Underneath the explosive special effects, "Battlestar Galactica" examines what it means to be human, in all its facets.
Executive producers Ronald D. Moore, David Eick and their co-writers have used the series to explore the sustaining and destructive power of religion, the ways in which crises bring out our best and most deplorable instincts, and how far we'll go to survive.
The will to survive is the story's spine, personified in every episode by the stalwart Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos), President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), the headstrong Kara Thrace
(Katee Sackhoff) and Adama's driven son Lee (Jamie Bamber).
But Adama and Roslin wrestle with Galactica's priorities more than the others. Their job is to
ensure the survival of the human race, but each challenge forces a struggle to maintain their humanity in spite of desperation and temptation.
Thus our second season introduction to Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes), the ruthless leader of Battlestar Pegasus, shocked the system of "Battlestar" watchers. Cain, whose command at last receives a close examination in the two-hour extended episode "Battlestar Galactica: Razor," was everything Adama is not. She cared nothing about being loved, seeing fear as a more effective
leadership tool. She did unspeakable things, without hesitation, to her own
people as well as the Cylons.