Sunday Matinee: Glen A. Larson

Battlestar GalacticaGlen A. Larson passed away this weekend at the age of 77. For those who don’t know, Larson was a prolific TV writer and producer whose body of work was mostly in the 1970’s and ’80s.

His biggest hits were Quincy, M.E., Battlestar Galactica, Magnum, P.I. and Knight Rider, although he flooded TV sets with a ton of shorter lived shows throughout the ’80s. Manimal about a man who can change into any animal, Automan about a crime fighting hologram and The Highwayman which was kind of cross between Knight Rider and Mad Max were just some of the “jems” that Larson came up with.

The success of Star Wars allowed him to get Battlestar Galactica made. Larson had been working with Star Trek writer Gene L. Coon on a sci-fi series called Adama’s Ark. It contained several of Larson’s Mormon beliefs. The show was reworked and renamed into Battlestar Galactica. It was about the last survivors of a distant human colony that have been fighting robots called Cylons. The remaining humans are looking for a missing colony where they can hopefully find a new home. The TV pilot was released theatrically to mild success which helped the show but it still only lasted for one season. Larson then recycled sets, props and effects for another attempt to cash in on Star Wars, the revival of pulp hero Buck Rogers. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century also managed to get a theatrical release but it only lasted two seasons on TV.

Throughout Larson’s career he was accessed of making “knock-offs” of more popular movies for his TV shows which is true but Battlestar Galactica found even more success when the series was remade in the 2000’s. The rest all have cult followings, heck even Manimal is slated for a remake. Larson might not have been original in his ideas but he did strike a cord with audiences.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.