Former “Battlestar Galactica” star Katee Sackhoff is returning to space after a 10-year absence.
“After ‘Battlestar Galactica’ it was really daunting for me to go back into this genre,” says Sackhoff, 39, who played Starbuck on the Sci-Fi (now Syfy) cult series. “The fans of that show have been so supportive, and I was a little scared to screw it up,” she says. “I grew up watching science fiction with my dad. It’s where my first love always was. So I’d been looking for the right thing.”
That turned out to be “Another Life” (July 25 on Netflix). The 10-episode sci-fi thriller, in which Sackhoff stars (she also produces), follows an expedition of astronauts — led by her character Niko Breckinridge — on a mission to investigate the source of an alien artifact that mysteriously appears on earth in the opening scene.
Adding an extra layer to the drama is that Niko must leave behind her young daughter (Lina Renna, “The 100”) and husband (Justin Chatwin, “Shameless”), a researcher who’s studying the artifact on the ground while his wife is chasing its origin among the stars.
“Another Life,” co-starring Selma Blair and Tyler Hoechlin (“Teen Wolf”), is Sackhoff’s first small-screen return to outer space since “Battlestar Galactica” ended. The franchise originated on ABC in 1978; the Sci-Fi iteration featuring Sackhoff aired from 2004-09. She’s also appeared on “24” and “The Flash,” but “Battlestar” was her breakout, since Sackhoff was just 21 when she began the now-iconic role of Captain Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace, a hot-headed fighter pilot.
“Starbuck was a role model for me,” she says. “I got the role when I was 21 and finished playing her when I was 28. I grew up as a young woman playing her and using so many of her characteristics as tools on how to form myself.
“What I’m most proud of is that so many young girls and women and men did the exact same thing,” she says. “Her strength and her vulnerability are beautiful attributes anybody should hope to possess.”
That’s why Sackhoff says she doesn’t resent the inevitable comparisons to her other roles, even though Niko is a very different character.
“Niko isn’t Starbuck. I love that she’s analytical and flawed. At its core, [‘Another Life’] is a show about family and relationships and how far you’ll go to protect the people you love, and that’s what drew me to it.
“There are always going to be comparisons [between Niko and Starbuck],” she says. “It’s a blessing and a curse. There are comparisons between Starbuck and [my character Vic from A&E’s ‘Longmire’] who’s in a completely different genre … People are always going to find similarities to the character that they fell in love with you as. That, to me, is totally fine.
“Somebody said to me the other day, ‘Do you feel like you’ve been pigeonholed?’ and I was like, ‘There are worse things to be typecast as than a very strong woman.’ When I first started in this business, the roles like this were few and far between. Now there’s so many of them.
“I feel lucky to be part of it.”
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