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4.5 stars
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Overall Grade
4.5 stars

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The Movie Itself
5 Stars
HD Video Quality
3.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4.5 Stars
Supplements
4 Stars
High-Def Extras
3 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series

Street Date:
July 28th, 2009
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
August 17th, 2009
Movie Release Year:
2004
Studio:
Universal Studios
Length:
3500 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Ronald D. Moore and David Eick are gods among men.

Back in 2003, the duo set out to resurrect Glen A. Larson's campy 1978 sci-fi classic 'Battlestar Galactica' by giving it an extreme makeover for the new millennium. Any project of such magnitude is always a bold and risky endeavor, especially after the numerous failed attempts in the past to rekindle the franchise.

The plan for the update was to retain the basic plot of a group of space-faring humans on the run from the deadly cybernetic Cylons, but inject it with a much more serious tone -- taking the production into an entirely different direction. The whole idea was a potential recipe for disaster, yet somehow all the stars aligned just right and Moore and Eick were in the zone. When they needed to zig they zigged, and when they were supposed to zag they zagged. These guys put away their targeting computers and still blew the Death Star to smithereens. The final result is what Time Magazine and countless others (myself included) hail as one of the best dramas on television. Ever.

Sometime in their history, a civilized planetary system consisting of a dozen tribes of humanity known as the Twelve Colonies of Kobol created a race of sentient robotic beings they called Cylons. The Cylons were built to make the humans' lives easier, but one day the machines had enough of slavery and rebelled against their masters. The uprising escalated into a war and then suddenly -- the Cylons vanished without a trace.

After forty years of silence the Cylons had become nearly forgotten relics of the past. The only person who seems to be unable to let his guard down is Commander Bill Adama (Edward James Olmos) of the warship Battlestar Galactica. On the verge of retirement, Adama is a seasoned veteran from the Cylon War and sadly his ship is in the process of being converted into a museum. But while he's still aboard the vessel he's the one calling the shots, which comes in real handy when word comes in that their homeworlds are being nuked. The Colonies are under attack.

With the vicious return of the Cylons, Adama makes the critical decision to put his old girl back into commission and protect as many survivors as he can -- which will include his estranged son Lee "Apollo" Adama (Jamie Bamber); his right hand man by day/drunkard by night Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan); the cancer-stricken Secretary of Education Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell); insubordinate hotshot pilot Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (Katee Sackhoff); Chief Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas); Karl "Helo" Agathon (Tahmoh Penikett); Sharon "Boomer" Valerii (Grace Park); and the sniveling genius who is somehow connected to the assault -- Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) to name a few. Decimated to near-extinction, there is a glimmer of hope -- and the driving force behind the fleet's survival is finding the mythical thirteenth colony called Earth.

There are many elements that merge together to transform 'Battlestar Galactica' into the exceptional series it has become, and one of them is the outstanding performances. Nobody is more perfect than Edward James Olmos as the steadfast Bill Adama, who serves as the anchor of the entire production. Olmos brings life to a character that is honorable and loyal if a little stubborn, and is able to make extremely difficult decisions. Sometimes he doesn't even need to say a word for the viewer to know exactly what's on his mind, and there are times where he delivers a line so callously it can actually send shivers down your spine. Likewise, Mary McDonnell is the ideal complement to Olmos, butting heads with him on occasion and often acting as the voice of reason. Her Roslin is a level-headed political woman, and her struggle with a terminal illness is touching and believable. Another favorite of mine is Dr. Baltar himself, James Callis, who creates a smart yet misguided soul that seems to have more luck up his sleeves than Han Solo. Watching him squirm out of dire situations is highly entertaining, not to mention the fact that his facial expressions are simply priceless. Every character is flawed in one way or another making them all interesting, and the entire cast contributes their own little pieces, adding humor, friction, drama, and more. In short, this ensemble is tough to top.

The show also thrives from its remarkable writing. 'Battlestar Galactica' may appear to be a sci-fi shoot-em-up on the surface, but Moore and company wisely focus on human nature and interaction before anything else, which builds the framework for a character driven drama at its core. Every topic you could possibly imagine is covered at some point -- politics, religion, racism, human rights, and in the wake of 9/11 even terrorism is dealt with accordingly. Each episode brings something new to the table and keeps the series constantly evolving with so many twists and turns that it never gets stale.

Another major difference in this reimagining is with the Cylons themselves. The Centurions have been given an overhaul with a more sleek and streamlined model (although the older clunkier versions still "have their uses" and show up on occasion), but we also learn that some Cylons now look and feel completely human. The first of these new marvels we meet is the seductive temptress Number Six (Tricia Helfer), who uses her perfectly crafted body to blend in and get what she wants. There are twelve different models of these human impostors in total and there are multiple copies of each, including sleeper agents totally unaware of what they truly are until they are activated. This new layer strengthens the drama and is part of what makes this series so riveting. It becomes abundantly clear that there are enemies among the fleet -- and not only does this curveball constantly keep viewers guessing, the genius of it is that it allows for even more complex and engaging storylines.

Not all of the creative liberties were welcomed with open arms, however. Many dedicated followers of the original series were outraged when it was revealed that some of their favorite characters had been given a sex change. Both Boomer (who is technically the merging of Boomer and Athena from the '70s show) and cigar-chomping Starbuck were now women. Some fans were so infuriated by this change they even vowed to boycott the entire production. Most came around eventually, but for those who didn't it's nobody's loss but their own. The problem with the old 'Galactica' was that it was male-dominated, limiting its options, and by creating more female characters it opened up a few more doors to even more possibilities. If the show had stayed true to form, I really don't think the series would have been such a hit and--next to the addition of human-looking Cylons--I personally think this is the strongest decision that was made for the revival.

The new 'Battlestar Galactica' began as a two-part event for the Sci-Fi Channel (which is now the ridiculously renamed Syfy). Ratings normally tend to drop off a bit for subsequent chapters of a miniseries as some viewers lose interest, but in this case the ratings skyrocketed for the second half -- paving the runway for four incredible seasons, two movies, and the upcoming 'Caprica' prequel spinoff. 'Battlestar Galactica' is the type of series that hits all the right marks, latches onto you almost immediately, and a pitch perfect illustration of television at its finest.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Battlestar Galactica' is a tough release to judge visually. The series is often grainy and colors are heavily unsaturated in places, but this gritty washed-out look is the intended style of the filmmakers. On the first disc for each season, Ronald D. Moore gives a brief introduction touching on this subject plus there's a message on startup from Universal stating:

"The Blu-ray release of Battlestar Galactica accurately preserves the artistic intentions of the creators. The stylized visual elements within certain scenes are intentional and faithful to the broadcast presentation of the television show."

The point is that 'Battlestar Galactica' was never meant to gleam and sparkle, so as long as viewers keep this in mind and don't approach the Blu-rays expecting the crystal clearness of a show like 'LOST' for example, then I'm sure the majority will be satisfied with the results.

As an owner of the DVDs, one difference with the standard-definition releases is that the picture is so murky at times it really tends to hinder visibility into the backgrounds. The Blu-rays open things up tremendously, so much so that now I'd almost consider it an entirely new adventure.

The miniseries was captured on traditional film (as opposed to the rest of the series which was filmed via high-definition cameras), and it is slightly more problematic than the rest of the series but still a noticeable improvement over the DVDs. Black levels are darker, although they occasionally slip and lose some of their luster from time to time. Skin tones are realistic if a little soft, and details are crisper. There is some artifacting, color banding, minor crushing, and some edge enhancement, but generally speaking the miniseries easily blows its DVD counterpart to Kingdom Come.

Even better than the miniseries, though, is the series itself. The picture has been treated with artificial grain to maintain the grittiness and grimy feel, but the image is much tighter -- especially in the fine details of facial features and the outer hulls of ships. Colors are still bleak in some scenes, and now they are much richer overall. Whites can be intensely hot on Cylon-occupied Caprica as well as Galactica's Viper hangar, while black levels are deep and inky throughout. The series does suffer from some of the same imperfections previously mentioned in the miniseries -- however they are greatly reduced here and practically nonexistent in the last few seasons.

My only real gripe is with the excessive amount of digital noise. For instance, one camera angle might appear gritty and still pleasing, but the next shot writhes with a cloud of heavy mosquito noise, it's like the snowy interference on an old TV -- and all of the episodes seem to suffer a bit from this sickness. It's possible that this is due to the manipulation of the image's graininess, a side effect from compressing too many episodes on each disc, or maybe it has always been there and Blu-ray merely magnifies it. Who knows? I'm sure DNR haters will probably be tickled pink with this, but for me there are points when it becomes a distraction.

That being said, I love the rest of the 1080p 1.78:1 aspect ratio encode (VC-1 for seasons 1 & 3, AVC MPEG-4 for seasons 2 & 4) that is no contest for the DVDs and even improves upon the past HD DVD version. However, I would have easily bumped up my video rating another full star if the noise wasn't so inconsistent.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

The box for 'Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series' comes with a slipcover listing the specs and supplements which incorrectly state Dolby Digital audio for the Blu-rays when the discs actually include DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtracks. I've always been impressed with the very immersive lossy tracks on the DVDs, but these new lossless mixes are vastly superior in every way.

The series is heavy on dialogue, and Universal has done a great job making it clear and well-prioritized. Sometimes it can still sound a bit distant and constrained, but that's just a very minor quibble and it doesn't really detract from the experience.

The rest of the soundstage is where the show truly shines. The mix is surprisingly airy and atmospheric -- using all of the speakers to their full potential. The rears distribute plenty of subtle effects, and one solid example of this is in the episode 'Bastille Day' with all of the background chatter and clanking aboard the prisoner transport called the Astral Queen. The dogfights between the Colonial's vipers and Cylon raiders commonly give the system a healthy workout, too. The series thrives on hard-driving bass as well -- from the Cylons nuking the Colonies, Adama's old girl firing her massive cannons, to the pulse-pounding percussions of McCreary's outstanding score. There's no question in my mind, 'Battlestar Galactica' is one of the best sounding shows on television.

All of the discs in this collection also include optional English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

If you aren't already sitting down as you're reading this review, now would be a good time to pull up a chair. Universal has included supplements on each of the twenty discs in this collection, so needless to say -- we're going to be here for awhile.

Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries:

Just for the sake of organization, I'm giving the miniseries its own little section here. However, all of this content is technically part of Season 1 on the first disc.

  • Audio Commentary: Miniseries Parts 1 & 2 – Both parts of the miniseries have an audio commentary with director Michael Rymer as well as executive producers David Eick and Ronald D. Moore.
  • From Miniseries to Series (SD, 9 minutes) – This featurette covers the evolution of the re-imagined 'Battlestar Galactica' from a televised miniseries to a full blown series.
  • Change is Good, Now They're Babes (SD, 8 minutes) – A short little piece covering Boomer's and Starbuck's sex change and a look at some of the other major female characters in the series.
  • The Cylon Centurion (SD, 6 minutes) – The toasters get their own 15 minutes (OK, make that 6 minutes) in the spotlight here.
  • Future/Past Technology (SD, 8 minutes) – A glimpse at the different kinds of technology seen in 'Battlestar Galactica' over the years.
  • The Doctor is Out (Of His Mind) (SD, 8 minutes) – All about the good Dr. Baltar played by James Callis.
  • Production (SD, 9 minutes) – A brief production vignette covering filming in high-definition, the sets, make-up, and more.
  • Visual Effects (SD, 9 minutes) – Covers the various ships, jump effects, and usage of green screen technology bringing the intense world of 'Battlestar Galactica' to life.
  • Epilogue (SD, 8 minutes) – The final featurette is a general overview of the show.
  • Sketches and Art (SD, 4 minutes) – A concept art, paintings, and costume photo slideshow set to music from the show.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 21 minutes) – An assortment of deleted scenes from the miniseries.

Battlestar Galactica: Season One:

  • Audio Commentary: '33' (Disc 2) – Commentary for the pilot episode of the series with Michael Rymer, David Eick and Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Bastille Day' (Disc 2) – Commentary with David Eick and Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Act of Contrition' (Disc 2) – Commentary with David Eick and Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'You Can't Go Home Again' (Disc 2) – Commentary with David Eick and Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Tigh Me Up - Tigh Me Down' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'The Hand of God' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Colonial Day' (Disc 4) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Kobol's Last Gleaming: Parts 1 & 2' (Disc 4) – The two-part season finale has a commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 2, 18 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes '33,' 'Water,' 'Act of Contrition,' and 'You Can't Go Home Again.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 3, 12 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'Litmus,' 'Six Degrees of Separation,' 'Flesh and Bone,' 'Tigh Me Up - Tigh Me Down,' and Hand of God.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 4, 18 minutes) – The last disc of this season has deleted scenes from episodes 'Colonial Day,' and 'Kobol's Last Gleaming: Parts 1 & 2.'

Battlestar Galactica: Season Two:

  • Audio Commentary: 'Scattered' (Disc 1) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Valley of Darkness' (Disc 1) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Resistance' (Disc 1) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'The Farm' (Disc 1) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Home: Parts 1 & 2' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Final Cut' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Pegasus: Extended Edition' (Disc 3) – Commentary with David Eick and Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Resurrection Ship: Parts 1 & 2' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Epiphanies' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Black Market' (Disc 4) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Scar' (Disc 4) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Sacrifice' (Disc 4) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'The Captain's Hand' (Disc 4) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Downloaded' (Disc 5) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Lay Down Your Burdens: Parts 1 & 2' (Disc 5) – Commentary for the two-part season finale with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 1, 42 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'Scattered,' 'Valley of Darkness,' 'Fragged,' 'Resistance,' and 'The Farm.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 3, 9 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episode 'Resurrection Ship: Part 1.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 4, 30 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'Black Market,' 'Scar,' 'Sacrifice,' and 'The Captain's Hand.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 5, 30 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'Downloaded,' and 'Lay Down Your Burdens: Parts 1 & 2.'
  • Extended Episode: 'Pegasus' (HD, Disc 3) – The unrated extended version of this episode.
  • Sizzle Reel (SD, Disc 5, 4 minutes) – Basically just a preview for the first episode of the second half of Season 2.
  • R&D Logos (SD, Disc 5, 3 minutes) – A collection of all of the weird Ronald vs. David death scenes that appear after each episode.
  • David Eick Video Blogs (SD, Disc 5, 22 minutes) – A collection of video blogs: 'Episode 205: Day Two,' 'Episode 207: Day Four,' 'On the Set of the New Pegasus,' 'The Magic of Battlestar Galactica,' 'Never Let the Inmates Run the Asylum,' 'Scenes from the Video Blog Floor,' and 'Sex, Lies, and a Video Blog,'

Battlestar Galactica: Season Three:

  • Podcast Commentary: 'Occupation' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Precipice' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Exodus: Parts 1 & 2' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Collaborators' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Torn' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'A Measure of Salvation' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Hero' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Hero' (Disc 2) – A second commentary for this episode is included with David Eick.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Unfinished Business' (Disc 2) – Commentary with stars Grace Park and Tahmoh Penikett.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Unfinished Business: Extended Version' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'The Passage' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'The Eye of Jupiter' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Rapture' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Taking a Break from All Your Worries' (Disc 4) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'The Woman King' (Disc 4) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'A Day in the Life' (Disc 4) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Dirty Hands' (Disc 4) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Maelstrom' (Disc 4) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'The Son Also Rises' (Disc 5) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'The Son Also Rises' (Disc 5) – A second commentary for this episode with actor Mark Sheppard and writer Michael Angeli.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Crossroads: Parts 1 & 2' (Disc 5) – The two-part season finale commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Crossroads: Parts 1 & 2' (Disc 5) – Another commentary for the season finale with actor Mark Sheppard.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 1, 12 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'Occupation,' 'Precipice,' 'Exodus: Part 2,' and 'Collaborators.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 2, 8 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes ''Torn,' 'A Measure of Salvation,' and 'Hero.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 3, 12 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'The Passage,' 'The Eye of Jupiter,' and 'Rapture.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 4, 19 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'Taking a Break from All Your Worries,' 'The Woman King,' 'A Day in the Life,' 'Dirty Hands, and 'Maelstrom.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 5, 8 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'The Son Also Rises,' and 'Crossroads: Parts 1 & 2.'
  • Extended Episode: 'Unfinished Business' (HD, Disc 3) – The unrated extended version of this episode.
  • David Eick Video Blogs (SD, Disc 2, 15 minutes) – More video blogs from David Eick: 'Testimonials,' 'Who Dies?' 'Prosthetics,' 'Lucy and David,' and 'Introducing Bulldog,'
  • David Eick Video Blogs (SD, Disc 3, 21 minutes) – This disc has more video blogs: 'Characters,' 'Adama on Adama,' 'Episode 6 Read Through,' 'On the Road,' 'Steve McNutt Gets a Video Blog,' and 'The Soldiers' Code: Leave No Man Behind.'
  • David Eick Video Blogs (SD, Disc 5, 40 minutes) – Eleven more video blogs: 'Taking a Break From All Your Worries,' 'On the Road: Part 2,' 'Some Guy Named Colin,' 'Building a Better Show,' 'Katee's Scrapbook,' 'Shooting,' 'Mr. Eddie If You Please...,' 'Oceans in the Desert,' 'David Who?' 'Out of Control,' and 'Last Episode Blues.'
  • Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance (SD, Disc 2, 27 minutes) – A collection of ten bonus 'Galactica' webisodes featuring an alternate storyline that takes place during the third season.

Battlestar Galactica: Razor:

'Battlestar Galactica: Razor' is included in Season 4 on its own separate disc.

  • Audio Commentary: 'Razor: Extended Version' – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore and writer Michael Taylor.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 3 minutes) – Deleted scenes from 'Razor.'
  • Extended Episode: 'Razor' (HD) – The unrated extended version of this movie.
  • Razor Minisodes (SD, 20 minutes) – All seven 'Razor' webisodes are included here.
  • The Look of Battlestar Galactica (SD, 8 minutes) – An all too brief glimpse into the production of the series hosted by Moore.
  • My Favorite Episode So Far (SD, 11 minutes) – The cast and crew reflect on their favorite episodes of the series.
  • Season Four Sneak Peek and Season Four Trailer (SD, 3 minutes) – Snippets promoting the fourth season.

Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.0:

  • Podcast Commentary: 'He That Believeth in Me' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Six of One' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'That Ties That Bind' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Escape Velocity' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'The Road Less Traveled' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Faith' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore as well as producers Bradley Thompson and David Weddle.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Guess What's Coming to Dinner' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore and writer Michael Angeli.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Sine Qua Non' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore and writer Michael Taylor.
  • Audio Commentary: 'The Hub' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore, co-executive producer Jane Espenson, editor Michael O'Halloran and supervising Editor Andrew Seklir.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Revelations' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore, David Weddle, Bradley Thompson, and editor Julius Ramsay.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 1, 12 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'He That Believeth in Me,' 'Six of One,' 'That Ties That Bind,' 'Escape Velocity,' 'The Road Less Traveled.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 2, 10 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'Faith,' 'Guess What's Coming to Dinner,' 'Sine Qua Non,' 'The Hub,' and 'Revelations.'
  • David Eick Video Blogs (SD, Disc 1, 40 minutes) – Yep, ten more video blogs from David Eick: 'Love in Space,' 'Why Hath David Forsaken Us?' 'So This Is It,' 'What Next? What Now?' 'Digital Pressure,' 'Space Cowboys,' 'Lucy's Breakdown,' 'Are You Frakkin Kidding Me?' 'I'm a Frakkin Cylon,' and 'Last Call,'
  • The Journey (SD, Disc 2, 21 minutes) – A very comprehensive documentary packed with cast and crew interviews with their thoughts on the progression of the characters and storylines throughout the series.
  • Cylons: The Twelve (SD, Disc 2, 16 minutes) – Just a teaser for the final ten episodes of the series.
  • Season 4.5: The Untold Story - Untold (SD, Disc 2, 2 minutes) – A television preview for season 4.5.
  • Caprica Sneak Peek (SD, Disc 2, 2 minutes) – A preview for the upcoming 'Battlestar Galactica' prequel spinoff series 'Caprica.'
  • The Music of Battlestar Galactica (SD, Disc 2, 23 minutes) – From what I can tell, this is sort of a spoof featurette with composer Bear McCreary. If you're interested in a serious behind-the-scenes look at the music for the series, you're better off with the ones in the next few discs.

Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5:

  • Podcast Commentary: 'Sometimes a Great Notion' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'A Disquiet Follows My Soul' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'A Disquiet Follows My Soul: Extended Version' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'The Oath' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Blood on the Scales' (Disc 1) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'No Exit' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Deadlock' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Someone to Watch Over Me' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Islanded in a Stream of Stars' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Islanded in a Stream of Stars: Extended Version' (Disc 2) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Islanded in a Stream of Stars: Extended Version' (Disc 2) – Commentary with star/director Edward James Olmos.
  • Podcast Commentary: 'Daybreak: Parts 1-3' (Disc 3) – Podcast commentary with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Audio Commentary: 'Daybreak: Extended Version' (Disc 3) – Commentary with Ronald D. Moore and David Eick.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 1, 16 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'Sometimes a Great Notion,' 'The Oath,' 'Blood on the Scales.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 2, 21 minutes) – Deleted scenes from episodes 'No Exit,' 'Deadlock,' and 'Someone to Watch Over Me.'
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, Disc 3, 6 minutes) – Deleted scenes from the series finale 'Daybreak.'
  • Extended Episode: 'A Disquiet Follows My Soul' (HD, Disc 1) – The unrated extended version of this episode.
  • Extended Episode: 'Islanded in a Stream of Stars' (HD, Disc 2) – The unrated extended version of this episode.
  • Extended Episode: 'Daybreak' (HD, Disc 3) – The unrated extended version of the series finale that runs about half an hour longer.
  • David Eick Video Blogs (SD, Disc 2, 46 minutes) – More video blogs from David Eick: 'No Retreat No Surrender,' 'The Hatch,' 'The Fifth is Among Us,' 'Action Please,' 'Hanging in the Background,' 'Some Guy Named Colin Part 2,' 'A Cylon Till The End,' 'Inserts Action & FX,' 'Documenting Battlestar Galactica,' 'Life on the Cylon Battleship,' and 'Favorite Battlestar Galactica Moment,'
  • The Journey Ends: The Arrival (HD, Disc 1, 13 minutes) – The cast and crew say goodbye to one of the best series ever produced on television.
  • Evolution of a Cue (SD, Disc 1, 23 minutes) – Composer Bear McCreary reveals the process on developing musical cues for the score.
  • What the Frak is Going On with Battlestar Galactica? (SD, Disc 1, 8 minutes) – A lightning quick recap of the series in eight minutes. The first time I saw this was on You Tube and it's totally hilarious.
  • A Look Back (HD, Disc 3, 37 minutes) – A extensive reminder of the series -- from its production, storylines, characters, and development. This feature is divided into six segments: 'So Say We All,' 'Manifesto Destiny,' 'Battle-Style Galactica,' 'Martyr to a Cause,' 'The Sins of the Forgiven,' and 'Battlestar Revelations.'
  • …And They Have a Plan (HD, Disc 3, 5 minutes) – A promotional piece for the upcoming 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan' film.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

  • U-Control: The Oracle – Most, if not all, of the episodes (including the miniseries and Razor) come with this interactive guide to characters, starships, the twelve colonies, and more.
  • U-Control: Picture-in-Picture: Miniseries (Season 1, Disc 1) – This interactive feature is composed of notes and interviews for the making of the miniseries. It's the same one found on the previously released HD DVD.
  • U-Control: Battlestar Blips (Season 3, All Discs) – An optional viewing mode with a pop-up trivia and factoid track. This feature is a Season 3 exclusive.
  • U-Control: Battlestar Actual (Season 4, All Discs) – When activated, this viewing mode displays a pop-up guide to the terminology used in the show. This feature is a Season 4.0 and 4.5 exclusive.
  • U-Control: What the Frak Happened to You? (Season 4.5, Disc 3) – Another picture-in-picture track similar to the one for the miniseries. This one is exclusive to the series finale - 'Daybreak: Extended Version.'
  • Are You a Cylon? (HD, Season 1, Disc 4) – Take this interactive quiz to see if you are human or a Cylon. It looks like I may be a sleeper toaster that hasn't been activated yet.
  • Battlestar Galactica Career Assignment Quiz (HD, Season 2, Disc 5) – An interactive quiz to see what your job would be in the Galactica universe. I've been assigned XO.
  • Colonial Military Assignment Quiz (HD, Season 3, Disc 5) – Another interactive quiz to determine what your rank would be in the Colonial fleet. I'm a Lieutenant (that's what I get for being a little rusty on the trivia questions).
  • Battlestar Galactica: Ultimate Battle (Season 4.0, Disc 1) – A BD-Live card game. I was expecting a poker-style game like the one from the show, but it's actually more along the lines of a collectible card game. I couldn't get it to work for me, though. The game can be found on the first disc of both 4.0 and 4.5 half-seasons.
  • The Musicians Behind Daybreak (SD, Season 4.5, Disc 3, 31 minutes) – In this documentary, composer Bear McCreary gives viewers an inside look at the creation of the music for the series finale.
  • Exclusive Deleted Scenes (SD, Season 4.0, Discs 1 & 2, 23 minutes) – Just in case you haven't had enough deleted scenes, there are a few more exclusive to this Blu-ray from the following episodes: 'Six of One,' 'Guess What's Coming to Dinner,' 'The Hub,' and 'Revelations.'
  • My Scenes – Bookmark and save clips of favorite scenes and send them to your friends.
  • BD-Live Download Center – Lastly, the disc is BD-Live enabled. The area has the usual option to register and a collection of previews, and as of this writing there’s also the Battlestar Galactica: Ultimate Battle card game. I was expecting a poker-style game like the one from the show, but it's actually more along the lines of a collectible card game with Cylons vs. humans. I couldn't get it to work for me, though. The game can be found on the first disc of both 4.0 and 4.5 half-seasons.

The Cutting Room Floor: What Didn't Make the Blu-ray?

While the extensive supplemental package is more than enough to make any 'Battlestar Galactica' fan run circles around the room giddy with glee, there are few items noticeably absent from this Blu-ray collection:

  • Battlestar Galactica: The Lowdown (40 minutes) – The featurette originally included on the miniseries DVD release isn't included in this set. However, parts of it have been incorporated into the U-Control features so technically it isn't really a total loss.
  • Battlestar Galactica: The Series - The Lowdown (20 minutes) – This "making of" featurette included on the Season One DVD is also absent, although like the previous featurette, some of this seems to be recycled into the interactive content.
  • The Making of Battlestar Galactica: Razor – This behind-the-scenes featurette for the 'Razor' special was included on a bonus disc as a Best Buy exclusive for the DVD release. Too bad that it isn't part of this set.
  • 'The Face of the Enemy' Webisodes – A series of ten webisodes 'The Face of the Enemy' is MIA from this set. It's disappointing that Universal couldn't find the room for these segments, but hopefully they will be available at some point perhaps as a download via BD-Live or part of the upcoming movie 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan.'

Easter Eggs

There are a few Easter eggs reported so far in this set:

  • Sharon Audio Quote (Season 2, Disc 5) – On the setup menu, highlight the French option and press RIGHT to hear this audio quote.
  • Hidden Deleted Scenes (SD, Season 3, Disc 5) – Technically this might not be considered an egg, but on the 'Colonial Military Assignment Quiz' (fifth disc of Season 3) a hidden deleted scene can be viewed upon completion of the test. It looks like there are seven scenes in total.
  • Music Editing Clip (SD, Season 4.5, Disc 1, 2 minutes) – On the setup menu, highlight the "Evolution of a Clue" option and press RIGHT to access this short featurette.

The Frying Pan: Which Eggs Got Scrambled?

Currently, it appears the Adama audio quote previously found on the first disc of the Season 2 DVD has been left off the Blu-ray release.

Final Thoughts

Call it a remake, call it a reboot, call it whatever you like, it still won't change the fact that Moore and Eick's interpretation of 'Battlestar Galactica' is a rare gem, and the prime example of a redo done right. The series is in a state of constant evolution, with so many layers and twists and turns keeping viewers firmly perched on the edge of their seats. Plus it helps tremendously that the production has one of the finest ensemble casts ever assembled in television history.

'Battlestar Galactica' has never looked or sounded better than it does on these impressive Blu-rays, either, and the comprehensive supplemental package (including multiple featurettes, hours of deleted scenes, audio commentaries for most of the episodes, and a few other surprises) pretty much seals the deal for any science fiction geek. Universal's clunky packaging may convince some to hold out for the more compact individual seasons inevitably down the road, but 'Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series' remains a top-tier release of 2009 and easily comes highly frakkin' recommended.

Technical Specs

  • Blu-ray
  • 20 BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
  • Region-Free

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/VC-1 (Seasons 1 & 3)
  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 (Seasons 2 & 4)

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, French, Spanish

Supplements

  • Audio Commentaries
  • Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes

Exclusive HD Content

  • Picture-in-Picture
  • Featurette
  • Interactive Game
  • BD-Live

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.

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