The original Battlestar Galactica (1978) unfortunately only lasted one season. But what a spectacular season it was. Nearly forty years later and the show is still having an impact.
Battlestar Galactica proudly wore it influences on its outer worldly sleeves. There is no denying the immense influence of Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) and the original Star Trek (1966-1969) television series. Battlestar Galactica was able to hone those influences and became something new. The show created its own mythology and iconography.
I do believe that Battlestar Galactica has gone down as one of the great sci-fi franchises. It introduced the world to such iconic characters as Commander Adama, Captain Apollo and Lieutenant Starbuck. The show also introduced one of the great antagonists in sci-fi with The Cylon Empire.
Battlestar Galactica was first and foremost a science fiction series. Sci-fi was the main backdrop, however the show’s top priority was the characters. There were plenty of special effects and sci-fi conventions throughout the series. However, the show was truly character driven and that was its biggest strength. The bonds of family and friendship were themes that ran throughout the series.
There were so many great characters populating the Battlestar Galactica universe. For me the standout was always Lieutenant Starbuck, portrayed by Dirk Benedict. He brought so much richness to this character. In the hands of another actor this character could have come across as very shallow and two dimensional.
Starbuck was a hero, with a bit of a playful, roguish edge. He possessed many very colorful traits. He was a cigar smoking, card playing, smooth talking ladies man. He was also a hot shot space pilot, a fierce warrior, and a loyal friend who was willing to lay down his life for a cause. Benedict brought subtle complexities to the character. His relationships and interactions showed a man who was deeper then he let on to be. He proved over and over that he was a selfless warrior with a heart.
Battlestar Galactica ran for one season from 1978 to 1979. The show has proved to have a lifelong impact on me. I count it among my all time favorite television shows. Dirk Benedict’s nuanced portrayal of Lieutenant Starbuck is a large reason why.