Continuities and continuations
After the cancellation of the Original Series, the former cast and crew of the 1978 show as well as others attempted to revive or relaunch new Battlestar Galactica television shows or motion pictures.
A spin-off is a buzzword for an officially-recognized continuation series utilizing either some or all of the original cast of a series and/or using the same premise and/or set in the same town / country / universe as television series already (or recently) on-air.
Spin-offs are frequently financially driven by the success of a parent series, and extend the marketable life of the series to the point of becoming a saga that spawns a series franchise.
Spin-offs are commonly produced by the same production company / team responsible for the originating series. Spin-offs can generate spin-offs of their own.
Spin-offs can be set in contemporary time relative to its parent, or occur before or after the events of the parent show.
While spin-offs on TV in recent history are commonly science-fiction related, writers such as Norman Lear, Aaron Spelling and Garry Marshall dominated spin-off efforts in the 1970s and 1980s of American television.
Production costs involved in making the Original Series, as well as the network's desire to create a family-friendly show led to the Original Series spin-off, Galactica 1980. The attempt failed after 10 episodes.
The creators of the Re-imagined Series proposed a spin-off series to the Sci Fi Channel: Caprica, which depicts life over 52 years prior to the Re-imagined Series. This project has been greenlighted by the network.
A continuation is a movie or series that utilizes a majority of the same situations, ideas, story, settings, characters and, consequently, the cast. Continuations are usually done after a long hiatus of a series and are not considered to be a spin-off.
Examples of this occurance in the genre include:
- Serenity, which is a movie-based continuation of the one-season television series Firefly.
- Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, a made-for-TV miniseries that continues from the events depicted from the fourth year of the TV show Farscape.
Efforts to create continuations of the Original Series of Battlestar Galactica include:
- The Singer-DeSanto TV series project in 2001
- Richard Hatch's Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming motion picture project in 1998
- Glen A. Larson's Battlestar Atlantis moribund motion-picture continuation effort
A re-imagined show (also called a "reboot") is a buzzword used to describe a film or TV show that bases its storyline and characters from a prior work, but may drastically change the overall storyline, characters, situations and locales to the point where it is neither a spin-off or continuation of the original work. In some cases, major story elements and characters are discarded entirely.
The 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries is a strong example of a re-imagined story concept. It formed the basis of the 2004 series. Reboots are most common in the comic book universes, where a major story arc is used to add or remove characters, change their histories, or add or dispose of entire universes in the story altogether.
Re-imagined shows may revise story arcs from its original parent. The battlestar Pegasus from the Original Series makes its way into the Re-imagined Series as a more advanced ship, complete with a commanding officer named Helena Cain, mirroring Lloyd Bridges' character, but with a higher rank and a grim view of her subordinate officer.
Reboots may also be done due to licensing advantages or disadvantages of a work of fiction. One example is the "rebooted" version of Bionic Woman (produced by Re-imagined Series co-producer David Eick), which uses some elements from the 1976 series (itself a spin-off of The Six Million Dollar Man). As with the Re-imagined Series, this new series makes substantial story element changes not only for an improved story, but because the licensing rights of the Six Million characters cannot be used in the new series. The Bionic Woman original series characters were derived from Caidin's work but aren't part of the Six Million franchise, allowing the reboot.
Re-imagined television and motion picture projects are frequently met with criticism by fans of the original work, who may feel that the re-imagined work will taint the original or eclipse it completely. One key change in the Re-imagined Series that caused much controversy initially was the change of the male Original Series character known as Starbuck into a female named Kara Thrace, with her pilot callsign as "Starbuck." The second change, which reflected the real-world problems in fighting terrorism (due to the difficulties in distinguishing friend from foe) came with the introduction of the humanoid Cylon.
As shown by licensed novels and comics currently in publication for both Original and Re-imagined continuities, as well as DVD sales of the both series, the Battlestar saga appears to maintain a notable readership and viewership in both continuities.
On occasion, the writers of the Re-imagined Series will forget or ignore a critical statistic, plot point, or character development in the development of episodes.
Two situations can occur in this instance. The writers may acknowledge or ignore the error. Battlestar Wiki keeps track of such mistakes, acknowledged or not, in the articles Continuity errors (RDM) and Continuity errors (TOS) for the Re-imagined Series and Original Series, respectively.
Retcons are different from separate continuities, a designation used on Battlestar Wiki to allow officially-licensed Battlestar Galactica stories (Original or Re-imagined universes) from novels, comics and the like to be listed in the wiki without wrecking the canonical aired content of either series.
The Re-imagined Series often creates retcons through the use of additions to the series by way of flashbacks and deleted scenes. Generally these additions don't contradict aired content but add interesting or insightful background to a character or event that was specially created for the episode or outtakes initially removed during editing for various reasons. The flashback scenes of the post-war lives of William Adama and Saul Tigh in the episode "Scattered" is a good example of this. The same is true for a scene, added to the episode, "Scar", where Kara Thrace pleads unsuccessfully for a rescue mission to Caprica to the president and Commander Adama. This scene was shot for "Pegasus" and only included later in the extended cut on DVD.
Alterations to the series content are rare, if nonexistent in the Re-imagined Series. An alteration is a scene that basically tells the viewer, "What you saw before didn't really happen." The most famous alteration retcon ever made on TV was the death of the character Bobby Ewing in season 8 of the TV show, Dallas. An entire season was filmed after the supposed death of Ewing until another character awakens in season 9 to find the before-deceased character in the shower, which dismissed the entire previous season as a dream.
Small changes made on Battlestar Galactica include the number of ships in the rag-tag Fleet and the number of prisoners on the Astral Queen, both of which were increased after the Miniseries. Other minor examples include changes to the CGI models for the basestar (The Eye of Jupiter) and the Viper Mark VII (Maelstrom).
Hollywood frequently makes updated movies known as remakes. These shows usually, but not always, attempt to reintroduce younger audiences to older works by creating a new teleplay that is often fully duplicated from the original work. A recent example of a true remake is Poseidon, a remake of The Poseidon Adventure.
Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, in contrast, is both a continuation and re-imagining as it bases its storyline from events from the popular Superman and Superman II movies, but dismisses all events from the financially unsuccessful Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace films.
As yet, there has been no reported attempts to remake the Original Series.
Long-cancelled television shows may gain new popularity by partially or fully refreshing the special-effects shots through the power of computer imagery. This is popularly known as remastering.
Remastering can involve the general cleanup of existing special effects without any alterations or additions, or fully replace special-effects shots with computer-generated versions.
The original 1966 Star Trek series has been digitally remastered, fully substituting the mattes and paintings used for the effects in the series but creating new CGI models for both the starship Enterprise, weapon effects, celestial bodies, and ships mentioned but not seen in the shows as they aired. The remastering also cleans up and restores the colors and clarity of the live-action shots, removing imperfections such as scratches as found on the original film masters. The live-action remastering often improves on the planet landscapes where the characters are found, but does not alter the character's physical appearances.