Battlestar Galactica: The Plan retells major events from the first two years of the celebrated sci-fi series through the eyes of the Cylons. It weaves together recycled scenes from the series with new footage to reveal a first-hand account of the Cylon agenda, or "plan."
The result is a film that feels incomplete, episodic and disjointed. It plays less like a movie and largely like a disk full of high quality bonus material. Most of what happens here feels irrelevant to the series -- almost like it was tacked on to the BSG mythos to satisfy completists and hardcore fans. Still, it's worth watching to see Dean Stockwell carry the film with a fearless performance as the scheming and duplicitous Brother Cavil. The veteran character actor takes center stage in The Plan, and your enjoyment of the film will rest largely on how much you like, or dislike, Cavil and his major role in the series.
When I received my copy of The Office season five DVD in the mail, the first thing I noticed was that there may or may not be a Golden Ticket enclosed that would win me a trip to Hollywood. I tore into the packaging, and saw that I had not, in fact, won. So, this DVD set sucks. THE END.
...Okay, I've been informed that I won't get paid unless I tell you about what's actually on the DVDs. So, let's get to that.
The short version of the story is, the folks who make The Office DVDs do so with fans in mind. They are not creating merely a collection of episodes: They chock the DVDs full of enough extras and other goodies to make buying the DVDs preferable to say, buying a season pass on iTunes or just not erasing the season's episodes off of your DVR.
Minor spoilers follow...
There are those who liked the ending and those that didn't. I didn't like the lack of explanation of Kara's return from the dead and found the finale generally anti-climactic. But the series set a high standard and, overall, it's a minor complaint. In most ways, the series is perfect and far better than most of us deserve.
I'll give them this: the people who make the show know their audience ... that audience being nerds. Nerds like information. Hence, the DVD set is full of extras and special features. These include deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and extended versions of episodes, including the three-part finale, "Daybreak." And every episode (let me repeat that:: every episode) has podcast commentary by Ronald Moore.
Any DVD set that has The Office on it is going to be good. That's just a fact. So obviously, The Office: Season 4 DVD set already has a lot going for it. So what I was mainly interested in when I received it was how they dealt with their shortcomings: namely the fact that due to the writer's strike, this set only has 14 episodes.
While The Office fared much better than other shows with its truncated season, I still expect a DVD set without a full season's worth of episodes to have enough bonus features to help make up for it. While the features on this set are pretty standard (deletes scenes, blooper reels, commentaries, etc.) for the most part, the quality makes you forget that the set is light about ten episodes.
When co-creators and co-stars Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson (now Jessica Hynes) created the main characters Tim and Daisy, they created characters that every nerdy person could relate to.
The show does cater to a very specific audience and it's the sort of audience that tends to be the most loyal, even obsessively so. Nobody is particularly super-handsome and the characters are very niche. Also, the show doesn't really talk down to the audience and makes the viewer feel like part of the conversation. This is unlike, say, Arrested Development which tends to be a bit pretentious (sorry to all you Arrested Development fans).
I was lucky enough to recently get a look at what this new DVD set. Is it really better to have the entire series in an all-in-one case? Are the bonus features worth the price itself? Well, I'll tell you my thoughts, at least. (See here for a gallery of packaging images.)
It won Emmys for the best dramatic series, best dramatic actor and best dramatic actress. Right out of the box. In season one.
Nearly 15 years ago.
So how does the first season of the controversial Picket Fences stand up to time, in its new DVD collection? After watching the pilot episode, seeing all those shoulder pads, hearing the heavy-handed background music during some of the scenes and watching "tough" police interrogations in the form of raised voices, my initial thought was, "Picket Fences didn't age well."
Then I watched more episodes. And changed my mind.
Despite the show's quality, it never had a chance; saddled with a bad time slot (Wednesdays at 10), NBC showed four episodes, then told the producers to stop at 13, shuttled the show to the Saturday death slot, then canned it after one Saturday airing.
So when I was sent a preview copy of the first season of the pair's follow-up effort, Extras (out Tuesday), I was intrigued but wary: after such a successful debut, the sophomore effort more often than not disappoints. Also, all the reviews of the show I had read during its BBC and HBO runs (I have neither channel) were of the mixed-to-positive variety. So... is it worth buying, renting, or neither? I'll let you know after the jump.
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