HOLLYWOOD — Lorne Greene will ride the space prairie again on DVD when Universal releases all 24 hourlong episodes of the elaborate science-fiction TV series “Battlestar Galactica” Oct. 21.
The release is timed to follow a PlayStation2 and Xbox videogame release based on the series in September and precede the December debut of a Sci Fi Channel miniseries based on the skein, all part of a 25th anniversary celebration of the Glen A. Larson production.
“Battlestar Galactica” launched with a three-hour pilot in 1978, co-starring Ray Milland, Jane Seymour and Rick Springfield, that drew 65 million viewers. It was the most expensive show ever at that point, featuring special effects by John Dykstra (“Spider-Man”), who was just coming off his Oscar-winning, groundbreaking work on “Star Wars” the previous year; and visual effects by Richard Edlund (“Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Air Force One”).
Band on the run
The story tracked a ragtag fleet of refugees in makeshift spacecraft who escaped a planet destroyed by “Cylon” robots. The lone surviving military commander (Greene, formerly of “Bonanza”) led the group through space trying to outrun the pursuing Cylons while looking for a legendary planet called Earth.
Among the extras on “Battlestar Galactica — Complete Epic Series,” priced at $119.98, will be interviews with Larson and series stars Richard Hatch, Terry Carter and Anne Lockhart, as well as a sneak preview of the upcoming miniseries starring Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos in the Lorne Greene role of Commander Adama.
A truncated version of the pilot episode was released theatrically as one of the movies exhibited with the Sensurround sound system — “Earthquake” and “Rollercoaster” were two others –that vibrated the seats of moviegoers. That version of the pilot was previously released on DVD. The new DVD will feature a newly created 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track and the original mono track.
Several two-part episodes of the series subsequently cut into single filmlike episodes for syndication have been released in the past on VHS.
Even though the series remained one of the top 15 shows in its second season, when the enormous costs of the show could no longer be justified, ABC launched a much lower-budget spinoff series called “Galactica 1980” that featured Kent McCord and Barry Van Dyke as children of the original characters on present-day Earth. Those episodes will not be included in this DVD set.
There have been several attempts over the years to produce an updated theatrical version of the series, with director Bryan Singer once associated with the project.
Dirk Benedict also starred in the series that featured guest roles by stars including Lloyd Bridges.