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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > TV > Battlestar Galactica – Season One (HD-DVD) + Battlestar Galactica – RAZOR (DVD)

Battlestar Galactica – Season One (HD-DVD) + Battlestar Galactica – RAZOR (DVD)


Picture: B/B-     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: A-/B+     Episodes: B-



The revived Battlestar Galactica series is an abandonment of the original 1978 series in pretty much everyway except for some names, references, and futuristic setting.  Whereas other reviewers have sited this series as being essentially wasteful and drab, this reviewer feels that this new Battlestar Galactica series has its own merits and stands out on its own to impress fans rather than using the 1978 hit as a crutch.  This new series works in a manner that original never could; with better special effects and more open casting (due to more money being available during production) Battlestar Galactica can now excel to a new level that 1978 series was never granted.  In truth, the original series was never given a fair chance only lasting about a year even though it had very high ratings on ABC and in fact had higher ratings than the four series that replaced it in its timeslot later on.  Some say the million dollars an episode cost sunk the series, others say another alien named Mork crashed the series; but the truth is no one will ever know.


This new ‘reimagined’ series, now just ending its Third Season, has gained a huge fan base and though it has abandoned what its predecessor had established as far as plot, it still managed to capture the hearts and minds of many sci-fi addicts.  The series in Season One follows a much different path than the original series or even the Star Trek series in which Battlestar Galactica was based in that it focuses more on character drama and development than ever before seen.  The futuristic drama is captivating and engaging.  Also many of the characters from the original series are missing or have been recast as females instead of males, which gives the series a whole new level of depth.  The Cylons of the original series are no longer said to be created by an extinct Reptilian Race but rather Humans themselves and in fact resemble Humans down to the cellular level.


The series is highly detailed from the start with the miniseries and only excels the longer the series goes.  The storyline starts with humanity being in a great deal of trouble in the midst of war with the Cylon Robots.  Commander Adama with no other choices left reactivates the Battlestar Galactica in a last attempt to destroy humanities greatest opponent.  The series becomes entwined with paranoia, deceit, war, destruction, rescue, life, death, and everything else imaginable.  It is hard to describe any season of this series without giving away huge plot details, but know this, you will not be disappointed and WILL ALWAYS be on the edge of your seat.


Along the lines of ‘not being able to give away too much’ is this reviewer’s opinion of the Battlestar Galactica telefilm RAZOR.  RAZOR follows the crew of Battlestar Pegasus and was released between Seasons 3 and 4 of the Battlestar Galactica series.  The story of RAZOR takes place years before the 2003 Battlestar Galactica series and explores the beginnings of the Cylon War and how the Cylons took on a more human form.  The series uses Admiral Cain as a means of the flashbacks (you will know this character if you are more familiar with the series) and also involves the actions of Admiral Adama.  The Pegasus Crew is involved among the tragedies of the Cylon Holocaust and seeks revenge for their dreadful actions.  The telemovie was amazing, IF YOU LOVE THE SERIES, on its own without prior knowledge of the series this reviewer feels the audience would be lost.  Also this should not be watched if you have not seen Season 3 as it was quite revealing of past and future events.


All 12 original Season One episodes are available here in HD format, along with the mini-series episodes.  The marked episodes (*) contain both commentaries and deleted scenes for fan enjoyment.

1)     Mini-Series*

2)     33*

3)     Water*

4)     Bastille Day

5)     Act of Contrition*

6)     You Can’t Go Home Again*

7)     Litmus

8)     Six Degrees of Separation

9)     Flesh & Bone

10)   Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down*

11)   The Hand Of God*

12)   Colonial Day*

13)   Kobol’s Last Gleaming (two parter)*



The technical features on these two releases are not outstanding but nice.  The picture on Battlestar Galactica: Season One HD release is presented in a quality 1080P 1.78 X 1 Widescreen that is crisp and clear more so than ever seen on television or standard DVD, and manages to rid itself of that too dark, too dreary quality that is seen on the prior DVD releases.  However, it still has issues that hold it back in detail and depth.  The sound quality has been upgraded and is more booming in its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surrounds and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1’s.  Other reviewers site the effects as unimpressive and forgettable, but this reviewer finds all effects engaging and feels that the updated quality truly adds to the experience as opposed to the sometimes hokey effects in the past (though this reviewer still admires the old series).  The extras extend beyond the plethora of deleted scenes and commentaries listed above with additional Art Sketches, and 8 (count em’!) GREAT behind the scenes featurettes.  As many people know HD lets the audience go beyond the ordinary DVD experience and also offers audiences a ‘U Control’ feature that allows for a Encyclopedia Galactica feature that allows you to delve into the finer details of the series, a picture in picture option that allows you to watch interviews while the episodes run (think POP-UP Video!), and even some exclusive web-enabled options.  The extras are pure awesome.


The picture on the standard DVD RAZOR is presented in a nice 1.78 X 1 Anamorphic Widescreen that is comparable to the other Season One and Two releases with color quality that is not amazing but adequate.  The sound quality is also adequate in its Dolby Digital 5.1 Surrounds, but has its moments where this reviewer felt it should have ‘poped’ more in the wake of destruction.  The extras here, as on the Battlestar HD release, are pretty amazing for fans to view.  Extras include deleted scenes, a featurette entitled ‘The Look of Battlestar Galactica’ that gives a big look into how the series is created, another featurette entitled ‘My Favorite Episode So Far,’ Season 4 Sneak Peek, and a LENGTHY audio commentary by producers and writer.  Overall, the extras are admirable for a telefilm and it shows that the creators of Battlestar have invested interests in their fans.


In the end, this Battlestar HD release may inspire you to upgrade to High Definition and the RAZOR release will help you remember why you love the series already.  To the future folks.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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