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Old September 17th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #1
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Default Saga of a Star World

Battlestar Galactica: Saga of a Star World



Three-Hour Premiere - Original Airdate: September 17, 1978

Writer: Glen A. Larson.

Director: Richard A. Colla.

Cast: Richard Hatch (Apollo), Dirk Benedict (Starbuck), Lorne Greene (Adama), Terry Carter (Tigh), Herb Jefferson, Jr. (Boomer), Maren Jensen (Athena), Laurette Spang (Cassiopea), John Colicos (Baltar), Noah Hathaway (Boxey), Tony Swartz (Jolly).

Guest Cast: Jane Seymour (Serina), Lew Ayres (Adar), Ray Milland (Sire Uri), Rick Springfield (Zac).



En route to a peace conference, the colonial fleet is attacked by the evil Cylon Empire. Their worlds destroyed, the last remaining Battlestar leads a convoy of 220 ships in search of a new home - the planet Earth.



Veteran television director Richard A. Colla, whose credits include Star Trek the Next Generation, Murder She Wrote, and Miami Vice, joined the production to direct the three-hour pilot. Midway into shooting, however, creative differences between Colla and Larson resulted in the director leaving the project.



Larson turned to Alan J. Levi. A seasoned director in his own right, Levi also had a reputation at Universal in the 70's as a trouble-shooter - having taken over on several television productions that the studio perceived to be having problems. “What was wrong with it [Colla's direction], I don't know,” says Levi. “I do know that Glen is a very exacting producer and when he asked for something, you delivered it to him. Television is a more of a producer's medium than a director's medium. In features, the director is in control; in television, the producer is in control and that may have been part of it.”



Colla left Galactica after shooting for 25 days. Levi, whose credits include JAG, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and E.R, shot new material for 22 days and recalls doing an additional 4-5 days of reshoots. As is standard in film production, shots were filmed out of sequence. On the pilot, Levi's first directorial call for “action” was made on the sequence in which the Cylons attack the Carillon gambling casino. With less than a week before assuming control of the pilot, Levi had little time to prepare for the massive production. “I had spent a lot of time with Glen just discussing [it] before I officially took over,” he explains. “I didn't do a lot of storyboards because I didn't have time to, but I did do a lot of prep. If I have a whole day of shooting on one set - let's say for Monday - then on Saturday or Sunday I will go in and spend between 3 and 5 hours on that set walking it; planning it; thinking about it, etc. I do a huge amount of homework that way. So I had the weekend to plan the first 5 days and then I got into the swing of it.”



Richard Hatch was concerned when the producers indicated that his son, Boxey [played by Noah Hathaway], might be written out. The actor approached Larson and asked that the character be retained. “I felt that Starbuck was getting all these romantic scenes - they are not making me the romantic character, so I wanted to be able to have a situation where I could at least explore the father in Apollo and create scenes between me and my son. I thought that would give my character another dimension and also add a dimension to the show that demonstrated that this show was about family. I think that was what made us unique.”



During the pilot, Cassiopea, played by Laurette Spang, was introduced. The character, a 7th millennium courtesan, was quickly transformed into a med tech when it was decided to sign Spang on as a series regular. "It was a guest star part," recalls Spang, "I was just like Jane Seymour. I was just going to be there for the pilot and then they decided they wanted to keep me on."



Not unexpectedly, there was concern on the part of the ABC as to how the character would be perceived by viewers. Spang recalls one sequence that the network requested be re-shot. "In the pilot, Dirk and I had done a scene in the launch tube where he had his shirt off. They flipped about that. I was in Michigan visiting my family and I had to fly back to redo that scene with his shirt on. It was the exact same scene; you didn't see a thing. It was all implication, but they were not happy about it."



Larson defends the character saying, "It was an attempt to try and be a little more sophisticated. Cassiopeia was something like a geisha, in that tradition. It wasn't purely sexual. I don't recall us having any real problems with that because we never hit that very hard. That was never a centerpiece."



In the theatrical version of "Saga of a Star World", the Cylon Imperious Leader executes the traitorous Baltar (John Colicos). A similar fate was planned for the television premier, when it was decided that the character would make a good recurring villain. "I think he was just such a good heavy," Larson explains. "I don't recall if the pressure came from the network or what but they simply liked him. You know when you're earning your sustenance from the network you certainly do keep an open eye to what they like, and if they like something and you don't dislike it, then you don't have a fight. I certainly liked Colicos. He had come out of Anne of a Thousand Days not too long before that and he was high on my list of very fine actors. I always believe you want the strongest heavies you can get. It certainly validates your heroes."



Colicos likened the character to a fallen angel and welcomed the dramatic potential the character offered. "When he sells out to the Cylons,” says Colicos, in an interview before his death in 2000, “you could read all kinds of little connotations - moles in secret service agencies and things like that. Yet he was fighting for his own. It may have been warped, integrity, one doesn't know because we never got that far. But that was the line in which I wanted to go. For him to say I am not wrong; I am not destroying the human race I am trying to survive. It's a survival story in a strange kind of way."

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Old September 17th, 2005, 09:41 AM   #2
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Great post! I celebrated with Saga my self tonight it's getting late so I'll save my more in depth review for later.

One of my very favorite scenes.

Apollo and Adama have heated words. The same scene is played out in GINO only it’s now about a dysfunctional family where son hates father. I find more enjoyment with TOS scene.



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Old September 17th, 2005, 01:29 PM   #3
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Outstanding post, Peter. Added the link to this thread to the celebration thread in the News forum
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Old September 17th, 2005, 05:34 PM   #4
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Wow, that was really a terrific thread Peter! Is there a chance I could link to it/post it at my site as well? It's hands down a perfect tribute to BSG!

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Old September 17th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #5
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Sadly I had to celebrate with the theatrical version of SASW. My box set is back in New Orleans.

Nice tribute, btw.

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Old September 17th, 2005, 09:41 PM   #6
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September 17, 1978

September 17, 2005

A nice night watching Battlestar Galactica - Saga of a Star World, both then and now.

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Old September 17th, 2005, 09:44 PM   #7
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very cool
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Old September 18th, 2005, 12:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffit
Wow, that was really a terrific thread Peter! Is there a chance I could link to it/post it at my site as well? It's hands down a perfect tribute to BSG!

With affection,
Muffit
Muffit, you're welcome too.

Btw Steve Simak of Cinefantastique wrote the words, I only provided the pictures!

Best,

Peter
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Old September 18th, 2005, 07:13 AM   #9
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Great post my friend!

Mooron should look at this post and see just how stellar the show looks even today. How epic it felt and how it touched all of our hearts.

Great to see you muffit!

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Old September 18th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #10
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We watched Saga last night also. (The ENTIRE family, though Pixel wasn't that interested.) My girl loved the funky disco music @ Carillon. My spouse just kept saying how great the original story is. We relished in all the favorite SFX shots, and the warmth between the characters, chuckled over Athena in the locker room scene, laughed at Starbuck getting steamed and having ants in his pants the next day, and just ENJOYED watching the show together. My daughter found Muffit and Boxey to be her favorite parts. (maybe someday we'll go to Seattle to see Muffit).

At first (till Dirk came on) my girl kept asking if this was the "the good Starbuck Galactica". She knows there's another that she's not allowed to watch. Once Dirk was on she wanted to go to dinner with him too (she knows she ate with Richard once, but she really likes Starbuck. Girl's got taste! Now if only she'd eat vegetables!)

I still love the dress capes and the extra ornamentation that goes with them. Dorleac was a genius.

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Old September 18th, 2005, 08:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewels
My daughter found Muffit and Boxey to be her favorite parts. (maybe someday we'll go to Seattle to see Muffit).
Jewels, I'm glad you're little girl likes Muffey and Boxey the best, many fans are dismissive of their role in the show, forgetting that it was designed to appeal to all ages. I can't imagine the show without them.

Hopefully, one day I'll get to see Muffey and the Cylon too.

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Old September 18th, 2005, 02:37 PM   #12
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Yes, the show did have an appeal for all ages.

I couldn't believe how many Sept.17th's I let go by without watching Saga to commemorate the day.

I wish I could've brought my box set with me...but all I had was the theatrical version, and the miniseries of the new show.

So, I watched 'em both to get my Battlestar Galactica fix.

Battlestar Galactica is a great story, no matter which generation, or incarnation you watch. (Even G80 has a few decent moments.)

LONG LIVE BOTH BATTLESTARS GALACTICA,
LONG LIVE ALL BATTLESTAR GALACTICA FANS,
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Old September 18th, 2005, 03:40 PM   #13
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I just watched "Saga of a Star World" on September 6th to follow along with the Space Channel broadcasts, but after reading the commentary and seeing all the images, I could pop it in again just for fun. I really could watch it all over again.

I always did the "comemmoration" thing with Space:1999 and Lost in Space - September 13th and October 17th respectively, but like someone else mentioned, I let September 17th slip by even though it was an anniversary I should keep in the same way.

I've got some stuff to do this afternoon, but at 8pm, I'm gonna watch "Saga" again, even if it is a day late, but then Battlestar Galactica did premiere on a Sunday night back in 1978, so it still works for me....

Best to all my fellow BSG fans!
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 01:02 AM   #14
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Default Re: Saga of a Star World

Go, Saga, go!
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