Battlestar Galactica Review

Colin Polonowski has reviewed the Region 1 DVD release of Battlestar Galactica

I personally bought this disc for nostalgia value – I grew up watching Battlestar Galactica every week at 6pm on BBC2. This was before I ever saw Star Trek or any of it’s many offspring…
For anyone who’s not in the ‘know’, Battlestar Galactica was a TV series following a ‘rag tag fleet’ of starships running from the Cylon Alliance and trying to find the mythical planet Earth, the planet of their origin at a distant time in the past.

Not a story to be taken lightly!

The series first broadcast in America at the end of the seventies, and the influences of that decade are very apparent – especially when watching this disc which contains the pilot episode (which if I recall correctly was release Theatrically in the UK).

Compared to modern sci-fi series’ such as Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5, this is pretty tame stuff – more on par with Star Trek: The Next Generation in terms of plots, although in this case there is an ongoing story behind each episode.

The Cylons

One thing which first strikes when watching this disc is that the Cylons have never looked as good as they do on DVD. Their shiny armour looks far better than I remember it!

Unfortunately, Universal haven’t really done anything to bring this disc into the Nineties – what we have is a bog standard 1.85:1 non-Anamorphic transfer and DD1.1 sound (yes, it is mono!). I feel that had they taken the time to make remaster the print and remix the soundtrack into DD5.1, this disc could have been an essential purchase for all science fiction fans.

The Extras are pretty poor too. I feel that Universal should have dug a couple of the best episodes from the series out to include on this disc as some heavyweight Extras. Instead, what we have are a few screens of production notes and filmographies. Another opportunity wasted.

The Truth

From what I’ve said above, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I believe this disc isn’t worth getting. The reality is somewhat different…

If you are a fan of the series then this disc is an essential purchase – even though the picture has not been remastered and the sound has not been remixed, Battlestar Galactica has never looked or sounded better than it does here. It’s an excellent opportunity to replace any ageing VHS version’s of the ‘film’ you may have lying around. Other than the fact that the picture is non-Anamorphic, the only problem is that it’s a bit grainy – however this is to be expected from a print could quite possibly be over 20 years old!

For the casual moviegoer, this disc is best avoided. There are far better discs out there to spend your money on and if you didn’t watch the series when it aired throughout the eighties and early nineties then there is no real reason to buy.

Personally, I’m happy with the purchase. It gives me the chance to see one of the first science fiction series’ I saw in a whole new light and I’d recommend the disc to any Battlestar Galactica fans and nostalgic science fiction fans!

Colin Polonowski

Updated: Feb 27, 1999

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