Review: Battlestar Galactica – The Plan

Two hours designed to insult your intelligence

Battlestar Galactica

In the US/UK: Sometime in 2010
Available from on BluRay import

The Cylons were created by man. 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.

Unfortunately for them, it’s rubbish, and they can’t make up their minds about what to do. At least, that’s what Battlestar Galactica: The Plan appears to suggest. A final “milk it for all it’s worth” effort before it becomes impossible to get the actors in the same place, it’s more like a director’s commentary than a worthwhile addition to a TV classic’s range.

Plot (pilfered from Wikipedia)
Set just after the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, the narrative largely follows multiple versions of the Cylon models One (Dean Stockwell) and Six (Tricia Helfer) who have infiltrated the remaining humans, both on the planet Caprica and among those who have escaped into space. From there, the events of the series are shown from a Cylon perspective, and their underlying plan is revealed. Events from The Mini-Series up to Lay Down Your Burdens are revisited.

Is it any good?
To be honest, while it’s technically good and reasonably well written, it does seem like a bunch of writers going, “You know when this happened, well this is what the sub-text was. Look how clever we are. Go on, look, look, look,” even though you already had a fairly good idea of what was happening anyway.

So we follow the activities of basically whichever actors could be persuaded to turn up (most of the actors who played Cylons, except for Lucy Lawless), get them to film a whole load of scenes, then intersperse it all with footage of everyone else from the mini-series and series. For two hours. Two long, tedious hours. Even the extra nudity a DVD release affords – and there’s plenty of it, almost all of it female – isn’t really enough to make the script interesting.

It does have its moments, some amusing. Dean Stockwell and Tricia Helfer give it their best, and they both do liven up some exceedingly flat lines (fairly or unfairly, I’m squarely blaming this on Jane Espenson once again because I feel like it). Edward James Olmos’ direction is first-rate.

But there’s no money for effects, so the Cylon centurions look awful when they appear. The lack of Tamoh Penikett also means the entire Athena/Helo sub-plot has to be ignored, even though it’s obviously vital to the Cylon plan. Doh.

The Plan doesn’t feel like anything, except an attempt to ret con earlier episodes to make everyone’s actions seem more explicable in the light of later revelations about the final five and to make certain things seem more plausible (Ellen’s survival, for example). But even so, it just feels like a last hurrah and attempt to get money out of BSG. Everything we’ve seen before actually feels a bit cheaper as a result. Even the devastation of Caprica and the colonies just feels like a montage, without much impact.

If you liked BSG because you felt it actually treated you like an intelligent human being, try to avoid buying The Plan because the people behind it all really don’t seem to think you are.