Previously, on Battlestar Galactica: Starbuck and Boomer were dudes. And the Cylons were robots created by lizards who hated humans. Seriously.
The tv movie that kicked off the newly revamped Galactica was three hours long, so you're basically just getting the bullet point edition of a recap. I'd include a review, but my review would be:
SQUEEEE! ZOMG!!1!!! GALACTICA IS TEH BEST!11!! ROFL!!!1!
I would recommend this movie (and the season that followed) to anyone: Man, woman, child. Any age, any race -- it doesn't even matter if you like sci/fi or not. It's just a great show.
Mankind created the Cylons, a race of artificially intelligent robots. (We were just kidding about the lizards. Forget we ever said that.) The Cylons more than likely started out as your average household robot -- I'm thinking: "Roomba" -- but evolved through the various forms of artificial intelligence until they were able to register their own damned software. Realizing that sweeping up someone else's living room for zero wages sort of sucked, they decided to Kill All Humans. A war ensued; when that didn't work, a peace agreement was reached. The humans would continue to live out their lives on the twelve planets of the Twelve Colonies. The Cylons would find somewhere else to clean floors -- on their own terms.
The previous paragraph was explained using far less words in the first ten seconds of the movie. See why we're going to bullet point the rest?
For forty years, the Cylons never once attended the annual man/robot peace conference aboard Space Station We Luv Robots Yay. Then a super hot blond shows up, and blows the whole place apart. Turns out that the robots Love Hot Chicks, too, and have Terminator-ed themselves to look human.
The Battlestar Galactica is being readied for decommissioning. Most of its crew has been reassigned to other, newer parts of the fleet. Its warheads have been removed, and it is being converted into a museum. We're introduced to the Galactica during the preparation for a decommissioning ceremony. You meet Starbuck (WHO'S NOW A GIRL ZOMG!) as she jogs around the ship. She greets Commander Adama (EDWARD JAMES OLMOS) with an exchange that I only note now because it will be important for you to remember in the future:
Adama: Whaddya hear?
Starbuck: Nothin' but the rain.
Adama: Grab your gun and bring in the cat.
Starbuck: Boom, boom, boom.
...yeah, I'm not really sure what it signifies, either.
Things to note about Galactica: It has computers, but not a network. The ship is not networked because Adama is a fraidy cat. (Or incredibly insightful, take your pick.) This makes Galactica unique among the fleet. Also, the engineering crew has brought aboard several old fighter ships, including Adama's old fighter ship (called "Vipers"), and have restored them all to working order.
Colonel Saul Tigh (MICHAEL HOGAN), second in charge, likes to drink. He plays cards with Starbuck, Helo, and Boomer (WHO'S NOW A GIRL ZOMG!), and ends up throwing Starbuck in the brig when she punches him in the face. Card games are vicious on the Galactica. (Or maybe just when you're playing with Starbuck.)
On Caprica, which is apparently the important planet out of all twelve planets, Secretary of Education Laura Roslin (MARY MCDONNELL) is being told she has cancer. Then she heads out on a transport ship to the Galactica for its decommissioning ceremony.
Elsewhere on Caprica, a copy of the super hot blond robot from the opening sequence (who will from here on in be known as Number Six) (TRICIA HELFER) snaps a baby's neck because she is BADASS. She then heads off to her boyfriend's house, Dr. Gaius
Smarmy Face Baltar.
Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama (JAMIE BAMBER) lands on Galactica and immediately begins his whining. This will be standard issue for Apollo for the duration of the series. Helo and Boomer also land, and it's revealed here that the Chief Engineer, Galen Tyrol, and Lieutenant Boomer are DOING IT. During a fighter pilot briefing, Apollo learns he'll have to fly his dad's old restored fighter jet/ship/thing, and he makes a bitchy face.
Back on Caprica, Number Six and Dr. Baltar are talking about math. He's written a program that he's installed apparently on all twelve planets -- the entire military defense system in their universe -- and Number Six did all the work. Which means she had access to the human's defense software. Clearly at this point Baltar isn't tuned in to his girlfriend being a robot.
Roslin and her cute assistant Billy arrive on Galactica and are greeted by P.R. person Aaron Doral. Billy meets Dee, the communications girl (Uhura Light) and moony eyes and sexual tension happen. Roslin makes fun of Adama for being afraid of computers, and insists that when Galactica becomes a museum, she's TOTALLY installing My Network Places as soon as possible.
Apollo visits Starbuck in the brig, there is appropriate sexual tension. (Even when it is revealed that Starbuck was engaged to Apollo's little brother,
Dead Meat, Zak.) Apollo does some whining about how his daddy doesn't love him the most. Par for the course.
On Caprica, Baltar is woken up by Number Six after what appears to be a long night of him sleeping with some other randomly attractive woman. Six confesses to Baltar that she's a robot, and she's about to destroy the entire world. He is understandably confused. Number Six reveals that there are twelve models of Cylons, and Cylons "can't die," because their "consciousness" is just downloaded into a new body somewhere else. (This little plot point will be repeated many times by many smarmy Cylons in a Bond Villain-esque way throughout the series.)
Back on Galactica, more whining from Apollo. But not without exposition! Younger brother Zak was apparently killed during a fighter pilot training mission, because he was unqualified to be a pilot, despite his father's urging that Viper Pilots Have The Longest Penises. Also, Commander Adama is divorced and his ex-wife is remarrying.
And now! The decommissioning ceremony! Adama gives a speech that severely deviates from what he has on his little notecards, befuddling the crew, and dropping some heavy philosophical waxing onto the viewing audience. It is after the ceremony that the nuclear attack against Caprica and the other eleven planets begins.
A bunch of Viper pilots (except Starbuck, who is still in the brig, and Apollo, who is escorting Roslin's ship back to Caprica in his dad's old beater) head out to KICK ASS. They are handily beaten by the Cylons, who of course (thanks to Number Six) know how to tap in to the military's computer network and disable all attacking ships. Pretty much all of the fleet is destroyed off-camera, and quickly.
Starbuck takes out all the old Viper fighters to get ready to KICK SOME ASS. Helo and Boomer, in their little "Raptor" (a scout ship) get hit by Cylon raiders and crash land on Caprica.
About this time, Roslin is finding out what's happened back home. She instructs the pilot to send out a coded signal that apparently is Standard Operating Procedure for when Shit Goes FUBAR. There is a sequence where Apollo destroys a warhead aimed at the Colonial Transport Ship, which nicely displays how the Vipers have a neat thruster system that allows them to do beautiful 180 degree, end-over-end turns on a dime.
On Newly Nuked Caprica, Helo and Boomer are trying to fix their downed ship, when refugees fleeing the bombed cities try to barter their way aboard. They have a lottery to pick who goes on the Raptor. When Helo notices Dr. Baltar is among the non-winners, he gives up his own seat to allow Baltar to go on the Raptor. (It's on the Raptor's flight that Baltar suddenly has an imaginary friend -- a Number Six that is invisible to everyone but him.)
Aboard Roslin's ship, she's quickly realizing that the war is pretty much over: Humans 0, Robots 1. She's organizing a rescue effort to pick up all the lost survivors on civilian ships stranded throughout the galaxy. (Note: Galactica's Electric Pulse Generators are aboard Roslin's Colonial Transport ship. For some reason. Mainly, plot-related reasons.)
Back on the Galactica, the old-school Vipers are finally going out to raise some hell. (For those who are going to be participating in trivia later, Starbuck is flying a Viper with the nameplate "Raygun.") CGI-stravaganza! A nuke that makes it past Starbuck's blitzkrieg hits the Galactica. The ship is decompressing and a bunch of engineers are trying to put out fires. Tigh orders that they seal off the ship and flush the fires out in to space -- which also means flushing a bunch of dudes (probably janitors) out in to space, as well. Tyrol is totally not happy about this decision, but he does it anyway. He loses 85 deckhands in the process.
Roslin is getting the results of her secret coded message. It's an emergency electronic check of the Colonies' Order of Succession. Roslin is 43rd in line to take office, in case all 42 cabinet members (including the president and vice president) are killed. Annnnnd, guess what? All 42 are dead. She is now President of the
United Twelve Colonies of Kobol. Conveniently there's a priestess on board who swears her in. This remains my favorite scene of the entire series.
Galactica is pretty screwed. The ship is damaged and they have no ammunition. Adama chooses to make a "hyperlight" jump to "Ragnar Anchorage," a munitions depo. Since the Admiral and pretty much the whole fleet has been toasted, Adama takes charge of the remaining fleet. (Which is... the Galactica. As far as they know, anyway.) They spin up their "FTL" drives. I assume it stands for "Faster Than Light."
Roslin is not digging Adama choosing to lead the troops into certain death. She starts a pissing match via Space Telegram, ordering Adama to start taking aboard civilians. He gets on the Space Phone and tells her she's a just a feeble little girl, and he's gonna go out with guns blazing. Everyone rendezvous at Ragnar! Bullet party!
The conversation is cut short when Cylons start attacking the Colonial Transport. This is where those EMP-type things from the Galactica come in handy. Apollo starts them up, and what happens is just like every time you saw an EMP in The Matrix. On Galactica all they see on their radar ("Dradis") screens is what resembles a thermo-nuclear explosion, so Adama makes a sad face. Then they jump the Galatica to Ragnar.
Apparently the BSG version of an EMP doesn't just knock out ships, it knocks out people. Aboard Colonial One, everybody is just waking up. Yay, Apollo is alive to whine another day! He actually uses the phrase "War College" here, which always makes me giggle. They gather up the remaining survivors (including Boomer and her Raptor of Refugees) and prepare to go to Ragnar.
At the Ammunition Depo, Tyrol leads a bunch of the crew in to a big warehouse full of guns and stuff. They're met by a creepy looking dude named Leoben, who claims to be unaware of the nuclear holocaust. Tyrol doesn't have time for creepy dudes, so he takes Leoben prisoner and starts loading up Galactica with ammunition.
Roslin is still gathering up survivors before the jump to Ragnar. There's a cruise ship without FTL drives that has lots of people aboard exploring the botanical gardens. Roslin has an emotional conversation with a little girl, which lets everyone know that this ship isn't going to make it into the rest of the series. Lots of the surviving ships don't have FTL drives, so they decide to start moving people on to ships that do.
Roslin's gathered up quite a great big convoy (CON-VOY!), but before they can transfer people from the "sub light" ships to the FTL-capable ships, Cylons show up. Roslin makes her first big decision as President and decides to jump all the ships that are able to Ragnar right away, leaving tens of thousands of people to swear at her via the Space Phone before they're blown up. She chooses this time to tell her assistant, Billy, that she has cancer. There's a bit of dialogue where she confesses that the cancer thing is more on her mind than anything else.
Due to a series of PLOT DEVICES, Adama gets locked into a storage container with creepy dude, Leoben. And woo, does Leoben like to talk. Mainly he talks about "God," which is a dead giveaway. (Cylons are apparently monotheistic, while the humans are polytheistic.) Adama figures Leoben for a Cylon, and beats him to death. (The magnetic CGI storm that surrounds Ragnar screws with the Cylon's silica-brain-whatevers and makes them sweat profusely, and slowly die. This is how Adama is able to overtake and kill Leoben.) (Also, Leoben Bond-Villains that his brain is going to get downloaded and he's going to send a bunch of Cylons right to Ragnar.)
Roslin's convoy (CON-VOY!) reaches Ragnar, and she gets in a shouting match with Tigh. Tigh doesn't want to help out the refugees, Roslin (and Apollo) do. Billy brings Baltar on to the Galactica; Boomer reunites with the Chief and there is smooching; Billy gets a smootch from Dee; Starbuck and Apollo reunite but do not smooch. They just make "I wish we could smooch if only it weren't for your dead brother" eyes at each other.
Trek-named Gaeta, the Galactica's I.T. Guy, tells Baltar that they never installed any of his software. Which is great, because it's full of Cylon spyware. (But Baltar doesn't tell Gaeta that.) Gaeta's got a little bit of a mancrush on Baltar. Number Six continues to appear to no one but Baltar, and she makes this scene interesting, and also points out that there is Cylon hardware aboard the Galactica's bridge. Baltar decides to hide the fact that he basically helped bring about the end of the world, seeing as he couldn't recognize that a Cylon Explosive Device was not a Palm Pilot, and his Super Hot Girlfriend Who Is Good At Math was really a robot. He decides to save the day by accusing P.R. person Aaron Doral of being a Cylon.
Adama gets back to Galactica with a dead Leoben. Tigh and Adama decide to keep quiet the fact that the Cylons have human-looking models now, but they tell Baltar all about it, which is convenient for him and his Accuse Aaron Of Being A Robot plan. They tell Baltar to come up with a Cylon Detector. Haha! The irony of it all.
Adama reunites with Apollo. There is, blissfully, more hugging than whining. Apollo goes to see off Starbuck as she prepares for a recon mission. Starbuck confides to Apollo that Zak actually failed basic pilot training, but because she was in love with Zak, she passed him. And then he died because he was too dumb to fly his jet plane. Whoops.
P.R. rep Aaron Doral is thrown in the brig. Doral begs to be let go, and swears that he's not a Cylon. Baltar uses a bunch of words to convince Tigh that he has a working Cylon Detector. It sounds like "chemical cheeseburger hair tonic chromosome screen analyze thingy", which is enough to confuse and convince Tigh. Baltar takes this opportunity to tell Tigh about the Cylon Palm Pilot on the Galactica bridge.
Starbuck, out on her scouting mission, sees the huge floatilla of Cylon ships that's just cooling their heels outside of Ragnar, waiting for the humans to pop out so they can shoot them.
Roslin is finding out about the condition of the ships in their new fleet. There are 50,000 people left out in space. Among the survivors: A fuel refinery barge (convenient!) and a prisoner transport (not as convenient.) Roslin feels this is a good time to bring up her "Humans: 0, Robots: 1" assessment with Adama again. She tells him that less fighting, more smooching needs to happen. Specifically, "We need to get the hell out of here and we need to start having babies." Adama pretty much blows off this line of thinking.
Starbuck is relaying back to the Galactica the bad news about the Cylon ambush. Adama looks over to where Billy and Dee are making googly eyes at one another, and realizes "having babies" is a much more fun option than immediate death. He tells Gaeta to plot a really long lightspeed jump. They plan to use the Galactica to hold off the Cylons long enough for the civilian ships to get away. Adama also orders P.R. rep Aaron Doral to be ditched in the ammunitions warehouse.
Fight scene! Space explosions! CGI! I bet this scene looks great on HDtv. The Vipers set off and KICK SOME ASS. The civilian ships escape. The "Nothin' but the rain" conversation happens again, with Starbuck out in space saving Apollo's ass, and Adama down on the Galactica. She does some fancy maneuvering and pushes Apollo's damaged Viper back on to the Galactica in time for everyone to get away from the Cylons.
Or, not. Before they can arrange a ticker-tape parade, Elosha, the priestess that swore in Roslin as president, is having a ceremony on one of the Galactica's hanger decks. It is filled with the bodies of the dead, each draped with a Colonial flag which is surprising considering this mass funeral was unplanned, and all. Adama rallies the troops by promising to take all the survivors to a mythical 13th colony that can save them all: EARTH! Now we can start the ticker tape parade.
Tigh tries to make up with Starbuck by telling her she's a frakkin' sweet pilot. She sees his compliment, and raises him an insult about how he's a drunk jerk.
Adama is eating some noodles in his posh Captain's Quarters, when Roslin shows up to thank him for following her "Cut and Run" strategy. She calls him on not actually knowing where Earth is. He admits it's all just a lie to improve troop morale, but that they should keep that between the two of them.
Imaginary Number Six shows up to antagonize Baltar. She reiterates that the Cylons look like humans now, and there could be "sleeper agents" everywhere that don't know they're actually robots. Will this somehow play itself out in the next five minutes?
There is a montage of people settling in, perhaps resigning themselves to their fate. Adama gets a Space Telegram that says "There are only 12 cylon models." He locks his door.
The final scene is a Cylon meeting back on Ragnar Station. Amongst the robots present are P.R. rep Aaron Doral, copies of P.R. rep Aaron Doral, a few copies of creepy dude Leoben, a bunch of Number Sixes... and... BOOMER! BOOMER IS A CYLON! DUN DAH DUNNNNNNNNN! Could the Boomer aboard Galactica possibly be one of those "sleeper agents" talked about five minutes ago? FIND OUT ON THE NEXT EPISODE!!