Battlestar Galactica

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

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 16 reviews

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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.


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.


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


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).

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
Adult Written bySGray1999 December 27, 2020

A Story of Survival and Excellent Writing

I watched this show around 2012, when I was twelve. It is mature, dealing with things such as rape, abortion, politics, military organizations, sex in general,... Continue reading
Parent of a 7, 16, and 16-year-old Written byMaggieTT May 13, 2020

a great series but some very adult content

Beatings, torture, and a lot of sex (in flashbacks). Apparently there is also graphic sexual violence later on, but we haven't gotten to that episode yet.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byStylus10 July 9, 2014

Dark but well-written reboot of classic series not for sensitive teens

This series has been one of the best sci-fi shows to come out in the past decade. While the show is considerably more dark and cynical than the original 1978 sh... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byLargoAllegroModerato January 14, 2012


Yeah, it's pretty good but you can really get tired of them saying frack all the tiime... :(

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

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