Tuesday, November 25, 2014

News: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978) & GALACTICA 1980 Blu-rays Coming in May

In a nice bit of synchronicity (since I was talking about it in the previous post), Universal announced just today that the original 1978 version of Battlestar Galactica - as well as the follow-up series, Galactica 1980 - will be coming to Region 1 Blu-ray in May, 2015, in two editions with some significant differences. Here's the official Press Release:




UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Nov. 24, 2014 - From renowned writer/producer Glen A. Larson, the creative force behind Knight Rider, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, comes the groundbreaking TV series that launched one of the most beloved sci-fi franchises in history, now available in widescreen and high definition as both Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection and Battlestar Galactica: The Remastered Collection come to Blu-ray on May 12, 2015 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. These essential collections for Battlestar Galactica devotees include all 24 explosive episodes of Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series plus the complete 10-episode spin-off series, Galactica 1980.

Newly remastered in 16:9 widescreen presentation for the very first time, Battlestar Galactica: The Remastered Collection features both pioneering series meticulously reformatted to be optimized for the HDTV viewing experience. Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection also includes both series in 4:3 Full Frame as they were originally televised, plus the theatrical version of the premiere episode "Saga of a Star World" presented in 1.85:1 Widescreen for the ultimate collector.

This epic adventure, which provided the inspiration for the critically acclaimed 2004 Syfy reimagined series, comes with over 4 hours of bonus features, including over 3 hours of deleted scenes from Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series! These collections also includes featurettes such as "Glen Larson on the Creation of Battlestar Galactica" and "Stu Phillips: Composing the Score" with an inside look at the genesis of this remarkable production, and "Remembering Battlestar Galactica," a 45-minute retrospective documentary featuring cast and crew on the making of this ground-breaking series.

In Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series, the Twelve Colonies, hopeful for lasting peace following centuries of intense warfare, gather to sign a treaty with their dreaded enemies, the Cylons. But after an act of treachery on the eve of the ceremony, the Cylons launch a devastating surprise attack, destroying the Colonies' home planets and most of their military strength. A lone flagship battlestar, the Galactica, remains to aid the surviving colonists on their epic journey to a new home on a far-off, legendary planet-Earth.

Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series stars Richard Hatch (The Streets of San Francisco), Dirk Benedict (The A-Team), Lorne Greene (Bonanza), Herbert Jefferson Jr. (Apollo 13), John Colicos (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Maren Jensen (The Love Boat), Noah Hathaway (The Never Ending Story), Laurette Spang (Airport 1975), Tony Swartz (Dynasty) and Terry Carter (McCloud).

Galactica 1980: The Complete Series picks up 30 years after the events of Battlestar Galactica, as the original crew finally makes the long-anticipated descent to Earth. With time running out and the Cylons closing in on their trail, Commander Adama and the Galactica team work harder than ever to help Earth create the technology necessary for battle.

Galactica 1980: The Complete Series stars Kent McCord (Emergency), Barry Van Dyke (Diagnosis Murder), Robyn Douglass (Breaking Away) and Lorne Greene.

Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection includes:

    Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series (Widescreen and Full Frame)
    Galactica 1980: The Complete Series (Widescreen and Full Frame)
    Battlestar Galactica - The 125-minute theatrical edit of the premiere episode "Saga of a Star World"

Battlestar Galactica: The Remastered Collection includes:

    Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series (Widescreen)
    Galactica 1980: The Complete Series (Widescreen)


    Over 3 hours of Deleted Scenes
    Remembering Battlestar Galactica - a 45-minute retrospective documentary featuring cast and crew on the making of this ground-breaking series.
    Episode Commentary with Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and Herbert Jefferson Jr.
    Glen Larson on the Creation of Battlestar Galactica
    Stu Phillips: Composing the Score
    And More!

Street Date: 5/12/2015
Running Time: 57 Hrs. 7 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen, 4:3 Full Frame

    Full Frame & Widescreen Versions: English
    Full Frame Version: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese


    Full Frame & Widescreen Versions: English SDH, Spanish, French
    Full Frame Version: Dutch, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Japanese, Portuguese

Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround 2.0 Mono (Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series), DTS Digital Surround 2.0 (Galactica 1980: The Complete Series)

Street Date: 5/12/2015
Running Time: 27 Hrs. 31 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Language: English
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround 2.0 Mono (Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series), DTS Digital Surround 2.0 (Galactica 1980: The Complete Series)
I don't like at all that they're presenting the TV episodes in an artificial, widescreen aspect ratio, especially since that's the only option with the "Remastered" set. Presumably, this means they're matted, and thus, eliminating information at the top and bottom of the original image. (At least, I hope they're matted rather than horizontally stretched! The Invisible Man Blu-rays a couple of years ago stretched the image to fill 16x9 displays, and it was awful!) At least the "Definitive" set includes the original 4x3 versions as well. That's the one I'll be buying.

I'm also not too upset by the lack of new CGI effects. One of the charms of these shows and movies for me are the handcrafted practical effects, and Galactica's were groundbreaking at the time, and worthy of preservation. I genuinely pity people who can't abide by classic (or "cheesy," as they call them) special effects and want everything to be slick and shiny and soulless. In my opinion, it's an insult to the talented and hardworking craftsmen who created them.

Here at Space: 1970, we're obviously all about practical effects and original aspect ratios.


  1. Don't whip out those credit cards just yet...


    Just sayin'

    1. Universal has already declined to replace the effects. The guy behind this reel said they strung him along for over a year, but ultimately didn't want to pay.

  2. WISH LISTED!!!!!!!!!!! Excited to see them presented in widescreen....................plus all those extra features sound pretty great too! Wish new NEW VFX were being included though!

    1. Dusty, you make me cry. :( Cutting them down for widescreen is just wrong.

    2. Have to agree with you on that one Christopher.

  3. I was assuming they were filmed in a widescreen format and were truncated for square televisions 35 years ago..are you saying that you believe actual footage will be eliminated by cutting the image at the tops and bottoms...........and called widescreen? No bueno if thats the case.......

    1. 35 years ago, I don't imagine *any* TV shows were shot with widescreen presentation in mind. Why would they?

      The pilot film didn't look too bad matted for theatrical presentation (and the Blu-ray followed suit), so it's possible that the pilot film was shot that way, but in watching the regular episodes, the visuals sure seem to be composed for 4x3 televisions.

  4. Yeah, the pilot/movie was shot wide screen with the intention of foreign theatrical release (ie, Canada, et all... were I saw it in the theater). But once the series was picked up it was shot 4:3. So no widescreen for me! The only series from the time I've seen successfully translated to widescreen is Hart to Hart (season one at least). The Netflix transfer looks like there's extra image on the sides, not cut down tops and bottoms. I'm a real stickler for aspect ratio and the H to H framing looks really well done. Maybe it was shot on wide aspect film stock and cut down for original broadcast. Just guessing though...

  5. Too bad they won't just put the bars on either side like many other shows which have been remastered. That would preserve original aspect ratio without cropping or stretching it.

    1. Well, the "Definitive" set apparently will include the original 4x3 option, and presumably, it will be "pillarboxed," with the black bars on either side, as with the Star Trek and Space: 1999 Blu-rays.

      Unfortunately, Universal is pandering to the uneducated consumers who like their TV screens "filled up," regardless of the original aspect ratio.

  6. The information is not quite correct on this one: Kent McCord (Emergency)

    Kent McCord was playing his role from the long TV Series Adam-12 as Officer Jim Reed on only a few episodes of Emergency, but at the he was known for his role on Adam-12.

    1. That's the press release from Universal; blame them.

      I would have said Adam-12, myself.

    2. While I enjoy the original model work on Battlestar Galactica, it's unfortunate that budgetary constraints forced them to re-use effects footage ad infinitum. It starts to get to me after a few episodes. I really wish Universal had taken that FX guy up on his proposal, the test footage looks amazing. thedigitalbits site seems to think there's still a chance for it to happen. Like Paramount did with Star Trek, he stayed true to the feel of the original effects, he just created more variety in the shots and the ships can now move a little more freely. Also like Trek, they could have issued one Blu-Ray set with the option of viewing either version of the effects, and everyone would be happy. As it stands, without re-done effects I have no need to upgrade from my DVD set.

    3. Obviously, everyone makes their own choices about what to buy.

      Re: new CGI effects - if they had been done and offered as an alternative side-by-side with the originals, I'd probably appreciate them as a "bonus" feature. But in no way do I think it necessary. I understand why studios think it might add value to their properties, but I think it's pandering.

      As for digitalbits, they're pretty smart folks, usually, but I think they're underestimating Universal's notorious frugality (i.e. cheapness).

  7. Greetings from London.

    The UK BR release is out today and shipped from Amazon this morning. I've just dipped into the first 45 minutes of SOASW with the Benedict/ Hatch/ HJJ audio commentary which was AWOL from the previous R2 DVD set.

    The aspect ratio is the original 4:3. The transfer looks great although I did spot a couple of vertical flaws in the footage (one appears as the Warriors are 'trucked' to the launch bay, the other on a reverse angle of Zac's Viper just before it explodes).

    The set also includes GALACTICA 1980 but, like the previous DVD release, there's no extras which is a shame as that's a show that's really crying out for the full inside story to be told. Plus I'd love to see the outtakes and deleted scenes as well as any completed footage from the episode that was apparently shooting when the cancellation notice was served.

    Cleverly, Universal haven't indicated anywhere on the discs or the packaging what is actually on each disc, which seems a pretty basic oversight.

  8. Well, now I know what I will be watching the second week of May 2015. Inclusion of the original 4:3 versions made the Definitive Collection a definite must buy, but it will be very interesting to see what the studio thinks passes for "meticulously reformatted to be optimized for the HDTV viewing experience."

  9. So there's no Conquest of the Earth?
    It's the feature-film compilation of five Galactica: 1980 episodes ("Galactica Discovers Earth" three-parter & "Night the Cylons Landed" two-parter) with new dialogue and some re-composed scenes that combined both actors who played Doctor Zee, making them twins!

    1. There's also a hilarous moment in Conquest of the Earth in which the Cylon known as Centuri threatens to disintigrate Wolfman Jack using his finger.

  10. Do we know if it will be released in the Cylon head as the last series DVD set was?

    1. I think that if there was going to be any special packaging, it would have been mentioned in the press release. So... probably not.

  11. The original, classic Battlestar Galactica. One of my all time favorite shows of my life. I was born in 1971, and this show had a great impact on me when it came out. Star Trek, Star Wars, Logan's Run, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, (and much later I finally got to see Space 1999). And of course, there was more as the years rolled by. Escape From New York, The Terminator, Robotech. So many inspiring and stunning films and series. Then, to me at least, sci-fi seemed to change when the 90's hit. A few things I got into, Farscape, Space Above and Beyond, Cowboy Bebop. A few sci-fi movies certainly. But so much over the past 20 years or so just does not do it for me. Retreaded concepts, poor character development, poor and over used CGI, the dreaded shakey camera (everyone is storming the beaches of Normandy!) and so much more. I don't know if there will ever be sci-fi films and shows with as much care and meaning as I had in my youth. There is the occasional film, but nothing like the flood of stuff in the 1970's through the 1980's. I hope for more. But I'm not holding my breath. At least I have my memories, and my DVD's/Blu-rays.

  12. Hope to someday see the Galactica Telefilms released. These were syndicated 2-hour movies made from episodes spliced together, for those who don't know. Many of them had extended space effect shots of the ships as well as some pieced together cut scenes added and re-dubbed voices to bridge the stories together. I have them on Beta tapes somewhere but would be nioce to get a DVD collection release someday.

    1. Galactica: 1980's premiere three-parter (Galactica Discovers Earth) and a later two-parter (Night the Cylons Landed) were reworked and released on video as a 90-minute movie, Conquest of the Earth.
      Besides cutting 4 hours down to 90 minutes, some dialogue was redubbed to explain the two actors playing Dr Zee were brothers (Zee and Zen), and a scene from the original series featuring John Colicos as Baltar was inserted.
      One other note: there were two video releases!
      The first was the aired movie.
      It was pulled shortly after release due to music rights issues.
      The second was the aired movie with most of the source (non-Glen Larson) music replaced!
      This is obvious in the footage from "Night the Cylons Landed", since all the music played by Wolfman Jack as a radio station DJ is replaced!