‘Peacock’ platform launch – The Sound of Cylons?

Though vastly different, the two versions of 'BSG' are remembered fondly. So what would yet another incarnation bring to the table?

The cult, if somewhat cheesy Seventies series Battlestar Galactica has gained cult status over the years. Starring the likes of Dirk Benedict, the late Richard Hatch and Lorne Greene, it was created by Glen A. Larson as a television answer to the glossy Star Wars films and told the story of a group of cosmic survivors trying to escape the robotic Cylons and fleeing in a convoy of ragtag starships towards a new legendary ‘thirteenth colony’ planet that they believed was called… Earth. The show actually only ran for one season between 1978-9 and was followed up by a series Galactica 1980 with a mostly new cast, one which suggested what happened when they finally reached Earth. It lasted ten episodes. However, books comics and repeats ensured the core series is remembered fondly.

The show was rebooted for the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) by Ronald D. Moore in the Noughties (between 2004-2009) with a far harder and more cynical edge. keeping the central idea of refugees, but concentrating more on the relationship between man and robots, between the compromises made in war and the power-struggles between humans as much as against their now passing-as-humans AI adversaries. There was also a prequel series Caprica which detailed the early days of the creation of the Cylons, but it was cancelled before its first season was completed.

Now, it looks like Battlestar Galactica will set ‘sail’ yet again with another reboot, possibly as early as next summer.

In an age where every broadcaster needs a subscription streaming platform, NBC will follow the likes of CBSAll Access (home of the likes of Star Trek: Discovery) and be creating the Peacock streaming platform which they announced today is on course for a May 2020 launch with some new and old material.  That relaunch also includes reboots of ‘comedy’ Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster with some of their original cast members and a new The Office, so it’s clear that nostalgia will play a part in the brand’s identity.

Sam Esmail, who (somewhat ironically) executive-produced the likes of Mr. Robot and Homecoming will oversee the BSG project – adding the title to the list of projects he’s steering towards the screen (which also includes a limited series based on Fritz Lang’s seminal 1927 movie Metropolis and Angelyne (with his wife Emily Rossum). It’s not clear exactly when the re-imagined BSG will appear on the platform or how Esmail will pitch his vision of the series. It is likely it will fall somewhere between the camp and the grim of previous outings, probably closer to the latter though it’s not clear what the new approach would need to be to be a truly ‘fresh’ take.

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