Is it possible to follow Battlestar Galactica 2003 TV series without watching 1978 original Battlestar Galactica series?

  • Related - movies.stackexchange.com/questions/53274/…
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 13:09
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    I think you'll appreciate the reboot differently if you've already watched the original, but it's not necessary.
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 15:54
  • You may appreciate the reboot even more if you also watch BSG 1980: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactica_1980 (hint: it's a complete trash ;-))
    – JohnEye
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 17:16
  • i don't know if you need to see both but you definitely need to see number 6 from the reboot
    – lelloman
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 21:26
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    I loved the first series when I was a kid, running home from school to make it to every episode each Friday. Tried to watch it a couple of years ago as an adult and it was borderline unwatchable. Love the new one though. You will not miss anything, it is a complete reboot.
    – Amadan
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 8:11

5 Answers 5


Is it possible to follow Battlestar Galactica 2003 TV series without watching 1978 original Battlestar Galactica series?

Yes, definitely.

Although some of the basic concepts / names etc. are the same, this is a complete reboot/re-imagining of the series.

  • 5
    In fact it's best you not watch the original. It is repetitive, the Cylons dumb as a box of rocks, and the story-resolution-every-episode (not necessarily bad) form made it, ultimately, inane
    – radarbob
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 1:20
  • @radarbob It was made for a different audience. If you enjoy other 60s/70s shows, giving the original a go isn't a bad idea. If you are but a product of your time, indeed, don't watch the original.
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 10:27

You don't have to watch both, they are not related or have any sort of continuity, but you need to watch the 2 episodes mini series before watching the 2003/2005 version.

  • Doesn't "2003" imply the mini-series? As I recall, that's when the mini-series was made, while the regular tv series came later (not 100% sure, though)
    – Flambino
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 23:48
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    Yes, and you're right, the miniseries aired in 2003 and the series 2005US, but they apparently are considered two different "entities" (each has its own wiki and Imdb page), which make it easy to overlook the miniseries and start watching from what's listed as S01e01 (that's what I did when I started watching the show and I was a bit confused)
    – madmada
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 0:17
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    Ah, right, gotcha. I think I too may have started watching the series without even knowing about the miniseries at first. Not sure, but I do seem to recall the first series episode starting very in medias res, so definitely good advice in your answer.
    – Flambino
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 0:21
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    I didn't realize there was a separate mini-series, I think it is part of Season one when watching on Netflix. (I never watched it when it aired, but watched the whole series on netflix during college) Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 17:43
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    Watching the mini series very much seconded. I had no idea the mini-series was basically the pilot, and watching the first proper episode of the series made no sense whatsoever, and was barely watchable. I certainly didn't want to watch any further episodes after that experience. The mini-series changed that.
    – Luaan
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 14:39

As someone who watched and loved the 1978 series as a teen... No, you don't need to watch both.

They are actually surprisingly unrelated. They have roughly the same central concept of a fleet which is fleeing genocide at the hands of the "Cylons", but that's really about where the similarities end. The Cylons are completely different in the original show. They are The Other. Shiny robots with one evil scanning eye. You could look at any character and know instantly which side they were on. The result was kind of like a weekly space-based version of the Battle of Midway.

The new one making them look just like humans completely changes the show, adding a dimension of constant paranoia and psychological drama that was just not in there in the 70's (although as a teen boy, I'll admit it could have been in there and I would not have noticed).

The fact that some of the Cylons don't even know they're not human adds a further element.

My personal suggestion would be that if you enjoy modern dark dramas with ongoing stories (eg: Arrow), then just watch the reboot. If you'd prefer an old-school series with a lot of space dogfights where noting much changes at the end of any episode watch the old one. If you've got oodles of free time on your hands, feel free to watch both.

  • 1
    The original cylons feature in at least one of the spin-off movies: youtube.com/watch?v=XgH83IqL8T8 And "prequel series" Caprica also featured cylons that were closer to the original ones than to the "modern" ones: blackcampbell.com/tag/cylons
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 14:33
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    @BCdotWEB - Hah. Caught me. I watched about a season or two of the new BSG, but that's about it. I think I got a pretty good feel for the show, but it just never really caught fire with me. Plots based around undetectable dopplegangers are my #2 scifi turn-off, right after time travel, and just in front of geometric expansion enemies (eg: Zombies).
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 14:58
  • And if you are suicidal and have infinite amount of time, watch the "second season" of the first show...
    – pipe
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 16:02
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    I was actually quite confused watching the '03 miniseries, due to my foreknowledge of the original show. For some reason I couldn't work out whether these people were supposed to be older versions of original characters, mostly due to the whole "second Cylon war" thing, combined with callsign re-use. Seems kind of silly in hindsight but hey. Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 16:06
  • @BoundaryImposition - Yeah, even I did not watch much of that. IIRC, they actually found Earth, but it was late 70's earth, so they couldn't just pop down in their Battlestar and start hugging farmers. So it was basically a completely different kind of show.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 18:07

In a really weird way, the reboot is also a sequel series to the original galactica series. In Galactica 80, the fleet has found earth and they send a small contingent of children to live on it. The cylons also send a small contingent (no idea why)that are humaniform cylons to hunt them down.

One of the big themes of the reboot is "all this has happened before and will happen again" which might indicate that the previous series were within canon of the new. But that's really not worth thinking about. this is "brains off" TV. They don't have a plan, and neither did the writers. Take it episode by episode and don't try connecting the dots, you'll be much happier about the series for it.

  • 1
    When I saw your username, my first thought was "There are no gods from the Galactica. That's why they didn't network all the computers. It made sure no gods came from the machine!" =)
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 19:01
  • However, Galactica 1980 only had one episode that's generally considered canon, so bringing it into this doesn't make much sense ;)
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 9:48

I have never watched more than a couple of minutes of the 1970s version but happily watched all of the 21st Century reboot. As other have said, the 21st Century version can confuse people because it begins not with Season 1 but the Mini Series, which is possibly the best part and not to be missed, apart from showing the beginning of the story. It stands up to repeated viewing as not all later Seasons do.

Also note some later episodes such as 'Razor' were released individually but are also included in the relevant series.

Tricia Helfer is especially brilliant and sad she has not had other more prominent and varied roles since, unless I missed them.

Note two interesting prequels were made later with different casts, a TV movie set early in the Cylon War called Blood & Chrome and a series set before the Cylon War called Caprica.

There was another called sequel 'The Plan' featuring the original cast but of more mixed interest.

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