Friday 4 September 2015


From 1978: A really nice compilation of ABC on-screen promotions, and channel branding, for the September debut of, for me, the second-most iconic media property from the peak of the Star Age: the three-hour (with commercials) TV premiere of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

With hype like this, and sixty-five million Americans tuning in on opening night, it was inevitable that the only way would be down.  A ratings slide that alarmed network execs just at the same time that (the far cheaper) MORK AND MINDY was surging.  The die was already cast.

It's interesting to see that the opener is obliquely referenced by its 'saga of a star world' title (one of several working titles briefly considered for the series in 1977) even through the episode name doesn't appear anywhere on the programme itself.

There's also several shots (including a prominently featured Imperious Leader... kept in the shadows in the final cut and sidelined in the series proper) and some alternate effects work that don't appear anywhere in the completed episode.  

Someone has also dubbed a reference to the "Android Sisters" (a production team gag) into the trail.  Whether this was an outtake from the show itself, or done especially for the promo to raise a laugh, is lost in the mists of time.  

Surprisingly, unless I blinked, neither the Ovions nor Muffet make much of an appearance... suggesting that either that material wasn't available when the promos were compiled or that the network wanted to hold back a few surprises for opening night.  Which would have been slightly odd as both elements were heavily merchandised, covered in contemporary print media AND a cut of the film had already been released in Canadian cinemas. 


  1. great video ! you know, looking back now, its amazing just how much stuff was on my tv channel back in the pre - dvd and you tube days of the 80's.

    As well as the NEW TWILIGHT ZONE, irish tv also screened the infamous STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL ( I'm fairly sure this was never shown on uk tv ) , the little seen cartoon FLIGHT OF DRAGONS and the animated LORD OF THE RINGS.

    Quite an impressive roster so there must have been somebody with a yen for fantasy material in charge back then.

    1. I'm 99.9% certain the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL made it to the UK. And I've occasionally wondered why.

      It would surely have been a no-brainer purchase for either ITV or the BBC. So, maybe Lucas decided to bury it before a British broadcaster signed-up or maybe the whole shot-on-NTSC tape production values, as well as the overall quality of the effort, deterred buyers.

  2. maybe it was a uk channel that screened it but I'm not sure which one. I have vivid memories of watching it at my grandparents house back in 1979 and feeling incredibly excited at seeing new footage of han and chewie in the falcon, almost like a new movie and now we have come full circle and the force awakens is all set to generate such excitement once more.


    DOCTOR WHO THE COMPLETE HISTORY - Issue 1 is out - haven't opened this yet but it looks to be a very nice package.

    ULTIMATE STAR WARS - this has finally appeared in forbidden planet and other bookshops. a ' most impressive ' visual tome, even Lord Vader would be pleased.

    I've noticed that tie-in books to the force awakens have started to appear on the shelves. Also out this week is SHATTERED EMPIRE , set just after return of the jedi and serving as a prequel to the upcoming movie.

    The journey to the force awakens has begun.


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