Podcast: The Politics of ‘Battlestar Galactica’

While many people think of Battlestar Galactica as your typical space opera, the show was much more than that during its five-year run on Sci Fi. The program dealt with difficult issues such as the ambiguity of terrorism, living under an occupying power, torture, the limits of government and the danger of a police state.


Aaron Douglas, who played Chief Gaylen Tyrol on the show, was in Salt Lake City recently for Comic Con Fan X.

He says the cast members of the show often saw the program as a political thriller, referring to it as “The West Wing in outer space.”

“Ron (Moore) wanted to hold up a mirror to society,” says Douglas. “What’s going on in the world today is still relevant to the show. In 50, 60 or even 70 years you could flip on Battlestar and it’s still going to resonate.”

A prominent storyline featured humans who had to resort to suicide bombing and terrorism against an occupying power. Douglas says that moral ambiguity was thrilling to approach as an artist.

“As a human being living on Earth and watching the news every night, I would often say ‘are we really going to do this? Are we really doing this?’ and we would have discussions about it.”

Battlestar came out in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, which gave it a gravitas that still hits home today, and will continue in the future.

“We’re humans,” says Douglas. “It’s what we do. Sometimes we do really terrible things to each other, but other times we have moments of amazing beauty and kindness.”

Listen to a podcast of a conversation with Douglas here.