We did it. We watched all 10 episodes of Galactica 1980. To celebrate, we started watching the original series. It’s also hokey and silly, but by comparison? It’s art.

No, actually, it’s not.

But it’s something closer to art than Galactica 1980. One could say that the final (completed) episode of 1980, “Return of Starbuck” has a certain Waiting for Godot je ne sais quoi. You’d have to be really really high to say that, but if you could get that high without suffering an aneurism, you could say it.

Probably.

200px-adama80

“Return of Starbuck” wasn’t intended to be the series finale and the scripts from the last episodes are available at the Galactica Wiki, I just haven’t bothered to read them.

I’ve mentioned Dr. Zee, the teenage super-genius who sits around on a lighted throne and foresees the future and stuff. In “Return of Starbuck,” Dr. Zee tells Commander Adama’s facial hair about a dream he had that reveals his true origins.

Turns out, Dr. Zee is the love child of an 8 and Helo.

Wait. No.

Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) was presumed dead after his Viper was destroyed. Turns out, he didn’t die. He crash landed on some planet. Or maybe he’s an angel. Who the hell knows? Or cares? Besides, Dr. Zee, that is.

Dr. Zee has a vivid dream about Starbuck yukking it up in the desert with his new best pal and wacky sidekick, a Centurian he names Cy. Starbuck and Cy play Pyramid. Starbuck and Cy bicker. Starbuck and Cy meet a pregnant woman, deliver her baby, and put it on a space ship and send it back to Galactica. The baby grows up to be Dr. Zee, who is magical or Starbuck’s love child or something.

Just don’t think about it.

The important thing is that this is the episode where Starbuck first uses the word “frak,” instead of the previously popular Galactica obscentity, “felgercarb.”

This may be the most important legacy of the Galactica 1980 series.

Until 2001, that is, when Special Times Just Right, a direct descendant of Adama’s facial hair, wins Best in Show at Westminster.

(This post was written March 9th)

Eight episodes down, 2 to go. Once we finish our Galactica 1980 marathon the judge has assured us that all of the conditions of our parole will have been met and we can rejoin society.

(explanation of the 4 different Battlestar Galactica series here)

So. Last night we watched The Night the Cylons Landed, part I and II (episodes 7 and 8). There are two important pieces of information to share about this opus.

1) Wolfman Jack appears as himself.
2) Cylons look like humans.

TV Tropes has a section on celebrity guest stars that offers this serviceable explanation:

An episode of a show which departs from its usual type of plot to make the best possible use of a celebrity or major star who happens to be available, regardless of plausibility, coherence, or continuity.

If the Celebrity Star is a musician or band, they often play themselves (or a thinly veiled facsimile thereof, as on The Facts Of Life) and usually have to play one of their hit songs.

Their list of examples is only so-so, but I suspect that anyone trying to compile a more comprehensive list of celebrity guest stars from 70s television would spontaneously combust.

Sidenote: the same year he appeared in Galactica 1980, Wolfman Jack also played Reverend Billy in the movie Motel Hell. This is worth mentioning if only because it enables me to not think about Galactica 1980 for a moment.

Husband and I were both startled that there were indeed cylons who looked like humans in the old series – we both thought that the idea for humanoid cylons was introduced in the latest series.

Dr. Zee gets a lengthy scene to explain how this came about. His explanation seems a bit long and ponderous until you realize he’s just spent 4 minutes explaining what the new series has taken 4 whole seasons to get around to. Huh.

This two part opus takes place on Halloween so there can be loads of hilarity as various characters comment on the amazing costume the Centurian is wearing. Also, Dr. Zee gets to bust out some hilarious computer graphics to explain the cylon evolution (a few of which must have taken an art director days to make with their Lite Brite). Also, Wolfman Jack.

So here we are, plodding through “Spaceball,” another fine Galactica 1980 episode. (Confused? See yesterday’s post for concise explication of the various Galactica series).

“Spaceball” is the personification of hell on earth, in that it’s a whole episode devoted to the premise that everyone loves precocious children playing baseball against a formidable opponent and winning at the last minute. In this case, it’s the Super-powered Galactica Children who need to win the big playoff game to save a baseball camp run by an earthling named William “Billy” Ayers.

The name of the team is the polecats.

Seriously.

Ayers is played by Paul Koslo, who has appeared in pretty much every cheesy 70s and 80s show ever made at least once. It’s impressive. You should click on that link and look for yourself. Go on, we’ll wait here, just be sure to come back!

Wasn’t that great? I love the fact that he even played Jesse James in that episode of the Dukes of Hazzard that’s presented as a flashback to the Old West while Uncle Jesse reads from an old a diary and all of the characters in the flashback are played by the actors who play the characters who are supposed to be those characters descendants.

See also: tropes that are only one step to the left of a full-on time travel episode.

See also: sweeps week stunts.

See also: we didn’t just jump the shark, we caught it, skinned it, ate it and wore it’s hide as a disguise so we could eat in the studio commissary without showing our faces.

So, back to Galactica 1980 – William Ayers only has one arm, it’s implied he chewed it off to escape the set of this show. Maybe I implied that. In the episode I think they explained how he lost his arm and why it ended his career, but I spaced out and missed the explanation.

Any episode with Starla and Moonstone and the other allegedly darling Galactica children makes my teeth itch.

And yet, this is also the best episode we’ve watched so far. The character of Xavier the time-traveling bad guy is being played by a different actor and he seems unclear what both his motivation and his ethnicity are supposed to be. You’ve got to watch the first 10 minutes of the episode on hulu to appreciate how hilariously bizarre this is. I swear at one point in that opening scene he seems to lapse into a Bela Lugosi impression.

We’ve learned important things from Galactica 1980, particularly this, which appears at the end of every episode:

Helpful information on the Galactica 1980 DVD

Just in case you had any questions, I guess.

Most importantly, we’ve decided that “William Ayers and the Polecats” would make an excellent band name.

1. This contains minor BSG (new series) spoilers, so be warned.
2. Yesterday’s post was so full of typos and grammatical errors I practically had to rewrite it last night. sorry.

My posts about Galactica 1980 are causing confusion. To clear things up, here’s a primer.

There are 4 Battlestar Galactica series, including the forthcoming Caprica.

The show that is currently on SciFi and wrapping up it’s 4th and final season is Battlestar Galactica. It is also known as “the reimagined series” because creator Glen Larson already produced a show with the same name.

That first show was called Battlestar Galactica. Also known as “the original series.” It aired from 1978-79. It won a bunch of Emmys and got nominated for Golden Globes and all, but was very expensive and it got canned after one season.

Then, there was Galactica 1980. Also now known as “what the fuck were they thinking?” It only lasted 10 episodes and aired in 1980.

In 2010, SciFi will debut Caprica, which is described as taking place 50 years before the events of the re-imagined series. The plot, according to the SciFi website, involves the creation of the original Cylons. This makes no sense, since the new series would have us believe Cyclons inhabited the Earth 2000 years ago and nuked it. Does this mean we’re going to get time travel subplots? Please. No.

We realized people have Oscars-watching parties because it’s the only way to make the damned things entertaining. Poor Hugh Jackman. He tried so hard, but he was doomed by the dreadful material he had to work with. We were embarrassed for him during that opening number.

Husband and I decided it was time, time to begin the long-promised Galactica 1980 marathon.

We’d already watched 4 episodes, but that was a long time ago. Figuring we’d repressed most of what we’d seen, we broke out the DVDs and began at the beginning. We watched the first 3 episodes and then tuned back in to the Oscars to catch the last hour of awards. Compared to Galactica 1980…the awards were still dull.

Things went off the rails quickly the last time I vowed to do this whole Galactica 1980 marathon thing – you can bring yourself up to date here.

This time, with God(s of Cobol) as my witness, I will watch the whole series. And blog about it. This week. I guarantee it, or we’ll give you a full refund.

Oh – here’s some obligatory Oscars content: The best Oscars-related opinion writing was in yesterday’s Washington Post. Robin Givhan made a sensible case for dumping the ridiculous custom of letting stars hold the fashion industry hostage for alleged “good publicity.” (“Designers in the Red: The System’s Wearing Thin”)

It may at last be time to face my arch-nemesis. No, not Wolf Blitzer. Galactica 1980.

I’m about to go totally meta here, and quote from that previous post about why you don’t want to try this at home:

Here are the original posts from that first little (mis)adventure, to help newer readers understand why they shouldn’t try this [watching Galactica 1980] at home. Not without first undertaking a rigorous training regimen. And possibly lobotomizing themselves with a number 2 pencil.

Remember people, I watch so you don’t have to. I am a trained media professional and this is the big time. You should not, I repeat, not, try this at home.

And if you do, I’m not responsible for the psychological carnage. Nor will I come to your home and scrape the fetid remnants of your anguished soul off of your rug.

1) galactica 1980 marathon, part I (caution: new series spoilers)

2) Cousin Oliver gets kicked to the curb; or, Galactica 1980 marathon, part 2

3) Mormons, or, Galactica 1980 marathon, part 3

4) Galactica 1980 marathon, part 4, wherein I talk about Knight Rider instead because I still haven’t been able to bring myself to finish watching episode 5

5) Galactica 1980 post part 5; I only wish the 6th episode starred Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce

6) And, if you got through all that, a bonus post, at no extra charge: The Big Score, and a minor Battlestar Galactica (new series) spoiler

(Original post here).

The DVDs are standing by. If anyone wants to undertake this mission with me, drop me a line. Be warned that you aren’t getting your mitts on one of the lollipops and you’re going to need to know me fairly well to be allowed to babysit.

The category index for Galactica 1980 is here.

Don’t you hate it when you start out writing a nice story about squirrels spreading some sort of viral zombie disease among a bunch of artists and you end up writing about terrorists wrecking a wedding? Eh, there could still be zombies. And, as Husband has suggested, maybe the only way to kill the genetically modified terrorist-controlled zombies is by raising the dead and sending traditional voodoo-inspired zombies to destroy them.

Husband has been practicing turning off his brain so we can resume our Galactica 1980 marathon, so I may not want to listen to him. Galactica 1980 is the perfect Writer’s Guild Strike viewing choice, because no writers were involved in the making of this show.

In February 2006 the SciFi channel aired a Galactica 1980 marathon. In a series of escalating dares, Husband goaded me into watching it. Perhaps it was the gray February weather, or maybe it was the drugs. Whatever the reason, I accepted.

Later, we needed to make room on the Tivo and I only saved one episode from this precious cache. I thought I could pick them up cheap somewhere for later, more leisurely viewing. This was a mistake, as I soon learned. For some reason (basic human decency?) the show wasn’t commercially available.

Until now.

Quite by chance, I just discovered that Netflix has every heart-wrenchingly bad episode available on demand. At long last, I can complete my journey through the darkness.

Here are the original posts from that first little (mis)adventure, to help newer readers understand why they shouldn’t try this at home. Not without first undertaking a rigorous training regimen. And possibly lobotomizing themselves with a number 2 pencil.

Remember people, I watch so you don’t have to. I am a trained media professional and this is the big time. You should not, I repeat, not, try this at home.

And if you do, I’m not responsible for the psychological carnage. Nor will I come to your home and scrape the fetid remnants of your anguished soul off of your rug.

galactica 1980 marathon, part I (caution: new series spoilers)

Cousin Oliver gets kicked to the curb; or, Galactica 1980 marathon, part 2

Mormons, or, Galactica 1980 marathon, part 3

Galactica 1980 marathon, part 4, wherein I talk about Knight Rider instead because I still haven’t been able to bring myself to finish watching episode 5

Galactica 1980 post part 5; I only wish the 6th episode starred Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce

And, if you got through all that, a bonus post, at no extra charge:
The Big Score, and a minor Battlestar Galactica (new series) spoiler

Now that I’ve reread them, I have to say that those were actually entertaining, if only because they brought back lovely memories of giant spaceships full of Lucy Lawless clones, getting in trouble for calling girl scouts “sugar whores”, the 1970s sci-fi show time travel Nazi-encounter plotline fad, and, a personal favorite of mine, our fearless leader freaking out over human-animal hybrids (Manimal?) in his State of the Union. Good times, indeed.