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As someone who was a kid and glued to the television set when the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA aired on television, I didnít know how I was going to react to Ronald Mooreís re-imagining of the 1970ís series.  Well, when I set down to watch the Sci-Fi channel miniseries and was floored by just how good it all turned out.  Instead of the "family friendly" Saturday Afternoon Matinee program of the 70s, this BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is a dark, sleek and sexy animal designed to pounce on a far more adult audience.  Sure, the basic premise is still the same, as are the names of many of the characters, but this show has ditched the aspects of the original series that now seem laughable and difficult to sit through without squirming.

Like its predecessor, this BATTLESTAR GALACTICA tells the story of humanityís fight for survival against a mechanized enemy.  As we quickly learn, Humanity created the Cylons as something along the lines of a robotic labor force.  The Cylons eventually rebelled against their Human masters, which lead to a war, a truce and the disappearance of the entire Cylon race.  For forty years, the Cylons seemed to have vanished and forgotten about their creators, that is, until The Cylons launch a devastating attack on mankindís twelve colonial worlds, which has reduce the human population from billions to roughly fifty thousand nomadic survivors that have been culled into a rag tag fugitive fleet. Pursued across the cosmos by The Cylons, Humanityís only hope for survival is Battlestar Galactica- a museum piece, which only survived The Cylon attacks by virtue of its antiquated technology; something that The Cylons could not hack. Oh, one last thing I should mentionÖ in their forty-year absence, The Cylons have also upgraded themselves; going from walking chrome toasters to a synthetic approximation of their former masters- in essence The Cylons now appear human.

The cast of the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA features Edward James Olmos as Commander William Adama, the highest ranking military officer still alive, Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin, the former Education Secretary elevated to the Presidency, Katee Sackhoff as top fighter pilot Lieutenant Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace, Jamie Bamber as the Commanderís estranged son Captain Lee 'Apollo' Adama, James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar, who played an unwitting role in the destruction of humanity, Tricia Helfer as Cylon seductress Number Six, Grace Park as Lieutenant Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii, a Cylon operative who might have been made a bit too human, Michael Hogan as Colonel Saul Tigh, the Galactica XO who fights his own personal demons, in addition to The Cylons. Also featured in the cast are Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol, Tahmoh Penikett as Lieutenant Karl 'Helo' Agathon, Kandyse McClure as Petty Officer 2nd Dualla, Paul Campbell as Billy Keikeya and Alessandro Juliani as Lieutenant Gaeta. Look for original series alumnus Richard Hatch in a reoccurring role as terrorist turned politician Tom Zarek.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON ONE ($60) comes to DVD in a five-disc set that features the pilot miniseries, plus the thirteen episodes that were aired in the series first complete broadcast year. The thirteen featured episodes are as follows: 33, Water, Bastille Day, Act Of Contrition, You Can't Go Home Again, Litmus, Six Degrees Of Separation, Flesh And Bone, Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down, The Hand Of God, Colonial Day, Kobol's Last Gleaming Part 1 and Kobol's Last Gleaming Part 2.

Universal Studios Home Video has made the original miniseries, plus all thirteen episodes of comprise BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON ONE available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. The image quality is very good for both the miniseries and for the individual episodes. Sharpness and detail are quite impressive for a television level production. Sure there are some shots that appear softer than others, but nothing is ever out of sorts. Colors vary in saturation levels, depending on the different environments being depicted. Generally, things have a fairly realistic level of saturation. Blacks appear accurately render, while the whites are crisp and stable. Most of the time contrast is very good, except sequences where it is purposely blown out. Grain is noticeable during the miniseries, but not so much on the episodes proper. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

For this release, the miniseries, plus all thirteen episodes that constitute BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON ONE feature Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. These are absolutely terrific soundtracks for a television caliber production. Highly engaging and nicely enveloping, the tracks make good use of the outlying channels for active effects, as well as music and ambient sound. The forward soundstage is dominant, and there is excellent channel separation across the front. Fidelity is impressive for a television series, especially in the music department. The bass channel also proves to be surprisingly deep. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Sound augments the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements that have been spread out to each disc this five DVD set. Running audio commentaries, which feature participants that include director Michael Rymer, executive producers David Eick and Ronald Moore are included for the following episodes: Miniseries, 33, Bastille Day, Act of Contrition, You Can't Go Home Again, Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down, The Hand of God, Colonial Day, Kobol's Last Gleaming Part 1 and Kobol's Last Gleaming Part 2.

In the featurettes section one will find From Miniseries To Series (eight minutes), Change Is Good, Now They're Babes (seven minutes), The Cylon Centurion (five minutes), Future/Past Technology (seven minutes), The Doctor Is Out (Of His Mind) (seven minutes), Production (nine minutes), Visual Effects (eight minutes) and Epilogue (eight minutes). Battlestar Galactica: Series Lowdown runs twenty minutes and provides a quick running overview of the new series. Forty-eight minutes of Deleted Scenes and scene extension are also provided in the set, as is a four-minute Sketches And Art montage.

This re-imagined version of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is mature television science fiction at its best. Universalís DVD presentation of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA outguns the Sci-Fi Channel broadcasts, and by your command there are no annoying commercials to contend with. If you like dark, gritty and sexy science fiction, then BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON ONE is a must have. Recommended.



Battlestar Galactica - Season One (2004)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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