Frak yeah—the crew of the Battlestar Galactica will live to see another year.
The Sci Fi Channel hit has been renewed for a fourth season with a minimum 13-episode order, tentatively set to premiere in January 2008.
The series, currently nearing the end of its third, critically acclaimed season, will kick off production on the new episodes this summer.
"While we never had any doubt that Sci Fi would get behind a fourth season of Battlestar, it's thrilling to finally make it official, and for Ron and I to continue using this great genre to investigate the darker corners of society, politics and humanity," the series' exec producer, David Eick, said.
The show, a darker update of the campy 1970s series, follows the few survivors of the human race sailing through space in what may be a fruitless search for the mythical planet Earth after Cylon robots revolted and virtually nuked humanity out of existence. And, despite its pedigree, the show has managed to appeal to far more than just the Star Trek set.
Last year, the series nabbed a Peabody Award and has, for the past two years, been named one of the American Film Institute's 10 Outstanding Television Programs.
"We're thrilled to bring Battlestar back for another season," said Mark Stern, Sci Fi's VP of programming. "This series has delivered on every level—from the writing to the acting to the production values."
To the hotness of the cast.
Last year, a clip of a locker-room scene in which series star Jamie Bamber (Apollo) appeared clad in a towel—and a small one at that—made the rounds on scores of video-sharing and gossip sites and appeared to achieve the desired effect.
This season, after a time slot switch from Friday to Sunday nights, Battlestar Galactica's ratings grew to 1.7 million viewers and saw a significant boost to its female viewership.
Of course, the male viewership is just fine, too. The Jan. 28 episode, "Taking a Break from All Your Worries," drew 2.5 million viewers—the most for the series in two years. Not coincidentally, Tricia Helfer (Number Six) was gracing the cover of Playboy at the time.
The current season wraps up next month, but there's still plenty of drama ready to be packed into the remaining few episodes.
[Spoilers ahead—consider yourself warned.]
Network publicist Lana Kim describes the Mar. 4 episode, titled "Maelstrom," as "huge." By season's end, one of the main characters will be revealed as a Cylon and another may be killed off. We also will learn more of Starbuck's (Katee Sackhoff) backstory.
And for those fans still hankering for more of the heavenly bodies, series mastermind Ronald Moore may have just the trick. A pilot for Caprica, Moore's prequel to Battlestar Galactica, is currently making the development rounds at the Sci Fi Channel.
"It's up to the network," he told E! Online TV columnist Kristin Veitch. "They have the script, and they've said they're very excited about it, so now we just sit and wait."
Battlestar Galactica's third season finale airs Mar. 25.