With remarkably consistent quality, each of these 13 episodes deepens the dynamics of these fascinating characters and suspenseful situations. While BG relies on finely nuanced performances, solid direction, and satisfying personal and political drama to build its strong emotional foundation, the action/adventure elements are equally impressive, especially in "The Hand of God," a pivotal episode in which the show's dazzling visual effects get a particularly impressive showcase. Original BG series star Richard Hatch appears in two politically charged episodes (he's a better actor now, too), and with the threat of civil war among the fleet, season 1 ends with an exceptional cliffhanger that's totally unexpected while connecting the plot threads of all preceding episodes. To the credit of everyone involved, this is frackin' good television.
The fifth disc in Battlestar Galactica's season 1 set is highlighted by eight comprehensive featurettes covering all aspects of the series, from its miniseries origins to standard surveys of production design, visual effects, and particulars of plot and character. For hardcore fans and anyone interested in TV production, nine out of 13 episodes, plus the disc 1 miniseries, are accompanied by intelligent and informative commentary originally provided as BG website podcasts, mostly by series developer and writer Ronald D. Moore, who provides tantalizing clues about developments in season 2. The "Series Lowdown" is a cast-and-crew promotional program originally broadcast to attract SciFi Channel viewers who were initially reluctant to embrace a "reimagined" Battlestar Galactica. The strategy worked: First-season ratings left no doubt that the new BG was as good as--and in many ways better than--the original. --Jeff Shannon
There was a UK release of Season 1 without the Miniseries (also sold in North America by Best Buy only) which is why a separate mini-series only disk exists. You do not need to buy it though with the North American Season 1 Box set.
The series is really a space drama revolving around the relationships between characters. It does not get dull at any point, and manages to strike a great balance between action and dialogues. You'll see a bit more character interaction than full-out action sequences but trust me...this series is not dry at all. It's also not cliche like I find many sci-fi series are. Plot twists and complications galore, including a major surprise at the end which actually startled me. You'll also see that many characters are not entirely good or bad, but rather struggling to survive. It's interesting to see a sci-fi that's not afraid to have many shades of grey characters instead of the forumulaic "good guys vs. bad guys" war story.
The series also avoids the many trappings of a sci-fi series ie: it does not rely too much on unknown technology and plot devices to further itself. Sure there are space fighters and such, but the weapons used are a little more believable. Nukes are still around and in use, rather than theoretical weapons that many other series use. The rifles and handguns are also not entirely the stuff of fairy tales, they represent what could believably be in use decades from now. Battlestar Galactica offers a vision of the future which still manages to echo current technology. The realistic touch to the sci-fi genre is much appreciated.
Speaking of realism the special effects in this series are top notch. You'll see recycled sequences such as fighters being launched and landing, but the computer effects are extremely good. The Cylons look good and the actors react well to their presence, the result of great directing.
I really felt I got my money's worth with this set. You get the 3 hour pilot episode aka "Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries" plus all the episodes from the regular season. There are also some great featurettes on how they came up with the look of the show and character changes from the original series from the 70's. All in all you get about 8 hours of special features.
The only downside I've experienced is introducing friends to the series. All your ranting about how good it is gets stalled when you have to explain that your friend must take a chance on a 3 hour episode to get into the story!