December 10, 2008
Recently solved mystery
It's funny how puzzles not immediately solved, that you think will always remain a mystery, are suddenly solved many years later, usually when you are looking for something else. Such a mystery, an unimportant, yet intriguing one, was recently solved.

I'm sure most of you have seen or at least heard about the original series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, I've been a big fan of that series since it first came on, and I had seen every episode several times. I was puzzled, however, by a listing in the TV Guide that contained this description of an episode:

An earthbound astronaut discovers Galactica's logbook floating in space.

The episode shown was EXPERIMENT IN TERRA which involves a nuclear holocaust on a "sister world" which was very similar to earth in many ways, but clearly not earth. The description in TV guide clearly had nothing to do with that episode so I always wondered where it came from.

Having missed GALACTICA 1980 in it's orginal run, and having never seen it in reruns, I thought it might have been an episode of that short lived spinoff, since they did find Earth, but people who had seen GALACTICA 1980 assured me that no episode of that series matched that description either, nor did they have any idea where that description came from. [I have since seen the entire series when it was recently released on DVD and have verified that they were right!]

So, for over 25 years it remained a mystery, were it not for the internet it would probably still be a mystery!

When surfing the web for Galactica related stuff I came across a page describing several Galactica teleplays. I had once seen one of these on a VHS tape at a local mom-and-pop video store and wondered what it was all about.

The teleplays were re-edited versions of episodes in the form of feature length presentations. Similar to the TV movies made from edited versions of episodes from the PLANET OF THE APES TV series. Often two or more episodes were combined that originally had seperate story lines.

One of these took footage from the GALACTICA 1980 episode RETURN OF STARBUCK and combined it with footage from EXPERIMENT IN TERRA. This one was different from the others in that in addition to the re-edited footage it contained some original material!

What do you suppose that material was? You guessed it! It was an "Earth" (Terran?) astronaut literally thumbing through pages of the Galactica logbook, reading text which obviously didn't come from any orginal episode. I only saw a brief, low quality excerpt of this segment so I'm not sure how it ties these two divergent story lines together but apparently the person who wrote this description for TV GUIDE had seen the teleplay and just assumed that this opening segment was a good summary of the plot of the original episode.

So a long standing mystery is solved, but another remains: Why is TV Guide's description of the premise of the series so inaccurate? In their description they say that it takes place 3000 years in the future, yet any true fan of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA or GALACTICA 1980 knows that it was actually in the recent past!

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