NBC have confirmed that the development of the Battlestar Galactica reboot is continuing successfully, with reports that a draft script for the new series is expected to be completed by fall 2020. In that same report, Deadline quoted Bill McGoldrick, President of Original Content at NBCU Entertainment Networks, who confirmed that the project is ‘progressing nicely’. The series is expected to become one of the flagship titles on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.
The 2004 Battlestar Galactica series reimagined the original sci-fi show from 1978, receiving great critical acclaim throughout its run of four seasons. Producer Sam Esmail confirmed that NBC’s new series will not be a remake of the 2004 show, as it will instead explore new stories within the Battlestar Galactica universe.
BSG fans, this will NOT be a remake of the amazing series @RonDMoore launched because… why mess with perfection? Instead, we’ll explore a new story within the mythology while staying true to the spirit of Battlestar. So say we all!— Sam Esmail (@samesmail) September 17, 2019
Esmail has also spoken of the intention to make this new Battlestar Galactica series a long-running production that honors the style of both the 1978 and 2004 series, while taking the Battlestar mythology to new places. That should allay the concerns of any classic Battlestar fans who were worried that existing characters would be rewritten and that stories from past series would be retconned.
NBC’s Battle To Compete With Netflix
NBC’s Peacock streaming platform enjoyed a limited rollout in April 2020 before launching fully in July, with the service reaching 10 million sign-ups by the end of July. NBC will be banking on the allure of a new Battlestar Galactica series driving those numbers up significantly in an attempt to go toe-to-toe with more established competitors, most notably Netflix.
At the end of 2019 Netflix subscribers had surpassed the 167 million mark, so it won’t be easy for a new name to muscle in on the market. Netflix has enjoyed some success with fantasy and space-themed series, with Stranger Things the marquee title in the streaming service’s sci-fi section. In 2020, Netflix sought to create a sci-fi sitcom success in the shape of Space Force, which utilized Steve Carell at the head of a glittering cast.
Space Force may not have landed as the instant hit that Netflix wanted, with a 38% score averaged from critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes indicating that big names don’t always produce big results. Space Force may well go on to enjoy better responses in subsequent seasons, a common trend for sitcoms which often take time to find their groove, but NBC will be hopeful that Battlestar Galactica will become an immediate success. Sci-fi fans may be tempted to switch their subscription from Netflix to Peacock if the new Battlestar proves to be the next must-watch show.
A Hugely Influential Franchise
While it may not boast the instantly recognizable characters of the Star Wars franchise, and it may not have the memorable designs of the Alien series, there aren’t many sci-fi works in the world of television and film that can match Battlestar Galactica‘s impact on the entertainment industry. The conflict at the heart of the series has provided a compelling focus in many different areas of pop culture.
A string of Battlestar-inspired video games have arrived over the years, such as 2017’s Battlestar Galactica Deadlock from Black Lab Games. Players have appreciated Deadlock‘s emphasis on military strategy, with the game commanding a 9/10 rating from user reviews on Steam. The fight against the Cylons can be experienced in other areas of the entertainment industry, with Battlestar Galactica providing the title and theme for an online slot hosted by Betway Casino. Developed by Microgaming, the slot’s use of ‘run’ and ‘fight’ modes recreates the core concept of the television series.
The quest to lead the human race to survival also plays the central role in Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, with Fantasy Flight Games’ semi-cooperative card game earning a rating of 7.7 on BoardGameGeek. The objective is to determine who is secretly a Cylon, allowing players to live out the drama of the television series. That conflict has been elaborated on since the 1970s courtesy of a succession of novels based on Battlestar Galactica, with Richard Hatch’s works in the early 21st-century testament to the franchise’s long-running appeal.
NBC will be hopeful that there is still a demand for Battlestar Galactica content in the 2020s, and those successful tributes to the series in the entertainment industry are proof that NBC should be optimistic on that front. Given the prestige of its name, a lot will be weighing on the Battlestar Galactica reboot if the Peacock streaming service is to truly earn its wings. While we still don’t know much about the nature of the series itself, fans of Battlestar and sci-fi in general should have plenty of cause for excitement.