“The Plan” Will Only Be Of Interest To Hard Core Battlestar Galactica Fans


We kept hearing through out the years that Battlestar Galactica was on that the Cylons had a plan. The television movie of The Plan was released on DVD and Blu-Ray yesterday. The Plan includes many scenes from the series and largely feels like a clip show but in one way it reminded me of the original series. Remember when the original Cylons always missed and nothing went right for them after the original attack? The Plan was much like this.


The Plan centers around Dean Stockwell’s character, John Cavil (Number One), and to a lesser extent around Tricia Helfer’s character, Number Six.  It begins and ends with the Cavil who was on Galactica and the one who had been on Caprica being thrown out the air lock after being discovered to by Cylons. Caprica-Cavil is questioning whether killing off the humans was a good idea while Galactica-Cavil is revealed in flashbacks to be obsessed with finishing off the remaining humans.


The original plan was to kill all humans in the attack. The movie shows the events of the first two seasons from the perspective of the Cylons. For the most part we are seeing things we already saw but some details are filled in. For example, we found that when Caprica-Six told Baltar she had a meeting just before the destruction of Caprica her meeting was with Cavil.  While most might see the near extermination of all humans as a success, Cavil had expected all to be killed and his plan was now to finish the job.


Another aspect of his original plan was to have the final five killed after living among the humans with Cavil expecting them to learn their lesson and realize how horrible humanity is after they are resurrected. Instead they both remained alive and they continued to like the flawed humans.


During the first two seasons there were a number of attacks on the fleet. Seeing them from the Cylon perspective does provide some additional, but hardly essential, information. Cavil chastised a Five for being easily recognizable with all models looking virtually the same. The Five responded by arguing, “His jacket was burgundy. This is teal.” Cavil gave him something new to wear–a suicide vest, leading to a scene seen on the television show.

prostitute six

There were multiple attempts to kill of the survivors but, like with the Cylons of the original series, their attempts inevitably failed. The main reason for the failure, however, is one which the original Cylons would not be affected by. In scene later in the movie, another version of Six taunts Cavil for the failures and argues that this was because of love. Caprica Six loved Baltar and her attempt to discredit him failed. Boomer failed to kill Adama because of her love for him. Leoban failed to kill Starbuck because of his obsession for her. Simon, or Number Four, was involved in a plot to destroy a ship which was new to the movie. It failed because of his love for his human family.


The movie would only be of interest to hard core fans of the show. Many of the events would be totally incomprehensible without having seen them during the regular series. As a stand alone movie it is a failure, lacking a coherent story line of its own. It is a partial success as a clip show, but this year Joss Whedon raised the bar for clip shows with Epitaph One.  Whedon’s clip episode of Dollhouse, also only available so far on DVD, went beyond the original series and gave it additional meaning. The Plan just fills in a few minor gaps. So much more could have been done to expand upon what occurred in the series.


Just as with the release of the pilot of Caprica on DVD, The Plan contains scenes which cannot appear on television. The scenes with Tricia Helfer playing a prostitute version of Number Six unfortunately are tame enough to air. Early in the movie, after meeting Caprica-Six, Cavil is next seen with Ellen Tigh in a topless bar, where even the bar tender is shown topless. When fleeing after Number Six tried to discredit Baltar there is a totally pointless scene in which they cut through a shower. Even as a scene of gratitude nudity, it did not hold up to the shower scene in Starship Troopers.

Fans of the show will want to see the movie but those who have not watched the entire series would be better off watching the series first. While I was anxious to see this as soon as available as opposed to waiting until it airs, in retrospect there was nothing I couldn’t have waited for. I have not yet checked out any of the special features of the DVD. I did view portions of the Blu Ray version on both 720 and 1080 resolutions and there was a noticeable improvement with the full HD in some scenes, giving an advantage of watching the on Blu Ray as opposed to waiting until it is broadcast.

Ebooks vs. Physical Books

I still intend to post a review of my ebook reader as previously promised, but this afternoon I’m giving a higher priority to a post on The Plan. (Next step is to see if their are already good pictures posted on line versus going back and taking some screen grabs off my copy).

Upon getting home there was a box from Amazon which gives a clue as to my feeling on ebooks compared to physical books. While out of town I started reading Breaking The Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett. It was great to have this on my reader (along with hundreds of other books)while traveling, and after returning home I continued to read the ebook copy. However I also placed an order for the physician copy from Amazon last week (sticking with their slower economy shipping since I could read the ebook version while waiting). Given a choice, I’ll still read the physical book while at home, but will take the ebook reader when I go out of town in November. As long as I’m at home, I prefer the sensation of physically holding the book. It is far easier to skim through the book to see how it is organized, and to check out the notes in the back, with the physical copy. I also like to see how far I’m into the book and how much is left.

I know I’m not a typical consumer, but at least in my case this gives one possible answer to the question of whether books will face the same problem as music now that they are digitalized and easily shared. I’m certain that to  certain degree it will, but there is a difference between music and books. For many people, an iPod is their preferred way to listen to music and there is no advantage to having a physical CD. Books still provide benefits beyond having the text on an ebook reader. I not only ordered the book I am in the midst of reading but I also ordered two of the same author’s other books: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and Freedom Evolves. In my case, at least, having a digital copy of a book led to more book sales.

Now, if nothing else comes up, I can get to work on The Plan.

The Plan (Review to Come)

I’m starting to get a number of search engine hits for The Plan (the Battlestar Galactica movie). I’ve seen it and will hopefully have time to post a review this afternoon.

Polls On The Public Option

Ed Brayton and Jed Lewiston mock Sean Hannity’s inane criticism of polls showing support for the public option. Showing the fallacies in Sean Hannity’s logic is always a very easy way to write a blog post.

Obviously Hannity’s objections aren’t worth considering. On the actual topic of polling the public option, results typically show a majority in support but the results vary widely. Part of this is because, as I’ve pointed out in recent posts, there are a variety of ideas which are lumped together under the public option and we don’t yet know which will pass Congress (assuming any form of public option passes the Senate).

Most people have no clue as to the specifics and the wording of a poll influences the results considerably. If you ask about whether people should be offered the choice of a public option (stressing choice) or compare it to Medicare, people are more likely to support it. There was some talk about rebranding the public option as Medicare for Everyone last week but some are now backing away from that idea.

On the other hand support will poll lower among those who believe the fallacies spread by the right, such as that the public option is a back door method of bringing about “socialized medicine,” or that it will be funded by taxpayers as opposed to those who voluntarily choose the option. (On the other hand, there are some to the left of the Democratic Party who are upset with the currently proposed public option because it doesn’t go far enough to be able to eventually evolve into a single payer plan).

I’ve also noted a couple of ironies in the past when considering the opponents of the public option. Conservatives who most complain that the cost of health care is too expensive, or that we cannot afford universal health care, are the ones who are most likely to oppose the public option which would help to keep down taxes.

It is also ironic that conservatives, who speak the most about the free market system (unfortunately in a religious manner which frequently replaces any real understanding of economics in the real world) show so little faith in the private sector that they believe that insurance companies could not compete with a government option. This is especially absurd considering the lengths that the Democrats went through in the hopes of receiving support from the insurance industry to propose legislation which will be highly profitable for the industry. While absurd it is not surprising as the opponents of health care reform from the right generally have no understanding of what is actually being proposed and therefore have no basis by which to judge the effects of heath care reform.

Robust Public Option Might Not Pass House

Lately there has been a lot of consideration of the public option in the Senate, but the type of public option which the House will pass also remains unknown. With the House only needing a simple majority to pass a bill it is probable that there will be some type of public option. Greg Sargent reports that there does not appear to be enough votes at present for the more robust option favored by many liberals which would pay at Medicare rates plus five percent:

The House Dem leadership has conducted its preliminary whip count and has tallied up less than 200 likely Yes votes in support of a health care reform bill with a robust public option, well short of the 218 needed for passage, according to an internal whip count document I’ve obtained.

The document — compiled by the office of House leader James Clyburn — was distributed privately at a meeting between Clyburn and House progressives today where the fate of the public option was the subject of some contentious debate, with liberals demanding that House leaders push harder to win over votes.

Clyburn spokesperson Kristie Greco would only say: “We currently do not have the votes for a robust public option.”

More information was given on where the vote now stands:

The document shows that 47 House Dems are committed No votes, and eight are Leaning No, for a total of 55. That means of 256 House Dems, just under 200 remain, and a dozen of those are listed as undecided. The bill needs 218 votes for passage.

It remains a great irony of the health care debate that the more conservative members of Congress, who claim to be most concerned about the cost of health care, are the ones who are fighting the most against aspects of health care reform, such as a robust public option, which would bring about lower costs.

While the debate over the public option in the House now appears to have come down to whether reimbursement is tied to Medicare rates, I remain disappointed that the public option as now discussed does not contain provisions to replace Medicaid. This was an idea proposed for the public option in in the past.

Actually I’m open to a variety of ways to do this, but if we are to truly aim for universal health care coverage we should work towards eliminating the status quo of many being left in a program which does not provide adequate care. I would be happy if Medicaid patients were placed in the public option, or if they were given subsidies to allow them to purchase private insurance on the insurance exchanges. I would even accept the Republican proposal to give them vouchers, provided the vouchers were large enough to allow them to actually purchase private insurance.

Lieberman Threatens to Filibuster Public Option, Even With Opt-Out

Politically it looks like pushing for the public option with opt-out was the best Harry Reid could go for at present. This remains far better than the option pushed by moderates for a trigger instead of an immediate public plan. It is far from certain that even this can pass. Former Democrat Joe Lieberman says he will vote to filibuster the public option even with an opt-out provision. The Senator from the insurance capital of the world is doing all he can to protect the insurance industry. It is also likely to be his last term in the Senate.

Zoe Bartlett Marries Barack Obama

Actors Fred Armisen and Elisabeth Moss arrive to the TNT/TBS bro

People bills this as Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss Marries SNL‘s Fred Armisen. While Moss’s role on Mad Men is currently more significant, her role as President Bartlett’s daughter on The West Wing is more interesting when connected to Armisen, who often portrays Obama on Saturday Night Live.

CNN Falls Into Fourth Place

CNN has fallen to fourth place among the cable news networks during prime time. This means that not only are they trailing Fox and MSNBC, but they are have even fallen behind their own HLN network.

CNN claims to fill the niche of actual news compared to the ideologically driven shows of Fox and MSNBC. Their problem is that they do the poorest job in the niche they have selected. If you want shows which promotes the fantasy-world imagined by right wingers, Fox does an excellent job of this. MSNBC, which had been in last place for years, has improved its line up of liberal opinion shows in recent months. CNN has a combination of opinion shows of their own which are lagging behind the other networks, along with shows which attempt to present more objective news. A right winger such as Lou Dobbs is at a disadvantage on CNN when most of the right wingers who are into cable news have their televisions permanently set on Fox. Their actual news shows are pretty weak at presenting the news, as I noted in this recent post. There may or may not be a potential audience in this country for a real news network. If there is, CNN does not satisfy that demand.

As for HLN, I watch it even less than the other three so I have no idea as to why even this is beating CNN.

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Green Hollywood


The Environmental Media Association had their 20th anniversary awards on Sunday night:

Founded by Norman and Lyn Lear and Alan and Cindy Horn, the Environmental Media Association encourages Hollywood to spread the word about going green.

Twenty years later, the group counts the Endangered Species Coalition, the Alaska Rainforest Campaign, the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund among its partners. It has been honored by the White House and praised by Al Gore — years before “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The group has met with hundreds of Hollywood writers, directors and producers, helping them incorporate green themes into their films and TV shows and encouraging them to make those productions more environmentally friendly…

The group celebrated its 20th anniversary with an awards ceremony honoring individuals and organizations that help increase public awareness of environmental issues.

Honorees included entrepreneur Richard Branson, who pledged to invest all proceeds from his Virgin Airlines toward developing clean fuels and renewable energy; the National Geographic Society, which supports environmental education through various programs and grants; Centropolis Entertainment, the production company led by director Roland Emmerich and producer Michael Wimer that released the first carbon-neutral film in Hollywood history, “The Day After Tomorrow”; and singer Jason Mraz, who has committed to green touring and using sustainable textiles.

Or if you look at the media reports of the event, an extremely high percentage of the reports featured pictures of Olivia Wilde, such as the one above.

With Friends Like These…

Steve Benen mocks the idea that Republicans are the “champions of Medicare.”

I guess Steve wanted to take a break and attack an extremely easy target.  🙂