my take on “Caprica”

After having recently finished the “Reimagined Battlestar Galactica” Series (=BSG), it’s only logical to carry on watching one of the two prequels that were produced after BSG has aired. These are “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” and “Caprica”. I decided to watch Caprica first and Blood and Chrome straight after that. As I recently finished watching “Caprica”, here’s my write-up of thoughts on that particular show.

Background information

The pilot episode of Caprica is set 58 years before the story of BSG and was released direct to DVD on 21st April 2009. The series was canceled after one season on 27th October 2010, with the remaining episodes airing first on Canada’s Space channel and then on Syfy in a marathon on 4th January 2011.

Plot Summary

Caprica takes place 58 years before the Battlestar Galactica miniseries and the Fall of the Twelve Colonies. Conceived as “television’s first science-fiction soap opera”, the series follows two families – the Graystones and the Adamas – living in the corrupt and decadent Caprican metropolis Caprica City. While the creation of the Cylons and the fall of Colonial society is the background for Caprica, the series was compared by Ronald D. Moore to the nighttime soap Dallas and by David Eick to the film American Beauty and centers more on its characters than science-fiction elements.
The pilot episode establishes Daniel Graystone as the brilliant inventor of the early Cylons, mourning the loss of his teenage daughter, Zoe Graystone, in a terrorist attack. So distraught over Zoe’s death, Graystone enlists the help of Joseph Adama, a native Tauron lawyer with ties to that world’s criminal organization, to steal technology that would resurrect both men’s daughters. Though the experiment seems to fail, Zoe is in fact reborn inside Graystone’s Cylon prototype.
As it progresses, the series inter-cuts between the stories of the Graystones and the Adamas, as well as the terrorist organization – the Soldiers of the One – responsible for Zoe’s death, and the Tauron mob – the Ha’la’tha – and the investigators pursuing both entities.
Though Caprica was cancelled during its first season, some connections were established between it and Battlestar Galactica and some character resolution was provided by a five minute epilogue set several years in the series’ future.

(This Summary is directly taken from The Battlestar Wiki)

Thoughts on the TV show Caprica

What makes the show kind of interesting is the futuristic features, of course, for any science-fiction fan, but it does move at a slow pace at times and there are a few things that could have been left out. For one, the amount of flashbacks is overwhelming and doesn’t make too much sense, as “Caprica” is to BSG a sort of flashback by itself. Cuts to the V-World were at times a bit jarring and made the show seem a little uneven. An interesting concept at this point could have been to show action in real life alongside action in V-World in split-screen. It’s almost like there is too much of the story being told. One of the values in a good script is not telling all the back story and leaving things to the imagination of the viewer.

What is disturbing to the general spiritual senses of most Christians who watch Caprica or BSG knowing of the Mormon influence, is in some ways it’s showing a kind of mindset that not only is apologetic towards the history of the Mormon church and mindset, but it also almost leads to a blasphemy kind of view of traditional monotheists, which are Christians, Jews and Islamists and it paints these as evil. Not directly but indirectly through the parallel world view, that the monotheists create the Cylons and destroy humanity. Who is after all naturally drawn to polytheism and running around with all its frailties.

In Caprica there is a problem of no hope, and no real heroes. That is the polytheists more often than not seem to be bent on doing their own thing with all their frailties of human flaws in the forefront. I understand the morality of this human meme, and the flaws of humans being a part of them. The thought that an almost mechanized religion, like the Borg from Star Trek can program their morality and use technology to say they are superior is a part of the moral of the story. But the more troubling thing is, although the actors are good actors and play their parts well, who are the good guys in this story? Who do you feel good about?

We have a brat who is in rebellion, but a good computer hacker. Okay that’s a typical rebellious teenager, who is drawn into a terrorist group, Zoe. Am I supposed to feel she’s a hero and see her character improve? That doesn’t happen. Then there is her parents, who have their crisis problems and greed, addictions, etc. And they are polytheists, but perhaps not too committed. They are only committed to their own lifestyle against monotheists in as much as they are threatened. Okay they are pagan. Are they the heroes? We have the monotheists, who are like muslim extremists. Of course we are using the most reproachable extremes for plot devices, but am I to cheer for them? The entire world of Caprica is like a dark island overrun by the mob, with rival mobster families, and when any one of them dies, there seems to be no regret on the part of the viewer, because there are no guys wearing white hats. Except for the occasional bright and shiny sets, there is no hopeful place anywhere in Caprica.

I think my biggest disappointment with Caprica was I was expecting it to be a better place to begin with, more of a shining city that was destroyed, but for all the bright lit scenes, it seems like a rather dismal place, with little in the way of true love. It’s more like attending a mafia convention, all the alliances and love are for the most part superficial, until you can bury the guy next to you for profit. At least that way we get to know one particular tribe of Taurons.

Music in Caprica is a winner. And thinking of it, that’s probably the only thing that made the show “Bear”-able (pun intended) as Bear McCreary did all scoring for Caprica.

Caprica Season 2?

There are a lot of comments online of people who wish Caprica had a second season. I for one am not convinced that Caprica has what it takes to be a cult series. It’s more of a series about cults. I’m glad Caprica ended as it did and it was a joy to see the pace of storytelling picking up in the final four episodes. The SyFy Channel cancelled the show as only 900.000 households across the US were watching it. Fun-Fact: There is a petition that goes towards Netflix picking up production of Caprica and giving it a chance in a second season. This petition is signed by around 13.000 folks. If you look at the numbers, you very quickly see that there is nothing to be gained from producing a second season for a vanishingly low fan-base. And another thing: “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” picks up where Caprica ends. As you will read in the future, I have a somewhat higher opinion of “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome”

Summary

To sum it up: Caprica is a somewhat more light-headed sort of entertainment (when compared to BSG) for science-fiction fans that I cannot recommend for the whole family to watch. If you watched Caprica because of BSG to gain a holistic experience, bin that thought. If you watched Caprica and now are inclined to watch BSG, GO AHEAD and forget about Caprica. For Ronald D. Moore fans it’s a disappointment as he didn’t seem to have too much say in what will progress and what will not. The still brilliant but lesser writers overruled Ron from what I gather.