‘Battlestar Galactica’ Comes to Prime Video: 15 Essential Episodes

Jamie Bamber as Apollo and Edward James Olmos as Adama in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Buffs of Syfy’s reimagined Battlestar Galactica can revisit the 2003 miniseries that started it all, the 2004–2009 series that captivated the story, and even a 2009 TV movie (The Plan) that filled in plot details — now that all three are streaming on Prime Video.

As a whole, this Battlestar version is revered as one of the greatest sci-fi series of all time. It spun a yarn of resilience, sacrifice, morality, deception, faith, and what it even means to be human, all in the guise of a human-versus-robot battle royale.

But that doesn’t mean every episode is a winner. If installments like Season 2’s much-derided “Black Market” have you chanting the mantra “There must be some kind of way outta here,” just point your Prime Video app to the episodes below, our picks for BSG’s most important chapters. (Spoilers ahead!)

Alessandro Juliani as Felix Gaeta and Edward James Olmos as Adama in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Battlestar Galactica Miniseries, Parts 1 & 2

This miniseries and backdoor pilot, exposition-heavy though it may be, introduces viewers to the updated Battlestar Galactica as the Cylons nuke the Twelve Colonies of Kobol and debilitate most of the colonies’ fleet, leaving Roslin (Mary McDonnell) president and Adama (Edward James Olmos) admiral of the remaining vessels. Adama promises the survivors that they’ll find the much-fabled Earth, but they have two traitors in their midst: Baltar (James Callis), who knows he’s a Cylon collaborator, and Boomer (Grace Park), who doesn’t know she’s a Cylon herself.

Jamie Bamber as Apollo in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 1, Episode 1: “33”

Just under 50,000 humans have survived the Cylon apocalypse, but now they’re being relentlessly chased across the galaxy. Somehow, the Cylons are tracking their jumps and showing up every 33 minutes. After days of little sleep, Adama and his frayed crew finally determine the enemy has been tracking one of the civilian ships, and it’s up to Apollo (Jamie Bamber) and Starbuck (Katie Sackhoff) to destroy it. Trouble is, there’s no confirmation that there aren’t innocent souls aboard…

Grace Park as Boomer in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 1, Episode 13: “Kobol’s Last Gleaming (Part 2)”

The discovery of a habitable planet believed to be Kobol, the birthplace of humanity, divides Adama and Roslin, and Apollo defies dad Adama by taking Roslin’s side. Meanwhile, on the nuclear wasteland that is the former colony Caprica, Starbuck finds the lost lieutenant Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) and a copy of Boomer and realizes the latter has been a Cylon all along. The Galactica copy of Boomer has come to the same conclusion, but she still can’t stop the programming that causes her to shoot Adama point blank in this arresting season finale.

Michelle Forbes as Helena Cain in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 2, Episode 10: “Pegasus”

When another Battlestar ship miraculously appears, it seems like a gift from the gods. (Gods, plural — the Twelve Colonies were a polytheistic society, after all.) Battlestar Pegasus managed to survive the apocalypse and the time since, thanks to the cunning of Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes). But the Galactica crew soon realize Cain’s tactics are tyrannical. She sat by while her crew members tortured and sexually assaulted a copy of humanoid Cylon Number Six (Tricia Helfer) named Gina, she executed a subordinate for insubordination, and she threatens to do the same with Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) and Helo after they save Boomer from Gina’s fate.

Tricia Helfer as Six in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 2, Episode 18: “Downloaded”

Who are the monsters here? After being “downloaded” into new bodies, the Caprica copy of Six (who was destroyed in the nuclear apocalypse) and the Galactica copy of Boomer (who was fatally shot by a crew member after trying to assassinate Adama) bond over a remorse for their sins and resolve to change Cylon strategy. Meanwhile, on board Galactica, the defector version of Boomer gives birth to her and Helo’s child, Hera. But Roslin, fearful of a half-Cylon baby, fakes Hera’s death, an “unforgivable sin” that enrages the version of Six in Baltar’s head.

James Callis as Gaius Baltar in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 2, Episode 20: “Lay Down Your Burdens (Part 2)”

In the second half of the Season 2 finale, Baltar wins the presidential election, despite attempted ballot-rigging by Roslin, who’s convinced her opponent is working with the Cylons. As president, Baltar makes it the first order of the day to settle on a habitable planet dubbed New Caprica, despite qualms that it’s a Cylon trap. It isn’t, as it turns out, but the Cylons find New Caprica anyway more than a year later. Lee and Adama, realizing they’re outgunned, order the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus to jump away. And Baltar, brave man that he is, immediately surrenders to New Caprica’s new robotic overlords.

Michael Hogan as Tigh in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 3, Episodes 4: “Exodus (Part 2)”

The New Caprica occupation comes to a thrilling end as Adama puts Galactica into a free fall in the planet’s lower atmosphere to launch Viper fighters directly into the fray, aiding the human resistance on the ground. And later, when Galactica is back in outer space and surrounded by Cylons, Apollo and the Pegasus come to its rescue. Humanity is saved but a personal cost: Tigh (Michael Hogan) mercy-kills wife Ellen (Kate Vernon), Starbuck realizes her daughter isn’t actually her daughter, and Roslin hears that Hera didn’t make it off the planet.

Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 3, Episodes 19 & 20: “Crossroads (Parts 1 & 2)”

Gaius is tried for his complicity with the Cylons, and during that trial, Tigh admits to killing Ellen and Roslin reveals that her cancer has returned. Meanwhile, Tigh, Anders, Tyrol, and Tory (Rekha Sharma) all start hearing the same song — improbably, a version of Jimi Hendrix’s take on “All Along the Watchtower” — which leads them to the inescapable conclusion that they are four of the so-called “Final Five” humanoid Cylon models. And Starbuck, who apparently died in her Viper earlier in the season, returns looking hale and healthy in an intact Viper, telling Lee she knows where Earth is.

Grace Park as Boomer and Lucy Lawless as D'Anna in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 4, Episode 10: “Revelations”

Talk about revelations! Amid negotiations between Roslin and humanoid Cylon Number Three a.k.a. D’Anna Biers (Lucy Lawless) aboard a Cylon Basestar, Tory reveals herself as one of the Final Five in this midseason finale. Meanwhile, on board the Galactica, Tigh confides to a shocked Adama that he, too, is Cylon. Adama orders Tigh’s execution, but the resurrected Starbuck interrupts the proceedings with her hunch that an intercepted signal could point the way to Earth. That Earth, however, turns out to be another nuked planet.

Kandyse McClure as Dualla in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 4, Episode 11: “Sometimes a Great Notion”

Examining the radioactive Earth, the Galactica crew and their rebel Cylon collaborators realize that the “13th tribe” that populated the planet millennia before was a tribe of Cylons. On the surface of that Earth, the resurrected Starbuck finds her own corpse and the remains of her destroyed Viper. Dualla (Kandyse McClure), hiding insurmountable anguish, has one more happy date with estranged husband Lee before fatally shooting herself. And Tigh realizes that Ellen is the final member of the Final Five.

Mary McDonnell as Roslin and Edward James Olmos as Adama in 'Battlestar Galactica'

Season 4, Episodes 19–21: “Daybreak (Parts 1–3)”

Galactica goes out with all guns blazing, as does Battlestar Galactica in a polarizing three-part series finale. Adama plots the ship on a one-way course to rescue Hera from the enemy Cylons, who consider her the key to their reproduction. A vicious space battle ensues, and in the end, both the Galactica and the Cylon Colony veer toward a singularity. Starbuck saves the Galactica, getting divine inspiration for the coordinates that finally locate a planet they name Earth. But — surprise, surprise — that version of Earth is populated by primitive humans. Their missions fulfilled, Starbuck vanishes into thin air and Roslin succumbs to cancer. And the rest of the survivors restart human civilization from the ground up with hopes that it’ll turn out better this time around.