As a rule, reboots of beloved franchises are controversial — see this Heavy article on how fans rated the J.J. Abrams’ take on both “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.” It is undoubtedly difficult for new creative minds to recapture what many fans remember while updating the story for new audiences.
Perhaps the most successful reboot of an old franchise for television in recent years was the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica,” or BSG for short. The word reimagined is used rather than reboot for BSG because so much of what was in this new series was completely different from the original, which aired back in the 1970s. Some of the names of characters and ships remain the same, but the ships, effects, lighting, tone, and story were completely different.
Fans of Trek, for the most part, enjoyed this space drama. A few Trek fans even called it “some of the best TV ever” and “utterly brilliant.” This is high praise for the show, which aired when there was no Trek on TV — roughly after the cancellation of “Star Trek: Enterprise.”
The connection between Trek and BSG could not be more direct. The new series was created by Ronald D. Moore, who penned many “Next Generation” and “Deep Space Nine” episodes and co-wrote arguably the best TNG film, “Star Trek: First Contact.” Moore formed the series with the blessing of BSG’s original creator, Glenn A Larson.
Moore put together four seasons of BSG, which focused on the survival of the series’ namesake ship and the small fleet of civilian vessels that followed in tow. The villainous Cylons, who were bent on destroying the human race, chased the fleet throughout the series. Interestingly, the original BSG was created in the wake of 1977’s “Star Wars,” where almost anything space-related was suddenly popular across the world (including Trek). But the stories of Moore’s BSG were much more like something a fan would see on “Star Trek.”
In some ways, Moore’s show was the antithesis of Trek, as his space story was filled with religion. Roddenberry was an atheist and felt that humanity would no longer need faith in the 23rd and 24th Centuries. But, of course, it was the synthetic Cylons who were the most religious on BSG.
Since Moore was the significant connection from “Star Trek” to “Battlestar Galactica,” it made sense that talent from Trek followed to this new space opera opportunity. Even after the end of the series in 2009 (and the prequel series “Caprica” which followed), many actors have joined the ranks of the Federation since. The following is a partial list of those who appeared on both series:
Trek fans will remember Forbes as Ensign Ro from TNG. Ro was among the first Bajorans who Trek fans got to know, and Forbes appeared in the role several times (eight in all). Eventually, the plan was for Forbes to star in a new Trek show, which would follow Ro into service near her home planet on a Cardassian space station.
However, Forbes famously turned this role down, which caused Rick Berman and company to create a new Bajoran for “Deep Space Nine,” Major Kira (played by Nana Visitor). On BSG, Forbes portrayed the ruthless Admiral Cane, who clashed with the rest of the fleet, and was eventually killed by a Cylon agent.
The actress who brought the famous Major Kira Nerys to life on DS9 is Nana Visitor. She appeared on BSG in the small role of Emily Kowalski, who befriended President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell). Visitor appeared in only one episode during Season 4, but it was impactful.
Fans of “Star Trek: Discovery” know Rekha Sharma as Ellen Landry, a close ally of Captain Lorca. Though she officially died in Season 1, Landry has popped up on several Mirror Universe episodes since. Sharma also appeared in the fan-produced “Star Trek Continues” series. On BSG, Sharma portrayed Tory Foster and appeared on 32 episodes of the series. Eventually, she served as an assistant to President Roslin.
When the wife of the Battlestar Galactica’s second in command was found alive, the mood aboard turned sour. Kate Vernon’s character, Ellen Tigh, was a bit of a troublemaker. When Vernon appeared on “Star Trek: Voyager,” she was also a troublemaker. Vernon was Admiral Archer on the episode “In The Flesh” and turned out to be an agent of Species 8472. Vernon also appeared in the fan-produced Trek film “Axanar.”
Fans of “The Man In The High Castle” will recognize Worthy, as would Trek and BSG watchers. He appeared on BSG as a Cylon agent (posing as a doctor). On Trek, he seemed to be multiple times on various episodes, many of which he was under prosthetics. Fans can see the actual Rick Worthy (without makeup) as Noah Lessing on the “Voyager” two-parter “Equinox.”
Most know him as the “other guy” from “Quantum Leap,” but dean Stockwell has been working on television for years. He was Cavil on BSG and appeared with his old “Quantum Leap” costar, Scott Bakula, on “Enterprise.”
The U.S.S. Enterprise
Yes, it’s true. Since Moore was connected to Trek, it made sense that there was some ship-to-ship crossover. Clever fans have pointed out that the Enterprise appears in the opening credits of BSG. This is not unlike when J.J. Abrams inserted R2-D2 from “Star Wars” into “Star Trek Into Darkness.”