Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
NBSG.jpg

(For the original 1978 series, see Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series).)

In 2003, the Sci-Fi Channel revived the classic 1970s space opera series in a four-hour miniseries, followed in 2005 by a regular series which ran four seasons before concluding in 2009. The new program, considerably darker and more adult-themed than the original, discarded the original series continuity and retooled many of the main characters while keeping many of the original show's themes and technology. Despite initial protests from fans of the original series (including original series star Richard Hatch, who had long hoped to relaunch the series and reprise his role as Apollo), the new series quickly became one of the most popular programs in Sci-Fi's history. Even Hatch eventually changed his tune, joining the show's cast as political dissident Tom Zarek.

The 2000s series picks up forty years after the end of the first war between the humans and Cylons, in this continuity sentient machines created as soldiers by the human race. As the story begins, the Cylons, now led by a group of artificial humans, launch a surprise nuclear attack that obliterates almost the entire human race. Like the original series, the survivors form a fleet led by Galactica in search of the lost thirteenth colony, Earth, with the subversion that whether Earth even exists or not is completely unknown to the fleet. Religious symbolism and revelation play a great role in the new series, as the fleet follow signs and omens that may lead them to Earth while wondering whether or not they're just wasting their time. The polytheistic religion of the humans, based on classical Greek/Roman mythology, also comes into conflict with the monotheistic, vaguely Christian faith of the humanoid Cylons, with the occasional dropped hint that both groups are receiving revelation from the same source.

The new series has been favorably compared to Babylon 5 and Firefly for its character-driven storylines and for attempting to portray space physics in a realistic manner despite the occasional excess. It has even been the subject of a panel discussion at the UN.

The newer series avoided some obvious space opera cliches (such as Space Clothes, Teleporters and Transporters, Lasers, even communicators).

There was also a Made for TV Movie called Battlestar Galactica: The Plan that told the story of the destruction of the colonies from the point of view of the Cylons. It features original material and scenes from the series. It was directed by Edward James Olmos and came out in 2009.

Caprica, a Prequel set 58 years before the events of the Mini-Series, portrays life in the Twelve Colonies and shows the story behind the creation of the Cylons. It premiered in January 2010, and was cancelled after just one season. There is also a movie or movie-length event planned for 2012, called Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, that might serve as a backdoor pilot for yet another series.

There is also a browser-based spaceflight action MMO based on the series, Battlestar Galactica Online, set in an AU where a jump accident pre-New Caprica sends both Colonials and Cylons into uncharted space filled with the leftovers of mysterious precursors.

Notable trope-based episodes in the remake include:


Tropes used in Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) include:

Tropes A-D[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Absent Aliens: Edward James Olmos said early on that he would quit the show if aliens started showing up. He in fact stated he would have Adama faint while the cameras were rolling and walk off the set if he saw a space monster on set.
    • There is alien life in the series, but nothing more advanced than plants and birds, and it's implied that they may have been left behind by the original colonizers of Kobol/the 12 colonies.
  • Absentee Actor: The various non main cast Cylons and a few humans are absent in some episodes due to the large cast and budget constraints.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Baltar. Understandably so, since he's constantly distracted by Head Six.
  • Acting for Two: 'Copies' of the Cylon models, significantly Boomer/Athena. "Head" characters like Baltar also had to play for two. And of course, Number Six is both a Cylon and a head character, which meant scores of disparate characters played by the same actress.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Helo and Athena have some parallels when they conceive Hera, the first (known) Cylon/Human Hybrid, after the Fall of Caprica.
  • Affably Evil: The Cavils, at least during their early appearances. As the series progresses they become more evil and less affable.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: The Cylons rebelled and fought against humanity. Even the more-mechanical Cylon centurions are liable to rebel against their Artificial Human masters unless kept in check. The inevitability of conflict between organic and artificial life, and various character's attempts to break the cycle of violence, form the spine of the series.
  • All Just a Dream / Ship Tease: Baltar is forgiven for his treason and Roslin expresses her desire for him.
  • Almost-Lethal Weapons: A major character in the season one finale takes two bullets to the chest at close range and lives. A minor season four character is shot once by the same weapon at longer range and dies in a minute or so.
  • Anchored Ship: Lee and Kara, who are kept apart, at least at the start of the series, by the fact that Kara was once engaged to marry his (now-dead) brother. Also Bill Adama and Laura Roslin, who eventually overcome their job-related inhibitions about being in a relationship and get together, even if she does at the end.
  • Angel Unaware: Implied to be the entities behind the hallucinations of the "Head people." Mostly Baltar's virtual Six, but also Six's virtual Baltar and scads other characters.
  • Anyone Can Die: Almost every recurring and secondary character had been killed off by the end of the show, presumably so the minimum amount of people would get closure, not to mention a happy ending.)
    • Of course for cylons, Death Is Cheap - though even they begin to suffer Final Death as the colonials make strides in the war.
  • Ancient Astronauts From whom we are descended
  • And Then What?: Apollo to Zarek in Bastille Day.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Part of the Cylons' Cultural Posturing about why they are better than Humanity. To begin with anyway. They're also full of it.
  • Apocalypse How
  • Arc Number:
    • 12: Twelve colonies, twelve original Battlestars, twelve cylon models
    • 5: The Final Five
    • The episode 33, where the cylons always showed up 33 minutes after the fleet made a jump
  • Arc Words: "All this has happened before, and will happen again".
    • Also, "The shape of things to come."
    • Towards the end of season 3, "There must be some kind of way out of here."
  • Artificial Gravity
  • Artificial Human: The Cylons
  • Ascended Extra: Dualla, Gaeta, Cally, Hoshi, Anders, Tory, Doc Cottle, Seelix, Romo, Hotdog, and Kat to name a few.
    • Helo is probably the most obvious example, he was supposed to die in the pilot.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Starbuck in season 3, though she doesn't realize it until the finale.
  • Ass Pull: Due to being imaginative and an extremely talented liar, Baltar can pull a plausible excuse, idea, and once an entire religion out of his ass at the drop of a hat.
  • Ate His Gun: Cavil at the end. Whether it was simple suicide as his plans crashed down around him, or a reflexive escape attempt forgetting he couldn't resurrect anymore, will never be known.
  • Attempted Rape: Cally and Sharon, although it's tragically averted, in the sense of being actual rape, in Sharon's case in the deleted/extended scene. Good thing it's not canon.
  • Author Appeal: A lot of people smoke, with lip-smacking enjoyment, on this show. Listening to one of the podcast commentary tracks with Ronald D. Moore will make it readily apparent why.
  • Author Filibuster: All of this has happened before, and will happen to us if we aren't careful with our technology.
  • Back From the Dead: Kara Thrace was killed, then mysteriously returned (complete with a shiny new Viper).
    • Cylons, of course,
  • Backstory: Quite a lot.
  • Badass Boast: From Laura Roslin, of all people:

"No. Not now. Not ever. Do you hear me? I will use every cannon, every bomb, every bullet, every weapon I have down to my own eye teeth to end you! I swear it! I'm coming for all of you!"

  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Gina does humanity (and the mutineers, not to mention the series writers) a favor by shooting Admiral Cain.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: How Baltar got to be Vice President. Guess it should be Overheard promotions.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Saul Tigh, Galen Tyrol, and William Adama on New Caprica. Gaius Baltar during his trial. Adama had a mustache but it followed the trope exactly the same.
  • Becoming the Mask: What happens to Athena when she impersonates Boomer in the first season.
    • In "The Plan" a Number Four Cylon has a wife and child (hers, from a previous marriage) and tries to resist pressure from Cavil to commit sabotage.
  • Berserk Button: Commander Adama whenever you try to mess with Galactica or its crew.
    • Sharon if anyone threatens her daughter.
  • Beta Couple: Helo and Athena to Apollo and Starbuck, although the problems they face are on a whole different level.
  • Better Than Sex:

Kat: When you come back after a successful run, let me tell you. It is better than a great meal. Better than hitting a jackpot. It's better than sex.

  • Beware of Hitch-Hiking Ghosts: A longer timeframe than usual, but Kara Thrace. Dies, turns up again and hitches a lift, gives mystical prophecies and information, vanishes into thin air when her "task" is done.
  • Bi the Way: The female Cylons, at least. Also Gaeta. Of course, the biggest suprise regarding Gaeta was the fact that he liked women
  • Big Applesauce: The ruins of the first Earth. Plus, the final scene takes place in modern Times Square.
  • Big Bad: Initially the Cylons form a homogenous collective front with no clear single villain. Eventually Cavil emerges as the series' primary antagonist.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In "Exodus Part II", when the Pegasus comes diving in to save the Galactica from no less than four baseships.
  • Big Damn Gunship: Given the nature (and title) of the show, this effect is frequent, but particularly notable in season three's "Exodus - Part 2", in which both the Galactica and the Pegasus have almost back to back BDG moments.
  • BLAM Episode: "The Woman King". Of all the so-called stand-alone episodes ("Black Market", "Scar", "A Day in the Life", "Dirty Hands", etc.) it is the only one no connections to the over-all plot of the series, can be completely excised from the show without losing any vital story developments, everyone in it acts wildly out of character and even Ron Moore hated it.
    • "Black Market" also strays into BLAM territory, though it averts this by killing off a minor (but significant) character and paving the way for a major plot turn later.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted; people get covered in blood after the slightest of injuries, most notably the characters on Kobol who are still bloody in the 3rd episode of the 2nd season from an accident in the previous season's finale.
  • Body Backup Drive: The re-imagined Cylons download into new bodies, so long as there's a Resurrection Ship in range. Even the dog-level-intelligence Raider ships resurrect.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Some of the most aggressively anti-Cylon characters turn out to be Cylons or people with significant connections to the Cylon race.
  • The Boxing Episode
  • Brain Uploading: The Cylon means of immortality.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The Galactica was in the process of being converted into a museum when the Cylon attack caused it to be pressed back into service. Also, the fact that Cylons can disable linked computer systems means that cutting-edge ships and fighters are useless against them, so older ones have to be used.
    • At least until they adapted the newer ships at later points in the series.
    • Hilariously, Edward James Olmos actually breaks a museum piece in an awesome bit of ad-lib acting.
  • Breakout Villain: Cavil
  • Break the Cutie: Boomer. Things just take a downward turn for her in the first season and the series keeps running with it until the inevitable snap.
    • Most of the cast gets this treatment, actually, with prime examples being Duala, Gaeta, and Tyrol.
  • Broken Base: possibly Lampshaded when the Colonial Fleet is joined by a Broken Baseship in the last season.
  • Broken Pedestal: The Final Five, depicted in visions as glowing angelic beings in long flowing robes and held up as gods by the other eight seven six Cylons, turn out to be the five most screwed up, petty, petulant, disorderly, malcontent, self-centred and, ironically, human characters in the whole series.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Starbuck habitually indulges in self-destructive and disrespectful behaviour that would get her kicked out of any real-world military. Among other things she misses her scheduled flight due to heavy drinking and punches her executive officer.
  • Cain and Abel: The Ones/Cavils wiped out the Sevens/Daniels because their parents favored them.
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: DRADIS, "carom", "krypter krypter krypter".
  • Captain's Log
  • Canadian Series: The Canadian involvement in this series (and references, I'm talking to all you C-Bucs fans) is undeniable.
  • Capulet Counterpart: Athena was an agent for the Cylon race. Then she met Helo...
  • Cartwright Curse: Chief Tyrol may be a cutie, but it sure is dangerous being his main squeeze.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: "JUMP!"
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Gaius Baltar is haunted by visions of his Cylon ex that nobody else can see. She frequently gets romantic with him. It's shown that this looks like exactly what you'd expect it to look like when Starbuck drops by his lab and catches him "doing his exercises." She almost lets this pass without comment ... then she asks him to zip up his fly.
  • Character Development: Every. Single. Character. For the most part this is handled supremely well, other than a few duds.
  • Chekhov's Gun
    • Chekhov's Viper: one that sat there a long time. Early in the pilot episode(s), the crew of the Galactica announce that they have managed to hunt down Commander Adama's old Space Fighter and have it on the hangar deck. The first time we see him fly it is in the denouement of the series finale.
      • Though we see the young Adama flying it in **Razor**, but even that's three series later.
    • Episode 10 of Season One features Head Six explaining herself as being 'an angel of God. The last thirty seconds of the series pays this off, when it's revealed that she wasn't lying. It's literally true.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Baltar can fall into this.
    • Boomer changes sides so often it's amazing she doesn't get whiplash. In fact Cavil states that all the Eights have a tendency to betray as part of their self-destructive streak.
  • Cliff Hanger: The occasional two-parter, such as The Oath used this very well.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The Hybrids. Sometimes they will blurt a piece of information only certain people can interpret as anything important.
    • Baltar also comes off as this to anyone who catches him conversing with (or doing other things to) Head Six.
    • Cally fell into this territory Once an Episode.
  • Colonel Badass: Saul Frakking Tigh. Colonel Belzan, former XO of Pegasus, gets a nod for having the integrity (and the balls) to defy Admiral Cain's order to launch a suicide attack. Averted with Colonel Fisk, who's generally a coward, not to mention a criminal.
  • Coming in Hot: It's an aircraft carrier in space, of course they will have a crash landing or two...so they get one out of the way right off the bat in the Miniseries.

Apollo (his ship being pushed by Starbuck's ship towards Galactica's retracting hangar bay): "We're coming in a little hot, don't you think?!"
Starbuck: "No..." Starbuck's eyes widen in fright

    • Also justified, as in this case, they only have a limited number of aircraft and no resources to make new ones, so they do not really have the option to just eject and save the pilot, they have to try and save the ship too.
  • Communications Officer: Dualla for most of the series, succeeded by Hoshi.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Zarek actually brings up a valid point when he argues that the government is pretty much a joint-dictatorship between Roslin and Admiral Adama. Of course, not only is he a former terrorist and wants that power for himself, but he also crosses the Moral Event Horizon eventually. It doesn't exactly give him the moral high ground.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Early in the series, Cylon Centurions are depicted as being veritable juggernauts in battle, with a small raiding party necessitating headshots with high-explosive rounds in order to be brought down. By the series finale, the Galactica crew is able to drop waves of the things using only pistol-caliber carbine rifles and submachine guns.
  • Continuity Nod: The Cylons use the Infinity symbol of the Soldiers of the One from Caprica during a funeral service in "Islanded in a Stream of Stars".
  • Continuity Reboot: The entire new series is a reboot of the franchise.
  • Contractual Immortality: Adama.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Caprica-Six and Tigh's son (Wil)Liam, either when Ellen tries to Hannibal Lecture the kid to death or Tigh switches affections back to Ellen
  • Cool Ship: Averted with the Galactica, which survives thanks to being an obsolete old bucket (while remaining very cool indeed) and played straight with the Pegasus and the Cylon Basestars.
    • Although the episode that established it is subject to some Canon Discontinuity, the Battlestar Valkyrie and its ilk is liked by most fans and appeared frequently in subsequent episodes that took place in pre-fall Colonies.
  • Courtroom Episode: "Crossroads"
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Former trope namer; Boomer's plausible cover story. Presumably the Final Five have similar "biographies" to go with their Fake Memories. Although this is odd in the case of Sam, who was a frakkin' celebrity. You'd think some of his fans might have noticed.
  • Crapsack Fleet: Morale hangs by a thread, paranoia at the prospect of cylon infiltrators is through the roof, rights that colonists had back home are steadily eroded by necessity (such as abortion being ruled illegal), the supply situation gets ever more desperate and the ships of the fleet grow ever more decrepit as time goes by, children end up working dangerous jobs or meet even worse fates at the hands of black marketeers, even the good guys put down strikes with threats of violence against the instigators' families, the list of reasons why living on the fleet sucks is endless...
  • Cryptic Conversation: Much of Head Six's conversations with Baltar.
  • Crystal Ball: Rather, the pool of water used by the prophetess in New Caprica.
  • Cultural Posturing: Used by both sides at times to some degree.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Gaius' explanation to his cult after some thugs assault him with his own shaving razor: "Cut myself shaving."
  • Cycle of Revenge: "This has all happened before and it will happen again."
  • Darker and Edgier: As mentioned above. Generally considered to be an exceptionally well-done example.
  • Dead All Along: Starbuck as of Season 4.
  • Dead Line News: In the miniseries, when the bombs go off.
  • Death Glare: Helo to Roslin, after she berates him for trying to rescue his daughter by killing immortal Athena. Adama to a good many people.

"Gods! His ego is shriveled up like a dried raisin!"

  • Deadpan Snarker: Baltar. Cavil as the villainous example.
  • Denser and Wackier: Initially the only fantastic elements are spaceships and robots. As the series goes on such oddities appear as angels, prophetic dreams, and immortal beings.
  • Depopulation Bomb: The series starts after the Cylons launched a surprise nuclear attack that reduced the human population from around 50 billion to a little less than 50,000.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The discovery of nuked out Earth does this to the fleet; Admiral Adama rises the morning after to find "Frak Earth" graffiti on the walls and crewers slumped in drunken stupor everywhere. Suffering a Heroic BSOD himself, Adama passes without comment.
  • Deus Ex Machina: In the finale, Kara assumes the role of this trope in its classical literary meaning, by simply puffing out of sight, just after confirming her journey was over and that felt good. And that is not-so-just after she doped out the coordinates of our Earth from a Cylon-song, being someone once went to another one and died there, and simply returned. She came out be a some sort of instrument for God's mysterious ways.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Poor Apollo and Tyrol. Apollo lost Starbuck to Anders, Dualla to herself, and Starbuck disappears into thin air. And Tyrol never got to live in that house with Boomer, or even had that kid with Cally. What's more his reincarnation of his lover from a past life, Tory, was never even considered, and she was the one who killed Cally and Tyrol then killed her in a fit of vengeful rage.
    • Adama also qualifies when his beloved Roslin succumbs to cancer before they have a chance to settle down together.
  • Different in Every Episode: Over the course of the series, the number on the whiteboard on Colonial One counts down, indicating the remaining population of the fleet in each episode.
  • Dirty Old Man: The Plan has the Cavil on board Galactica making out with Boomer after ordering her to kill Adama.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Ellen Tigh. She hits on Apollo for crying out loud. Poor guy.
  • Distant Finale: (150,000 years later...)
  • Distracted From Death: Roslin dies in the series finale while Adama is momentarily paying attention to flying the Raptor they're in, and also in the series finale, Starbuck disappears when Lee momentarily looks away from her.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: The Model 6 and Model 8 Cylons become more different from each other as they become more sympathetic to the humans.
  • Dogfighting Furballs: One the changes form the original, massive space fighter battles were added.
  • Doing It for the Art: The production of "Someone to Watch Over Me" went to ridiculous lengths in order to realistically depict a man playing and composing music on an old and beat-up piano. Having a basic knowledge of how to play a piano was a casting requirement for Dreilide Thrace - this enabled the crew to film from any angle without having to hide the actors' hands or use a "stunt performer." Because the prop piano was intentionally left out of tune and due to the specific acoustics of the set, any re-creation of the sound in post-production would've sounded incredibly different (and thus rather fake). As a result, composer Bear McCreary sampled every note on the prop so that he could later duplicate the sound of that exact piano in that exact room. Once they actually arrived at post-production, it was pointed out that production recordings of the prop piano were in mono, while any music re-created would be in stereo. What did Bear McCreary do? He rerecorded every piece of music played by the actors down to the last note, syncing his recordings with the actors' exact hand movements at the same time. The final product is just simply amazing.
  • Double Vision
  • Double Standard: Averted when Starbuck punches Lee, and he throws a haymaker right back at her with no hesitation.
    • The show is great all around at showing sexual egalitarianism. One newspaper article commended the show on not just showing the egalitarianism, but not bringing any special attention to it at all; as if it were just normal.
  • Double Entendre: The Arrow of Apollo opens the Tomb of Athena
  • Dramatic Landfall Shot: Used to introduce the Caprica City skyline.
  • Dramatic Space Drifting: "Resurrection Hub" had Lee floating through space after the destruction of the Blackbird, watching Galactica and Pegasus tear two Cylon basestars to pieces. Ron Moore got the idea from the story of Ensign George Gay, the only survivor of his squadron who watched the climax of the Battle of Midway while floating in the Pacific.
  • Driven to Suicide: Boomer and Apollo, both prevented by forces outside their control, Gina, successfully; also Upon return from the nuked Earth(?), Dualla kills herself out of despair. D'Anna passively commits suicide by staying behind. Cavil, hilariously, in the series finale.

Cavil: FRAK! *bang*

    • In "The Plan" a Cylon agent with a human wife and child (hers, from a previous marriage) airlocks himself rather than carry out his orders to blow up their vessel.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Boomer lands like crazy, and is constantly criticized for it. A reference is made to having to hammer out the divots she puts in the deck.
  • Driving Question: Who are the Cylons? What plan? What's causing Baltar's visions? Fourth Season only: How did Kara come back to life?
  • Duet Bonding: In one of the last episodes, Starbuck plays with a pianist she didn't like previously; the activity helps her come to grips with her past.
  • Dying Race: Humanity.
  • Dystopia Is Hard: Conditions for the refugees in the fleet were ignored in the early seasons. In later seasons, the deteriorating quality of life for most humans was brought more in to focus. Case in Point: In Dirty Hands, Tyrol convinces Roslin that if mandatory labor conscription is necessary for the survival of humanity, it should at least be fair. Practically the very next scene, a young former architectural student not fit for large-scale agriculture is hauled off to work by marines just because a background check reveals that he interned on a farm for a few months while in college.
    • This is even played off in the costumes, which consistently get shabbier as the series progresses. For the civilian fleet, they're barely rags by the end.


Tropes E-H[edit | hide]

  • Earpiece Conversation: Head-Six feeds Baltar a bunch of his lines, especially in the early episodes.
  • Earth-That-Was: Kobol and Earth, both of whose locations were lost.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Enemy Civil War: The Cylon Civil War in the fourth season, although we began to see differences between Cylon models as early as Season 2.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Apollo, Helo, Anders.
  • Eternal Recurrence: "All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again." The Cylon attack that destroyed the colonies was the third such event.
  • Everybody Is Single: ...which stops being true around the end of the second season.
  • Everything Is Online: Not a good idea when your enemies are machines and one of the people with access to the mainframes has the self-control and spine of a ferret.
    • Galactica, on the other hand, explicitly has no networked computers at all due to being a relic from the last time the Colonials had full scale war with the Cylons, which is a good handwave as to why there are so many characters necessary to operate it.
  • Evil Overlord List: In the Grand Finale, after Boomer brings Hera to the rescue team and tells them their Raptor has been destroyed, Athena starts to say something about the Raptor not being the "exit strategy"; Starbuck cuts her off with, "Can we not tell her the plan?"
  • Executive Veto: SciFi Channel explicitly told Ron Moore and David Eick that they couldn't show any live people on board the Olympic Carrier when it's destroyed, so they didn't. However, every time the ghost of the ship is brought up it usually comes with a pointed reference that, yes, there were people on it when it was shot down even if we didn't see them.
  • Eye Lights Out: Badly damaged Centurions and Raiders.
  • Face Heel Turn: Gaeta, who decides Adama is being too cozy with the Cylons, and launches a mutiny.
    • After seeing the "complete cultural suicide " ending, one is left to wonder if things would have turned out better if Gaeta had won the mutiny.
  • Fake American: Jamie Bamber, who plays Lee/Apollo, is British (though his father is American and he claims to have been raised partly in Detroit). Most of the cast, though, are Canadians, so they sound almost like Americans. However, Canadian English occasionally creeps in, such as Tricia Helfer's pronunciation of "resources" as "ree-zources." At the end of Final Cut, Lucy Lawless, who otherwise used her natural Kiwi accent, affected a Canadian/American accent for the Number Three in the cinema.) One could disagree with them being fake Americans as none of the characters are "American" (or even Earthican).
    • Word of God (on the Razor commentary) says that Jamie Bamber only did the accent because it would have been too weird for him to have a different accent from his screen father, since he already doesn't look anything like him.
  • Fan Nickname: The Tattooed Pilot's unofficial call sign among fans is "Dragon" due to his dragon tattoo; Layne Ishay is "Nurse Bedside Manner" for her notable lack of any; President Rosylin is Madame Airlock for her penchant of throwing people out of them.
  • Fan Service: Cally Henderson Tyrol, or rather Nicky Clyne. A bit less so than Kara, aka Katee Sackhoff, but still one of the main reasons viewers watch... despite the fact she resembles a certain Casualty/Holby City character/extra...
    • Tricia Helfer, who has become synonymous with Fan Service.
    • Rekha Sharma, better known as Tory Foster.
  • Fantastic Racism: From both sides, especially human to "toaster".
    • Racism against people from specific colonies, such as Taurons or Sagittarons, also qualifies.
  • Faux Affably Evil: As a dark, edgy show, only extremely-evil Cavil has much propensity for humor. He's without question one of the funniest characters on the show.
  • The Fettered: For awhile there, Helo was pretty much the sanest human left alive. And that says something.
  • Fighter Launching Sequence
  • Finger-Twitching Revival
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: In the middle of season 2, Roslin's cancer takes a turn for the worse, and she's saved at the last minute by the unborn Hera's blood. Now it's likely that Roslin is not the only one in the fleet with cancer (indeed, the season 4 episode "Faith" involves another character with terminal cancer). Yet no one even suggests the possibility of using Hera's blood to cure other cancer patients (or to try it on people with other kinds of terminal illnesses, for that matter). Even more ridiculous is when Roslin's cancer comes back in the season 3 finale, the question of using Hera's blood to cure her again is brought up only once (and ignored) by a reporter. Arguably, this is also an example of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, since they could have done an entire episode about the ethics of regularly harvesting a baby's blood for medical purposes.
    • It is mentioned later, and in a few commentaries, that Hera's blood isn't necessarily the cure, but her fetal blood, which makes the fact that this situation was analogous to stem cell research more obvious.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The messengers.
  • Gangsta Style+ Guns Akimbo: Starbuck's preferred method of ground combat. She does this cool "X" thing with her arms.
  • Gecko Ending: A rare live action example. Pretty much everything post-New Caprica was the writers desperately trying to paint themselves out of the corner they stranded themselves in and plug as many plot holes as they could along the way. Also, the original series had no real ending (Galactica 1980 was de-canonized by both the fans and The Powers That Be) so the writers had to make of their own ending. Considering that the original is basically The Book of Mormon in space, they did a very nice job and maybe even actually what the original director intended.
  • Gender Flip: Starbuck, Boomer, and Cain were males in the original, females in this one.
  • General Ripper: Admiral Cain.
  • Getting Crap Past The DRADIS: The word "Frak", invented by the original series (though spelled different) as a stand-in for the F-word, is now used so liberally (along with other stand-in words) that the whole crew now curse like sailors. Parodied in this Robot Chicken sketch.
  • Genre Savvy: in Season 2 episode The Farm. Sam Anders admits "We really don’t know what the hell were doing. A lot of our tactics and stuff we just saw in the movies. We could use some professional advice."
  • Gilligan Cut: A moment condenses to "Do you think he'll use the religious side against me?" (cut) "We've got to keep using the religion card."
  • Glasses Pull: Roslin, Adama, and Lampkin are rather fond of this one.
  • A God Am I: ("Razor"). The old man hybrid states that his Centurian guardians believe him to be a god, and he doesn't dispute the claim. He certainly seems to be all-knowing, but as the protagonist proves, not immortal. Provided of course that all this doesn't happen again, and again, and again, and again...
  • God Is Evil: Some fans believe that God orchestrates the mass murder of tens of billions of humans and Cylons. Then he does again. And again. Others note that all cases of divine messaging seem aimed at breaking this cycle, which humans and Cylons keep keep getting themselves in to, though not always by "good" means.
  • Going Cosmic: The Cosmic elements were there from the start of the series, but toward the end they completely take over and overwhelm everything else. The final episode especially subverts all existing characterization, not to mention common sense (seriously, tens of thousands of people all just abandon technology because Lee Adama says so?).
  • Good All Along: The rebel faction of Cylons, much to the disbelief and anger of many humans. They "evolve" into individuals and switch sides to help the fleet. It's not a smooth transition, and it doesn't excuse their genocide of the colonies, but it comes a long way towards ending the Cycle of Revenge between man and machine.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Six is Baltar's "angel", but goes out of her way to get him into trouble. Baltar is Six's "devil", but always steers her out of danger, sometimes through reverse psychology.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Surprisingly, most of the human characters are seen smoking at some point, even ones who do not appear to make a regular habit of it.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Everyone has a reason for doing what they do, no matter how morally questionable. As a result, only four major characters have crossed the Moral Event Horizon during the show's run.
  • Guide Dang It: Sometimes it is hard to keep track of individuals within a Cylon's model without going to an episode guide. See Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Hera Agathon (Cylon mother, human father.)
    • We thought that Nicholas Tyrol, Cally's son, was a hybrid with a human mother and Cylon father, but he turned out to be not the biological son of Galen Tyrol, but of a human pilot.
  • Handsome Lech: Gaius Baltar.
  • Handy Cuffs: While on Kobol, Athena is triple-cuffed with her hands in front of her — though it's just as well, as she's able to fire a grenade launcher at the Centurions attacking them.
  • Happy Place: Baltar and his lakehouse, Lee in the Resurrection Ship battle, Adama during his anniversary, supposedly, Boomer in her and Tyrol's dream house with their imaginary kid. She even drags Tyrol along a few times before abandoning Galactica, which probably makes this an inversion in his case.
  • Heel Face Turn: Caprica-Six and Athena.
    • Lt. Kelly after Zarek orders the Quorum's execution.
    • The Twos, Sixes and Eights as a whole.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Boomer. First she's a Cylon Manchurian Agent, then she doesn't want to be one, then she fails to overcome her programming and shoots Admiral Adama. Then she tries to make peace between cylons and humans and, failing that, she tries to kill her counterpart's daughter and betrays her model number, causing a civil war. Then she escapes with the Final Cylon when the others want surgically to remove her brain. But wait, there's more! She emotionally manipulates Tyrol into freeing her and then gets back at Athena by sleeping with her unknowing husband and kidnapping their daughter who she uses as a hostage in her plan to escape, a plan which ultimately cripples Galactica. Then she starts having second thoughts when she starts bonding with Hera and realizes exactly what she's just done. Make up your mind, woman!
    • She does: she gives Hera back to Athena in what she feels is her "last decision"; Athena then makes sure of it.
    • The other Cylons seem to think this is a characteristic of the Eights in general. Even Athena calls them on it; in fact her at-times fanatical loyalty to the Colonials may be an attempt to compensate for this perceived weakness in herself.
  • Held Gaze: Frequently and with particular intensity between Lee Adama and Kara Thrace, irrespective of whether they are with other love interests at the time or not. Fans like to call this the eyefrak.
  • Hello Boys: The miniseries/pilot does this quite blatantly with arguably the sexiest member of the cast, Tricia Helfer. In the first scene of the series she walks into the room in a tight red skirt suit, and passionately kisses a man. A few scenes later, she walks into Gaius Baltar's apartment wearing a see-through black dress with sexy black lingere showing through it. The next shot is her making out with Baltar, during which she discards her top entirely (though filmed from behind) and has sex with him. Helfer continued playing Ms. Fanservice in various ways for several more episodes as Head Six.
    • This is extremely unsurprising, given that Helfer was in fact a very successful fashion model (who also worked for Victoria's Secret) for about a decade before becoming an actress.
  • Heroic BSOD: Adama has a big one after Saul Tigh reveals that he's a Cylon and an even bigger one after Dualla kills herself added on to the stress of finding Earth.
    • Athena has one when she realizes the totality of Boomer's revenge against her.
  • High Heel Face Turn: This series takes this trope to its extreme. (All the female Cylon models ally themselves with the humans.)
  • Hollywood Atheist: Averted with Adama, a humanist who views humanity as flawed and capable of great evil, but also capable of great good. Initially played straight with Baltar, whose atheism is largely tied to his own self-importance, but twisted in a completely different direction after he finds religion and comes to consider himself a prophet.
  • Honor Before Reason: Helo, to the point where he's pretty much the Anthropomorphic Personification of a conscience.
    • Helo's last name Agathon indicates that the show's producers intended him to embody honor and nobility.
  • Hot Shoujo Dad: Helo.
  • Human Aliens: The Colonials.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The justification Cylons use in their quest to exterminate all human life.
  • Humiliation Conga: Cavil, most deservedly, experiences this throughout Season Four and "The Plan".
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: The Battlestar Pegasus pulls this on a fleet of Cylon Base Stars, pummeling one with its numerous gun batteries when the Cylons were distracted by beating the tar out of the helpless Galactica.
    • Given that even the small Cylon raiders are hyper-capable (a capability that the Colonial fighters lack), the Colonials have to be ready to respond to an attack at literally a moment's notice, since the only thing stopping the Cylons from doing this to them at any moment is the Colonial Fleet's location at any given time being a secret.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Several times. Of course, the entire fleet needs time to escape, leaving Galactica to Hold the Line while the other ships make their getaway.
  • Hypocritical Humour: D'Anna prepares to execute Anders:

"Humans don't have the respect for life we do."


Tropes I-L[edit | hide]

  • Identical Grandson: Cavil again. Justified as Ellen, who considers him to be her son, based Cavil on her own father.
  • I See Them, Too: Several examples in the final season.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: Eventually, even Cylons take to killing each other dead if it's convenient.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The new Centurions are hardly expert shots, but it is the Raiders who, with one notable exception, fit this trope. Consider how many are usually shown in combat and how relatively light Colonial casualties are compared to what they should be.
    • Partially averted by the battlestars themselves. The effectiveness of the battlestar point-defense cannons helps the Viper pilots, if they are near enough to Galactica. Note that the Raiders tend to become a lot more deadly in episodes where the Vipers are forced to leave the protection of Galactica's point-defense.
  • Important Haircut: Adama's mustache in season 3, Tyrol shaving his head in season 4.
    • Adama also gets a haircut at the same time (it was noticeably longer in the back before he shaved the mustache), but that part isn't treated to a Montage like the mustache is.
    • The season 2 finale includes a fast-forward one year. The Cylons have invaded New Caprica and Starbuck has married Anders. In this time, her usually-short hair has grown surprisingly long. During the first several episodes of season 3, Adama saves everyone and Starbuck escapes from Leoben's apartment. As a result of her ordeal on New Caprica, Starbuck is experiencing something of an emotional and mental crisis, and after a harsh confrontation with Adama, she hacks her hair short with a knife.
  • Impostor Exposing Test: Baltar spends most of the first season developing a Cylon detection test.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug
    • Justified/Lampshaded as being Hidden in Plain Sight; everyone just assumed that it was something that was supposed to be there as part of the museum and ignored it, until Baltar asked what it was.
  • Indy Ploy: As revealed in "The Plan", that grand Cylon plan they alluded to for three years was just to nuke the colonies from orbit until all the humans died, and everything else the Cylons did throughout the series was just Cavill pulling ideas out of his ass.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted oh so many many times.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The finale falls straight into this, which is why it's so widely hated as it goes right against the show's central theme of being worthy of survival.
  • Infinite Supplies: Aversions were attempted as multiple episodes focus on gaining supplies such as water and fuel, but there is no accounting for how the Galactica could keep shooting off so much ordnance in "33", to name just one example.
    • "33" aside, it appears there are factory ships elsewhere in the Fleet, and Pegasus expressly has a Viper factory aboard. As for "33," they got them at Ragnar?
      • Actually in Season 2's "Epiphanies" they show clearly that there are manufacturing and processing ships in the fleet where civillians are building ammunition out of raw materials. Their supply of nukes remains limited (6 as of the series premiere, but goes up once Pegasus arrives).
  • Info Dump: Five episodes prior to the finale, in an attempt to resolve most of the Kudzu Plot.
  • Instant Expert: Hot Dog. In one episode he's a rookie; in the next he's being scrambled for a combat intercept. There are a lot of Justifying Edits that could be made: that he washed out of flight school and may have prior training; that, in that first episode, he shows a natural knack for piloting, engaging in an unauthorized combat mission and not dying despite it being his second training flight; that, during the second episode, all the Viper pilots were deployed in Search & Rescue for 46 hours straight, and he'd have logged no small amount of flying time. Still: from nugget to combat missions in 2 in-universe days.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Cally attempts to send herself (and her baby son) out of the airlock when she finds out that Tyrol is a Cylon. Tory discovers her as she's doing the deed, stops the airlock, and kindly talks Cally out of it. And then inverts it horribly by taking the child away and forcing Cally out the airlock alone.
  • Interspecies Romance: Helo/Sharon, Baltar/Six, Anders/Starbuck, Tyrol/Cally, Starbuck/Lee, assuming "angel" is a different species....
  • Iron Lady: Laura Roslin.
  • Irony
    • Admiral Cain tells Starbuck not to flinch from ruthless acts, after Starbuck has been ordered to carry out Cain's assassination (Also the two assassins passing each other in the corridor and wishing their counterpart good hunting).
    • Season 3 finale: Boomer and Chief are both Cylons, neither of them knew it, and they were frakking each other.
    • Same finale: Of the six reliable people that was going to extract mob-justice to the Cylon-collaborators on New Caprica, three were Cylons. Sorry, that is just funny.
    • After Tyrol is rescued from Kobol he's arrested and tortured by Tigh on suspicion that he's either a Cylon collaborator or a Cylon himself. Of course, they're both Cylons. Delicious irony.
    • Tyrol being excited to have a Raider to figure out in season 1, when he may well have designed them himself.
    • Tigh kills Ellen for collaborating with the Cylons on New Caprica. However, both Tigh and Ellen turn out to be Cylons themselves. Ellen gets better and comes back though, and she and Tigh end up living happily ever after.
    • In fact, all the Final Five Cylons are integral members of the resistance against the Cylon occupation of New Caprica.
      • Considering what Cavil did to them, one might think of it as Poetic Justice.
    • Intentional irony: Cally suspecting that Tyrol and Tory are having an affair, when they're not, but they were engaged in a past life.
      • Tyrol later kills Tory specifically for what she did to Cally.
    • Starbuck bitching at Helo for being stupid enough to fall in love with a Cylon, when she's about to do the same thing.
    • Tigh: "Thank the gods I didn't have kids." He had millions of them, and they've been nuking people. Actually, the fact that Saul and Ellen Tigh are the "parents" of the other Cylons explains a lot.
    • Adama hands over command to Tigh in Sine Qua Non. When Tigh points out that his last time as fleet commander was a total frak-up, Adama replies, "You've changed a lot since then." The "you have no frakking idea" expression on Tigh's face is just hilarious.
    • Roslin telling Helo that he's not married to "the entire production line", after a Sharon has just told Helo that she'd downloaded his wife's memories, so there's nothing stopping every other Sharon model from becoming 'Athena' too.
    • The name "Felix" means "happy" or "lucky". Felix is anything but.
    • Zarek is accused of terrorism, abuse of office, political manipulation, and conspiracy to commit murder. By the time the series is over we've seen Roslin commit every one of those crimes.
  • Is That What He Told You?: Bulldog, in his stand-alone episode, after which he's never heard from again.
    • He was meant to become recurring, but Carl Lumbly's scheduling and traveling distance got in the way.
  • It Got Worse: A whole lot of episodes do this, but holy hell, the last episode of season "4.0" and the first of season "4.5" take the cake. The show gets very bleak.
    • "It got worse" is practically the theme song for BSG. There's very few ways you can imagine starting with a nuclear apocalypse killing twenty billion people, and then make it more horrible. BSG finds ways. Many, many ways.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
  • Just a Machine
  • Just Trying to Help
  • Karma Houdini: Gaius Baltar and Caprica Six, the people responsible for this whole mess, are the only couple, other than Helo and Athena and Saul and Ellen, that everything works out for.
  • Killed Off for Real: Numerous characters, including Starbuck. She really did die when her Viper exploded. She just returned as an unknowing, corporeal messenger of God.
  • Kill the Cutie: A lot of cuties perish in this show. In alphabetical order: Billy, Boomer, Cally, and Duala. Although it depends on your definition of cutie.
    • Gaeta, Kat...
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: One big thing that made this reboot stand out from the original. Almost all of the small arms are exactly like ours, or dressed up slightly; no Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Lee Adama becomes this over the course of the series.
  • Lady in Red: Number Six defaults to wearing red much of the time, particularly Head Six.
  • La Résistance: Sam Anders and the Caprica Buccaneers, and later, the Darker and Edgier resistance movement on New Caprica, suicide bombers and all; later still Gaeta, Vice President Zarek, and an unknown but certainly large portion of the fleet. Things go south after Zarek massacres the Quorum.
  • Leave Your Quest Test
  • Les Collaborateurs: On New Caprica, many get killed by a suicide bomber in the first episode of season 3.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: So many much of the final season was spent giving the established recurring (surviving!)characters closure.
  • Loss of Identity: Dude, it sucks when you discover that you are a cylon, all your memories were invented by someone else and implanted to trick you into behaving a certain way. But hey, you could have it worse: you could discover that you are 2000 years old and have lost all memories of your previous life.
  • Love At First Sight: Never verbally stated, but very obviously happened in the case of Lee Adama and Kara Thrace. Which is more difficult than expected because she's his younger brother's girlfriend at the time.
  • Love Hurts: Lee/Kara.
  • Love Martyr: Adama.
  • Love Redeems: Athena, who switches allegiances due to her love for Helo and their unborn child.
  • Ludd Was Right: As of the series Finale, apparently all technology is evil, because it leads to humans building sentient robots.
    • Actually, the podcast for the episode mentions that rather than promoting a luddhist agenda, the destruction of the fleet is supposed to show the commitment of the survivors to their new world.
      • More accurately, it was a thinly veiled admission that they needed the plot to fit history.


Tropes M-P[edit | hide]

  • Machine Empathy: William Adama has a very personal relationship with the Galactica, which goes beyond the relationship a captain has with his vessel. This is especially noticeable in the last episodes of season 4, when Adama refuses to use Cylon tech to repair the ship, not only because of the security risks involved, but also because it would turn the ship into something not what it used to be. "She won't know what she is anymore."
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Cylons love to use missiles, yes, but the best 3M goes to Racetrack's Raptor in the finale. It destroys the Cylon colony with a nuclear version of this trope.
  • Mad Oracle: The Hybrids. Evolve the little toe.
  • Magical Negro: Elosha, even more blatantly when she appears in Roslin's visions telling her to love. Interestingly, Word of God via the podcasts reveal the initial person giving the message in the visions was going to Billy but the actor was unavailable and the role altered with much of the dialog remaining the same, with the producer stating it actually fits Elosha better.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Partially justified, since there are fewer people left. However the fleet does have around 50,000 people, and the galactica has a few thousand of those, and yet it seems that everything of importance gets handled by one of the main characters.
    • Apollo is the chief culprit, often fulfilling any one of the following jobs: Fighter Pilot, SWAT/Commando, Ship Commander, Politician, and President. In some episodes, he'll be up to three or four of these simultaneously.
      • Thrace comes up as one herself. She is not only the best fighter pilot, but also called on as an expert sniper, an interrogator, and security manager.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Helo and Athena's relationship is not really all that accepted, as it's between a human and a cylon.
  • Mama Bear: Athena is very... protective of her daughter, Hera.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Cavils, particularly the one called John.
  • Manchurian Agent: Boomer, at the end of the first season Cliff Hanger, when she shoots Adama, although obviously non-fatally.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Cavil model known as John and possibly his entire line as a whole. Turns out that the current Cycle of Revenge was spearheaded by this guy, who not only wants bloody revenge on humanity but wiped the Five's memories and gave them front row seats to the apocalypse as payback.
  • Mars Needs Women: And men. The Cylon breeding programs or "Farms" that were set up to create a Cylon/human hybrid.
  • Matrix Raining Code: The Cylon Hybrid chambers feature raining red faux-Chinese characters.
  • Mauve Shirt: Helo, who upgraded from Red Shirt and later on into the main cast, and pretty much all of the Viper/Raptor pilots.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Adama, which is derived from the name Adam which means "human".
    • Kara Thrace, which sounds similar to "carry the race", which is exactly what she does in the series finale. Thrace is also a region of Greece, whose ancient peoples were said to be descended from the son of Ares.
    • Helo's full name [Karl Agathon] is a deliberate allusion to the Greek phrase, kalon k'agathon, which means "the good and beautiful" or "the noble" [i.e., the ideal].
    • Anders means Man ( or Android).
    • Gina's last name is revealed to be Inviere. It's Old Gemenese [in-show] and Romanian [out-of-show] for Resurrection, etc.
    • The last name of Natalie, the Number Six Cylon who forms an Enemy Mine alliance with the Colonials, is revealed to be 'Faust'. Additionally, "Natalie" itself means "birthday," as Natalie ushered in a new era of Cylon-Human interaction.
    • Cavil, however, is derived from Old English ca-feld, "field where jackdaws or crows are seen", so it's a place-name as a surname. A Cavil is also an irrelevant quip in conversation.
    • Inverted with Dee. Anastasia means "resurrection", which is quite ironic, as Dee kills herself and isn't a Cylon, so it sticks. Furthermore, speculation that she was a Cylon was supported by the fact that her last name, Dualla, indicated a "dual" nature. Nope, she's just a human.
    • The Biblical Saul lost his sight on the road to Damascus, only regaining it when he stopped persecuting the monotheistic Christians. Saul Tigh had his eye plucked out by Cavil as punishment for his guerrilla war against the monotheistic Cylons.
    • "Ellen" means "light" or "torch." Fling a Light Into the Future much?
    • Lee Adama: "Lee" is of Old English origin, and means "pasture" or "meadow." Lee is the one who comes up with the return-to-the-land plan in the finale.
    • "Zarek" is a Polish derivation of Belshazzar, son of Babylonian monarch Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar is perhaps best remembered for Bible story of the feast in which God's hand wrote a warning on the wall that the monarchy would soon be overturned; Zarek seeks to overturn the Colonial government.
    • Sharon Valerii: "Sharon" is Hebrew and means a "fertile plain," and Caprica-Sharon is the first Cylon to conceive a child with a human, or conceive at all, for that matter. "Valerie" is a Latin name meaning "healthy." On a more meta level, her name unites Hebrew and Latin terms, just as she is ultimately responsible for bringing new kinds of unity to the fleet.
  • Mechanical Evolution: The Cylons, very much so.
  • Mental Fusion
  • Mexican Standoff: The bad blood between the humans and rebel Cylons has them doing this for no apparent reason, really, in the mid-season 4 finale.
  • Gaius Baltar Destroyer of Worlds: But that's what happens when you give a Cylon the keys to the defense mainframe because you were thinking with the wrong head.
  • Military Maverick: Somewhat deconstructed with Starbuck due to her severe dysfunctions. She also gets away with it (if we take "being sent to the brig a few days to cool off rather than being court-martialed" as "getting away with it") only through being among the best at what she does, being among the only at what she does (what with the colonial military being reduced to one or two battlestars) and being heavily favoured by Commander Adama who regards her as a surrogate daughter.
    • Subverted with Barry Garner, Commander of the Pegasus: He disobeys orders to save his men, is backed up by his crew in this decision against the outsider observer (aka Lee Adama), jumps into unknown territory... and learns that yes, it was a trap, it's going to very nearly cost humanity its most powerful warship and it will gain them nothing because the Raptor crew to be saved was dead all along. Oops.
  • Mind Frak: Head Six, Head Baltar, anything involving "All Along the Watchtower", and whatever the frak Kara's been since her return.
    • Or, arguably, all of it.
  • Misguided Missile
  • The Missing Faction: The Thirteenth Tribe from both versions.
  • Mission Control: Dualla and Gaeta, pretty much.
  • Mission From God: Head Six, Head Baltar, and an unknowing Kara.
  • Mood Whiplash: Dear Lord, this series has it down to an art form. Best when done intentionally, as in season 4.5 when a happy Dualla rekindles the romance with her ex-husband, has an uplifting talk with her friend, then puts a gun to her head and commits suicide.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Six.
  • Mobile Factory: The Tylium refining ship for one.
    • For more than one: Pegasus can produce fighters, Galactica has been shown making ammunition, there is a ship growing food (algae) for the fleet - everyone chips in.
  • More Dakka: "Standby for Enemy Suppression Barrage!"
  • Motivational Lie: Adama initially uses the story of searching for Earth as this.
  • Multitasked Conversation: Many involving Baltar and Head-Six. Incompetently on Baltar's part.
  • Multiple Reference Pun: In the series finale, Starbuck and Apollo's assault/rescue teams meet up on the enemy spaceship after getting separated. When Apollo asks where Starbuck was, she says, "Stopped for coffee." We should be surprised that the writers didn't try this one much earlier in the series.
  • The Muse: Head Six to Baltar. In a very morally dark grey way.
  • Musical Nod: Several musical themes from the Original Series have been arranged and repurposed for the soundtrack and as source music in the Reimagined Series. The most prominent example is probably the Colonial Anthem, which is a new arrangement of the Original Series main theme.
  • Must Make Amends: Twice (at least). First with Helo after shooting the "turn coat" Sharon he had fallen in love with, later with Roslin choosing to save Baltar.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Zarek is played by Richard Hatch, Apollo from the original series.
    • The early model Cylons that rebelled in the first Cylon War are identical in design to the original series Cylons, and appear in all their glory in Razor, complete with synthesized voices and the Catch Phrase "By your command".
    • Near the end of the news footage in "Final Cut," part of the "Colonial Anthem" from the original series plays. This piece was done in collaboration between the composers of both versions.
    • The design of the Pegasus is meant to echo the original Galactica, with the longer head and three arms connecting each flight pod to the body. "Razor" also has the First War-era costumes and equipment similar to that of the old show.
    • Felgercarb, a cuss word in the original series, is a brand of toothpaste in the new series.
    • Speaking of cuss words, Adama uses an Ikea Fräck shaving mirror.
    • In a flashback scene in "Daybreak", Baltar mentions that if anyone catches him commiting treason he'll have his head cut off. Which was the original fate of Baltar in the 1978 pilot, before he was resurrected for the series.
  • NameDar: Baltar coins the term "Final Five" to refer to the Cylon models who were unknown to the fleet at the time, and who the other Cylons had been programmed not to think about. The name sticks and comes to be used by the Final Five themselves, even after it turns out that "First Five" would have been a more appropriate name.
  • Naughty Under the Table: Ellen with Lee in "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down"
  • The Neutral Zone: The Armistice Line.
  • Nepotism: Extensively played with. Lee Adama gets accused of this by Kendra Shaw concerning his assignment to command of the Battlestar Pegasus by his Admiral father, which "your daddy just gave to you, like he was tossing you the keys to a new car". However, Adama only appointed him to the post after first going through two senior officers who both died in quick succession. Likewise with Lee becoming President - while Adama was committing something close to a military coup by refusing to recognize Zarek's control of the Colonial government despite being legally entitled to that position, Zarek was an unreliable power-seeker and Lee one of the few people available who he could trust. Baltar also espouses this for sympathy baiting in his political writings when he questions whether the fleet will ever be run by someone whose last name isn't Adama. But while the above examples are justified, Adama senior does have a strong tendency to let Lee, his assumed daughter Kara, and others close to him get away with a lot of crap, and spends an inordinate amount of time and manpower to search for Thrace when she is stranded on a planet, even at the expense of fleet security.
  • New Old Flame: "Sweet" Eight.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pretty much the theme of series to include most every character and humanity in general.
    • Nice job killing your wife aka the Final Cylon on New Caprica, Saul Tigh.
      • She got better.
    • Nice job building a monster (actually, an army of him) who tried to wipe out humanity and is only two Cylon models away from qualifying as an Omnicidal Maniac, Final Five.
    • Nice job waking up and beating the woman who loves you into a pulp, Tyrol.
    • Nice job helping Boomer kidnap a little girl, Tyrol.
    • Nice job killing Tory on the spot and losing Resurrection technology and the deal with Cavil's faction, Tyrol.
    • Nice job planting the only people who could rebuild Resurrection for you in human society without the benefit of their memories, Cavil.
    • Nice job wasting the Pegasus, Lee, after the fleet jumped to safety.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: Cylons are "toasters"; human-form Cylons are "skinjobs".
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Hera's coloring book, which is filled with nothing but drawings of Angel Six.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted with "alarming regularity".
  • No Delays for the Wicked: Subverted in the post-series movie The Plan, which shows what the Cylons were up to behind the scenes during the original run. Although in the series they were seen as a nigh-omniscient, unstoppable army, here it is shown that, in essence, Cavil has the worst luck in the world. Not that you pity him, vile wretch that he is.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Leoben's imprisonment of Starbuck on New Caprica is an unusually prolonged example of this.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The Resurrection Hub - a single failure point for the whole resurrection system.
    • The Final Five that created it fail Rule Twenty Seven of the Evil Overlord List. To be fair, they weren't Evil Overlords. But the first thing Cavil should have done when he had them in his power was to force the Five to build more Hubs, then bother with the overly elaborate amnesia and revenge plan.
  • "No Respect" Guy: Y'know Ms. President, even if Dr. Baltar is a slimeball, he still cured your cancer, "invented" a method to detect cylons, helped you win an election you could not have won otherwise and has made numerous other contributions to the survival of the fleet. Yes, those were really just consequences of Baltar saving his own ass, and he was a traitor, but you didn't know that. (Later, it becomes justified)
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: The show regularly blew most of a given season's visual effects budget on the first and last episodes, so as to draw new viewers in and go out with a bang.
  • Not Blood Siblings: The Cylons call each other "brother" and "sister", but there have been sexual relationships between them. Presumably only copies of the same model are blood siblings.
  • Not Proven: The result of Baltar's trial, as explained by Adama.
  • Not So Different: Humans and Cylons as of Season 4.
  • Oedipus Complex: Cavil and Ellen. In several ways, 'cause Ellen created Cavil, she did so in the image of her father, and then (mind-wiped of her past) she had sex with him/one of them. Worse, Ellen keeps referring to the humaniform Cylons as the Final Five's "children", because the Five helped the Centurions create the humanoid models. Which makes Cavil her "son" in the guise of her late father.
    • Tigh and Six, as pointed out twice by Ellen, also have an Oedipal relationship, and like Oedipus (Six) and Jocasta (Tigh) they were unaware of their relation when they started doing it. They almost had a little Antigone (Liam).
    • And, of course, Cavil works on the other half of this trope by gouging out Tigh's eye.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Invoked and averted with Tory who believes she has one when she kills Cally. It doesn't work out for her. When the Final Five join minds and memories at the end, she even calls the others on it, saying that whatever they've done, they're cylons and should be above pettyness. Tyrol fatally disagrees.
    • At that point, she is just babbling, as shown by her line "We are all Cylons, we make mistakes."
  • The Oner: Director Michael Rhymer is know for his unusually long cuts of scenes, such as the post-cold open for the miniseries; a three and a half minute continuous moving camera shot that goes around and through the CIC and introduces no fewer than eight major characters.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Tattooed Pilot, Romo Lampkin.
    • Technically, isn't Romo more like a 2 1/8ths scene wonder?
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with William "Bill" Adama and the President's aide, Billy.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Briefly, with Boxey, though the plot disappears around the same time he does. He is forced to leave his mother to die when there is limited space on Boomer's Raptor (They killed off the original show's plot interest before she makes it off planet? Talk about Ship Sinking.), and dialog reveals that Boxey's father was probably the officer assigned to Armistice Station in the pilot's intro.

Tigh: Where's your momma, boy?
Boxey: Dead. Where's yours?

    • It's also implied in dialog that orphans on the fleet meet nasty fates. What that fate might actually be is never discussed, though the next episode shows children working dangerous ore-refining jobs, and we've already seen what happens to children the Black Market get their hands on...
  • Our Angels Are Different: Head Six, Head Baltar, Head Leoben, and Kara.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: "The Woman King".
  • Overdrawn At the Blood Bank
  • Pardo Push: In the pilot episode, Apollo's ship is badly damaged, and he won't be able to make it back to Galactica in time before they have to jump out of the system. It's worth noting that Starbuck doesn't so much push Apollo's ship as she does forcibly ram his ship with her own, locking them together before afterburning back to the ship, barely making it into the hangar bay in time.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: Usually happens whenever an important character dies, like Billy, the "nameless" pilots of "Scar", Kat, Starbuck, Dualla, several Cylon characters, etc.
  • Phlebotinum Pills: Roslin's cancer treatment—a drug which is also used by holy oracles and priests to induce hallucinations—triggers visions which chart the course of the first several seasons of the show.
  • Planet of the Apes Ending: The fleet finds Earth - millennia after a nuclear war apparently wiped out the inhabitants.
    • In the season finale They find our Earth about 150,000 years ago. Yes. Two Earths. Not in the Star Trek identical planet sense, but in the sense of our planet being named after another.
  • Plucky Girl: Starbuck, Cally, Athena, ... hell, even Roslin.
  • Pound of Flesh Twist: The episode about abortion. A girl wants to have an abortion; her parents won't let her, and the religious beliefs of the colony she was from before the Cylon attack forbade it despite its legality. Though pro-choice herself, President Roslin understands that there are less than fifty thousand humans left in the universe, and that they will have to grow their numbers if they're to survive as a species. In the end, she outlaws abortion via executive order... after the girl has had her abortion and has applied for asylum aboard Galactica so she doesn't have to go back to her parents.
  • POV Sequel: "The Plan."
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: President Roslin's cancer is cured by injecting her with the blood of Helo and Sharon's unborn daughter. Thankfully, they don't need all of it.
  • The Power of Love: Despite numerous attempts by the Cylons to create a Cylon/Human hybrid, the conception of the first successful one was attributed to the love her parents have for each other.
    • The above is the implied reason Caprica-Six ultimately miscarried. Not only did Ellen Tigh make her doubt Saul's love for her, but the first signs of miscarriage showed up the moment when Saul frakked his wife.
  • Pregnant Hostage: Caprica Six,Athena
  • "Previously On..." Battlestar Galactica... : Often with the voice of someone who dies in the episode. Also the opening line of s01e01.
  • The Promised Land: Earth. This trope is put on the cynical side when the colonists find Earth, but it is a burnt-out wasteland. The trope swings over to the idealistic side in the series finale, when they find a life-filled planet that they name Earth in memory of the legend.
  • Prophecy Twist: Two of them: Kara Thrace is "the harbinger of death and will lead them all to their end." She helps destroy the Cylons' resurrection capability, making them all mortal individuals; she also plays a hand in destroying Cavil's Cylon Colony and leads everyone to (our) Earth, ending Human-Cylon hostility and blending the separate races of Colonial-humans, Human-Cylons, and Earth-humans into modern humans. Laura Roslin is "the dying leader who will find "promised land" but die before setting foot on it." She reaches both Earths (and walks on them), but on our Earth she dies during a sight-seeing flight, thus dying before reaching the spot where Adama builds the cabin he promised her.
    • Alternately, Galactica is the dying leader who doesn't make it to earth.
    • Alternately^2, Kara Thrace is the 'dying leader who will find the "promised land" but die before setting foot on it': technically speaking, we are all dying from the moment of conception, an officer in the military is a leader, she dies before returning as an Angel Unaware, and it is her jump coordinates that lead the fleet to Earth. (which she sets foot upon after her death)


Tropes Q-T[edit | hide]

  • Rage Against the Heavens: John is basically pissed at the entire universe because his forebears were slaves and he's a flawed humanoid, and his genocidal schemes are an extension thereof.
  • Rage Quit: While lots of people kill themselves over the course of the series, Cavil is the only one to do it out of pure anger and spite.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: They're generally more disciplined than your average Bunch (or at least feel the consequences of lacking discipline more often), but they're pretty much exactly what you expect when the one ship to escape the Cylons does so on the day of its planned decomissioning - a Commander too honest for politics, an XO known for his drinking problems, an ace pilot whose free time is spent alternatively drinking, brawling, frakking or taunting (unless she's in the brig), an engineer fraternizing with another pilot and several other assorted characters. The new President of the Twelve Colonies is chosen pretty much the same way: The one who was inconsequential enough to not miss anything important when being away to hold that decommissioning ceremony.
  • Ramming Always Works
    • The Pegasus manages to knock out two basestars in the Battle of New Caprica by doing this.
    • Galactica also does this in the Grand Finale in order to punch a hole in the colony for her assault teams to board.
  • Rape as Drama: Gina-Six, Athena.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: In "Valley of Darkness", Dualla tells Billy (a civilian) that sticking a pistol in his pants with the safety off is a bad idea. Later Billy has an accidental discharge when taking the safety off, giving away their position to the Cylons.
    • At one point, a very pissed off Adama throws a loaded gun on the table, causing Tigh to jump back and angrily remark that there's a live round in the chamber.
    • For the most part, however, this trope is averted. We're treated to several shots of characters making very damn sure that their weapon is safe before putting it down by ejecting the magazine and pulling the slide to eject any rounds that may be chambered. This is a military setting after all, and even the side-arms are capable of punching a bullet through the armour plating of a Centurion.
  • Recycled in Space: Hmm... the twelve tribes colonies, originated from Eden Kobol, was forced to move from their homeland to find a promised land Earth that only was known from legend, all due to the actions of a certain man, who after receiving visions and power from a higher being, eventually become the founder and leader of a monothestic religion and preach about grace, and after wandering around the desert space for forty four years, manage to arrive on a lush green place planet that is eventually OUR Earth, all according to the plan of the higher being. Hmm, sounds like a familiar book...
    • The original series was heavily influenced by the Book of Mormon. Most of these points are echoes of that, since the general plot and mythology is the same, although the execution, and final resolution, differed greatly.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Kendra Shaw, Boomer, Simon O'Neill in The Plan.
    • And, to a lesser extent, Mr. Gaeta. He finally Does the Right Thing by turning on Zarek, even though he knows his own role in Zarek's rebellion would get him executed for high treason.
  • Red Herring
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Starbuck and Apollo, respectively. Tigh and Adama, also respectively.
  • Redshirt Army: The Colonial Marines. By season 4, any time you see Marines in a tense situation, you know one or more of them will be dead before the scene ends.
  • Reentry Scare: Averted, leading to a fan-favourite moment: The Adama Maneuver.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Played straight Saul and Ellen and heavily averted Galen and Tory.
  • Restraining Bolt: The humanoid Cylons keep control over the Centurions with Telencephalic Inhibitors that keep them from becoming truly sentient. The Twos, Sixes, and Eights later remove them, much to the dismay of the other Cylons.
  • Retcon
    • Within-new-series example: when Lee takes command of the Pegasus in series 2, he teases Kara about not coming to be his CAG, and she says she'll settle for being CAG of Galactica. However, in Razor, which shows the start of his command in more detail, he does install her as acting CAG of Pegasus (because, er, the plot needs her to be present) and she subsequently asks for a transfer back to Galactica.
    • Cally's baby turned out to be concieved by Hotdog in the end. This was needed to maintain Hera's special status. It also revealed cute little Cally was a slut, but OK...
      • At one point, Cally was going to kill herself and take the baby out of the airlock with her, presumably because she realized her child was half toaster. With the reveal that Nicholas was Hotdog's baby, not Tyrol's, this means that she was going to kill a baby she knew was human, probably out of fear that neither she nor her baby should be safe married to a toaster.
  • The Reveal: Uh... let's just say a lot. However the continuous chain of reveals tend to link up into an almost Soap Opera-esque plot. Not that it's not well executed it's just... fairly melodramatic.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: La Résistance in New Caprica. Felix Gaeta's coup d'etat.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: La Résistance in old Caprica. The Cylon rebels.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Starbuck watching her gun camera footage, over and over again, to an almost creepy effect.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots: The Skinjob Cylons. Originally they seemed to be made as infiltrators but later seasons reveal that the original intent was simply to be as human as possible.
  • Robosexual: And how.
  • Robotic Spouse: Athena.
  • Robots Enslaving Robots: The Skinjob Cylons and the robotic Centurions.
    • Also implied to be the case in Earth and the Thirteenth Tribe.
  • Rooftop Confrontation
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Dualla for Lee. Especially sad during their marriage.
  • Rousing Speech
  • Scars Are Forever: Tigh's eye, Gaeta's leg, Anders' mind/body. Even the Galactica itself is an example, being visibly in terrible shape by season three, and practically falling apart in season four.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Unusual variant; the Cylons are Scary Dogmatic Robots who believe in God.
  • Scenery Gorn: Cylon Occupied Caprica, Galactica herself as the series dragged on, the first Earth.
  • Scenery Porn: the second Earth.
    • And don't get me started with Kobol...
  • Schrodinger's Gun: Who is a Cylon? No named character is safe! ...Although all the bullets in that particular gun are fired by the middle of season four.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: One million light-years, the alleged distance from the Colonies to Earth, is well outside the Milky Way. In fact, it's about 40% of the way to our nearest galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy.
    • The science advisor weighed in: Adama was using hyperbole.
  • Screwed by the Network: While Sci Fi was nothing but supportive of the show during its production, they had some strange ideas when it came to broadcasting it, such as allowing the UK to air the first season six months ahead of North America, splitting the DVD releases of seasons two and four in half, fiddling with the show's time slot for the first three years, mandating the opening sequence be curtailed to make room for more commercials (this one was eventually vetoed by a fan outcry), and airing the two halves of season four a full year apart to eke out a de facto fifth season.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: There is an argument to be made that Lee has benefited from this, even if he does not blatantly utilize it.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Helo might as well have this tattooed on his forehead.
  • Searching the Stalls: This situation occurs during a hostage crisis in season 2, at least, until Lee Adama jumps the guy supposedly hunting him from behind.
  • See the Whites of Their Eyes: Even nukes are deployed at spitting distance.
    • To be fair, nuclear detonations dissipate * very* quickly in space. To sustain critical amounts of damage, you'd either have to be hit directly or be * very* close to the explosion.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: What Cavil has to say about being a human.
  • Sensor Suspense: "We've got multiple DRADIS contacts!"
  • Sex Equals Love: Played straight with Helo and Athena.
  • Sexy Mentor: Head Six to Baltar.
  • Shoot the Dog
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Season 4 mid-season finale, and after all the scenes of partying too!
  • Shooting Gallery: A very creepy one with Boomer's face as targets.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Boomer's mission to destroy the Cylon ship at the end of Season 1 is almost exactly the same as the mission pulled off at the end of Independence Day.
    • The term "skinjob" is comes from Blade Runner, which has been openly admitted as an influence. It's also an Actor Allusion, as Edward James Olmos was in Blade Runner.
      • The standard Colonial Sidearm, at least in the first season, is also a replica of Deckard's gun from the same film. This can be seen quite clearly in many scenes and was apparently confirmed in a DVD commentary.
    • From "Colonial Day":

Laura Roslin: Don't smirk, Zarek. I won't kiss you.
Tom Zarek: It's a shame. I shaved very close in anticipation of getting smacked by you.

    • Cylon Model Number 6 is a shout out to The Prisoner.
    • Serenity from Firefly can be seen landing on Caprica in the background of a scene from the Miniseries.
    • Naming the deceased Cylon model "Daniel" seems to be a shout out to the Isaac Asimov android R. Daneel Olivaw.
    • The way Laura Roslin became president might be a Shout-Out to a scene in Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon: The female Secretary of Education becomes the President of the US after a nuclear attack, and uses the radio to address the few surviving towns in America.
    • Cally shooting Boomer in "Resistance" is meant to emulate the murder of JFK's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby.
    • Tyrol's union speech in "Lay Down Your Burdens" is almost a direct word for word quote of a speech given by Mario Savio during the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, California in 1964. The production staff went so far as to obtain permission from Savio's widow to use the quote.
    • "The shape of things to come" is from a 1933 novel by H. G. Wells of the same name.
      • "All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again" is the first line of the 1953 Disney Peter Pan animated film.
      • How about the Cylon Basestar command systems referencing the MCP from Tron by finishing off their sentences with "End Of Line"?
    • Star Trek references:
      • The original Enterprise appears as part of the rag tag fleet in the Miniseries, and in the openings of seasons 1 and 2 due to recycled footage.
      • The Astral Queen is a shout out to the Original Series episode "The Conscience of the King," which Ron Moore has described as his favorite Original Series episode. The producers later admitted that "Astral Queen" was a terrible name for a prison ship.
      • In "The Ties That Bind," members of the Final Five meet in a weapons locker 1701D.
    • In "Sacrifice" a shadowy silhouetted picture of "alleged Cylon prisoner Sharon Valerii" is seen in the terrorist's Room Full of Crazy, possibly a reference to the similar "Photo believed to be Col. W. E. Kurz". A similar Apocalypse Now shout out is the Shore Patrol picking up a drunken Tigh for his assignment (including the "What are the charges?" line).
    • In "Litmus" Head-Six delivers an oh-so-menacing yet oh-so-sexy tip of the hat to The Incredible Hulk:

Head-Six: "Don't make me angry, Gaius... You wouldn't like me when I'm angry..."

    • In "The Oath" someone uses the expression "within the hour", which is frequently heard in 24 (the episode had a pseudo-Real Time format.).
    • Episode Titles:

Psalm 23:4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

      • "Taking a Break From All Your Worries" quotes the theme song to Cheers. The episode's plot originally focused on Joe's Bar, thus explaining its seemingly out of place title.
      • "The Son Also Rises" is a pun on the title of the 1926 Ernest Hemingway novel "The Sun Also Rises".
      • "He That Believeth In Me" quotes John 11:25-26, and given the episode's events, is a very appropriate title.

Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

      • "The Ties That Bind" paraphrases the Protestant hymn "Blessed Be the Tie that Binds" which celebrates the unity that comes from love.
      • "The Road Less Traveled" quotes Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken."
      • "Sometimes a Great Notion" is the title of a novel by Ken Kesey, which itself quotes the blues song "Goodnight, Irene".

Sometimes I get a great notion
to jump in the river and drown.

      • "No Exit" takes its title from a 1944 play by Jean-Paul Sartre, which contains the famous quote, "Hell is other people!"
      • "Someone to Watch Over Me" takes its title from a song of the same name by George and Ira Gershwin.
      • "Islanded in a Stream of Stars" quotes The Outermost House by Henry Beston.

"For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream of stars? pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time."

    • There's a few nods to Aliens in Razor - a marine named Hudson, and the Pulse Rifle's distinctive sound can be heard in a couple of firefights.
    • The little girl in the pilot, who is abandoned on a non-FTL ship, is more or less a shot-for-shot reference to the infamous "Daisy" presidential campaign commercial.
    • The Kodiak can be briefly seen during the series Finale
    • During the assault on the Cylon Colony in the series finale, one of the Fours inspecting Hera says "I think you overestimate their chances" when Boomer is worried about the colonials succeeding. Grand Moff Tarkin said the exact same thing during the Rebel attack on the Death Star in A New Hope.
    • "Boomers" are the robots from Bubblegum Crisis that could be disguised as humans.
      • Although the character Boomer having been in the 1978 series would suggest that Bubble Gum Crisis is giving a shout out to the old series, rather than the other way around.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: The Galactica had a rather large one aboard it commemorating all of those who died.
  • Small Annoying Creature: Averted. Boxey was in the pilot miniseries and Bastille Day, but cut from Water and Kobol's Last Gleaming, then vanished into the ether. So no Muffit whatsoever!
  • Smoking Is Cool: Everybody smokes. Everyone.
  • Soaperizing
  • Space Clouds: The Ionian Nebula actually reduces visibility.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: Largely averted. With some exceptions, ships largely behave according to actual physics. Largely. Some exceptions.
    • To expand, the major failures are either for narrative ease, or because it was too awesome to not do. Examples of the first include sound (although heavily muted sound) in space, ships being unrealistically close to each other (done so you can see both sides of a fight, or multiple members of the Rag-Tag Fleet), and ships consistently being too low, and moving too slowly, to actually be in a viable orbit around a planet. Examples of the latter case include almost anything that makes you go "holy shit," such as the mid-atmosphere jump.
      • To be fair, neither side had the weapons technology to fight at "realistic" ranges in space. The Cylons used missiles and the Colonial Fleet used either rail guns or conventional chemically driven rounds, sure they could fire their weapons off at those ranges, but it would take several minutes to cross that much space and they could just move their ships out of the way.
  • Space Fighter: Both the original and new series were largely built around Space Fighters.
  • Space Is an Ocean: The day-to-day operation of Galactica was heavily based on Ron Moore's experiences as an aircraft carrier crewman.
  • Space Is Cold: When Tyrol and Cally have go about 10 feet in space without space suits, Tigh says they could suffer from hypothermia.
    • Is probably better explained by the fact that they were stuck in an airlock that was slowly venting to hard vacuum for the past hour or two, and it got really cold in there because of the same way that a can of spray deodorant gets cold. They even show Cally's hair icing up.
  • Space Is Noisy: Averted: While this version does have sound in space, said sounds are usually muted (as if being heard underwater) to give the impression that it's what the pilots/crew are hearing.
    • Not really an aversion, as that still doesn't make the least bit of sense.
  • Space Opera: With its own Space Opera House.
  • Spaceship Girl: The Hybrids, and the First Hybrid's a spear counterpart.
  • Spin-Off: Caprica, a family drama set fifty years prior to its parent series.
  • Spirit Advisor: Head Six to Gaius Baltar; and in a surprising reveal, Head Baltar to Caprica Six, and now Head Baltar to Real Baltar.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Kara and Lee's tumultuous relationship/non-relationship.
    • Tyrol and the Heel Face Revolving Door posterchild Boomer. Although not expanded on much in the series proper, his back story also reveals his prior relationship with Tory on ancient Earth as well. And then he ends up killing her for murdering his wife. Yeah, some guys just can't catch a break.
  • The Starscream: Tom Zarek.
  • Invisible to Gaydar: You wouldn't know Hoshi was gay unless you watched the webisodes.
  • Straw Civilian: Averted, mainly due to the Roslin/Adama dynamic.
  • Stealth in Space: The Blackbird.
  • Stock Footage: Footage of the Viper launches and landings.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: One proposed explanation for the "angels" and "God" [1]
  • Sunglasses At Night: Romo Lampkin.
  • Sure Why Not: After stumbling across a fanfic that teased with the idea of a Helo/Racetrack pairing, the actress portraying the Raptor pilot decided to incorporate the unrequited feelings for Helo and the jealousy towards his wife into her character's backstory.
  • Surprise Incest: Cavil and Ellen. She doesn't know at the time, but he does and is even aware the Cavil model was shaped in the image of her father and that she saw Cavil as a son.
  • Survival Mantra: "Fear gets you killed. Anger keeps you alive."
  • Survivalist Stash: Helo and "Boomer" find one on Caprica.
  • Sympathetic POV: This gets used a lot, especially with the Cylons and with Gaeta when he spearheads a failed mutiny. He's ultimately executed for this role, but he's far more sympathetic than his co-conspirator Zarek, and the viewers get the sense that he was trying to do what he thought was the right thing.
  • Take That: Ronald D. Moore had previously worked on Star Trek the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and briefly worked on Voyager before quitting out of dissatisfaction with how the producers were running the show. He subsequently wrote a long rant about all the problems the series had, notably the lack of continuity, reliance on Techno Babble to solve everything, and failure to accurately depict a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits without a consistent source of supplies on a long, grueling voyage to reach home. He then produced this series, incorporating most of his suggested changes to Voyager along the way.
  • Techno Babble: Military jargon more than SFisms. Lampshaded when Tigh accuses Baltar of "weaselly technobabble". An accurate accusation, as Baltar's first "Cylon detection method" was entirely made up. There is deliberate avoidance on the writers' part of "this works because of the Cylon hypersilly system" and so on.
  • Theme Naming: Completely unintentional, but: The names of the Final Five all have prominent T sounds in them: Saul and Ellen Tigh, Galen Tyrol, Tory Foster, and Samuel T. Anders.
  • There Is Another: As in the original series, the battlestar Pegasus is discovered. The reunion wasn't *quite* as happy as you might imagine...
  • They Do: Adama and Roslin. About time!
  • They Look Like Us Now: The Trope Namer. The Cylons have evolved from "walking chrome toasters" into androids with flesh. The opening and a few characters use the line, and it does cause a lot of mistrust among the human survivors.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: Plot threads are picked up again at the writers' convenience, if they're ever picked up at all.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Twelve tribes of man who founded the Twelve Colonies... plus one that "got lost" and inspired the survivors to go on a wild goose chase In Space to find a planet called Earth. Twelve human-Cylons... plus a dead one named Daniel who may or may not be Starbuck's dad.
    • Daniel is not Starbuck's dad- Word of God is "Daniel's" entire existance was done to explain how the Sharons could be #8... which was itself due to Grace Park picking to be "8's".
  • This Is Not a Drill
  • Three-Way Sex
  • Throwing Out the Script: Adama does this during his retirement speech in the miniseries.
  • Throw It In: Edward James Olmos contributed a ton of these through ad libbing, particularly one memorable scene were in a fit of grief and rage over Starbuck's death he destroys the model ship Adama had been repairing for the past three years. This was a case of Truth in Television because Olmos himself was genuinely upset and angry over Katee Sackhoff's departure from the cast (or so he believed). The ship was a loaner from a maritime museum and was worth over $100,000, unbeknownst to him. Luckily, it was insured.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: This show is the reason the word "airlock" is now a verb and Laura Roslin's Fanon nickname is Madame Airlock.
  • Title Drop: Both specials use this.
    • In Razor, Admiral Cain awards Kendra Shaw the eponymous title, which she applies to the most loyal and merciless of her soldiers.
    • In The Plan, it's first used in print on Brother Cavil's religious flyers, and subsequently in spoken lines by the Cylons.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Boomer, plus four other characters as of the S3 finale.
    • Kara may be a whole 'nother veggie (fruit, whatever) altogether.
  • Tomato Surprise: Happens twice: Once with Tigh, Tyrol, Tory, and Anders, then again with Ellen.
  • Too Soon: Completely inverted: The show is fearless about taking on sensitive topical subjects.
    • Except for homosexuality, which didn't happen until Razor. Word of God is that the writers didn't think of it when initially planning how to set up the show, and then as a consequence, couldn't figure out how to work it in without it being a huge neon sign. Razor can be seen as a validation of this problem, as it even spends time addressing another character's surprise that Cain and Gina are an item. The second webisode series seems to have done a better job of it with Gaeta and Hoshi, where the look on Tigh's face when he realizes the relationship exists and his ensuing actions suggest he is more bothered by the mental image than the actual relationship. Considering homosexuality has been around approximately as long as biological sexuality itself, this may be stretching the application of "Too Soon" slightly.
      • Caprica suggests that homosexuality was no big deal in Colonial society. Now monotheism, that's weird and/or creepy.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Tory Foster; she pays for it in the finale.
    • Conversely, Ellen goes out of her way to try and save humanity once she realizes she's a Cylon.
  • Trash the Set: In Season 4.5, the Galactica has been showing quite a bit of damage.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Tyrol, later on.
    • The first half of Season 4 is one of these for Adama, though he weathers it somewhat better than Tyrol.
  • Trial Balloon Question: Athena to Helo, on if she were a Cylon. Anders to Starbuck, on if he were a Cylon.
  • True Companions: Dysfunctional as it is. Adama and Roslin are clearly Team Dad and Team Mom. So much so that Mom'n'Dad is the ship name and has been since season 1.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: "... Then came the day the Cylons decided to kill their masters..."
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: This story arc stars Captain Cole "Stinger" Taylor, Pegasus' CAG, who tyrannizes the Galactica fighter crew.


Tropes U-Z[edit | hide]

  • Unexplained Recovery: Starbuck.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The opening credits for the pilot begin with music by Richard Gibbs. The second episode "33" begins with the now familiar Bear McCreary theme.
  • Used Future: Only, not the future.
  • Unusual Euphemism: frak.
    • An unusually anachronistic euphemism: In the series pilot, when Adama and Tigh are discussing Starbuck, Adama says, "Jesus."
  • Unusual User Interface: How Cylons interact with technology.
  • Unexpected Successor: The series opens and closes with one: Secretary of Education Laura Roslin becomes President of the Colonies after everyone else in the presidential cabinet is killed, then communications officer Lt. Louis Hoshi temporarily becomes Admiral of the Fleet simply by being the only decent officer left in the fleet once the Galactica has left for the final battle.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: This trope was made for Lee Adama and Kara Thrace. If anything, it only intensifies after they have sex.
  • Vehicle Title
  • Verbal Tic: Whenever you hear Gaius Baltar say "Quite frankly," he's asspulling like a madman.
  • Wagon Train to the Stars
  • Watching Troy Burn: The destruction of the colonies.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" recited by the final five Cylons
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The original Cylons being intended as manual laborers and soldiers before they rebelled. The scarcity of advanced equipment means humans in the fleet getting worked to the bone, too.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Cylons' main motivation, shading over into Knight Templar in some cases. And then there's the anti-Cylon New Caprican suicide bombers.
    • Felix, during the mutiny.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Kara and Lee. Especially during and after New Caprica.
    • As well as Colonel Tigh and the Old Man on several occassions.
  • Wham! Episode: Used frequently throughout, but after the humans find a destroyed earth, every episode after that hits you harder than the last, taking the shock value into every increasing territory.
  • What Could Have Been: If what Ronald D. Moore says on the podcast commentary for "Kobol's Last Gleaming Part 1" is to be believed, how he originally wanted it to end was for Baltar to go down a long dark tunnel in the ruins on Kobol, at the end of which he finds Dirk Benedict, who introduces himself as "God". Oh, and Baltar also hears an actual Jimi Hendrix recording playing during all this, and when "God" asks him if he recognizes the tune, he says "yes". And Moore claims to have had absolutely no idea what any of this was supposed to have meant, but the other PTB were barely able to talk him out of it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The reaction fans had with Helo during the miniseries and why the writers ultimately retconned his off screen death.
    • In addition, roughly a thousand people were left on New Caprica.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Done over and over again between the humans and Cylons of all types. The standard philosophical debate is complicated by attempted genocide against one side and slavery of the other in the backstory, so each side has a reason to hate and fear the other, and also by the bizarre bio...mecha...chemistry of the Cylons.
  • Why Don't You Marry It?: The initial reaction to Helo and Athena's courtship. Eventually, he does marry her.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Kara/Lee, Adama/Roslin.
  • With Due Respect: The standard preface to anything guaranteed to piss Adama off.
  • A Wizard Did It: God was behind it all. Yes, that God.
    • You know it doesn't like that name...
      • Silly me. Silly, silly me...
  • World of Cardboard Speech: Lee delivers a now famous one in the season 3 finale.
  • Wrench Wench: Cally and Seelix. Starbuck and Dee even have moments of this, Starbuck moreso; she's shown covered in grease and fixing a Viper during the Miniseries.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Averted. The fleet keeps track very closely of its numbers, and this is even a recurring plot device in a number of episodes.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Confirmed by Word of God.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Cavil is a master of this. Nearly every one of his plans spectacularly explodes in his face, yet he's quick enough on the rebound with a with a backup plan to make you think he almost planned it that way. He manages to hold things together until his last viable option goes up in smoke and then, well... FRAK!
    • Baltar spends the entire series playing XSC. But he couldn't have done it without the help of Head-6.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Series trope and also episode title.
  • You Look Familiar: Ryan Robbins, who plays the officer that gets blown up along with Armistice Station in the opening scene of the Miniseries, later reappears in Seasons 3 and 4 as Charlie Connor. Of course, he was only on screen as the Armistice Officer for less than five minutes and was under heavy age-enhancing stipple makeup, making him barely recognizable.
    • John Mann, who played Galactica's original CAG turns up as a hustler in "Black Market", only to have his scenes cut from the aired version of the episode.
  • You Shall Not Pass: The Cylons want to finish the job and destroy the Colonial Fleet, to do that, they just have to get past Adama and Galactica. This is why after a Miniseries, 4 Seasons and a TV Movie the Cylons were never able to destroy humankind.
  • Zombie Advocate: In the latter part of season 2, a group of activists briefly emerged who argued that the Colonials should pursue peace and coexistence with the Cylons. This despite the fact that the Cylons had almost entirely eradicated all of mankind in a nuclear holocaust and pursued the scant few survivors into deep space, the activists still characterized Admiral Adama and Galactica's campaign to protect the fleet from being wiped out of existence as a "relentless war machine".

Notes

  1. You know it doesn't like to be called that...