By Will Wade,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Exciting space drama has complex adult themes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Most episodes have some romantic interludes, which range from relatively tame to somewhat racy, though none include nudity or explicit scenes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 17 parent reviews
Far to sexual in nature
Report this review
Some guy I know is nicknamed Battlestar Galactica
Report this review
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?
- Premiere date: October 18, 2004
- Cast: Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, Mary McDonnell
- Network: Syfy
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: October 13, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Science Fiction TV
Science Fiction Books
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate