The new NBCUniversal streaming service that the company said Tuesday would be called Peacock will launch in April 2020 with original content that includes series reboots from the NBCU library among its fare. That list includes the return of a sci-fi classic: a new Battlestar Galactica, billed as an original series from Mr. Robot and Homecoming executive producer Sam Esmail.
Not much is revealed about the premise, but we hear Esmail is a huge fan of BG and told NBCU brass it was high on a list of titles he wanted to tackle under the mega new four-year overall deal he closed at NBCU’s Universal Content Productions earlier this year.
NBCU’s Universal produced the original Glen A. Larson-created Battlestar Galactica series for ABC, and NBC Universal TV produced the successful Ronald D. Moore-commanded revamp that ran from 2004-2009 on the then-Sci-Fi Channel. We hear Esmail had been in touch with Moore, who blessed the idea of him taking on the franchise, because of Esmail’s passion for Moore’s version of the show.
As for the premise, here is what is rumored as a possible plot of the series. In the seventh millennium A.D., in a galaxy very far away, a thousand-year-old war rages: that of humanity versus the Cylons, a mechanical race of beings. When the humans’ twelve planets are destroyed by a Cylon invasion force, the survivors flee in 220 spaceships following the Galactica — a gigantic battlestar spaceship — in a search for a “thirteenth” planet, an obscure little world known in folklore as “Earth.”
Esmail currently executive produces three series for UCP: Mr. Robot, which he created; anthology Briarpatch, starring Rosario Dawson (both for USA Network); and Amazon’s Homecoming. He already has a number of series in development at the studio, including two high-profile limited series: Metropolis, based on Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction classic, and Angelyne, starring his wife Emmy Rossum.
But there had been no word before today on Battlestar Galactica, the property that was created by Larson riding the success of the original Star Wars. The plot centered on the last group of humans on the verge of extinction after a series of wars with a robot race, The Cylons, destroyed the Twelve Colonies. All the humans are left in one remaining battleship group, anchored by the Galactica, as they search for their last option for survival: a fabled Thirteenth Colony known as Earth.
The series ran on ABC for just one season in 1978-79 starring Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and Lorne Greene as Commander Adama, followed by a short-lived sequel that lasted 10 episodes in 1980. But it did spawn several book and comics series, a board game and a video game as it gained cult status, if not commercial success.
Moore resuscitated the franchise with a three-hour Sci-Fi Channel miniseries in 2003 produced by Universal TV and starring Edward James Olmos in Greene’s commander role. Mary McConnell, Katee Sackoff and Grace Park also starred and the success led to a series order. That Battlestar Galactica, a critical hit, ran four seasons. A prequel spinoff to Moore’s series, Caprica, was canceled with five episodes remaining in its sole season. Several TV movies followed.
It’s unclear where in the BSG universe Esmail would go with the newly announced reboot. NBCU announced numerous Peacock-bound series with similar few details Tuesday, including reboots of Saved By the Bell, from 30 Rock executive producer Tracey Wigfield and featuring original cast members including Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez, and Punky Brewster starring Soleil Moon Frye.
New and original series, movies and library titles are all part of the Peacock mix. The streaming service will launch with more than 15,000 hours of content, the company said.
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