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The Cylons were created by man.
They rebelled. They evolved.
There are many copies.
And they have a plan.

Growing up, I was one of those kids who couldn’t get enough science fiction, so you know I was glued to the boob tube when the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA had its short-lived run on network television. Over the years, I have watched reruns of the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and found it to be enjoyable, but became aware of the campier elements of the series, something which I hadn’t noticed when I was a kid. This brings us to Ronald Moore’s re-imagining of the 1970’s TV show, which is an entirely different animal from the original series. In Moore’s vision, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA has been transformed into a dark, dangerous, sexy beast that isn’t afraid to draw blood. During its four season run, Moore’s BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was definitely the best science fiction series on television, and quite possibly, one of the best dramas on television- period.

Like the series that spawned it, this re-imagined BATTLESTAR GALACTICA tells the story of humanity’s fight for survival against a mechanized enemy bent on its utter extermination. In this version of BATTLESTAR GALACTIC, the human race originally created the Cylons as a robotic labor force. However, the Cylons ultimately rebelled against their Human masters, which lead to a war, a truce and then the complete disappearance of the entire Cylon race. Off humanity’s radar for forty years, The Cylons were able to launch a devastating sneak attack on mankind’s twelve colonial worlds, which reduced the human population from billions to roughly fifty thousand nomadic survivors that have been culled into a rag tag fugitive fleet searching for the fabled thirteenth colony- a shining planet known as Earth. Oh, and in case I have forgotten to mention… in their forty-year absence, The Cylons have also upgraded themselves; going from walking chrome toasters to a synthetic approximation of their former masters- in essence The Cylons now appear human and are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

The cast of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA features Edward James Olmos as Admiral William Adama, the highest ranking military officer left alive after the attack; Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin, the former Education Secretary elevated to the Presidency; Katee Sackhoff as top fighter pilot Captain Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace; Jamie Bamber as the Admiral’s son Captain Lee 'Apollo' Adama; James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar, who played an unwitting role in the near destruction of humanity; Tricia Helfer as Cylon seductress Number Six, Grace Park as Cylon operative Number Eight, who was made a bit too human and Michael Hogan as Colonel Saul Tigh, the Galactica XO who fights his own personal demons. Also featured in the cast are Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol, Tahmoh Penikett as Lieutenant Karl 'Helo' Agathon, Kate Vernon as Ellen Tigh, Donnelly Rhodes as Dr. Cottle, Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek, Dean Stockwell as Cylon operative Number One and Lucy Lawless as Cylon operative D'Anna Biers.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 4.5 ($70) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a three-disc set that features the ten episodes that were aired in the second half of the series final year. The ten featured episodes in the collection are as follows: Sometimes A Great Notion, A Disquiet Follows My Soul, The Oath, Blood On The Scales, No Exit, Deadlock, Someone To Watch Over Me, Islanded In A Stream Of Stars, Daybreak, Part 1 and Daybreak, Part 2 & 3. Highlights of SEASON 4.5 include revelations on who the remaining Cylon is; unknown facts about the thirteenth colony and its ultimate fate comes to light; the truce with Cylon dissidents leads to a rebellion within the fleet and the Galactica arrives at her final destination. Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made all eleven episodes from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 4.5 available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Although the series was never designed to win any beauty contests, the 1080p presentations faithfully render the intended gritty look of the episodes, and in that regard, they are truly excellent. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA has a highly contrasted, documentary styled look that is not always demonstrate the sharpest or best defined high definition images, but a lot of what is up on the screen looks terrific. Color reproduction is all over the place, some sequences with blown out contrast can sometimes appear nearly monochromatic, while interiors with controlled lighting demonstrate stronger hues. Blacks are pure and the whites appear stable. There are no physical imperfections in the source materials. The image is replete with noise/grain, which gives the picture much of its wonderful gritty quality.

All of the episodes that constitute BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 4.5 are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. No surprises here, this is top of the line television production audio that only makes modest concessions to the necessities of broadcasting. While the forward soundstage is dominant during the talky passages, the rear channels engage in a highly effective manner, whether it is for creating smaller sonic environments, the shuddering of deck plating or for adding sweep to space battles. Directional effects are well deployed, having precise localization and smooth panning between channels. The lossless encode of the episodes enhances fidelity for both the music and sound effects. Additionally, the bass channel does a good job of adding weight to mundane sound effects, as well as enhancing impacts and explosions and adding sufficient shake to key sequences. No other language tracks have been included on the disc, but English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Ronald Moore is on hand to provide Podcast Audio Commentaries for the episodes. Additional Commentaries are provided by Edward James Olmos on Islanded In A Stream Of Stars, as well as Moore, executive producer David Eick and director Michael Rymer on Daybreak. Extended Versions of three episodes: A Disquiet Follows My Soul, Islanded In A Stream Of Stars, and Daybreak are also provided.

Featurettes and other programs include the following: The Journey Ends: The Arrival (thirteen minutes), Evolution Of A Cue (twenty three minutes), What The Frak Is Going On With Battlestar Galactica? (eight minutes), David Eick's Video Blogs (forty five minutes), A Look Back (thirty seven minutes), The Musicians Of Daybreak (thirty one minutes) & And They Have A Plan (five minutes). Forty-three minutes of Deleted Scenes close the standard supplements. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized for an interactive version of the episodes that provides in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements (requires a Profile 1.1 player). BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 4.5 is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was one of the best science fiction shows to ever air on television. Universal’s Blu-ray collection of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 4.5 looks and sounds fantastic. Very highly recommended.



Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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