Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What Isaac Asimov Really Thought About Battlestar Galactica

Yes, you're reading that right: Isaac Asimov did indeed watch "Battlestar Galactica," as silly as that might sound. It's safe to say that without Asimov, there would never have been a "Battlestar Galactica" in the first place. That said, the original "Battlestar" is an altogether different kind of sci-fi than Grandmaster Asimov liked to purvey.

Asimov was, for all intents and purposes, a genius. He was accepted at Columbia University at just 15 years old, and graduated at the age of 19 in 1939 (via Encyclopedia Britannica). By 1949, he had earned advanced degrees, and was teaching biochemistry at Boston University (a position he would later abandon to pursue writing). His written works are some of the most influential in all of science fiction, particularly the story collection "I, Robot," and his "Foundation" series. He wrote and edited nearly 500 books, and was instrumental in the development of the science fiction genre from the 1950s all the way up to his death in 1992.

Here's what Asimov had to say about "Battlestar Galactica."

The worst review imaginable

When "Battlestar Galactica" launched in 1978, the comparisons between the television series and "Star Wars" (1977) were inescapable. The overwhelming success of "Star Wars" was directly responsible for Universal's decision to greenlight "Battlestar Galactica," and the similarities seemed so stark at the time that 20th Century Studios — then 20th Century Fox — eventually ended up suing Universal Pictures for copyright infringement (via The Hollywood Reporter).

These copyright issues were so egregious that even Isaac Asimov chimed in to rip on the similarities between the two films. In an interview with radio host Phil Konstantin in 1979, Asimov discussed his disappointment in "Battlestar Galactica," saying, "I thought 'Battlestar Galactica' was such a close imitation of 'Star Wars,' emphasizing the less attractive portions, that I was a little impatient with it" (via Southwest Airlines Magazine). 

He went on to criticize the film's scientific inaccuracies, specifically when it came to spaceflight. "['Battlestar Galactica'] started off with twenty to thirty minutes of space battles which looked exactly like air battles in World War I," he said. "You could swear that the space ships were surrounded by air the way they maneuvered. One felt it was unworthy ... it is as if people in the 1880s were writing fantasy stories about airplanes of the future."

From a man who could have filled an entire library with sci-fi stories, the fact that the film seemed to genuinely irritate him with its scientific inaccuracies and rehashed storyline is just about the worst review "Battlestar Galactica" could have gotten.