I had an epiphany while watching Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica “re-imagining” in 2004, an epiphany that, in retrospect, revealed that this was the beginning of a new era in pop culture. I mean, there was plenty of hype at the time that said that Battlestar Galactica was the beginning of a new era in pop culture, but none of it quite put its finger on what made the BSG TV series unique. It wasn’t just that it was a big-budget version of what had once been kitschy sci-fi.
The cycle of genre fiction existing in the ghetto of plastic sets and B-list actors that inspires a big-budget “real” movie that then inspires more plastic-set TV knockoffs—that was old, as old as the cycle that led to Star Trek paving the way for Star Wars paving the way for the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica.
Claims that BSG was unique because it was “serious” science fiction with a “social conscience” were also spurious—trying to make social or political points with SF is as old as SF itself, and there were tons of classics of the genre that tried to address current events with hamfisted earnestness. If anything, Star Wars was a big deal when it released because of how little of a political message it had compared to its contemporaries like Soylent Green or Logan’s Run.