What is the viewing order of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica?
I have watched a few random episodes of BSG here and there and really enjoyed it, but now I want to do it right. I want to go back to the start, and watch it all the way through.
I understand there is the main series, but have also heard of a mini-series, and movies etc. It makes me quite confused, and I have no idea of where to start and in what order I should watch. Can someone please clear this up for me, and give me a list of the entire viewing order?
I've pulled this from a few forum posts and wikis
- Mini-Series (2 parts)
- Season 1 (13 eps)
- Season 2 (20 eps)
- 2.17 the Captain's Hand
- Razor (movie)
- Razor Flashbacks (7 part web series)
- 2.18 Downloaded
- The Resistance (10 part web series)
- Season 3 (20 eps)
- Season 4 (19 eps)
- 4.11 Sometimes a Great Nation
- The Face of the Enemy (10 part web series)
- 4.12 A Disquiet Follows My Soul
- 4.15 No Exit
- The Plan (movie) *
- 4.16 DeadLock
- 4.19 Daybreak (end of series)
(*) The Plan is technically a flash back of season 1&2 from the cylon POV (that was released after the end of the series) but many have suggested that due to it also explaining details about the final 5 it's best to watch it before or after "4.15 No Exit" which first exposes the history of the 5. My personal view is it works best after.
Great answer! And thanks for putting the web series' in there too, I would not have known about those.
100% correct. Good job. (As for "The Plan", think of it as most definitely *after* the series in production and narrative order, but presented in flashback format. As opposed to being "part of" Seasons 1/2.)
I would not watch Razor in that location. I would watch it in air order, so after Season 3. It's not crucial to the plot to do so (except for a little Kara Thrace foreshadowing), but that's how its intended. And it doesn't exactly strain the imagination to watch it as a flashback. Interesting idea to move The Plan, though; I quite like that.
Just a warning, *The Plan* hints pretty blatantly whom the last of the original five Cylons is. At episode 15 of season 4 you will not know who this is. Whether or not that is a spoiler will be at your own discretion but taking this viewing order in advice I probably would not recommend *The Plan* until much later in season 4 or entirely after it.
Actually, in 4.11 Sometimes a Great Notion it is revealed who the 5th original Cylon is, according to the Wikipedia entry for that character.
@LightnessRacesinOrbit Re:The Plan, it works perfectly following S4E15 because that is the episode where we get a lot of discussion between Cavil and the resurrected Ellen, and lots of discussion and exposition about the past. E15 is very much focused on explaining the past, especially Cavi'sl and Ellen's and the Final Five's past, and it is great to follow that up with The Plan which focuses a lot on Cavil, his plans, and the Final Five. You can't watch The Plan before E15 as it would spoil too much, and watching it after E16 would break the intellectual and emotional flow of the narrative.
@LightnessRacesinOrbit Re: Razor. It works WONDERFULLY just after S2E17. That's right after Lee gets command of the Pegasus, and the events in Razor on one of his first missions in charge of the Pegasus. Also, Razor focuses a lot on the crew and history of the Pegasus, and it is much better to watch that in S2 while the events of Pegasus are still fresh in the mind. Watching Razor between S3 and S4 feels incredibly disjointed, and the Starbuck parts at the end of Razor feel excessively "on the nose" coming right before S4. Have you actually tried doing a complete viewing with Razor in S2?
@Jared Very wrong. The end of S4E11 reveals the identity of the last of the Final Five. Additionally, S4E15, which you would watch right before The Plan, is almost entirely devoted to backstory and exposition regarding the last of the Final Five. Nothing is spoiled by watching The Plan after S4E15. It works perfectly there.
@AlanBarber Your list is great and I agree with every part, but I find the elipses kind of confusing. See my version here: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/a/196540/105977
@Daniel Yes, I have, and I stand by my comment! The nostalgia factor can't be underestimated and the episode -- despite its place in the chronology -- was produced to be watched after S3. It's a set up for the themes of S4. Of course if you want to watch it in chronological show order then you can
@LightnessRacesinOrbit I disagree that "it was produced to be watched after S3". BSG had a very rough outline of a story, but most of it was "made up as we go". Razor is effectively a giant retcon going into S4 and it definitely *feels* like one. There is no setup or transition following S3 that sets up an extended flashback to S2, nor is there any transition at the end of Razor that brings us back to S4. Watching it in production order is choppy and jarring, as I already said, and is a rather amateurish giant red flag saying "hey remember Starbuck has a destiny?"
@LightnessRacesinOrbit Puting Razor in its chronological order feels much more believable and organic. *Fore*shadowing works best it it comes be*fore*, and it's nice to have a series of subtle foreshadowings that come before Starbuck's death and return. At most I could agree that it would be nice to splice in a "reminder" of the events of Razor into one of the pre-episode recaps of S4, but Razor itself should be watched in S2.
@Daniel We'll have to agree to disagree. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the show in its original order!
@LightnessRacesinOrbit I enjoyed it in its original production order. I enjoyed it *more* in chronological order. I just take issue with your assertion that it's "meant" to be watched in production order. I'd only buy that if they had planned from the beginning to produce Razor between S3 and S4, instead of the far more likely scenario where they said, "hm, we should go back and add some retroactive foreshadowing to strengthen the Starbuck's destiny plot that we just now fleshed out for S4."
I would actually add on to that list: watch Caprica first (yes I know it was cancelled, but it gives a good perspective for the earlier days and how some of the BSG characters became who they were), then watch Blood and Chrome, then continue with the above-mentioned list.
@Missouri Anyone who watches Caprica and/or Blood and Chrome first might not even make it to BSG because the quality in storytelling for both of those productions is so, so far below the main run of BSG. The BSG miniseries is already a 3-hour slog for many people (the miniseries is good, but not great, and a little bit slow), and now you want to put an entire season and another movie of mediocre-quality story before they get to the real meat? I highly disagree with this. Watch BSG first, and then if you need more, watch Caprica and/or Blood and Chrome - but I really don't recommend either.
- Mini-Series (2 parts)
Hmm. It appears that another answer on this page was largely "inspired" by the Battlestar Galactica Viewing Order I created nearly four years ago :(
That episode order was actually the first to take into account all the BSG extras, like the web series, deleted scenes, extended episodes, etc. It was also the first to suggest placement of Razor and The Plan in the positions mentioned in the other answer. There was no other such list on the internet at the time.
My list was (and still is) the first result in Google if you search for "Battlestar Galactica viewing order". Two months prior to the other answer being posted, it was even featured on an episode of TekZilla.
But clearly my blog didn't come up in the other answerer's research, because if it did, I'd like to think he would have given credit where it was due... Hmm.
Anyways, here's almost all of my original blogpost. (The original viewing order is even longer -- if you're looking for the most comprehensive and spoiler-free guide on the internet, I'd recommend checking it out: Battlestar Galactica Viewing Order (No spoilers!))
Battlestar Galactica Viewing Order
- Night 1
- Night 2
- 1.01 33
- 1.02 Water
- 1.03 Bastille Day
- 1.04 Act of Contrition
- 1.05 You Can't Go Home Again
- 1.06 Litmus
- 1.07 Six Degrees of Separation
- 1.08 Flesh and Bone
- 1.09 Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
- 1.10 The Hand of God
- 1.11 Colonial Day
- 1.12 Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I
- 1.13 Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II
- 2.01 Scattered
- 2.02 Valley of Darkness
- 2.03 Fragged
- 2.04 Resistance
- 2.05 The Farm
- 2.06 Home, Part I
- 2.07 Home, Part II
- 2.08 Final Cut
- 2.09 Flight of the Phoenix
- 2.10 Pegasus (56 minute extended version)
- 2.11 Resurrection Ship, Part I
- 2.12 Resurrection Ship, Part II
- 2.13 Epiphanies
- 2.14 Black Market
- 2.15 Scar
- 2.16 Sacrifice
- 2.17 The Captain's Hand
Razor (101 minute extended version - not the 81 minute broadcast version) TV movie. If you have this on DVD or Bluray, you have the extended version.
Important note: This was originally broadcast just before Season 4, but chronologically it fits here, telling more of the Pegasus's story. Some people argue it's better to watch after Season 3, as originally broadcast, but it makes most sense to watch it here. Read here for instructions on how to avoid the unintentional spoilers in Razor..
- Optional: Razor Flashbacks
Note: This was billed as a "seven episode web series", but really they are just deleted scenes from the shorter broadcast version of Razor. In fact, most of these scenes are now reintegrated into the extended version of Razor (the one on DVD and Bluray), making what's left even more unessential. (Read more about these deleted scenes here.)
- 2.18 Downloaded
- 2.19 Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I
- 2.20 Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II
The Resistance A 10 episode web-based series bridging seasons 2 and 3. (25 mins.) This should be included on your DVDs/Blurays, but if it's not, and you're in the US, you can watch it here.
- 3.01 Occupation
- 3.02 Precipice
- 3.03 Exodus, Part I
- 3.04 Exodus, Part II
- 3.05 Collaborators
- 3.06 Torn
- 3.07 A Measure of Salvation
- 3.08 Hero
- 3.09 Unfinished Business (70 minute extended version - Note: Not included on Region 2 DVDs, but is included on ALL Bluray releases.)
- 3.10 The Passage
- 3.11 The Eye of Jupiter
- 3.12 Rapture
- 3.13 Taking a Break From All Your Worries
- 3.14 The Woman King
- 3.15 A Day in the Life
- 3.16 Dirty Hands
- 3.17 Maelstrom
- 3.18 The Son Also Rises
- 3.19 Crossroads, Part I
- 3.20 Crossroads, Part II
Razor: Yes, this again. (Well this is where Razor was originally broadcast, after all.) Watch the last 10 minutes of Razor here. (Read here more information on what moments I'm talking about.)
- 4.01 He That Believeth In Me
- 4.02 Six of One
- 4.03 The Ties That Bind
- 4.04 Escape Velocity
- 4.05 The Road Less Traveled
- 4.06 Faith
- 4.07 Guess What's Coming to Dinner?
- 4.08 Sine Qua Non
- 4.09 The Hub
- 4.10 Revelations
Season 4 Continued (aka "Season 4.5" or "The Final Season")
- 4.11 Sometimes a Great Notion
The Face of the Enemy A 10 episode web-based series (although it plays together like an intense mini-episode). (36 mins.) These episodes have not been included on any DVD or Bluray releases, but if you live in the US you can view them for free on Hulu.com.
- 4.12 A Disquiet Follows My Soul (53 minute extended version - only on Bluray releases)
- 4.13 The Oath
- 4.14 Blood on the Scales
- 4.15 No Exit
The Plan (DVD/Bluray movie) A stand-alone movie that shows (approximately) the first two seasons from the Cylons' perspective. (You finally get to see "The Plan", mentioned all those times in the opening sequence!) Although The Plan was originally released after the show had finished, it is generally agreed that it should be watched here, so that everything is all tied up when you do reach the end.
- 4.16 Deadlock
- 4.17 Someone to Watch Over Me
- 4.18 Islanded In a Stream of Stars (62 minute extended version - only on BluRay releases)
- 4.19 Daybreak (150 minute extended version - only on BluRay releases)
The Plan : This is where this DVD/Bluray movie was originally released (after the show had finished). It seems universally agreed that it's preferable to watch this after No Exit, instead of after you've finished the entire series, but there's no harm in waiting until now.
Caprica An entire TV series set 58 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica, and revealing the events surrounding the creation of the Cylons. (Although it's worth noting that you don't have to have seen BSG to watch Caprica... and some people have decided to watch this series first, even though it was produced after BSG had finished.)
Blood and Chrome This was potentially a whole new show at one stage, but it appears to be now just a stand-alone TV/web movie. The story follows the exploits of a young William Adama during the First Cylon War, and is considered a sequel to Caprica and a prequel to Battlestar Galactica.
As stated before, you can view this reading order in much more detail (and without spoilers) on my blog. Thanks.
Where does "Catch the Frak Up" fit into this?
@MichaelHampton "Catch the Frak Up" is a clip show to help people who have forgotten details from the main storyline "catch up" with that's going on. It's not part of the series chronology. It is designed to be watched after "Revelations", i.e. before Season 4.5. It's only a recap, though. It doesn't add anything you haven't already seen, but it is amusing.
I like the skeleton of your recommendations, but the details are uneccessary and overly complex.
1. You don't need to leave out the ending of Razor. It fits in fine during Season 2. There are no spoilers. Everything revealed is mystical (seeming) mumbo-jumbo fortune telling that is encoded in symbolic language. A brand new viewer has no idea what, if any of Razor's ending is significant for the future. I've shown many new BSG viewers the entirety of Razor after S2E17 with no detrimental (read: spoiler) effects on their viewing experience. Seriously, try it the next time you screen the show with a new viewer.
2. Related to Razor, you don't need to watch the Razor again, nor the last ten minutes, between Season 3 and 4. That would be silly and unbearably repetitive. It's much better when the new viewer organically and slowly pieces together the connections from "way back" in Season 2 to what is happening in Season 4. Watching Razor again before Season 4 is BIGGER "spoiler" in my opinion as it is a little to "on the nose" in terms of trying to highlight Starbuck's role. Watching all of Razor in Season 2 and leaving it there feels much more fluid and organic to the overall narrative.
3. Nobody should EVER watch The Plan after the end of the show, not even optionally. It would be completely anti-climactic and really disrupts the overall flow of the story to watch it after the show. The Season 4 ending is such an emotional climax. The Plan, on the other hand, is very interesting, and narratively important, but not particularly good on its own. It's an important footnote, but it's a footnote that is best read and digested while the interest and tension in the show is still high.
3 (cont.). Finishing the show WITHOUT The Plan is intellectually unsatisfying, because far too many story threads are left unresolved. Similarly, finishing the show by watching The Plan AFTER the Series Finale is EMOTIONALLY UNSATISFYING because you've already finished the emotional journey of the show and The Plan is just kind of meh. Putting The Plan after Episode 15 means you can finish the whole show 5 episodes later both emotionally AND intellectually satisfied. There is no other option.
In short, trim your list. Just tell people to watch all of Razor after S2 E17, remove the optional Razor between S3 and S4, and remove the optional Plan after S4. Those changes and less options and less explanations make your list more impacting AND cleaner and easier to read. I really appreciate you making your original list, and I do recall coming across it many years ago and I want to thank you for giving us this guideline, but I think you need to streamline the list and also be more confident that your original placements are the best - except the ending minutes of Razor thing.
See here where I've condensed your original list into the definitive viewing order. Short, to the point, easy to read, and no confusing options or explanations: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/a/196540/105977
I provided further commentary on why I think the muting of key scenes in Razor is unnecessary and even counter-productive in this reddit thread here: https://www.reddit.com/r/BSG/comments/9xmeee/finished_bsg_for_the_first_time_here_my/e9tqhjf/
I just start buying the series. Would you recommend starting with the 2004 remake, or watch the 1978 version too? There is also a movie Caprica. Do you recommend watching it as well, or watch just the series? +1.
The easiest way to do it is to just get the DVDs or watch it through Netflix. If you get all the DVDs, they're in order.
The mini-series came first, then the series.
Aside from that, there are two movies, "Razor" and "The Plan." "Razor" comes after season 3 and before season 4. I suppose one could make justifications for it coming at other times, but that's also the time when it was originally aired.
"The Plan" is best to wait until afterwards. It's essentially a re-telling of many of the events from the Cylon point of view. Personally, I don't feel it added much to the series, but that's just my opinion.
I kept waiting for some revelation or interesting thing to come out of "The Plan" but it was just a clip show, really.
**The Plan** was a huge let-down IMO, it's really hap-hazard and kind of low-quality.
I think the only thing "The Plan" added to the whole story came out in the conversation between the two characters that were about to be executed.
@Tangurena: Well... they were. Anyway, IMO, the best part of The Plan was the invasion sequence. Whoo!
*The Plan* was a great opportunity to enjoy Cylon No. 1, who is given among the best performances in the entire series, and is a very interesting character. I am thankful for the movie.
That's where they both make the most sense chronologically. Razor is a retcon that was broadcast between Season 3 and 4, but actually takes places in Season 2, and that's where it should be viewed. The Plan is not that great, as you said, and so it is anticlimactic to watch it *after* the climactic ending of the show. It's better to get it out of the way where it makes sense chronologically, and then finish the show with the big bang of the Series Finale.
Complete, Simplified Battlestar Galactica Viewing Order.
- Miniseries (parts 1 and 2)
- Season 1, Episodes 1 - 13 (33 through Kobol's Last Gleaming, parts 1 and 2)
- Season 2, Episodes 1 - 9 (Scattered through Flight of the Phoenix)
- Season 2, Episode 10 (Pegasus, extended version)
- Season 2, Episodes 11 - 17 (Resurrection Ship, parts 1 and 2 through The Captain's Hand)
- Razor (extended version)
- Season 2, Episodes 18 - 20 (Downloaded through Lay Down Your Burdens)
- The Resistance (webisodes)
- Season 3, Episodes 1 - 8 (Occupation through Hero)
- Season 3, Episode 9 (Unfinished Business, extended version)
- Season 3, Episodes 10 - 20 (The Passage through Crossroads, parts 1 and 2)
- Season 4, Episodes 1 - 11 (He That Believeth in Me through Sometimes a Great Notion)
- The Face of the Enemy (webisodes)
- Season 4, Episode 12 (A Disquiet Follows My Soul, extended version)
- Season 4, Episodes 13 - 15 (The Oath through No Exit)
- The Plan
- Season 4, Episodes 16 - 17 (Deadlock through Someone to Watch over Me)
- Season 4, Episode 18 ((Islanded in a Stream of Stars, extended version)
- Season 4, Series Finale, Episode 19 - 21 (Daybreak, parts 1 through 3, extended versions)
Notes for streaming services and other versions:
* Some streaming services might combine the miniseries into one part - which is fine.
* Some streaming services might combine S03E01 and S03E02 into one part - which is fine, but then it does shift all the episode numbers down by one.
* Some streaming services might combine S04E19, S04E20, and S03E21 into one part, or recombine them into two parts - which is fine.
* Some streaming services list Razor as Episodes 1 and 2 of Season 4, and then the real Episode 1 (in terms of story) and the direct continuation to the cliffhanger ending of S03E20 becomes Episode 3 of Season 4. This is because Razor was produced as the first part of Season 4's production budget, however, it chronologically belongs in Season 2 and storywise it fits perfectly there.
* Some streaming services have alternatively listed Razor at the end of Season 3 instead of at the beginning of Season 4, or as a separate movie.
* Some streaming services list The Plan at the end of Season 4 instead of as a separate movie.
* Most streaming services don't have the extended versions of Razor, nor of episodes S02E10, S03E09, S04E12, S04E18, and S04E19-E21, nor of The Resistance and The Face of the Enemy webisodes at all. You will have to search some or all of these out if you want the complete story. I've heard that the SyFy streaming service does have the extended versions, but then you also have to deal with the joy of commercials. The best way to get all the available media is by buying the Blu-ray boxsets, but beware that some versions of the boxsets don't have The Plan and unfortunately no versions (except an obscure Japanese release) have The Face of the Enemy. You may have to turn to less savory or more "grey" areas to find some versions. The webisodes, for example, are commonly available on video-sharing websites like youtube.com or dailymotion.com.
* You may find extended versions alternately listed as "Director's Cut", "Unrated" version, or "Uncut" version.
* You may find The Resistance and The Face of the Enemy webisodes in the original release format of ten 3-minute webisodes, or as one 30-minute presentation.
@Jenayah This is effectively the same order the first two answers suggest. I've only made it shorter, more streamlined, and a little less confusing. I've removed the elipses from the first answer and removed the options and explanations from the second answer. For more insight into my thought processes you can read the comments that I made below the first and second answers. There's basically only two accepted orders in which to watch the show: 1. the broadcast order (meh), 2. the order I've posted above (which is what the other two answers also posted plus some inconsequential details)
-1; this is in no way superior to any of the already posted answers. Stripping out the reasoning is not an improvement.
My perspective on this is that the list is for a brand new viewer that has no idea where to start or what to watch or in what order. My list's improvement in comparison to the other two answers is a mixture of improving formatting and streamlining content to make it easier and more clear for a newcomer to understand and follow. My answer in terms of content is actually very similar to the highest rated answer, but I find the excessive use of ellipses to be a little confusing and busy on the eyes, not to mention lacking in clarity.
Why do you even need ellipses after the Mini-series or Season 1 for instance? It's just clutter and wasted space. Also, there is a lack of clear starting and ending points. For example, for season 2 my directions are to watch episodes 1 through 9, watch an extended version of episode 10, watch episodes 11 through 17, watch Razor, then watch episodes 18 through 20. There's no way anyone would misunderstand those clear, well-defined steps.
In comparison, the top rated answer could *possibly* be misunderstood to mean that in season 2 you should only watch episode 17, Razor, Razor Flashbacks, and then episode 18. I doubt anyone would actually be that dumb, but the point is you have to infer, or figure out, exactly what all those ellipses mean, and that might result in errors for someone completely new to the show. My only real criticism of that first answer then is the formatting, which I have improved by making the list physically shorter, straight to the point, and with clear beginnings and endings for each step.
I think the footnote about *The Plan* is unnecessary, because a brand new viewer would have no context with which to understand the explanation or the options, but since it is left after the end of the list, it's not a big deal either way. Note that there is a slight difference in content with my list: I expressly alert the reader to the extended versions of episodes, which the new viewer is not made aware of in the first list. Conversely, I don't include the Razor flashbacks because I don't think they add much, and there is no smooth way to include them in a chronological viewing.
As for the second answer, I think the main problem is information overload. There's simply too much detail, too many optional viewing choices, too much explanation about why you should watch something in a certain order, and frankly I disagree with some of the suggestions. My specific complaints are: 1. There's no need to list every individual episode, especially when there are no alternate versions.
2. There's no need to explain why a new viewer should watch something in a certain order - they have no context to understand the choice and giving them that choice will just cause anxiety and analysis paralysis. Just choose the best order and give them that. Keep it simple. 3. I strongly disagree with the content choice to mute the end of *Razor* - it's unnecessary and clunky and counterproductive. 4. I disagree with any option to watch *Razor* between season 3 and 4. 5. I strongly disagree with any option to watch *The Plan* after the show's end.
6. *Caprica* and *Blood and Chrome* are not worth mentioning. Now, I should note that I first ran across the second list a year or two or three after the show ended, and it really inspired me to think about the perfect viewing order, and I definitely owe 95% of my viewing order to that original list, so I give much respect to that original list author. But that brings me to my next point and to your complaint about me "stripping out" my "reasoning". I found that original detailed list to be an interesting guide, and discussion, and reference *as someone who had already watched the show*.
Remember how I started this series of comments by saying I made my list with the objective of introducing a brand new viewer to the show. Toward that end my objective was to keep it as short and simple and dummy-proof as possible and to avoid overwhelming someone with no idea about the show's original broadcast order with too many options and details. *For people who have already seen the show* a discussion of what order to watch the show in *and why* is a completely different situation.
*For fans of the show who have already seen the whole thing all the way through*, I could see a detailed reference like the second answer being more useful and interesting, and would serve as a point from which to launch a discussion on pros and cons of certain viewing order choices. Note, though, that the original question which started this thread was from someone looking to watch the whole show through from beginning to end *for the first time*. That said, I feel that the *comments* are the more appropriate place to discuss reasonings about why one viewing order is better than another.
And that's exactly what I've done. In fact, I think it is strange that you complain that I have "stripped out" my "reasoning" when I've actually provided more reasoning on my thought processes throughout this thread than anyone else. Probably to an excessive degree. In short, the list in my answer is short, sweet, to the point, uncluttered and clear for *new viewers* while my many comments are for *fans who have already seen the show* and provide plenty of justifications for any differences in my list formatting and content versus the other two answers.
For example, you can see my many comments under the second answer to see exactly why I disagree with muting any of *Razor*, or why I disagree with watching *The Plan* after the show's Series Finale.
Another way to view the utility of the list in my answer is that it is a more succinct summary of the much more in-depth, but definitely longer and possibly overwhelming second answer. Anyone seeking more information or more options after reading my list could consult the second answer. There's no reason they can't complement each other.