From what I can piece together, this is the only original footage from a TV movie which cobbled together several episodes of the vintage Battlestar Galactica series into a feature-length, syndicated time slot-filler, including parts from Saga of a Star World, The Magnificent Warriors, Fire in Space, and Experiment in Terra but the vast majority of it came from The Return of Starbuck episode -- a truly desperate Hail Mary courtesy of the truly odious sequel series, Galactica 1980 before it officially rolled over and died. I had never seen this footage before, finally explaining the origin of the Cylon Empire, stumbling upon it on the Tube of You, found it to be super-cool, and decided to share it with you all, Boils and Ghouls.
Video courtesy of Daniel Patrick.
From Encyclopedia Galactica: “The original Cylons were technologically advanced reptilian race from a far corner of the Galaxy. As they died out many millennia ago, little is known of their society. They must have been warlike and imperialistic since at the time of their extinction they had already conquered hundreds of other worlds. The key to the success of the early Cylon’s conquests was their development, first of sophisticated robots, and then fully intelligent androids. These machines were built to withstand enormous stress, to have great strength and powerful computational capacity. Armies of them swept through sector after sector of the Galaxy. But ultimately, the machines became the superiors of their creators and the Cylons themselves were destroyed by their own machines.
“The Cylon androids, reptilian in form like their masters, continued the mission of destruction to which they had been assigned. Machines that they were, they swept through the Galaxy even more ruthlessly than their masters. The directives of their programming crystallized into a single Edict of Extermination, that called for the destruction of all intelligent life forms in the Galaxy.
“The Cylons have occasionally combined forces with beings like the Ovions, but few creatures are more useful to the Cylons alive than dead. Therefore, the number of members of the Cylon Alliance is likely to remain small. Cylons have no concept of friendship or loyalty, and are programmed to exterminate their living allies at the earliest convenient date.
“Modern Cylons are basically human form. The most common type is the Centurion, a heavily armored soldier capable of operating a Raider and piloting a Baseship or Dreadnaught, and also adaptable to planetary invasion and extermination. They are not of high intelligence, but can be cheaply mass-produced. A common Cylon strategy, therefore, is to overwhelm the enemy with large numbers of Centurions, many of whom will be destroyed, leaving a sufficient number of survivors to carry the day. The most advanced Cylons are from the I-L Series. Both Lucifer, aide to Commander Baltar, and the Imperious Leaders itself are of this type. I-L series Cylons have acute reasoning abilities, and can directly monitor electronic telemetry from up to 50 sources simultaneously. Much more than simple automatons, the I-Ls at times exhibit humanlike drives for power. Human cylonologists speculate that this ambition response was deliberately programmed into the I-Ls to insure prompt replacement of incompetent leadership.
“The first human-Cylon contact occurred in 5547, when combined human forces came to the defense of their amphibious allies, the Hasaris. The humans were unprepared for the massive Cylon offensive, and their fleet was soon forced back to the other defense perimeters of their own Colonies. This was the beginning of the thousand yahren Great Cylon War.
“The humans proved to be the most formidable foes the Cylons had ever faced. Lacking the imagination to respond to human advances creatively, the Cylons adapted in the only way they could: by imitation. Their Centurions were designed to resemble humans more and more, and their weapons were redesigned accordingly. Human weapon advances were quickly met by Cylon copies, so that the war remained a stalemate for hundreds of yahren. The Colonial Unification Movement and the military genius of of Commander Cain had pushed the Cylons to the breaking point when the treachery of Baltar led to the near final destruction of humanity.”