Great points, as always Sam.
I can see your point about the transition from small to big screen, and I fully appreciate that technology has gotten tv to the point where visual levels rival that of the big screen, but that is why, to a small degree, I find it difficult to appreciate such a movie on the big screen. I suppose I should look with better eyes than this.
O-man, I wouldn't necessarily say that the original Galactica series was a "kids' show". It was kid friendly (like Star Wars), but that's not necessarily the same thing.
The show actually was intended to have a much more mature approach to many of its themes, but Standards and Practices at the time put the kibosh on that.
Galactica 1980 is where it really bit the bullet. Apparently Glen Larson had other ideas for G80, ones that would've truly expanded on the original series, but ABC and S&P were like "if this show is going to air during family hour on Sundays, then it needs to have educational value and appeal for our younger viewers. It needs to have kids in it so kids can relate." Supposedly, Larson replied to the effect of: "You want kids?! I'll give you so many kids it'll make you sick!" And thus the annoying Super Scouts and Doctor Zee were born. So, a noble effort was given a snub, and shot in the foot before it ever even got fully off the ground...didn't even last half a season.
Originally, the BSG series was intended to be a series of telemovies aired every three to six months...but ABC liked the pilot so much that it ordered a weekly series...this proved to be a detriment to a great idea.