Tuesday, 2 August 2016


From circa 1988: the first UK sell-through VHS release of the second BATTLESTAR GALACTICA faux feature film MISSION GALACTICA: THE CYLON ATTACK.

Once again presented in the familiar CIC livery of the day, this was first released in UK cinemas in 1980 as a quickie cash-in to lure people away from the delights of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (other science fiction blockbusters are available). It started doing the international circuit in 1979.

The film itself is a competent chop-together of three episodes from the 1978-79 weekly series. The two stories (the double-length The Living Legend and Fire in Space) were both blessed with higher-than-average production values, presumably because the studio already had plans to reuse the material overseas (MG, unlike its predecessor, never had a theatrical release in US movie houses but did surface on home video and cable TV).

Even with the extra investment, the sequel still struggles to match the production standards of he first movie. Many of the effects shots are (like most of the series) stock from the opening night and their reuse stands out here. The problem is magnified by some unfortunate continuity errors created by mis-matched shots. The live action material is entirely competent and has the right levels of excitement when required. Much of the staging of the Fire In Space segment stands head and shoulders above similar starship in peril outings on other shows. The movie cut wisely dispenses with some of the more obvious disaster movie cliches which clutter the TV outing.

The big let down is the final spectacular space walk. It's incredibly poorly staged with obvious wire work, a poor photographic backdrop of a section of the miniature and - worst of all - costumes that aren't air tight.

The two plots mesh together pretty well and I think casual viewers would struggle to spot they are watching a cut-and-shunt production crafted in a Universal edit suite. Only one shot looks obviously out-of-place (watch for it). Other delights include the return of the Imperious Leader (on an excursion), Lloyd Bridges as swaggering Commander Cain, the arrival of Sheba as a series regular (although no one knew officially), gossiping Cylons, an unconvincing air drop and lots of explosions.

It's no ESB but it's a great slice of Galactca.

Once again, tangled rights problems prevented BBC TWO from repeating The Living Legend. Fire in Space had booked a place in the schedules but the fire at London's Kings Cross underground station a day earlier meant it was bumped from the running order and not reinstated later in the run.

The conclusion of the Galactica trilogy, CONQUEST OF THE EARTH, was never given a sell-through release. Nor, indeed, a DVD one.


  1. among this weeks offerings are new comics for TORCHWOOD and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA ( my FP only had the one copy )

    but the outstanding gem is BUCK ROGERS A TELEVISION COMPANION, a making of / episode guide tome written by Pat Janckiewicz who you may recall penned many articles for STARLOG and FANGORIA.

  2. The BATTLESTAR comic is a pretty good start to the new run and sets up a nice mystery. Not read TORCHWOOD yet but nice that this time it's created for the format rather than last time when it was a reprint vehicle for the strips from the magazine.

    The BUCK book has been out for a while but is indeed a great buy. Other books this week included a "facts and stats" book for the sixties BATMAN tv show. It would be more helpful if it had included episode titles. However it looks nice. I can only assume it's an early entry into the Christmas gift book market. There is also an autobiography from the designer of STAR WARS and ALIEN. And the ROTJ entry in the series of Topps gum cards hardbacks.


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