The original series was the brainchild of Glen A. Larson, who also created Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Knight Rider, and Magnum, P.I. Larson got the original idea back in the late 1960’s, but it didn’t come to fruition until after the success of Star Wars.
As fans know, the original series dealt with the near-destruction of the human race at the hands of the robotic Cylons, who attacked the Twelve Colonies under the guise of a new peace treaty. The survivors, led by Commander Adama aboard the last surviving Battlestar, Galactica, went on a perilous journey on a search for a mythical planet called Earth.
The series introduced Adama, played by Bonanza star Lorne Greene, his son Apollo, Apollo’s cocky friend and wingman Starbuck, Colonel Tigh, LLieutenant Boomer, Sheba, the evil and treasonous Baltar who sold out humanity to the Cylons, Apollo’s sister Athena, and Starbuck’s love interest Cassiopia. Also on board were Boxy and his pet robotic Daggit.
The series premiered to high ratings in September of 1978, and almost immediately faced criticism (and a lawsuit by 20th Century Fox) over similarities to Star Wars. Ratings declined when the series ran against All in the Family on CBS and it was canceled in 1979. In spite of this, the show returned with the poorly-received Galactica 1980, which had the fleet finally reaching Earth thirty years after the events of the original series.
Although a critical failure at the time, the original inspired the 2004 reboot and its subsequent sequels and spin-off movies. Among the more notable episodes were The Living Legend, featuring Lloyd Bridges as the commander of another surviving Battlestar, the Pegasus, and Experiment in Terra, in which Apollo is sent to an Earthlike world on the brink of nuclear war.