Battlestar Galactica TV Review (2023)

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Battlestar Galactica isn't an unrealistic, space-set soap opera. Despite the show's sci-fi premise, the characters react in very human ways to the constant pressure of being on the run and fighting for the survival of the species. With little to lose, people live, love, and fight as if every day is their last -- and since it often is, the emotions can be very honest and very raw. Because of the adult themes and the frequency of both violence (including torture) and drinking (a couple of characters appear to be alcoholics), this series falls into the "older kid" sci-fi camp.

Community Reviews

  • Parents say (21)
  • Kids say (18)

FMRal Adult

August 14, 2021

age 11+

The presentation of mature content will likely make parents more uncomfortable than children.

Battlestar Galactica is an excellent show with a solid Christian theme, covered in spaceships, robots, and pseudo-Greek mythology.There are no good and evil characters. The show depicts people in fictional but clearly desperate circumstance. The difference between Hero and Villian is based on this. For some characters, death comes unexpectedly before they have time to repent. That’s it. The show buries you in examples of bad guys doing righteous things and people justifying bad actions with righteous posturing. Every villain has a story arc, and all are perpetually placed in a circumstance of being able to choose. Some become faithless, cynical, cruel, addicted in various ways…and the facticity of mortal life is, sometimes there isn’t a tomorrow.But just as many characters do repent, redeem themselves in their various ways…Galactica doesn’t put any character beyond redemption in their momentary choice.It’s a heavy show. But, it isn’t pornographic or voyeuristic. Is slavery real? Is rape real? Do we honor the professional murderers that protect the meek? How do we square that, morally.There isn’t anything in the show that would scare a kid, but there isn’t ten minutes of the show that couldn’t lead your child to ask you a scary question. But, the questions are scary because we don’t have very good answers. Holding your hand over their eyes…it’s not protecting anyone but the parent too squeamish to engage in a mature responsible conversation about facts of human existence.If anything, fantasy sandboxes like Galactica are exactly what you want to watch with your kids. You can help them begin to think using a context that is clearly fictional. It’s unlikely they’re going to worry the Cylons are going to get them after watching the show. If something is too complicated for them, it doesn’t matter. Those are all just simulated traumas.

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SGray1999 Adult

December 27, 2020

age 13+

A Story of Survival and Excellent Writing

I watched this show around 2012, when I was twelve. It is mature, dealing with things such as rape, abortion, politics, military organizations, sex in general, genocide, as well as religion and its implications. Season 1 is tame overall, the sex is tame as well, the Pilot which was the mini-series has one mildly explicit scene but can be explained well. Also if your child is 13, you probably should explain the birds and bees. It does have torture of a character that is pretty crude, as well as a suicide bomber. There's also routine execution of people in this show as well. This season also deals with abortion as well, along with the idea of slave labor.Season 2 deals with ideas such as oddly enough ideas of almost immaculate conception, as well as introduces a crew that is highly, HIGHLY in the wrong. There is a separate mini-series during this time called Razor, which explains why to this crew. It has an attempted rape of a character, the psychological and presumed sexual abuse of a prisoner. As well as the execution of one. There is an abduction as well. It also deals with divorce.Season 3 sees an occupation of people and stands in the place of I presume the warsaw ghetto, and see's the systematic execution of political dissidents. This includes one character dying many times in gruesome manners. It also see's people starving, and a character dies from radiation poisoning.Season 4 has a character who commits suicide after losing all hope, and this is when religion really hits hard. So, it's confusing to explain it, and the ending is convoluted. However, this does introduce a mutiny and dream of an assassination.Overall there are really strong characters who are flawed, and some are descent role models like Commander Adama, and even later Six. Also Apollo be one. In general the series is flawless, and deals with these in an expert, not overtly political way. There is no swearing, only frakk in it's place which dates back to BSG 79.

This title has:

Great messages

Great role models

Too much violence

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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What's the Story?

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA starts with the notion that an offshoot of humanity has developed its own culture on the far side of the galaxy. Their technological accomplishments prove to be their undoing when the Cylons, a line of self-aware robots, decide that people are inherently flawed and should be eradicated for the good of the universe. The series begins with a deadly sneak-attack that almost accomplishes this, and the remaining humans flee their home world in anything that can fly. Other than the basic concept and several characters' names, this thought-provoking drama has little in common with the campy sci-fi series from the 1970s that shares its title. The original was light on realism and made the survivors' fight for survival seem like a party in space; the remake is more believable, showcasing the survivors' efforts to maintain their composure while running short of food, water, fuel, and hope.

Is It Any Good?

The strength of this series is the way its characters each choose to react to this untenable situation. Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) gives his crew a reason to fight by setting off in search of a planet long considered a myth -- Earth. Some choose to believe in this quest, while others decide the only way to survive is to put themselves first.

One critical difference from the original show is that some of the Cylons are now identical to people. Boomer, a supporting male character on the first show, has been recast as a female Cylon sleeper agent (played by Grace Park), and her struggles to comprehend the fact that her human tendencies are little more than programming make for one of the series' most compelling storylines. Indeed, her confusion lies at the heart of Battlestar Galactica, as the viewers and the cast attempt to define what it means to be human.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

  • Families can talk about how they would react if they lost everything and had to start over, like on Battlestar Galactica. Some people would find the strength to protect their people, but others might turn inward and focus only on protecting their own interests. Though it's hard to know how anyone might act in a life-or-death situation, it can be interesting to speculate. What would your teens take with them if they had five minutes (or less) to leave the house? What would you do if the slate was wiped clean?

  • How do the characters in Battlestar Galactica demonstrate teamwork? Why is that an important character strength?

TV Details

  • Premiere date: October 18, 2004
  • Cast: Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, Mary McDonnell
  • Network: Syfy
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Character Strengths: Teamwork
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: October 13, 2022
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