In 1978, Universal TV released a science fiction phenom called “Battlestar Galactica.” Essentially a story about an evil empire that destroyed all but the last vestiges of humanity, it carried a history and following rivaled only at the time by Star Trek (Star Wars fandom from “A New Hope” was only getting off of the ground at the time). However, despite the high ratings and awards that this show would get, it proved to be an expensive show to produce – especially in terms of visual effects, and Universal had the show canceled after its debut season.
As many years would pass, Battlestar Galactica would enjoy success in the syndication market.
Much like the shows of the time, “Battlestar” had a somewhat diverse cast on the surface. Following the lead that Star Trek set before it, African-Americans were featured in space actually being “human” and not “streetwise” Blacks. For African-Americans, this would represent a first step in what was supposed to be a change in the present-day thinking of the American public. Galactica tries to follow in these footsteps.
However, as with Star Trek before it, while African-Americans are shown as part of the future, most of the time, it is as part of the background. In Star Trek, Lt. Uhura was rarely featured as a member of any of the landing parties, nor did she have any substantial or significant role in many episodes that required her expertise. These next few entries will look at Battlestar Galactica (TOS) and how African-American characters in particular were shown, portrayed, and treated within the context of the show itself.