Proposed 2nd Season

A Review and Opinion by Peter Noble, Tombs of Kobol

Fans have wondered if Battlestar Galactica had gone on to a second season after the last broadcast episode, “The Hand of God”, what would it have been like? Well here, at the Tombs of Kobol, we’re going to tell you! So read on if you dare!

Producer Glen Larson, near the end of the one and only season of Battlestar Galactica, had reviewed the series so far and had come up with a number of adjustments to the fledgling series. Chief amongst these was the enlistment of noted science fiction writer Isaac Asimov as a creative consultant. With Asimov waiting in the wings and his second season proposals documented, Larson was preparing to fly to Universal’s head office in New York when the word came down from on high that the series was cancelled.

So what was in the document? Are the document and its contents that have circulated on the net legit?
Yes, it is. As I type this now I’m looking at it next to my screen, its blue cover proclaiming; “Battlestar Galactica year two confidential” with the initials “GAL” written in black marker upon its surface.
How did I get this document? Well, I bought it on Ebay. How do I know it’s genuine? Well, the seller was Glen Larson’s son Chris. So I think that proves once and for all the validity of the document.
On opening the document, one finds spiel on what year two of Battlestar will bring and a look back on the challenges of the first season, descriptions of the characters featured in what would have been the second season, story summaries, a breakdown of the show’s broadcast history (what was shown against it by NBC and CBS), and finally a photocopied article from Time on Isaac Asimov. The document is also illustrated with colour photocopies of various bits of SF artwork.
Anyone reading the document might think it’s buried treasure, but that thought is soon overturned as you make your way through its contents. Any fan reading it would soon be thanking the Lords that the show ended when it did!

What could Larson have been thinking?
In an analysis of the first year, Larson notes that the show was pre-empted eight times by the network and sometimes moved to a 10 o’clock spot, out of range of the some of the show’s core audience, and assaulted by a barrage of programming from the rival networks in an attempt to dislodge the show from the ratings high of its premiere.
It is also noted that the series is almost void of female viewers and that in the second year steps must be taken to address this deficiency. Also, story focus would have been shifted, instead of events motivating the main characters as in the first year, it would have been the other way round in season two. In other words there would be more people stories.
The document then goes on to sing the praises of Isaac Asimov, who unbelievably had said ‘yes’ being the show’s creative consultant, who would “help mould and guide concepts” and write stories as well as critique stories and scripts.
After the initial self-promotion felgercarb, the document then goes onto describe in more detail the year two changes.
There would have been more focus on the female character and the core cast was to be reduced in number. Gone, or “missing in action” were Colonel Tigh, Sheba, Boxey “reduced to an occasional guest appearance if required”, doctors Salik and Wilker, Muffey and finally Baltar!

The remaining characters are then described in detail.
Apollo seems to go through a complete character reversal with Starbuck as it is described in the document. On the death of Sheba, in the opening episode of the proposed season two (a two-hour special), Apollo lets go of all his responsibilities and “for the first time in his life, begins to live life for himself – not selfishly, but with a zest that even has the fun-loving Starbuck envious”.
With Apollo gone from his leadership position, Adama chooses Starbuck for command. Feeling the weight of his new position, Starbuck ends his relationship with Cassiopea while leaning on Apollo for advice. It is noted that; despite his added responsibilities, Starbuck finds time to develop a “Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid relationship with Apollo”, this element giving the viewers stories with more lightness.
The character of Adama is more or less the same; he is disappointed with Apollo’s decision to relinquish command and relies more on Athena and Boomer to relieve some of the weight of his position so that he has more time to attend the needs of the people of the rag tag fleet.
Athena is markedly different from the character as portrayed in season one. She would have been very badly wounded in the attack that kills Sheba in the opening episode. Badly disfigured, Athena’s beauty would have been restored via surgery, leading to a “different, but equally exquisite beauty”. Though her face is restored however, her body is scarred beyond repair; because of these physical and emotional wounds Athena would have become more aggressive also replacing Apollo in her father’s eyes as heir apparent to the command of the Galactica.
With the elimination of Doctor Salik from the series, Cassiopea becomes the ship’s chief medical officer while Boomer substitutes for the missing Wilker, a “combination Einstein-Edison talent” emerging in the lieutenant. Boomer would become “a fixture on the bridge and in the lab”.
Along with the remaining characters, a new one was to added, Troy, Adama’s cabin boy, a character brought in to appeal to teenage girls, Troy would be in “a position from which he learns of every crisis and proceed to involve himself often”. He would be “cute, mischievous, well intentioned, a pain in the ass for Starbuck and Apollo”.
After the character descriptions the document goes on to describe six story proposals for year two.

Boomer detects wave after wave of Cylon ships heading for the fleet, badly outnumbered in a battle that sees Sheba’s Viper hit and careen through space in flames, the day is saved by Vipers from the returning Battlestar Pegasus.
In the battle, the Galactica’s bridge takes a hit and Athena is engulfed in flames, flames put out with Adama’s bare hands. Cassiopea informs Adama that Athena will need intensive plastic surgery to restore her damaged body.
The two battlestars’ crews reunite, but Apollo, who has given up his command after the loss of Sheba, notes that Cain’s manner is somewhat changed from their previous encounter.
Renata, Cain’s executive officer, and one of the loveliest women he and Starbuck have ever seen soon dispels Apollo’s doubts as he begins to fall in love with her.
An inquisitive Starbuck, who is losing the competition that has sprung up between himself and Apollo for Renata’s affection; begins to find more faults with Cain and his ship. Wandering into the bowels of the ship, Starbuck discovers the secret of the Pegasus, her crew are being replaced by a new species of Cylon androids, and an android replica has replaced Cain himself, what is more, Renata is the head Cylon who will destroy the fleet in an attack from within.
Warning Apollo just in time, Starbuck and he tackle the murderous android, casting her into space as a battle breaks out between the Galactica and the Pegasus which is now commanded by a machine with the subverted intelligence of a living legend!

Athena, now restored in beauty, finds herself embroiled in a plot with the fleets’ women to turn their backs on the military life and all it encompasses. At a meeting on the Galactica, the women decide they will withhold their favours and dispense with their fleet and domestic duties until peace is achieved.
Adama storms into the meeting and tells the women everyone has their part to play in their mission and they should desist from their present course of action or face military discipline. The women refuse and the ringleaders are thrown into the brig.
One of the women manages to escape from the brig, and strapping a bomb to her body, makes her way to the bridge and demands the release of the prisoners and ships and stores and a guarantee of safe conduct away from the fleet or she will detonate the bomb.
As the countdown to detonation continues, Adama, Starbuck and Apollo are at a loss for a solution, until Apollo asks Athena to intervene. Athena realising her support of the women was based in part on her own bitterness towards her situation, she manages to talk the woman out of her course of action and persuades Adama to give the women of the fleet more say into the day to day decisions that affect the lives of the fleet.

After their Vipers are pulled towards a tiny barren planet, Starbuck and Apollo find themselves on a world with a gravitational pull far stronger than any they have experienced. Collapsing in the sand, death is only moments away until a group of beautiful young women and handsome men appear with a protective aura around them that counteracts the effects of the gravity field.
The two warriors wake up to find their selves in a scenic valley, and no longer affected by the oppressive gravity. In a small village dominated by an alabaster palace, the pair is presented to Prince and Princess Ling, who both appear to be about 19.
Apollo finds himself smitten with the princess, and in the days that follow falls deeper and deeper in love with her.
Starbuck becomes bored with paradise and starts making some inquiries. He finds out that the planet’s inhabitants are exiles from Earth, and that the Lings know the coordinates to the fabled planet.
Telling Apollo what he has learned, Starbuck decides the time has come to escape from paradise. Apollo agrees but wants to take Princess Ling with him, she then informs the love-struck warrior that she is in reality over a thousand years old and would die if she ever left.
Finding it hard to believe, Starbuck thinks it is just a trick to keep them there, especially when the prince orders them to be imprisoned on learning of their escape plans.
The princess throws her lot in with the warriors, aiding their flight from the planet, but as they clear its atmosphere she grows weaker and older, until she dies as predicted, as a woman a millennium old!

In an all-out battle between the Galactica and a baseship, both end up limping away to lick their wounds.
The fleet’s orphan ship also finds itself a casualty of the battle, crashing on a tropical planet.
Locating the ship, Adama is horrified to learn that the baseship is also on the planet, the Cylons working steadily to affect repairs and get back into space to finish the Galactica off.
Starbuck and three other warriors make their way to the planet equipped with new turboscooters, a kind of rocket-propelled motorcycle with armament capable of making hit and run attacks on the baseship whenever its crew attempt to make repairs.
As the orphan ship’s repairs near completion, Starbuck insists on carrying on the sorties against the Cylons. Athena, who is also on the mission, accuses the warrior of grandstand heroics that may jeopardise the lives of the stranded children.
Starbuck cannot back down however, as he realises if the basestar manages to take off, it will soon overtake the Galactica, which is herself attempting to repair her engines.

When Boomer brings a crewmember into the lifestation, Cassiopea is puzzled by the man’s symptoms. Doing some research, she finds that the man has a cholera-like disease that originated on the planet Kobol.
The following morning, another crewman is found dead in his bed, the victim of the same disease. Cassiopea decides she must test everyone on the Galactica for traces of the strange malady, but when Athena develops the symptoms, Adam brings in Boomer to find an explanation for the rapidly spreading affliction.
Boomer finds out that they can treat the disease, there is enough medication onboard, but there must be a carrier on the ship. Upon further investigation Boomer finds the carrier is Cassiopea herself!

Apollo and Starbuck are assigned to investigate the planet Sirenus, a source of solenium, a crystal that is critical to the operation of the Galactica’s navigational systems.
Landing on the planet with a mining party made up of 20 restless men, the two heroes find a thriving civilisation but with the gender role structure entirely reversed, women rule the planet while the men are just subservient drones.
The men of the Galactica’s mining party, who have been cooped up for ages in the confines of the fleet, are eager to raise hell, and in doing so enrage the planet’s females and incite independent behaviour in the oppressed males, the men now demanding equal rights and gearing up for a revolt.
The Galacticans are ordered off the planet without the vital solenium, but Sirenus’ lovely leader, Areola (!) will relent if Starbuck will stay behind to become one of her concubines!

After the episode sypnoses, there follows a seven page run down of the airdates of the original series, listing what was in competition with it on the other two networks at the time.
The document is topped off with a photocopied Asimov article from Time magazine.
So what to make of all this?
Getting Asimov onboard was a bit of a coup for Larson, Asimov having previously railed against the show on its debut, but you can’t help but think what did he make of the stories documented here, and did Larson ever show him the story outlines?
What effect the presence of Asimov on the series is pure speculation, but it is worth bearing in mind that Asimov lived in New York and was afraid of flying, things that surely would have hampered any contribution he’d have made to the series.
The document’s assertion that the show was not popular with women and teenage girls is somewhat bewildering, when one considers that Hatch and Benedict were plastered in every teen magazine and such like for months, also the decision to strengthen the parts of the women characters and then dispatch one of the series’ strongest female characters in Lt. Sheba in what would have been the opening episode smack of someone really losing the plot!
The pairing down of the cast seems to be some sort of cost-cutting exercise. The promotion of Cassiopea from medtech to doctor is a leap that is hard to make, while Boomer’s ascension to genius status is laughable in the extreme.
The new character Troy, sounds even more annoying than the Star Trek: The Next Generation character Wesley Crusher, he also fills that teen idol role that would later be cornered by the Lucas character on SeaQuest.
The role of Athena, Larson obviously wanted to recast, thus her horrifying ordeal in the two-hour opener of what would have been season two. With hindsight it is easy to reassess Maren Jensen’s performance in the original series, her best scenes ending up on the cutting room floor, her character in the end was ill served by the writing department more than her lack of skill. It is worth wondering whom Larson had in mind to replace her with?
By far the biggest disservice is given to that of the character of Apollo. His transformation from responsible leader, son and father into space stud is so left of centre, that you wonder what the author of the document was on when he came up with that one!
On the whole, I think the whole premise of Battlestar Galactica’s proposed season two stinks to high heaven, it smacking of the re-tooled Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’s second year, and we all know how that one went!

–  written by Peter Noble, co-owner, Tombs of Kobol