UPDATE: Per MediaWeeek's Marc Berman, the season two premiere of "Battlestar: Galactica" in July of 2005 drew 3.1 million viewers. So the season three premiere audience of 2.2 million is a drop of 900,000 viewers or a massive 30%. That is quite disappointing, but again keep in mind it's premiering opposite first run major network shows during the height of the fall TV season, instead of opposite reruns in January and July.
Season three of "Battlestar: Galactica" premiered on Friday and despite massive amounts of publicity and growing critical acclaim, the show barely scored higher than the average episode of Season 2.5. Per SciFi, the show rached 2.2 million viewers with a 1.8 HH rating. However, this is I believe the first time "BG" has gone head-to-head with the major networks. Typically, it debuted during a month of network reruns like January or the summer; this time it debuted right in the middle of the fall TV debut. So holding its own can be construed as a good sign. While its competition was modest (ABC's "Men In Trees," CBS's "Close To Home" -- which is part of a winning crime lineup -- and NBC's "Dateline") they were first-run and riding the coattails of all that fall tv premiere publicity. But don't fear: the show is an attention-getter and surely has excellent demos among young men and the wealthy and well-educated, so "BG" is safe through at least season five.
As for the show itself, I thought it was enjoyably grim. They couldn't have made the Iraq parallels any stronger if they'd named the world New Baghdad instead of New Caprica. But typically they raised all sorts of emotionally complex issues, like showing us the conflicted feelings of a human (Jammer) who'd become a policeman for the Cylons; Starbuck dealing with her half-human, half Cylon child born essentially of rape; suicide bombings and all those terrific scenes with top Cylon models in the same room duplicated again and again. (Dean Stockwell sure is having fun.) I just hope they don't end the resistance in two episodes and jump back to the original format of being on Galactica and running from the Cylons. Don't make this massive switch and then just drop it. And don't worry: that's a fat suit that Apollo is wearing. (At least now I feel like I could have a shot of dating him.)