Thursday 27 April 2023

Star Trek: The Last Generation

In 2017, I wrote about how Star Trek: The Next Generation filled an endless void vacated by Doctor Who in 1989.

Star Trek: The Next Generation was a seminal series foreshadowing technology many of us use daily. From touchscreens to voice assistants... “Alexa, play Star Trek!”, words my younger self never imagined saying for real as I avidly read Marvel UK’s official magazine.

Soon I had a teenage crush on Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes) who vied for poster space with actresses Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth) and Winona Ryder (Heathers).

For seven seasons (across BBC 2 and Sky 1), I followed the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D as I navigated further education. There are too many favourite episodes to list here, but Q Who?, Yesterday’s Enterprise, Cause & Effect and The Best of Both Worlds Part 1 deserve special mention.

Star Trek would spawn further spin-off series including Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. However, none of them would capture my imagination the way The Next Generation did!

When Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) announced Star Trek: Picard, I was hoping to see the old gang reunited for one last epic adventure worthy of Gene Roddenberry’s beloved allegorical wagon train in space.

Instead, we had two mixed seasons of a sci-fi series that didn’t know what it wanted to be - aside from driving subscriptions to the nascent streaming service in an overcrowded market dominated by Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV+ (buoyed by iPhone sales) - featuring a cast of characters mostly unknown to fans (myself included).

This wasn’t Star Trek’s The Mandalorian.

So, when the final season of Star Trek: Picard was announced, I was apathetic! After a promising start, I bailed on season two and was done with most of the Star Trek spin-offs (aside from Strange New Worlds). However, something unexpected happened. I started seeing more and more rave reviews for season three and felt it incumbent on me to at least watch the premiere on Amazon Prime (affiliate link).

“Computer, play Star Trek: Picard!” And my Alexa-enabled Sony BRAVIA XR TV obliged.

I’d grown up on terrestrial television reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek movies on the big screen. Star Trek: Picard opens with a knowing nod to the franchise’s zenith: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan…

To boldly go in search of Easter eggs.

All the callbacks. All the feels. I was transported back to a time when the franchise was fun, filled with optimism and hope writ large in widescreen. Hearing the iconic music of Alexander Courage, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner (arguably underused until now) and Cliff Eidelman heralding the return of childhood heroes left me misty-eyed as the USS Titan left Spacedock in a spectacular homage to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

In the words of Admiral Kirk: “To absent friends...”

A touching tribute to actress Annie Wersching tipped me over the edge, and I was an ugly mess as the end credits rolled! Wersching had played the Borg Queen in season two and was the best thing about it. She passed away from cancer in January aged 45.

Afterwards, I hopped onto social media to encourage friends to watch the best Star Trek spin-off series in decades.

Trust no one.

Amid the homages to the movie and television franchises, there are echoes of the McCarthy era, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Invaders and The X-Files. Oh, there's also a narrative nod to Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. And I’m here for it.

The return of Ro Laren was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. Even though it was spoiled by Paramount’s official social media channels. Apologies if you’re only finding out now.

Forbes was excellent as Ensign Ro, who pushed back against Starfleet exceptionalism before defecting to the Maquis, in Star Trek: The Next Generation and later played the nihilistic Admiral Cain in the acclaimed Battlestar Galactica reboot of the early noughties.

Ro is now a Commander, tasked with bringing Admiral Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Captain Riker (Jonathan Frakes) back to Starfleet Command to stand trial for treason in an episode that packs an emotional punch, which I refuse to spoil.

Between the earned fan service and hopes for Star Trek: Legacy from series showrunner Terry Matalas, Star Trek: Picard is a salient reminder of the passage of time and that all things are temporary (alas, as are we). Sir Patrick Stewart and my father are octogenarians, which deeply resonated.

The third time’s the charm for this found family!

Ultimately, Star Trek: Picard sticks the landing with Galaxy-class finesse (carpets included) in a way unimaginable (by this fan) before the third season’s triumphant nostalgia-laden premiere in The Next Generation. Yes, I cried tears of joy (and relief). It was everything.


Have you seen Star Trek: Picard? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Batman returns in The Flash

Warner Bros. Pictures has released a new trailer for The Flash following an overwhelmingly positive early press screening for the upcoming movie.

Read the official synopsis:

"Worlds collide in “The Flash” when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the events of the past. But when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, Barry becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned, threatening annihilation, and there are no Super Heroes to turn to. That is, unless Barry can coax a very different Batman out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian… albeit not the one he’s looking for. Ultimately, to save the world that he is in and return to the future that he knows, Barry’s only hope is to race for his life. But will making the ultimate sacrifice be enough to reset the universe?"

The Flash is exclusively in cinemas on 16th June.

Are you excited to see Michael Keaton (Batman Returns) reprise the role of the dark detective? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 24 April 2023

Hasbro and Mattel merge iconic brands

Toy titans Hasbro and Mattel are joining forces to create co-branded toys and games beginning with Barbie and Transformers (via The Toy Book).

“We are excited to pair some of the most popular brands together for the first time,” says Nick Karamanos, Senior Vice President of Entertainment Partnerships at Mattel. “This collaboration features world-class intellectual property (IP), celebrates the timeless appeal of these brands, and creates unique play opportunities for fans.”

This summer sees highly-anticipated movies for Barbie and Transformers brands.

“With the major theatrical releases of the Transformers and Barbie movies this summer, we’re excited to bring brand-new play experiences to fans, families, and movie and toy lovers all around the world,” says Casey Collins, President, Global Licensed Consumer Products & Business Development at Hasbro. “Working with iconic brands in pop culture truly showcases our strategy in action, as we continue to expand our product experiences for audiences everywhere.”

Is it too soon for a Masters of the Universe/Transformers crossover?

Are you looking forward to Transformers Hot Wheels? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 21 April 2023

Stormtroopers invade National Space Centre

The Mandalorian's third season has concluded on Disney+ with many fans (myself included) feeling bereft without a weekly fix of Mando and Grogu.

However, I was able to pre-order the Star Wars The Vintage Collection N-1 Starfighter from Hasbro Pulse and Micheal Fitzgerald has sent over an update regarding the next episode in his award-winning Star Wars fan film series, Stormtroopers, just in time for Force Friday.

Guest post by Micheal Fitzgerald

The Stormtroopers Homecoming Premiere lit up the intergalactic National Space Centre in Cork on Saturday night.

The NSC 32m Large Antenna Array features as the key location in the new Stormtroopers episode where an Imperial Base Station is besieged by battleship attack & haunting PTSD within its ranks. Stormtroopers also filmed in epic locations in Cork, Waterford & Tipperary, including hiking 792m above sea level to film in a dormant volcano in Waterford and diving 30m deep to film underwater in Tipperary.

It stars Carolyn Bracken (You Are Not My Mother, Dublin Murders, Balor Hall, The Gone); Pius McGrath (Foundation, The Gates); Peter Cosgrave (Pilgrimage) & Klancy Casey Williams. It is directed by Micheal Fitzgerald (Home & Away, Game of Thrones, Dublin Murders), Stormtroopers was made to platform the storytelling and production quality standards of the highly skilled and diverse Cork-based production crew and interesting cast and epic locations.

The Homecoming Premiere was followed by a Q&A Panel with key cast & crew with brilliant audience momentum and interaction.

The last Stormtroopers episode premiered in 2018 and it has earned over 1.3m YouTube views and a number of awards.

The Homecoming Premiere follows the Mitchelstown Cave Premiere 200ft underground in the chilled prehistoric caverns and a full house at the Dublin Comic Con Premiere in The Convention Centre Dublin in March.

The new Stormtroopers episode next makes it Film Festival Debut when it opens the May The 4th Sci-Fi Film Festival in Portmagee, County Kerry at 7pm on May 4th where it has already been nominated for Key Awards listed below.

May the 4th Sci-Fi Film Festival - Stormtroopers Nominations:

Best Irish Short Film
Best Director - Micheal Fitzgerald
Best Actress - Carolyn Bracken
Best Cinematographer - Billy Cummings
Best Editor - Billy Cummings
Best Score - Brian Lane
Best Visual Effects - William Bean
Best Production Design - Micheal Fitzgerald

For further information, please visit the official site.

Are you looking forward to the next episode of Stormtroopers? How are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

85 years of Superman

Superman, the fan-favourite superhero character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, appeared in the first issue of Action Comics on 18th April 1938. It is widely regarded as the dawn of the superhero age that continues to dominate popular culture.

45 years ago, I saw Superman: The Movie, directed by Richard Donner (The Goonies), with my parents at the Odeon Exeter. It was the third film in a formative theatrical trifecta comprising Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind! All of which feature inspiring soundtracks composed by John Williams.

It's impossible to overstate how important these movies were/are to me. I was still in the first year of recovery from a life-changing head injury at primary school, which had left me partially paralysed and wheelchair-bound in 1977. Cinema was my fortress of solitude, and silver screen tales of heroism would aid in my resolve to walk again with the help and support of family, friends and amazing healthcare professionals working in the NHS.

My 80-year-old dad and I still discuss seeing Superman: The Movie and Superman II all those years ago. Christopher Reeve will always be the definitive Clark Kent/Superman and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) was my second silver screen crush after Carrie Fisher (Star Wars).

Whilst at university in the early-to-mid nineties, I discovered Dirk Maggs' Superman: Doomsday and Beyond for BBC Radio 1. I called the BBC in hopes of interviewing the man himself, and an enduring friendship was forged. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was popular Saturday evening viewing - merging heroic adventures with Moonlighting. I had a poster of Lois Lane (Teri Hatcher) on my student bedroom wall.

Years later, my mum and I would watch Smallville together until a uniquely medical matter left her with life-changing injuries, requiring 24/7 care in 2003. However, I continued to watch the series as it encapsulated the spirit of hope and selflessness epitomised by Superman.

Happy 85th birthday, big fella!

Monday 17 April 2023

Andor returns to the Jurassic Coast

The second and final season of Star Wars: Andor on Disney+ is currently being filmed on location (via DorsetLive) for a possible release in the summer of 2024.

Lucasfilm has returned to Winspit Quarry, which served as Saw Gerrera's (Forest Whitaker) secret base in the first season of the Star Wars live-action spin-off series.

Winspit Quarry was used for the classic Doctor Who serial Destiny of the Daleks in the late seventies and Blake's 7 in the early eighties.

Star Wars: Andor is widely regarded as one of the best Star Wars spin-offs ever made, taking the franchise in a darker direction forgoing lightsabers in favour of political intrigue. Andor (Diego Luna) is conscripted by the Empire to help build the first dreaded Death Star that will ultimately kill him. Incidentally, The Mandalorian has embraced politics in the third season of the award-winning spin-off series following the intergalactic duo of Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu.

Diego Luna reprises the titular role in the prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and, along with series showrunner Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity), teased the upcoming season at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023.

Are you looking forward to the second season of Star Wars: Andor on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 14 April 2023

From Wallace and Gromit to Star Wars

Aardman, the award-winning Bristol-based animation studio behind Wallace and Gromit, travels to a galaxy far, far away...

Star Wars: Visions Volume 2, featuring nine new short films from nine animation studios, was previewed at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023.

Read Aardman's official synopsis:

"In 'I Am Your Mother' - directed by Magdalena Osinska - young pilot Anni (Charithra Chandran), who is embarrassed by her sweet, but clingy mum Kalina (Maxine Peake), must team with her for a madcap family race at the academy. Along the way, their relationship is tested by the elements, their old ship, other racers... and each other!"

Aardman's animated adventure features Wedge Antilles (Denis Lawson), the Rebel pilot who appeared in the original and sequel trilogies.

Speaking exclusively to Empire magazine, the film's director Magdalena Osinska said: “We were looking for some kind of idol that Anni would be looking up to.

"We settled on Wedge Antilles because he fitted in terms of the Star Wars era. Also, he’s done pretty amazing things in Star Wars, but he wasn’t maybe as recognised [for it].

"I think he has more lines in our film than the original Star Wars trilogy. We really wanted to give him the limelight he deserved.”

Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 streams exclusively on Disney+ on Star Wars Day AKA May the Fourth.

Are you looking forward to Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 on Disney+? How are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 13 April 2023

Star Wars The Vintage Collection N-1 Starfighter

During Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023, Hasbro announced The Vintage Collection N-1 Starfighter!

Read Hasbro's press release:

"This Republic-era handcrafted Naboo N-1 Starfighter has been extensively modified to be a truly one-of-a-kind vehicle for the Mandalorian and his foundling Grogu. Fans can celebrate the legacy of STAR WARS, the action-and-adventure-packed space saga from a galaxy far, far away with this premium 3.75-inch scale STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION THE MANDALORIAN’S N-1 STARFIGHTER and figures inspired by the ship’s and characters’ appearances in STAR WARS: THE MANDALORIAN. This vehicle and figure set features premium detail and design and highly articulated carded Mandalorian figure, a Grogu figure as well as packaging inspired by the original Kenner packaging and branding. Includes vehicle, figure with Grogu, droid socket, 2 stands and 5 entertainment-inspired accessories."

This is a must-have for all Star Wars fans (myself included). However, it soon sold out on Hasbro Pulse and I could not pre-order from any retailer in the UK.

Pre-order from Entertainment Earth (affiliate link).

Have you pre-ordered Star Wars The Vintage Collection N-1 Starfighter? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 10 April 2023

Twenty Years of a Time Lord

40 years ago, I was at Doctor Who’s famous 20th celebration, held at Longleat House over the Easter bank holiday weekend!

At the time, Longleat House was home to a permanent Doctor Who exhibition, which I’d visited with family in the spring of 1981. The exhibition was a formative Whovian experience encountering the Doctor’s deadliest foes (from Daleks to Cybermen), and I remember a helpful shop assistant letting me choose a silver Palitoy Talking Dalek (I already owned the more common red variant).

1983 would be long remembered!

Not only was it the 20th anniversary of Doctor Who culminating in The Five Doctors special in November, but also the epic conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy. George Lucas’ space saga was intertwined with my recovery and rehabilitation following a life-changing head injury in 1977.

Back to all things timey-wimey. To celebrate the good Doctor’s birthday, the BBC announced a 2-day event at Longleat House and we ventured up on Easter Monday (without tickets). Upon arrival, it was abundantly clear that the event was massively oversubscribed, the BBC unprepared for its popularity, and a voice on the tannoy forebodingly announced that unless you had a ticket, you would be unable to enter…

Oh, boy!

In stepped my mum to save the day! She spoke to a Royal Welsh Fusilier (wearing a UNIT badge) and, voila, we’re guests and ushered in with VIP access. What follows remains more of a brilliant blur. From shaking hands with a Cyberman to watching Terror of the Autons (with Jon Pertwee and cast) and meeting Peter Davison to a close encounter with a Triffid, I was in geek heaven. Although I missed out on a souvenir guide, I did pick up a copy of The Doctor Who Technical Manual. Years later, I would discover future friends were there, too.

Sadly, we had overlooked bringing a Kodak camera with us (this was an era before iPhones). This didn’t detract too much and I was able to get an official Polaroid snap outside the TARDIS.

In 2013, I ventured with friends to ExCeL London to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Who knows what may happen for the 60th this year!

What are your memories of the Doctor Who exhibition? Were you at the 20th celebration? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 9 April 2023

Return of the Jedi returning to cinemas

During Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023, Lucasfilm announced Star Wars: Return of the Jedi would be returning to cinemas to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

A new commemorative poster has been produced by Matt Ferguson who previously worked on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 2020.

“I’m so happy and grateful to get to work on these movies again, even more so to be given the freedom to continue what I started with Empire,” says Ferguson. “For that poster, a cold mechanical vibe completely takes over the whole composition. But Return of the Jedi is very much the triumph of Luke and the Rebels, so I wanted to have more of the warmer colors coming back into the art, hence pivoting to green with red accents.”

After a 3-year wait, I remember the fevered anticipation for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Impatiently waiting for a mail-away Admiral Ackbar action figure in the months leading up to the conclusion of the original trilogy.

“The artwork should tell a story, so for me it only made sense to give over the composition to those two characters,” he continues. “Will Luke be turned? Is Vader going to overcome the darkness? It’s all about the pull between good and evil.”

Starting 28th April, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi will return to select cinemas in the US, UK and other regions for a limited time.

What are your memories of seeing Star Wars: Return of the Jedi? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 8 April 2023

Ahsoka at Star Wars Celebration

On Friday, Lucasfilm dropped an official teaser trailer for Ahsoka at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023.

Dave Filoni's upcoming Star Wars live-action spin-off series sees Rosario Dawson reprise the role of fan-favourite Ahsoka Tano from The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Ahsoka continues her hunt for Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), Heir to the Empire. Thrawn is to the Star Wars spin-offs what Thanos was to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Ahsoka was first introduced as Anakin Skywalker's Padawan in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Later, they would clash in Star Wars Rebels when Skywalker succumbs to the dark side of the Force and becomes Darth Vader. There are rumours Hayden Christensen will reprise the role of Anakin Skywalker as he did in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.

Doctor Who fans (myself included) will be delighted David Tennant returns in the role of droid Huyang from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

In related news. As previously rumoured, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced three new live-action Star Wars movies during Lucasfilm's Studio Showcase. Helming the movies are James Mangold (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny), Dave Filoni (Star Wars Rebels) and award-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel).

Mangold’s movie will go back to the dawn of the Jedi and Filoni's film concludes the storylines from The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka and further spin-off series on Disney+. Daisy Ridley reprises the role of Rey from the sequel trilogy as she builds a new Jedi Order in Obaid-Chinoy’s film.

Ahsoka streams exclusively on Disney+ this August.

Are you looking forward to Ahsoka on Disney+? What are your thoughts on the three new live-action Star Wars movies? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 7 April 2023

LEGO Star Wars celebrates Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023 kicks off today at ExCeL London. The official Lucasfilm fan event includes a panel celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

To mark the epic conclusion of the original trilogy in 1983, LEGO has announced new diorama building sets featuring the Emperor's Throne Room and Endor Speeder Chase to relive your favourite Jedi moments.

“It’s hard to overstate the impact that Return of the Jedi has had on popular culture since its release 40 years ago, and it was a real pleasure as a fan to help create these new dioramas that celebrate some of the film’s most iconic moments,” said Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, Design Lead for LEGO Star Wars.

My parents took me to Debenhams for a surprise meet and greet with Darth Vader and Stormtroopers before the release of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi! Afterwards, I chose a Speeder Bike and Biker Scout from Kenner's collection. The dark side of the Force was strong with this one.

“Whether you were in the cinema for Return of the Jedi's original release or came to discover it later, these two dioramas allow builders to recreate and display their own slice of cinematic history - and revealing them to fans, at the same time as many are enjoying Star Wars Celebration, is the perfect way to unveil them.”

LEGO Star Wars Return of the Jedi diorama sets are available from LEGO AU, CA, UK and US (affiliate links).

Will you be adding these LEGO Star Wars Return of the Jedi diorama building sets to your collection? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 5 April 2023

LEGO Star Wars X-wing soars May the Fourth

LEGO has officially unveiled the first Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series (UCS) building set of 2023 in time for Star Wars Day.

The iconic X-wing Starfighter gets the UCS treatment for May the Fourth.

“Whilst this is not the first time we have brought the X-wing Starfighter to brick life, this is the most detailed and I am so excited with the final design. It is such an iconic ship, by designing at this new larger scale we were able to include more specific details such as the thrusters, the cockpit and the wings. We are so excited to now share this with fans.” said Henrik Andersen, LEGO Design Master.

LEGO X-wing Starfighter is available from LEGO AU, CA, UK and US (affiliate links).

Will you be adding the latest LEGO Star Wars X-wing Starfighter to your collection? How are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 3 April 2023

Secret Invasion has Winter Soldier vibes

Marvel Studios has dropped an official trailer for Secret Invasion on Disney+.

A brief plot synopsis was released alongside the trailer, which reads:

"In Marvel Studios’ new series Secret Invasion, set in the present day MCU, Nick Fury learns of a clandestine invasion of Earth by a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls. Fury joins his allies, including Everett Ross, Maria Hill, and the Skrull Talos, who has made a life for himself on Earth. Together, they race against time to thwart an imminent Skrull invasion and save humanity."

Who do you trust? A sense of suffocating paranoia, a theme explored in Star Trek: Picard's third and final season on Paramount+, has not been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) since Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Following the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, my interest in the MCU on the big screen has waned (like it has for other fans). WandaVision, Loki, Moon Knight and the one-shot specials have been excellent on Disney+. However, I welcome Disney's decision to scale back on too many releases going forward.

Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) joins the MCU in a Disney+ series starring Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Olivia Colman.

Secret Invasion premieres exclusively on Disney+ on the 21st of June.

Are you looking forward to Secret Invasion on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 2 April 2023

Battlestar Galactica at 45

In the wake of seeing Star Wars 45 years ago, I would develop an insatiable appetite for shiny US imports on the big and small screen, cashing in on its box office success.

From Disney's The Black Hole to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The most memorable of which was Battlestar Galactica, released as the first of three feature-length movies in the UK between 1978 and 1980. The BBC's Doctor Who and Blake's 7 were (briefly) sidelined in favour of ITV's big-budget sci-fi offerings from across the pond.

Glen A. Larson's epic television series, following a rag-tag fugitive fleet led by Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) in search of Earth, foreshadowed the long-form storytelling of Babylon 5.

Battlestar Galactica may have been a bigger success had Larson and Universal not been embroiled in litigation with Lucasfilm and Twentieth Century Fox over allegations of ripping-off Star Wars wholesale. George Lucas’ space opera was a distillation of disparate influences from Flash Gordon to Joseph Campbell.

Notably, Star Wars luminaries John Dykstra, a special effects pioneer, and Ralph McQuarrie, a conceptual artist, worked on the fledgling sci-fi series. The following year, McQuarrie's starship designs would also appear in Larson's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Despite being the most expensive series ever made at the time, to save money, Battlestar Galactica reused special effects ad nauseam in later episodes. Larson would go on to reuse Cylon sound effects for KITT in Knight Rider.

At the time in 1978, the 3-part Saga of a Star World was recut and shown theatrically to promote the upcoming series. Infamously, it showed Baltar (John Colicos) being beheaded by the Cylons after failing the Imperious Leader (Patrick Macnee), which confused me as a child when I saw Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack on home video. How the frak did Baltar survive?

Years later, I worked on Dirk Maggs' The Gemini Apes for BBC Radio 4 with Colicos' son, Nicholas, and we talked about his father's iconic roles on Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek.

Battlestar Galactica didn't shy away from darker themes such as betrayal and death. The aforementioned Balter betrayed the human race to the Cylons and Serina (Jane Seymour) died in Lost Planet of the Gods Part 2. At least Athena (Maren Jensen) survived but was increasingly sidelined by Sheba (Anne Lockhart), much to my chagrin.

Where would the explosive space battles be without a bombastic soundtrack underscoring the action? Stu Phillips' music for Battlestar Galactica is memorable and compares favourably with John Williams' operatic Star Wars themes. I adored both soundtracks. For anyone interested, Phillips' recording with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Like Mego, Mattel passed on Star Wars (thereby facilitating Kenner's unprecedented success). Mattel bet on Battlestar Galactica and released a range of merchandise. Exeter's Pram & Toy Shop didn't give up much shelf space, but I did manage to get a Cylon Centurion, Imperious Leader, Ovion, Lucifer and a Cylon Raider.

Growing up, my parents didn't have cable television. So, I only viewed the first movie theatrically, a few of the episodes on HTV at my maternal grandmother's house (Rediffusion television was an early cable provider) and the two 'sequels' on rental video.

During the Betamax vs VHS format war, studios signed exclusive deals with Sony or JVC. Battlestar Galactica was only available on Sony Betamax. Thankfully, an aunt and uncle (who gifted me an Atari VCS in 1980) owned a high-end Sony machine featuring stereo sound, and I was able to watch Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack and Galactica III: Conquest of the Earth on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Teignmouth after playing Pole Position at the seafront arcade.

It would be nearly a decade before I had an opportunity to see the entire Battlestar Galactica series including the risible spin-off series Galactica 1980. The less said about the latter the better. However, The Return of Starbuck, guest starring Dirk Benedict (The A-Team) in the titular role from the original series, is a highlight foreshadowing Enemy Mine.

Ronald D. Moore's (For All Mankind) acclaimed reboot of Battlestar Galactica, one of the first sci-fi series I covered on this blog, ended 16 years ago and was followed by a short-lived prequel series, Caprica.

Much was made of Starbuck's recasting as a female in the reboot - years before Jodie Whittaker would play Doctor Who - and Katee Sackhoff's stellar performance, alongside a fantastic cast, soon allayed any fears. Sackhoff has gone on to play fan-favourite Bo-Katan Kryze in various Star Wars spin-offs including The Mandalorian on Disney+.

The late Richard Hatch, who portrayed Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica and became a childhood hero alongside Luke Skywalker and The Six Million Dollar Man, played Tom Zarek in Moore's lauded reboot. We were friends on social media. Hatch sadly passed away in 2017.

Battlestar Galactica has left a lasting legacy in popular culture from The Big Bang Theory to Portlandia.

What are your memories of Battlestar Galactica? Let me know in the comments below.