Written by / 1/12/2013 / 1 Comment / , , , , ,

GALACTICA 1980: CONQUEST OF THE EARTH

Maligned but pretty damn good three-part pilot for Battlestar Galactica 1980 Pilot Rating: **** Show Rating: ***
Who doesn’t wanna see Cylon Raiders destroying the city of Los Angeles? It’s quite a sight in the pilot episode of GALACTICA 1980, what many consider the original Battlestar Galactica’s jump the shark moment.

Time Travel Hyperspace
Well it was more than a moment – in fact this secondary series lasted a handful of episodes and despite the hatred amongst fans of the original series, it wasn’t that bad. Especially CONQUEST OF THE EARTH, a three-part pilot beginning with the Galactica a few years older: Which means its inhabitants aged as well.

Riding Around
Lorne Greene’s Admiral Adama has a white beard and Herb Jefferson’s Boomer has gray hair – but where’s Starbuck and Apollo? Well they didn’t stick around but we have Kent McCord as a grownup Boxey and Barry Van Dyke’s Lt. Dillon. Both go undercover to scout Earth but the catch is, they can’t say who they are nor display any powers. They slip up by letting their motorcycles take flight and wind up helping a frustrated scientist (Robert Reed) make progress in clean nuclear energy. But the point of this tribute is Richard Lynch, the incredible character-actor who passed away last year. Known for antagonist roles, Lynch played a seedy convict named Wolfe on the original series classic two part episode GUN ON ICE PLANET ZERO and here he’s another villain but with more layers.

on Modern Earth...
Xavier works aboard the Galactica and like all great backstabbers, he wants to make his own ground. He travels back to 1940’s Germany during the height of World War II, and plans on helping the Nazis who’ve built a giant missile/rocket – it’s then up to our heroes, along with hottie Robyn Douglass and soldier/spy Christopher Stone, to thwart Xavier’s devious plans that can… you got it, help really bad people take over the world!

Lorne Greene and Richard Lynch
Lynch stuck around for a few more episodes – his formidable presence lent a sinister prowess to the show that, after his departure, fell into clichĂ© and banal scripts that led to the ultimate demise.

And Robbie Rist, famous (or infamous) as Cousin Oliver from THE BRADY BUNCH, played the child genius Dr. Zee – but was replaced later on with another young actor. Zee shows the Galactica council what it’d look like if Cylons attacked Earth, which explains the groovy screencaps below, so, if you’re not convinced by now to give this maligned short-lived series a fair shake, there’s nothing much else to say: except to repeat condolences to Richard Lynch, who made the cinematic and television experience a lot darker in a great way.
Destruction of LA by the Cylon Raiders
Selections from a Cult Film Freak interview with ROBBIE RIST
Why were you replaced on the series as Dr. Zee? 

I think I learned they replaced me by watching the show. Show business is a cruel mistress. I have no idea why they changed Zee's. Maybe I just didn't cut it.

How was it working with Lorne Greene? 

My experience has always been that, the more work and the more established the actor, the cooler they are. The a--holes always tended to be those on the way up who were insecure about their place in the industry.

Were you a fan of the original series?

I am a first generation part of the STAR WARS generation. Of course I loved GALACTICA. I grew weary of it in short order as it seemed that one Cylon ship was always crossing my screen from left to right before it was hit by a human's guns. I guess making new FX shots was too expensive.
Cylons attacking Earth: simulation
Cylons attacking Earth: simulation
Cylons attacking Earth: simulation
Cylons attacking Earth: simulation
Cylons attacking Earth: simulation
Cylons attacking Earth: simulation
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1 comment:

  1. Evil Cylons please don't blow up the Cinerama Dome! I saw APOCALYPSE NOW first day there. I saw FLESH GORDON there for darn it sakes! (yes FLESH, not FLASH - the classic line was an older gentlemen in line in front of my uncle and I turned to us and told my uncle, "You do realize this isn't FLASH GORDON." My uncle's response was to point at me and said, "He's the one that wanted to see it." Indeed I did. And yes I was a young lad, hence the awkward statement by the older gentlemen. That man turned sickly green when my Uncle responded. He kept eyeing us oddly afterward. A very strange man).

    Anyway the only thing I remember about this 're-boot' was when they were sitting around looking at video of Los Angeles they made reference to the thick layer of smog, and one of the guys said, "It must be some sort of defensive shield." or some such. Hey I haven't watched it since, well the darn thing aired. But that line did stick with me.

    Alrighty then. Great review as always Mr. Tate.

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