:1 framing is cool to have included for those who do like that sort of thing.
Interestingly, the two differently framed versions also look different. Both were remastered from the same source, and look incredible, but there has been some color timing correction applied to the widescreen releases. There is a distinctly cooler color tone to the discs, giving the show a more pale and desaturated look. Colors are still very strong but there is some softening of the image and the grain looks a tad reduced. Primary colors are less warm and so are skin tones and contrast levels. Blacks are usually very nice, but they are slightly purplish due to the blue color grading applied. Detail is very strong and usually very precise, but sometimes the source elements don’t allow for fantastic detail. As mentioned earlier, the show has been Remastered, striking a new master from the source elements. The series was not fortunate enough to be completely restored, as the source elements are in a bit of rough shape. Speckles and spots can be seen on the screen and a few times I noticed the matte lines around space ships and you can easily spot blending of the VFX with models at times. A lot of issues have been cleaned up from the original prints, but there are still plenty to be found. Grain is very thick and heavy, but still mostly natural, giving the show a very nostalgic look. On both versions I noticed some jaggies and stepping at certain places and some DNR HAS been applied. It’s nothing too bad, but the opening episodes of the original series show it the most. The show may not look 100% new, but compared to the DVDS, it tears them apart and makes this a VERY nice upgrade for fans
Now THIS is the version fans have been waiting for! Unlike the widescreen version, the full frame discs have not had the modern blue color grading applied and the results are incredible. Detail is extremely strong and the weird purplish haze in the black levels are gone. Black levels are strong and consistent with very few times showing some crush in the mix. Primaries are much brighter and well saturated and the skin tones reflect the same warmth adjustment. Contrast is warmer as well, albeit once or twice a bit TOO strong, but MUCH MUCH better than the widescreen version. Detail and grain look a little better, with less processing to the mix.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45306[/img]“Battlestar Galactica” has been given a 5.1 Remix on the audio track in lossless DTS-HD MA, while “Galactica 1980” is using the original 2.0 Stereo mix in the same lossless container. Both tracks are very solid for their age, and even though the 5.1 track may seem superior, it’s extremely front heavy. There are some nice separation in the new mix, but it is once again, a product of its day and the sound design rarely calls for an immersive experience. Dialog is crisp and clean, with no audible hisses or pops to be heard and the mild LFE used does add nicely to the experience.
• Audio Commentaries
• Deleted Scenes
• Battlestar Galactica Remastered
• Remembering Battlestar Galactica
• Glen Larson on the Creation of Battlestar Galactica
• Inside Battlestar Galactica: The Cylons
• Inside Battlestar Galactica: Working with the Daggit
• Composing the Score
“Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection” is just that. It’s the definitive set of all the old 1978-1980 seasons with both widescreen and full screen presentations PLUS the movie that started it all. There is a cheaper set of only the seasons, but it ONLY has the widescreen presentations, which leave the superior Full frame sets ONLY in this definitive boxset with the movie (and a higher price). As a huge nerd and a fan of the remastered Full Frame discs, this is my favorite of the two boxsets. The chipboard box looks great, the full frame and widescreen discs are in their own separate case and it just feels SOLID. For those of you who have been waiting for the old series. Wait no further, it’s here and it looks better than I thought it would. For those of you who have never seen the series, or have only been introduced to the 2000 era series, this is a fun little romp that will supplement the new series quite nicely. Definitely check it out.
Starring: Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Jane Seymour / Kent McCord, Barry Van Dyke, Lorne Greene
Created by: Glen A. Larson
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC, 1.33:1 AVC / 1.78:1 AVC, 1.33:1 AVC / 1.85:1 VC-1
Audio: English: BSG Original Widescreen, English DTS-HD MA 5.1, BSG Original Full Frame, English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian DTS 5.1 / BSG 1980 Widescreen, English DTS-HD MA 2.0, BSG 1980 Full Frame, English DTS-HD MA 2.0, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian DTS 2.0, BSG The Movie, English DTS-HD MA 2.1 Sensurround
Rated: Not Rated/Not Rated/PG
Runtime: 1717 Minutes
DVD Release Date: May 12th 2015
Buy Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check it out
More about Mike