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Saboteurs and Lovers: An Advance Review of "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan"

There are many copies. And they have a plan. I feel a bit conflicted about Battlestar Galactica: The Plan , the nearly two-hour-long direct-to-DVD movie that's set roughly around the first two seasons of Syfy's groundbreaking drama series Battlestar Galatica . On the one hand, I was excited to return to the dystopian world of human survivors and Cylon skinjobs, ahead of Syfy's planned prequel series Caprica (which launches in January), but on the other I can't help asking myself if this was a story that cried out to be told. Battlestar Galatica: The Plan , written by Jane Espenson and directed by Edward James Olmos, doesn't really tred any new territory, per se. What it does offer is a different perspective on the events of the first two seasons of Battlestar Galactica , from the POV of the Cylon attackers. It's through their eyes--both the Cylon skinjobs and the mythical Final Five--that we see the chain of events unfold, from the attack on the Colonies to t

Sunday Night Television: "The Amazing Race," "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

Looking to discuss the latest episodes of CBS' The Amazing Race and HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm ? You're in luck. Head over to the Los Angeles Times /Show Tracker site, where you can read my take on last night's episodes of both series. In " The Amazing Race : Slip and slide," I explore what some people aren't willing to do, even with a million dollars at stake. And, yes, deal with the push heard around the world head-on. Switching channels, I explain why I am still scratching my head over the oddly surreal episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm in a piece entitled " Curb Your Enthusiasm : Trust your gut," following an episode "overflowing with flashbacks, splashbacks, murder, an arrest for napkin theft, a bald police lineup, a urine-stained Jesus painting, a suicide attempt, and finally life-saving belly flab." Head to the comments to discuss both.

Channel Surfing: TNT Close to Deal for "Southland," Bravo Hungry for "Top Chef: Just Desserts," "24," NBC Picks Up Three Series, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. The Hollywood Reporter 's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that TNT is very close to a deal with Warner Bros. Television to acquire cancelled NBC cop drama Southland . The deal, which is now said to appear "likely," would save the series--which produced six new installments for a second season at NBC--from cancellation, after NBC axed the series before launching the series' second season. ( Hollywood Reporter ) Bravo has ordered a spinoff of its culinary competition series Top Chef entitled Top Chef: Just Desserts , which will air next year and focus on a showdown between pastry chefs in a weekly competition. Top Chef producers Magical Elves are on board for the spinoff, which will begin casting this week. No host or judges have been determined yet for the series, which will air in between cycles of Top Chef and Top Chef Masters . ( Variety ) The Wrap's Josef Adalian takes a look at what appear to be the first

Victims and Villains: Belonging on "Dollhouse"

I've expressed frustration with FOX's Dollhouse in the past; the series seemed always out of touch with its own potential, focusing on engagements of the week or fitting up Eliza Dushku in outrageous ensembles rather than delving into the heart of darkness within the Dollhouse itself. With the notable exception of the unaired post-apocalyptic bookend "Epitaph One," the series hasn't come close to fulfilling its promise over the past seventeen episodes or so. Until this past episode, "Belonging," that is. The evocative and bleak installment, beautifully scripted by Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen and flawlessly directed by Jonathan Frakes, showed us the Dollhouse that might have been: a series filled with ethical dilemmas, morally compromised characters, and tough decisions. In an episode, it posits that the evil performed by the Dollhouse's staffers isn't being done willingly; in fact, they could be victims as much as the poor Actives the

UPDATED: NBC Orders Full Seasons of "Community," "Parks and Recreation," and "Mercy"

It's about time: NBC has handed out a full season order to freshman single-camera comedies Community and Parks and Recreation as well as drama series Mercy . News about the full season pickup of the Sony Pictures Television-produced Community --which stars Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, and Chevy Chase--was broken on Twitter by creator Dan Harmon, who wrote, "NBC ordered 9 more episodes of Community . I only went to community college for 1 semester, but MASH was longer than the Korean War, right?" A source close to the production confirmed to Televisionary on Friday afternoon that Community has been picked up for a full season, bringing the episodic total this season to 22 installments. UPDATE: Just minutes after posting the above, NBC has confirmed the full-season pickup for Community and announced additional full season orders for Parks and Recreation and Mercy , all three of of which have be

The Doctor is In: HBO Renews "In Treatment" For Third Season

In a surprise move, HBO has renewed psychologist drama In Treatment for a third season. Production on the series will begin early 2010, with Season Three of In Treatment set to air later that year. " In Treatment is synonymous with inspired writing and brilliant acting," said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO's Programming Group and West Coast Operations, in a statement. "This is the kind of show that could only flourish on HBO, and we’re proud to bring it back." Gabriel Byrne will reprise his role as Dr. Paul Weston. Additional casting announcements will be made as they happen. Behind the scenes, Anya Epstein ( Tell Me You Love Me ) and Dan Futterman ( Capote ) have come on board as as executive producers, joining Stephen Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, and Hagai Levi. According to HBO, it's anticipated that Paris Barclay will return as an executive producer/director as well. The full press release from HBO, announcing the renewal, can be found below. HB

Blackout: Why "FlashForward" is Still Frustrating Me

Oh, FlashForward , I really do want to love you. But I keep finding that I just can't. Last night's episode of FlashForward ("Gimme Some Truth") was the worst yet and underlined once again the problems that I have with the series , which seems to be coasting by on some lazy plotting, wooden acting, and an odd mix of tones that's ultimately frustrating. Despite its promising concept and a pilot episode that had one of the best cliffhanger endings in recent memory, subsequent episodes of FlashForward have been alternately dull and unintentionally hysterical. (What it needs to be is better .) There are moments of cleverness, such as last week's Bjork-laden opening sequence but for the most part, FlashForward continues to chug along at an almost glacial pace, introducing new mysteries that aren't all that compelling and forcing many of the characters into situations that are just completely unbelievable. (Last night's example: having Aaron at Olivia&#