Battlestar Galactica

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Battlestar Galactica TV Poster Image
Exciting space drama has complex adult themes.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The central story is about a search for home, belonging, spirituality, and identity. The storylines featuring the often-tense relationship between the military and the civilian government, which is not bound by the chain of command, are complex, and demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the use, and abuse, of power. On the downside, there's plenty of betrayal to go around, and a robotic army is out to destroy the remains of humanity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Colonial Fleet is a rigid military hierarchy that places a high value on respect for authority. Certainly there are a few rebellious characters, but even when they appear to be disobeying orders, their actions are usually in support of the overall good, and are generally lauded by their peers. Starbuck is a strong, complex female character in a position of military authority. The president is also a strong female character. Adama is the epitome of a strong, passionate, rational, wise leader. Many characters demonstrate teamwork.

Violence

In this alternate reality, humans are at war with a ruthless robotic enemy, and violence is a given. Battles tend to be on a large scale, showing combat between spaceships far more often than hand-to-hand fistfights, but later seasons have amped up the violence, including some torture scenes and attempted rape.

Sex

Most episodes have some romantic interludes, which range from relatively tame to somewhat racy, though none include nudity or explicit scenes.

Language

No explicit language, unless you count "frack," which is all too common among this offshoot of humanity and sounds quite similar to an expletive used on this planet (though it's managed to escape the ire of Earth's censors).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many episodes feature scenes of soldiers drinking, usually in the context of blowing off steam after battle, and often while mourning fallen comrades. Many of these scenes make it clear that the characters are quite drunk; a couple of characters are clearly alcoholics. Occasional use of stimulants to keep the soldiers alert during extended shifts, and the show stresses the downside of abusing such drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Battlestar Galactica  isn't an unrealistic, space-set soap opera. Despite the show's sci-fi premise, the characters react in very human ways to the constant pressure of being on the run and fighting for the survival of the species. With little to lose, people live, love, and fight as if every day is their last -- and since it often is, the emotions can be very honest and very raw. Because of the adult themes and the frequency of both violence (including torture) and drinking (a couple of characters appear to be alcoholics), this series falls into the "older kid" sci-fi camp.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5, 7, and 9 year old Written by3girlsmom January 15, 2010

Not even for teens

I'm not such a fan of sci-fi, but I very much enjoy the plot and storyline of the series. I've seen the full 1st series, but will not continue due to... Continue reading
Parent of a 13 year old Written byLisette's Mom July 5, 2013

Sci-Fi Geek Mum Says "No Way" for 11-or-12-Year-Olds

I haven't done the math on this, but I don't see how this series got an age-appropriate rating of 12 years from paretns, given all of the "Not Fo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byThe Lord Almighty April 9, 2008

The Best Sci-Fi Show on Earth (or on the road to it)

This is an amazing show that isn't really Sci-Fi. In fact, it could very well take place on a naval ship in the current day, or even in Vietnam. There is a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydrewsy1 January 23, 2010

deserves any awards it wins, though it isn't good for younger ones.

Very good series, I really enjoyed it, but you must be warned of some of the sexual and languid parts of the series. THere is drinking, there ARE sex scenes (le... Continue reading

What's the story?

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA starts with the notion that an offshoot of humanity has developed its own culture on the far side of the galaxy. Their technological accomplishments prove to be their undoing when the Cylons, a line of self-aware robots, decide that people are inherently flawed and should be eradicated for the good of the universe. The series begins with a deadly sneak-attack that almost accomplishes this, and the remaining humans flee their home world in anything that can fly. Other than the basic concept and several characters' names, this thought-provoking drama has little in common with the campy sci-fi series from the 1970s that shares its title. The original was light on realism and made the survivors' fight for survival seem like a party in space; the remake is more believable, showcasing the survivors' efforts to maintain their composure while running short of food, water, fuel, and hope.

Is it any good?

The strength of this series is the way its characters each choose to react to this untenable situation. Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) gives his crew a reason to fight by setting off in search of a planet long considered a myth -- Earth. Some choose to believe in this quest, while others decide the only way to survive is to put themselves first.

One critical difference from the original show is that some of the Cylons are now identical to people. Boomer, a supporting male character on the first show, has been recast as a female Cylon sleeper agent (played by Grace Park), and her struggles to comprehend the fact that her human tendencies are little more than programming make for one of the series' most compelling storylines. Indeed, her confusion lies at the heart of Battlestar Galactica, as the viewers and the cast attempt to define what it means to be human.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how they would react if they lost everything and had to start over, like on Battlestar Galactica. Some people would find the strength to protect their people, but others might turn inward and focus only on protecting their own interests. Though it's hard to know how anyone might act in a life-or-death situation, it can be interesting to speculate. What would your teens take with them if they had five minutes (or less) to leave the house? What would you do if the slate was wiped clean?

  • How do the characters in Battlestar Galactica demonstrate teamwork? Why is that an important character strength?

TV details

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