Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blog DVD Review: Battlestar Galactica - The Plan

Happy Halloween from all of us here at SitcomsOnline! Today's blog of course is "all-boo"!

Welcome to our weekly Blog DVD Review. Today we take a look at Universal Home Video's Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. Battlestar Galactica is a current remake of the '70s sci-fi series. See Seth's Blog DVD Review of Battlestar Galactica: The Plan :

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (Universal, $26.98)) is a direct-to-DVD follow-up of the acclaimed Sci-Fi Channel original series, whose run concluded this year. The movie follows the action of the Cylons - robots (both mechanical and human-appearing) bent on the genocide of humanity - through the course of events of the first two seasons. If you're not already a fan of the show, you can stop reading right here: This one's strictly for the existing fans.

Warning: All remaining parts of the review will assume at least a passing familiarity with the plot of the show through its four seasons. I'll try to avoid excessive spoilers of both the feature and the TV run, but if you have no clue what I'm even writing about you're going to be doubly confused watching this feature.

Really, this feature - directed by show star Edward James Olmos - isn't even a follow-up so much as a clean-up. The show left several plot issues not entirely explained or even in a position to be left to the imagination, and so this feature goes back to fill in the gaps. The timeline of The Plan spans the events of the miniseries and first two seasons of the show. There's nothing from New Caprica or beyond, but as I happen to dislike the events after that arc was resolved anyway, it's perfectly fine by me to exclude that part.

In the process you get a major amount of new material for two characters, Anders (Michael Trucco) and Cavil (the amazing Dean Stockwell). You also get a flushing out and rehabilitation for one of the least-discussed models, Simon (Rick Worthy) plus some explanation for the conflicting nature of the Cylon model Eight known as Boomer. (Grace Park). Really, the entire thing is a two hour back-story info-dump. Really, that's the problem. There's no cohesive narrative. If you're not a BSG fan there's absolutely zero appeal to watch the movie, and nothing to hold you riveted if you choose to anyway. It's for fans only.
Though unrated, the DVD presentation is clearly for mature audiences only though the packaging doesn't state this. Aside from the near-genocide of the human species and militaristic violence, there's also a particularly disturbing act of violence by one of the two Cavils towards the end, plus some nudity and sexual situations. Without having to clean the show up for cable, things get slightly dirtier. The aforementioned adult situations are for the most part done fairly well contextually, but still, if just for the violence alone you'd have to be insane to let a small child watch this, and the packaging probably needed a better warning. Universal backed down from a plan to include an edited down "for-broadcast" version of the episode, leaving only the unrated full cut on the set. This was probably a mistake, in hindsight.

There's one disc in the set - the full feature being a movie running just short of two hours. The artwork is similar for the set as with the season releases, with lots of dark colors and silver tones, Because the film focuses so much on the Cylons, all characters depicted on the front cover are Cylons. The disc is blue, and in general fits in with the design scheme of the show's previous releases. Solid job by the artwork folks - it's appreciated. Video quality is an interesting issue: The movie features a combination of new footage interspersed with occasional old footage. The old footage looks just *slightly* out of place. More out of place is suddenly watching characters age forward or backwards five years in some scenes. Audio is a wonderful 5.1 surround track. The show has always made wonderful use of music, and it really shines on the multi-channel audio format. Obviously you can skip ahead via chapter stops - otherwise it'd be quite maddening to navigate a two hour feature.

The set also comes with loads of bonus features (otherwise it wouldn't be a Galactica set). Spanning the full length of the movie is a commentary by the feature's main writer Jane Espenson alongside the movie's director (and series star) Edward James Olmos. You get to hear their respective takes on why they did what they did in this movie's production. The episode is directed beautifully, though the writing does have one or two issues with scene flow. Overall it's quite a nice listen.
You also get a feature talking about Olmos' path from show star to show director, the social relevancy of the show (particularly in its first two-plus seasons), and interview with the cast. Also included are deleted scenes, plus features on creating the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, a lengthy one about the visual effects that went into the film, as well as one that talks about the Cylons and their portrayals. One of the main things to watch in this and the other features is the unrestrained praise for Dean Stockwell.

Dean (who I've been a huge fan of ever since the Quantum Leap days) slowly has all of the evil intents and purposes of the Cylons placed onto his shoulders, so that by the time we get to this feature he's easily the overwhelming source of the evil of the Cylon race. Add in to that having to portray a second, nicer, version of himself in this same movie, and you get a phenomenal performance by an exceptional actors. This one theme - that Dean Stockwell IS awesome - is hammered home more than just about any other single point it seemed to me, and I have to concur.

As much as I loved the first two-and-change years of the show, as much as I happen to love the acting of Dean Stockwell, and as much as I'm happy to see some depth added to the second-tier Cylons (Simon in particular), there's something about this movie that just doesn't feel right. Really, it's not a stand-alone feature at all so much as a companion piece to the first two seasons. If anything, the idea order for watching the series would be to watch the miniseries and seasons 1 and 2 plus Razor. When you get to the point where they want to airlock the dual Cavils, stop and watch this DVD. Once done, finish the series. That's really the idea viewing order, and the one that makes the most sense chronologically, thanks in part to the way the opening and closing scenes frame the film.

But as a stand-alone feature, based solely on its merits and without the cushioning of the TV show itself? It's incoherent, and there's too much going on with too little exposition. This, more than just about any other film release of a TV show I've ever seen, really is just for the fans. If you're a fan (with no inhibitions towards violence or moderate sexual content, pick this up NOW. If you're not a fan, or those two content issues are deal-breakers? Avoid it like the plague; you'll only get a headache. I personally liked it, but only because I already knew what was going on. If you're a fan? It is 4/5 Stars. If you're not? It is 2/5 stars. Hence, my final score below...

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(3/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Battlestar Galactica TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, February 20

Young Sheldon - "Pasadena" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon visits CalTech for the very first time. Also, Georgie is furious when Mary listens in on a phone call with his girlfriend, and Meemaw tries to cheer up a jealous Missy.

The Unicorn - "The Client" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Wade lands a job for Denny (Donal Logue), a newly divorced, wealthy client, he realizes Denny is only interested in using Wade to meet women. Also, Meg (Nicole Byer) applies her expertise as an accountant to get Wade’s finances on track, and Forrest and Delia attempt to clear the tension between them by having an argument.

Mom - "Judy Garland and a Sexy Troll Doll" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie helps Christy gain perspective as she considers a life-changing decision. Also, Jill fears she’s running out of time to have a baby and consults a fertility doctor.

Carol's Second Act - "Carol's Crush" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After Carol’s patient’s transplant surgery is deemed a success, the interns tease her mercilessly about her obvious crush on the surgeon, Dr. Lewis (Patrick Fabian).

Last Man Standing - "Baked Sale" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mike's offer to help Jen with her school's bake sale goes up in smoke; Kyle finds unlikely advice from Joe on where he should enroll in college.

Outmatched - "Dating" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Nicole invites a boy over who isn't ideal boyfriend material, Kay tries to make sure her daughter doesn't end up with a broken heart; Mike attempts to understand Marc's strange crush.

Superstore - "Employee App" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Cloud 9 employees experience unforeseen problems with the new Zephra app. Dina's texts lead to animosity, Glenn struggles to deal with a teen craze, and Jonah attempts to prank Garrett to teach him a lesson.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Jimmy Jab Games II" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Competitive juices are flowing as Jake and the squad compete in the second Jimmy Jab Games.

Will & Grace - "Accidentally on Porpoise" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Despite her history of transgressions, Grace and her neighbor, James (guest star Matt Letscher), decide to give their relationship one more shot. But when James invites Grace to his job at the aquarium, she endangers his job and a species. In order to help Will deal with his anxiety about becoming a father, Jack takes him to an unexpected place to blow off steam – church. Karen finds herself in a confessional booth, and a visit from Smitty (guest star Charles C. Stevenson, Jr.) makes her reconsider their entire relationship.

Indebted - "Everybody's Talking About the Mental Load" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After Rebecca tells Dave she carries the emotional labor, aka the “mental load” of the family, he tries to prove otherwise by having her take care of just Deb and Stew for a few days. They both realize they’ve bit off more than they can chew, especially when Dave enlists his mom to help with Rebecca’s mental load.

grown-ish - "Real Life S**t" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Aaron's student loan troubles come to a head when he looks for a job at the Cal U job fair, prompting him to ask Zoey for help; Sky struggles to come to terms with her recent discovery about Rodney; Jillian tries to bond with Zoey.

Everything's Gonna Be Okay - "Blue Death-Feigning Beetles" (Freeform, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Matilda's whole life forks between success and obscurity on the most important night of her life; Nicholas juggles a house full of people and Penny on screen from her hospital bed in Australia.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 17)

Thursday, February 20

  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Catch Will on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Scott Bakula (Murphy Brown/Eisenhower and Lutz/Gung Ho) - Scott stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ilana Glazer (Broad City) - Ilana is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Jenny Slate (Big Mouth/Married/Bob's Burgers) - Jenny appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement) - Oliver and his sister Kate are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Da'Vine Joy Randolph (High Fidelity/People of Earth/Selfie) - Da'Vine visits The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Levy (Suburgatory) - Jane talks about Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) - Edie talks about Tommy on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril gives a cooking lesson to a culinary student who fought back after having a stroke on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Da'Vine Joy Randolph (High Fidelity/People of Earth/Selfie) - Da'Vine talks about High Fidelity on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series

12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
12/06 - 9JKL - The Complete Series
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Atlanta - Season 2 - Robbin' Season
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
12/17 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (2019 Release)
12/17 - The Other Two - Season 1
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season (Blu-ray)
01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

02/19 - Remembering Ja'Net DuBois of Good Times, Kellye Nakahara of M*A*S*H, and Others We've Recently Lost
02/18 - Family Matters Back on TBS; Caroline Rhea to Headline Showtime Comedy Special
02/17 - The Last O.G. Returns to TBS on April 7; He-Man Gets All-Star Cast on Netflix
02/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 17, 2020)
02/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CSI Limited Series for the 20th Anniversary?; ABC Orders Comedy Pilots
02/14 - Fri-Yay: Thoughts on Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens; HBO's Avenue 5 Gets 2nd Season
02/13 - The Mighty Ducks Returning as Series on Disney+; NBC Sets More Mid-Season Series
02/12 - NBC Renews Superstore for Season 6; UK Comedy Receives 2nd Season Before US Premiere
02/11 - Brockmire's Final Season Begins March 18; The Good Doctor Gets 4th Season
02/10 - Audible Gets Comedy Series with Big Stars; Fox Gets Another Guessing Music Series

02/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 10, 2020)
02/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Friends Reunion Coming to HBO Max; IMDb TV Acquires Free Streaming Rights to Lost, Malcolm in the Middle, and More
02/07 - Fri-Yay: Two Comedies Have Series Finales; House of Payne Returning and New Tyler Perry Sitcom Both Coming to BET
02/06 - NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Indebted - Premieres Tonight (Feb. 6); HBO Runs with New Comedy
02/05 - HBO Max Gets Jameela Jamil to Judge Series; ThunderCats Roar Back to TV on Cartoon Network
02/04 - ABC's Fresh Off the Boat Series Finale Details; Funny Or Die Comedy Now Streaming
02/03 - Netflix Gets Katharine McPhee Multi-Cam Sitcom; Two Daytime Soaps Renewed
02/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 3, 2020)
02/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Remembering Fred Silverman, the Man Who Shaped TV in the 70s; Pair of Soap Operas Renewed
01/31 - Fri-Yay: The Good Place Officially Ends; Starz Picks Up Comedy with Amber Stevens West
01/30 - Terry Bradshaw Gets Comedic Series The Bradshaw Bunch; ABC Moves Drama Premiere by a Week in April
01/29 - CBS Announces Midseason Comedy Premieres; Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Is a Hit
01/28 - The Good Place Finale Post Show Special; Guy Fieri Is Up for a Food Network Face-Off
01/27 - New Punk'd Gets Host; Comedic Game Show Renewed Through 2023
01/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 27, 2020)
01/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Pilot Season in Full Swing; Katey Sagal to Play Role Inspired by Erin Brockovich in ABC Drama Pilot
01/24 - Fri-Yay: Sitcom Line-Ups - A Thing of the Past?; Adult Swim Comedy Returns Feb. 23
01/23 - The Conners Celebrate Grand Opening of Lanford Lunch Box with Contest; Lifetime Celebrates 30 Years of Original Movies
01/22 - HBO Max Gets Animated with Royals Comedy; Netflix Announces Premiere Date for Sophia Lillis Comedy
01/21 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: Hulu - a Comedy with Steve Martin and Martin Short, the Renewal of Dollface
01/20 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: More Cable; 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® Winners
01/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 20, 2020)