Who, honestly, hasn’t wondered what it would be like to hop in a time machine for a life do-over? I certainly have. If only I could go back to high school and take things more seriously, tell that certain someone how I felt, or reverse a decision I made. But, would doing any of those things change how my life ultimately ended up?
That’s the premise of Plan B, debuting Monday on CBC.
Adapted from the original Quebecois French-language series Plan B that premiered on Ici Radio-Canada Télé n 2017, the English version stars Patrick J. Adams (Suits) and Karine Vanasse (Cardinal) as Philip Grimmer and Evelyn Landry, a couple whose lives are literally in disarray. Whether it’s the clutter of the home renovation going on around them, to the erosion of their relationship, things are not good for the pair.
So, when Philip—after an evening out drinking and commiserating about his lot in life with his brother-in-law and business partner Patrick (François Arnaud, X Company)—enters a bar bathroom and sees a flyer for a company named Plan B promising to allow you to go back in time and right wrongs, he jumps at the chance. Make no mistake though, Plan B is not a sci-fi drama.
“I’m not fascinated with time travel,” says co-creator and co-writer Jean-François Asselin. “I’m fascinated with human beings. What was interesting to me was, when co-creator Jacques Drolet and I started writing [the French version], we were questioning the choices we made in life. When I watch a TV show or movie, I’m involved as a human being and question what I would do in my personal life. I want people, when they watch Plan B, to reflect on their own lives.”
In Monday’s debut, Philip is trying desperately to keep his relationship with Evelyn intact. After annoying her during their daily commute to the office they work in—he’s a lawyer and she’s suffering in silence as a paralegal/secretary—and stuck in Montreal’s gridlock, Evelyn hops out of the car, opting to take public transit. Things only go down from there. As a viewer, those scenes of conflict are hard to watch. But they’re incredibly real.
“This is a couple that struggles,” Asselin says. “The challenge was, how are we going to root for them and follow them through six episodes?”
That all comes down to the performances by Adams and Vanasse.
“We can all connect to that fear of losing something when you thought that everything was going well,” Vanasse says. “Viewers really want Philip to find that solution so that he doesn’t fuck up this time, and that everything is going to be OK.”
But, in trying to make everything OK between him and Evelyn, or he and the team renovating his home, or the relationship he has with his brother, Andy (Josh Close), things just get worse. The result? Going further back in time.
“He clearly loves this woman,” Adams says. “He clearly wants this to work and has this idea of what the ‘right thing’ is and he wants everyone to be happy and goes to extreme lengths to ensure that’s the case. He’s just also deeply flawed because he doesn’t ask a question or take a minute to listen in the moment.
“Philip is such a doer,” Adams continues. “I can relate to that. What do I need to do? How do I fix this? How can I make this better? I’ve lived long enough to know that half the time when I do that in my own relationship the answer is, ‘How about you just listen to what I’m saying or how I’m feeling?'”