I’m tired. I’m a worn out kind of tired. I’m not sure why. The rest of these Galactica reviews were done months ago, but the wind went out of my sails after “Experiment in Terra.” That was a good enough episode, so we can’t blame it on that. “Take the Celestra” should have been a good episode, but coming on the big conclusion to the ’Terra’ arc, it felt like the train had lost an axle, you know? And here we are with the surprisingly glum, slow, and lifeless season/series finale.
BEHIND THE SCENES
As we’ve discussed at length elsewhere, and as has been common knowledge since Fantastic Films first ran their expose in 1981, Battlestar Galactica was born to die. In the wake of Star Wars, it was intended as a loss leader, a high profile spectacle to draw people ABC, and then quickly die once viewers had grown attached to ABC’s preferred staple of cheap sitcoms like “Happy Days” and “Mork and Mindy.” Unfortunately, it ended up being a success, and a far more successful success than the network could afford at about a million dollars to the hour (That’s about $3.5 million in today’s money). Rather than cancel it outright, the network decided to just gerrymander the show all around the schedule - to this day it remains the third-most screwed-with show, schedule-wise, in TV history - knowing that would kill the ratings, and justify cancellation.
How much of this series creator/producer Glen Larsen was aware of is unclear, but he knew that that budget was a primary concern for the network, and he seemed to think that if he could bring that down, he could probably wrangle a second year. The first order of business was to cut down the sprawling cast - kill off Wilker and Salik, and have Boomer and Cassie take over their roles, get rid of Baltar, get rid of Boxey, make it more of a straight-ahead space war show with less supernatural hoo-hah, bring back the Cylons, etc. The show was bleeding ratings by this point, and he put together a pitch, basically, for how the second season would differ from the first, and presented it to the network. The show was bleeding ratings by this point, and it wasn’t uncommon to go two or three weeks without a new episode. Then, he filmed “The Hand of God,” which, in a lot of ways, is a second pilot for the series.
Of course he never had a shot. ABC wanted the show dead. They announced the series had been cancelled prior to the airing of “Take the Celestra,” and that was that.
PLAY BY PLAY
Starbuck, Apollo, Cassie, and Sheba make their way through the VERY NOISY corridors of the engineering section of the Galactica, and arrive at a glass bubble above the engines. Apollo explains that it’s a “Celestial Globe,” used by the ships’ navigators half a millennium ago, when the ship was new, in order to confirm computer information. There used to be a lot of these things, but over time, they’ve been removed, replaced, or simply blown up. This is the last one, and Apollo doubts anyone’s been there in a century, or remembers it apart from him.
While in there, they receive a signal of the Apollo II lunar landing. They go and wake Boomer up, and he parades around in his underwear for a bit to give the ladies a little beefcake. Then they all go to Dr. Wilker’s lab to try and clean up the signal. He can’t do much with it, but he says it could either be really ancient and from far away, or it could be, you know, really new and nearby. Well, thanks for nothing, Boomer. They go talk to Adama on the bridge, and he agrees they should go check it out. (Why the heck is everyone on the bridge? Tigh? Adama? Omega? I thought this was supposed to be late at night?)
Sheba, Starbuck, and Apollo do recon, in a solar system en rout, and find a Cylon base ship, first one we’ve seen in five or six episodes. They beat a hasty retreat before they’re noticed, and Adama reasons the signal was simply a lure for a trap. Since the Cylons don’t know they’re there, Adama decides to attack them by surprise. Apollo comes up with a crazy plan to sneak aboard the Base Ship using Baltar’s Cylon fighter, and disable their scanners from within. Adama makes a deal with