The colonies have come to an end and humanity is on the run from the Cylon threat, a civilization of robots created by men. Admiral Helena Cain, leader of the Battlestar Pegasus, has to try and pull the crew together after the attacks to Caprica. Ten months later, Cain has been shot by a captive Cylon, another commander has died and Captain Lee Adama has taken command of the crew. After choosing Captain Kendra Shaw as his XO, Admiral Adama gives orders to his son to complete a search and rescue mission for a craft that went on a recon mission. Finding themselves in a fight much larger than anticipated, Kendra finds herself mentally battling Captain Kara Thrace and the memories of the Cain era, including several key moments that shaped her personality.
Starring: Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama), Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin), Katee Sackhoff (Cpt. Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace), Jamie Barber (Cpt. Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama), James Callis (Dr. Gaius Baltar), Tricia Helfer (Number Six), Grace Park (Lt. Sharon Valerii), Michael Hogan (Col. Saul Tigh), Michelle Forbes (Admiral Helena Cain), Graham Beckel (Col. Jack Fisk), Stephanie Jacobsen (Kendra Shaw), Nico Cortez (young Adama), Matthew Bennett (Aaron Doral)
While this Sci-Fi Channel special was focused on the Battlestar Pegasus, many of the show’s main characters make appearances. Admiral Adama, played by Edward James Olmos, has a slightly smaller role in this episode but exhibits a combination of faith, command and compassion as he joins his son in the command of his mission. Jamie Bamber takes command of the Pegasus as Lee Adama and exhibits some command but also some inexperience in his decision-making. Taking up much more of the spotlight in this story is Stephanie Jacobson as Kendra Shaw. Her story begins with her arrival on the Pegasus and an unplanned run-in with Gina Inviere (secretly Number Six). She is very timid at the beginning and panics when the fleet dock is under attack, but a series of events hardens her significantly, especially in the presence of Admiral Cain (played by Michelle Forbes). The intense toughness of Forbes’s character is on full display as she makes one unpopular decision after another, which causes people significant fear and forces them to fall in line. Number Six, played by Tricia Helfer, has a significant role as the saboteur on the ship, and surprisingly the lover of one of the significant officers.
Battlestar Galactica was developed by Ronald Moore and Michael Taylor and directed by Felix Alcala. The entire series is an incredibly well-written and action-packed story. Razor is a special release by the Sci-Fi channel and covers some of the missing story of the Pegasus, which is the only other Battlestar to survive the attack on Caprica. While this story has a great combination of action, betrayal, drama and story development, it is only a small piece of the larger Battlestar universe. There are some main characters that have a very limited role in the special but are very meaningful for the rest of the series. Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin gets the position because the 40+ people in line in front of her die during the attacks on earth, leaving the Secretary of Education to become the president. She maintains a caring personality while also opening herself up to the necessary decisions that may create public unrest. Gaius Baltar, played by James Callis, is a complicated individual who condemned the human race to near extinction, serves as the ship’s scientist and goes through a series of political and religious phases where he is revered, feared, pitied or hated. Colonel Saul Tigh is Adama’s right hand man and best friend, but he has a severe number of flaws including a short fuse, significant drinking problem and strong hatred for the Cylons (which makes more sense if you watch the show). Grace Park plays Lt. Sharon Valerii but quickly learns in the series that she is one of the Cylon sleeper agents, which also brings forth a whole population of Number Eights who exist on the Cylon basestars and another that interacts with the Galactica crew. Aaron Douglas plays Chief Galen Tyrol who struggles through a couple of complicated relationships, takes on some interesting political roles and is challenged by revelations about his own background.
So what is the story of Battlestar Galactica about? Roslin and Adama lead the fleet of survivors on a search for a new home and attempt to protect the remaining human race from Cylon attacks. Unlike the original series, the new Cylons have the ability to appear human and some are even sleeper agents that believe they are human until they get “switched on.” The war follows the humans (for the most part) as there are power struggles for the presidency, plots of terrorism, attacks from Cylon threats, human drama like love triangles and moments of desperation for survival. Included within their search for a new home is a spiritual element, including a prophecy that President Roslin believes is worth sacrificing safety for as they seek out the legend of Earth. While the early episodes focus on the internal struggles and the periodic Cylon attacks, integration occurs later on as the sleeper agents begin to rise and attempt to determine whether they fully support the Cylons or hold on to their “human” lives.
I watched the first episode and did not get hooked right away, though I did think it was a well craft story. I ended up giving it another chance and truly can say that this is one of the best story lines from the start to finish of the series. Razor is a good story but the rest of the series is truly something to watch.
Dan’s Rating – Razor: 3.5/5 Series: 4.5/5