The American television writer and producer Glen A Larson has died at the age of 77.
TV Line reports that the prolific writer and producer has passed away after a battle with cancer. Glen. A Larson wrote, produced and created a string of memorable television dramas, across all genres, on American television.
In terms of the science fiction genre his most significant contribution was the creation of Battlestar Galactica. The original series ran for a single season in 1978 and starred Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict. The sci-fi series, which drew inspiration from biblical stories, was considered a “rip-off” from Star Wars; so much so that a lawsuit was launched because of the assumed similarities.
Battlestar Galactica was axed due to tumbling ratings but was later revived by ABC for a short-lived sequel series Galactica 1980. Larson had campaigned for his creation to be given a second chance and ABC relented and revived the series but it was shunted to a children’s slot and its budget was slashed. Only Lorne Greene returned to be part of the regular cast although Dirk Benedict did appear in the final episode. Galactica 1980 was axed after just a handful of episodes and fans prefer to forget its existence.
Battlestar Galactica was subject to several further revival attempts over the decades, notably by cast member Richard Hatch, before it was successfully re-imagined for the Sci-Fi Channel (as it was then) by Ron Moore. The “re-imaging” was a critical and ratings success and ran for four seasons and spawned the prequel Caprica. Richard Hatch played the recurring role of terrorist Tom Zarek in the re-imaged series.
However, Battlestar Galactica is by no means the most famous of Glen A Larson’s many creations. 1980s favourite Knight Rider, which starred David Hasselhoff, was another notable hit by Larson as was the private eye series Magnum P.I. The series, co-created with Donald P. Bellisario (who collaborated with Larson on many projects) starred Tom Selleck and ran for eight seasons between 1980 and 1988.
In 1979 Larson made another foray into the science-fiction genre with his adaptation of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century which he co-created with Leslie Stevens. The sci-fi, based on the comics, ran for two seasons and was commissioned to capitalise on the success of Star Wars and audiences appetite for space opera. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century re-used many of the props from the cancelled Battlestar Galactica.
Amongst Larson’s many other credits are NightMan, Quincy M.E, One West Waikiki, The Fall Guy and Switch.