Wednesday, Jan. 14 marks the 10-year anniversary of “Battlestar Galactica’s” first episode as a weekly series. The Ronald D. Moore remake of the ’80s sci-fi show of the same name had already made its debut in a three-hour miniseries in 2003, but the actual Sci Fi (yes, this was before it was Syfy) TV series didn’t premiere in the United States until Jan. 15, 2005.
“I’m very proud of it,” Moore tells Zap2it. “I look back at it, and I showed it to my son a year or so ago. I watched some of the episodes with him for the first time, I hadn’t seen them in quite a while, and I was very gratified that it held up and it was still really interesting. The performances are so solid and interesting; it was a great, great thing we were a part of.”
While the miniseries might have set up the central story by showing in dramatic detail the conflict between the humans and the Cylons, it was the series’ first true episode that really displayed the type of show Moore’s “Battlestar Galactica” would become. In it, the surviving fleet had to jump away from the pursuing Cylon army every 33 minutes for days on end, meaning all of the survivors didn’t sleep for 130 hours. The episode proved “BSG” would focus on the way the Cylon war would affect the people who are a part of it, and would put its characters before big action spectacle.
That episode, entitled “33,” went on to win the 2005 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. In the U.S. airing of the premiere, it was paired with “Water,” which focused on the Galactica trying to find a replacement water source after losing much of its reserves in an enemy attack. These types of storylines that shine the light on the trials of war are just two examples of the project that show why Moore is proud of it.
“I like the fact that we were so politically challenging through the show, that we addressed a lot of things that were happening in the world around us at that point, with terrorism and the war in Iraq and all that, and that we really went for it,” he says. “We did suicide bombings and we did occupation. There was a certain fearless quality to what we were doing that I’m very proud of looking back on it.”
He credits much of the series’ success to the cast and the dedication of everyone involved. “We had a really great chemistry among all of [the actors] and they were so dedicated to it. And then in the writers’ room, we just kept pushing the show further,” Moore recalls. “We were always trying to challenge ourselves and we weren’t afraid of moving the story forward at every turn. There was just such a commitment from everybody involved in the project. That was just a really special quality to it.”
Moore also is proud of William Adama’s (Edward James Olmos) story arc throughout the show’s four seasons. “I really like the way we deepened his character, and that the slow burn of his relationship with Laura Roslin [Mary McDonnell], that it went through a lot of hills and valleys,” he says.
When the riots in Ferguson, Mo., were at their peak in August 2014, some fans used one of Adama’s quotes about the separation of the military and police to highlight some of the issues playing out. Moore found himself surprised that his words still resonated so profoundly.
“I was very sort of ‘wow,’ because I wrote that,” he admits. “I meant it, and it was interesting to see it referenced in this context.”
Though there have been attempts to create other science fiction shows in the years since “Battlestar Galactica,” none have ever quite resonated in the same way. When asked if he is surprised there haven’t been more shows following in its footsteps, Moore says, “I thought it might have sparked more, but it’s been interesting that it hasn’t. I don’t know. I’m not sure what to make of that.”
Rewatch the beginning of “Battlestar Galactica” free on iTunes.