Monday, May 17, 2010

Film on TV: Battlestar Galactica - The Plan

Should you be unfamiliar with "Battlestar Galactica" (especially with the re-imagined series) parts of this post won't mean much to you.  There isn't a major spoiler alert attached to it either - I'm not going to give away any plot details or reveal twists and turns. One final disclaimer before I venture forth: this blog is not about the actual series, but about the TV film that just got released on DVd and Blu Ray here on the East Side of the Pond: The Plan.

To accommodate those who are unfamiliar with BSG and are still reading, I will give a very brief synopsis of the series: The Cylons were created by men. They evolved. They rebelled. They look and feel human. Some are programmed to think they are human. There are many copies. And they have a plan.

Then they change their plan.

When The Plan was announced a few weeks before the series finale was aired in March 2009, it was thought that it would shed more light on the Cylons' plan in annihilating the humans on the Twelve Colonies (don't worry, that's not a spoiler - it's the first thing that happens in the series). Unfortunately, The Plan neither reveals new stuff, nor does it fill in the behind-the-scenes plotlines from the series. Mind you, it is not bad per se. It's just a little redundant.

Concentrating the whole thing on the Cylons and using archive footage from the major storylines from the miniseries and seasons 1 and 2 sound like an inspired choice to begin with: a whole film putting the "bad guys" in the forefront. And the Cylons as a race (there is another piece here about the humanity of the Cylons, but that is for another post) are pretty interesting, both individually and collectively:  #1 (played with great panache by Dean Stockwell), Athena / Boomer (#8, played with incredible sex-factor Grace Park) and Leoben Conoy (#2, played by Callum Keith Rennie with incredible intensity) are great creations (no pun intended). Tricia Helfer's #6 appeared in many guises (mostly unclad for us to behold in carnal desperation) and Lucy Lawless's #3 always brought that subtle cunning that Cylons both eschewed and mastered. The remaining two models, Doral (#6) and Simon(#4) were always criminally underused.

The thing is, all of these incredible characters (fully developed and with great range of personalities) were very well balanced out by the human cast - and that's what's missing from The Plan.

The Plan is ultimately boring and, yes I'm going to repeat myself here, quite redundant. It's very familiar with last week's episode of "Lost", which DubMC so eloquently and rightfully buried under its own bloated mess, in that the Cylons' Plan is mentioned throughout and what we have is not the actual plan, but its execution. What's wrong with that? Well, the whole series was about the execution of the Plan. This feels like an edited version of the deleted scenes.

What saves The Plan from being so nauseatingly awful and also what makes me less mad, is the fact that they did not make this a part of the actual series - it's a footnote that you can ignore and your viewing pleasure will not be affected by it. If you want to marathon your way through BSG, you don't have to skip this - because it doesn't necessarily belong to the series. And that's why BSG will always be superior to "Lost" - for making sure that the fat is always skimmed and put on the side. If you want to raise your cholesterol, feel free to swim in it. Otherwise, enjoy your meal.

One final note: The Plan has the first boob and penis shot in BSG. Let me correct that: plenty of boobs and one penis.

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