Battlestar Galactica: Year Two proposal
Around April 1979, Glen Larson wrote a proposal for the second season of Battlestar Galactica, sometime before the airing of "The Hand of God". This document was discovered by his son, Chris Larson, who added concept art unrelated to Battlestar Galactica and stamped the pages so as to emulate uniqueness. Otherwise, the document is genuine, and provides various insights into what a second season of Battlestar Galactica may have looked like.
The document is broken up into these major parts:
- A Fleet Projection
- A People Projection
- Personality Arcs
- Story Summaries
- Chart of the Competition faced by Battlestar Galactica from CBS and NBC
According to the document, the "two things [that] are apparent". The introduction notes the "endless Sunday night barrage" of television specials, including the Emmy Awards ceremony, The World Series (baseball), and various popular movies and specials. The document notes that the series was preempted eight times, finding itself in a 10 P.M. timeslot (although it is noted that the show did well in this time slot).
The document further claims that "despite this unprecedented assault[,] Galactica has emerged with a core audience who will seek her out no matter where she is" and had difficulty establishing a "stable, lasting base audience."
According to Larson, who claims that the Nielsen and TVQ's seasonal breakdown for that television season indicates that "Battlestar supporters are almost entirely void of teenage girls and women". Furthermore, he posits that this loss is so great that "even a moderate success in this area would result in a substantative (sic) jump in [the] base audience".
Larson further posits that the lack of female viewers is due to two factors: "emotional content [that] women demand" and "the absence of any 'breakout' characters'". He attributes both these factors to the size of the cast, noting that it is "the largest in television" makes it "difficult and unwieldy to zero in on three or four characters that the audience cares about".
To support this, he makes a "battle plan born of two strategies": a projection of where both the Fleet and the its people are headed.
Larson claims that the series' first (and only) season focused primarily on the fact that "people [were] moved by events, rather than the other way around". He asks, "What guiding light might we place on our bridge to pilot Galactica in a direction that starts with people whose interaction with events spell human commitment and involvement[?]"
The answer he gives is the involvement of Issac Asimov, the world-renowned science fiction writer whose stories are primarily about robots. Larson claims that Asimov "accepted the challenge to come on board the Galactica as her Creative Consultant", where he "will help mold and guide concepts", as well as write and critique stories and scripts.
Larson follows up on his earlier concerns about the issue of the large ensemble cast. In this portion of the proposal, he indicates the following changes: development of the female characters, the introduction of humor into the show, and a "careful restructuring" of the cast.
The restructuring of the cast would have resulted in the loss of the following characters:
- Colonel Tigh, who would be replaced by Athena, Boomer and Troy
- Sheba, who would die in "The Return of the Pegasus"
- Boxey, who would be reduced to an "occasional guest appearance, if required"
- Doctor Salik, who would be replaced by Cassiopeia
- Doctor Wilker, who would be replaced by Boomer
This part of the proposal discusses the primary characters of the series, all of them Colonials.
The changes in the characters are fleshed out in depth on the character's respective articles. The summary of the characters retained in the unfilmed second season are:
- Apollo steps down as the leader of Blue Squadron after Sheba's death, absconds all responsibility to others, and becomes a carefree spirit, more like Starbuck, and has various dalliances with women (including the Cylon half-human, half-android robot, Renata).
- Starbuck, who assumes command of Blue Squadron and takes many of Apollo's original attributes, including duty to his work and the act of distancing himself from any serious relationships, particularly the one he begins developing with Cassiopeia. With Apollo, who he relies on for advice, the two develop a "Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid" relationship. He also develops a "sixth sense", which tells him of danger (like Sheba's death in "The Return of the Pegasus").
- Adama is disappointed in Apollo's decision to step back from the burden of command (even though he engaged in this thought himself), focusing more of his energies on his daughter, Athena, as well as Boomer. He is secretly pleased by the competitiveness between the two, but hopes that Apollo will still be is successor. In the meantime, the strength and abilities of Athena and Boomer give Adama more time to deal with the personal issues of the people in his Fleet.
- Athena is severely wounded in the opening episode but her face is repaired via reconstructive surgery, which allows for the role to be recast. The rest of her body is scarred beyond repair and, because of this, she avoids any romantic relationships for fear of rejection and being viewed as a freak. She focuses her energies on her work, giving her an "aggressive, cutting edge that is ameliorated by our understanding of her vulnerability". Her zeal at her job proves her worthiness as a competent commander, relieving Adama of some of his responsibilities.
- Cassiopeia becomes the head Life Sciences practitioner aboard Galactica (replacing Doctor Salik), and given that Starbuck is "married" to his new command, she focuses her energies into her new role. All the while, she "discovers talents and depths within herself she never knew she possessed—and becomes the New Woman of Space."
- Boomer replaces Doctor Wilker as "a combination of Einstein-Edison talent emerges" from him, and becomes an "enormous asset to the Galactica". His ever-growing knowledge of science, via experiments in his lab, make him less of a Warrior fighting in a Viper and more of "an indispensable assistant" to Adama and the Fleet.
Additionally, a new character is developed to "solidify our position with young girls [...] that might have a special appeal" as a "heart throb". This character, Troy, is an eager, cute, mischievous, well-intending young man and is introduced as Adama's cabin boy. In this role, Troy learns of every crisis and makes manageable situations turn "into a hopeless morass". Due to this, he replaces Colonel Tigh to allow for "more confrontations and opportunities" between Adama and Apollo. Troy also serves as a "pain in the ass for Starbuck and Apollo".
- Main article: Stories for Season Two of the Original Series
The following are stories that are part of the proposal:
- "The Return of the Pegasus", a two-hour tale that reveals that Commander Cain and Pegasus survived the Battle of Gamoray and introduces many of the aforementioned changes to the show's format. Interestingly, this episode also introduces the concept of human-looking Cylons, a concept visited (in android form) Galactica 1980 and as more a organic form in the Re-imagined Series.
- "A Woman's Power", a one-hour episode where the women from both the Fleet and Galactica (lead by Athena) plan to overthrow "male dominance" of the Fleet for they tire of war and their struggle to survive.
- "Island in the Sky", a one-hour episode where Apollo and Starbuck crash on a "tiny barren plant with an incredibly strong gravitational pull", which turns out to be a paradise with ever-lasting youth... harboring a dark secret.
- "The Bad and the Brave", an one-hour show that deals with a devastating battle that results in damage to the orphan ship, itself crashing on a planet. However, the base star has followed them there to make repairs; Starbuck and Athena are forced to make a decision, allow the Cylons to kill the children or the Fleet.
- "A Plague in Space", a one-hour show where Cassiopeia is Galactica's Patient Zero, spreading a disease that once existed on Kobol.
- "A Queen's Ransom", a one-hour show where Apollo and Starbuck investigate the planet Sirenus upon learning it has solenium crystals crucial to navigation. The society on Sirenus is female-dominated and their leader, Areola, offers the crystals: the price being that Starbuck offers his "personal services" as one of Areola's concubines.
- Battlestar Zone: The Lost Season by Susan J. Paxton
- Larson, Glen. Battlestar Galactica: Year Two Proposal (PDF), p. 39.
- Ibid., p. 4
- Ibid., p. 5
- Ibid., p. 6
- Ibid., p. 7
- Ibid., 8
- Ibid., 9
- Ibid., 13
- Ibid., 15
- Ibid., 10
- Ibid., 11
- Ibid., 12