The Battlestar Galactica Miniseries is a three-hour miniseries (comprising four broadcast hours) starring Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell, written and produced by Ronald D. Moore and directed by Michael Rymer. It was the first part of the Battlestar Galactica remake based on the 1978 Battlestar Galactica television series and served as a backdoor pilot for the 2004 television series. The miniseries aired originally on the Sci Fi Channel in the United States starting on December 8, 2003. The two parts of the miniseries attracted 3.9 and 4.5 million viewers, making the miniseries the third-most-watched program on Syfy.
"The Cylons were created by man."
They were created to make life easier on the Twelve Colonies
And then the day came when the cylons decided to kill their masters.
After a long bloody battle an armistice was declared.
A remote space station was built...
...where Cylon and Human could meet and maintain diplomatic relations.
Every year, the colonials send an officer.
The Cylons send no one.
No one has seen or heard from the Cylons in over forty years."-Intro Captions
After a long and bloody war known as the Cylon War between the Twelve Colonies (the homeworlds populated by humans) and the Cylons (human-created robots who rebelled against them), an armistice was signed. The Cylons left Colonial space and avoided all contact with humankind for 40 years, up until the events depicted in the miniseries and, later, the first season (and all that followed).
The Battlestar Galactica, an aging Battlestar (battleship/carrier hybrid warship) under the command of Commander William Adama that had fought in the Cylon War, is being prepared for decommissioning and conversion into a museum. For this, her starboard flight pod has been closed off and converted into a museum and a squadron of old Viper Mark II fighters installed for display. The Colonies' Secretary of Education, Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) arrives on the passenger transport Colonial Heavy 798 to attend the decommissioning ceremony - Adama's son, Captain Lee Adama, reluctantly arrives as well to participate in the ceremony, having held a grudge against his father for some time prior to the events of the miniseries due to the death of his brother, Zak Adama, during a training exercise as a pilot.
The Cylons launch a surprise assault intended to exterminate the human race. Virtually all of the population of the Twelve Colonies are wiped out from extensive nuclear bombing on all colonies. Almost all of the Colonial Fleet's defensive units were disabled due to a backdoor in the new Command Navigation Program, a relatively new operating system now in widespread use among Colonial ships civilian and military alike, which left ships vulnerable to Cylon infiltration. The backdoor was introduced by Number Six (Tricia Helfer), a Cylon humanoid in the form of a human woman; she seduced the famous scientist Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) and exploited their relationship to add a secret backdoor to the as well as complete access to all Colonial Fleet systems and information under the cover of an insider contract bid.
During her decades of colonial service, the Galactica's computer systems had never been networked, nor had the offending CNP software ever been loaded into memory. Thanks to this, the Galactica is unaffected by Cylon sabotage, allowing it to survive while the remainder of the fleet is decimated by Cylon forces, having been shut down before being able to respond. However, Galactica also supported a modern, CNP enabled squadron of Viper Mark VII fighters, all of which were disabled and promptly destroyed by Cylon forces; the Raptor accompanying them, crewed by pilot Sharon Valerii, callsign "Boomer", (Grace Park) and ECO Karl C. Agathon, callsign "Helo", (Tahmoh Penikett) is damaged in the engagement and is forced to land briefly for repairs on the planet Caprica. A group of survivors notice them; they offer to evacuate a small group of survivors, mainly children along with three randomly-selected adults. Helo, noticing Baltar in the crowd, decides to remain on the stricken planet, giving up his seat to evacuate Baltar, whom he believes to be of more use to the surviving human race than a mere Raptor ECO. Meanwhile, back aboard the Galactica, Its commander, William Adama (Edward James Olmos), assumes command of the few remaining assets of the Colonial Fleet; he decides to make an FTL (Faster-Than-Light) jump to the Ragnar Anchorage, a military armory station where the Galactica can resupply itself with weaponry and essential supplies to get it back into fighting shape.
Meanwhile, aboard the passenger transport vessel Colonial Heavy 798 now departing Galactica after the ceremony's conclusion, word is received about the widespread attacks on the Colonies. An automated message is received stating the initiation of 'Case Orange' - that most of the government has been incapacitated and that all remaining government officials should report in. Despite being 43rd in the line of succession, Roslin is the only person to respond to the signal, and is soon sworn in officially as President. After finding Boomer's Raptor, the ship - now "Colonial One" - is in a position to coordinate the rescue of stranded ships, which have become sitting ducks due to military orders they remain in their space-lanes as stationary as possible. When Colonial One picks up Cmdr. Adama's order for surviving ships to rendezvous at Ragnar, Apollo voices his objection on wireless, taking the President's orders to rescue stranded ships more importantly. During the conversation, two Raiders make their approach on DRADIS. Cmdr. Adama watches from CIC as they approach the shuttle, only to disappear in a registered EMP indicating they died in a nuclear blast.