In a way, Caprica isn’t really cancelled, just like Stargate there will be another iteration coming down the assembly line sooner or later. Licensing runs the TV & movie world as much as the marketing does. They’re not selling Intellectual Properties anymore, they’re selling entire estates. It’s all about franchises, and branding, and other slimy words marketing executives like to use. Surely Battlestar is up there with Star Trek and Star Wars in the endless rotation of recycled mythos, right?
The pilot for Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome is coming out in 2011, based on a (most importantly) cheaper and arguably more BSG-like tone. “It’s the show we wanted Caprica to be in the first place; a BSG spin-off with vipers and lasers and robots and junk. Frak yeah!”
But that’s not Caprica.
That’s not mind-bending questions like, “How did this delectably decadent society annihilate itself?” and “How did they ignore the clear, unmistakable signs of the impending doom that we ALL KNEW WAS COMING?” That’s not concepts like the rise of the subservient yet superior machine to the point of insurrection. That’s not examining the idea of our own connections and electronic aspirations becoming digital apotheosis and other such goodness. That was Caprica.
A recurring statement (question?) that I see in regards to Caprica is, “I didn’t even know what it was about, really.”
Here is a simple explanation:
1. BSG was humanism and futurism that just happened to be on a spaceship.
2. Caprica was humanism and futurism that just happened to be on a distant planet — that’s exactly like ours… a decade from now (if even that long).
“Damn it SyFy with your stupid rebranding name, and stupid wrestling and stupid Z-grade movie mashups, and everything is stupid, stupid. Stupid.” I mean, who else to blame — the legions of non-fans who didn’t watch?
I’ll admit some — let’s call it mild frustration with SciSyFiFy’s handling of Caprica, most notably the incomprehensible scheduling of the show and DVD releases, and regrettable handling of the end of the show. Bottom line: nothing kills a serial drama like hiatus after hiatus and a complete lack of continuity. Although to their credit they did do a great job with the digital content and online promotion. Goodbye @SergeGraystone , you’ve earned a sad robot emoticon. :[
Can science fiction shows embrace the high tech they boast? Or at the very least give an infographic with pertinent information to the people who measure success in this field? Fuck the Nielsen system. Seriously. While I’ll admit that the program may have been damn effective in the dawn of the TV advertiser age at gathering information from BOTH active televisions, it’s now horribly outdated and measures the wrong criteria.
The general populace of mouth-breathing, brainless eyeballs with disposable income make the current entertainment industry work, and that’s not going to change any time soon. “More reality TV! More fads! More mindless self indulgence!”
I’ll eat at Subway if it’ll help save Chuck (not every day, mind you, but I would probably choose it over its competitor). If I could afford the cylon toaster I’d already have it. I’ll buy the DVD’s. I’ll buy the action figures if you’ll bear the burden of producing them. I’ll buy official @BambolaBambina Little Cylon® plush toys if you can ship to Canada (Note: someone really does need to make these). I’ll spend my hard earned money to save the show, even if I did DVR it to watch at my leisure in the first place, or worse, watched it at a friend’s house. I didn’t have to download it illegally because I live in Canada (Thanks @SPACEchannel !), and I won’t ever again –never ever[fingers firmly crossed]. I don’t actually agree with iTunes, but I’ll certainly tell my apple clone buddies to download the shit out of them. I promise.
I don’t buy everything I watch or read because, quite simply, there is far too much out there. If I only watched what I paid a fair and reasonable amount to the producers directly to create I’d be watching that human elvis statue vagrant — sorry, aspiring performance actor — that I gave a dollar to yesterday. I would like to contribute directly to the creators.
That’s simply not the case. Someone who failed upwards enough to make huge, sweeping decisions based on archaic information or so-called ‘expert’ analysis of trends is going to decide what I want to enjoy and get money from the advertisers who want me to buy their product because it’s featured at a better time. The old methods of producing TV from advertising credit in advance, then trying to recoup that debt after the fact week by week, and maybe, perhaps eventually from DVD sales and possibly (if it even lasts that long) from syndication. Can’t I just donate to $5 to Joss Whedon directly via his website to contibute to Doctor Horrible 2? I realize it’s terribly over-simplified, but really, in today’s day and age can’t we make it that simple?
If I do all these things, and RT everything Craig says, and ‘Like’ stuff on facebook, and trend the topic on The Twitters — can we have a Caprica season 2.5? Where do I send the peanuts?
Seriously, why do I even bother watching new shows, especially genre programming? It’s only a matter of time before the next show is subjected to ‘ratings decay’ after a 3 month break. They’re punishing fans tech savvy enough to use a DVR (it weighs differently on the Nielsen system), or who watch it online or on their phone (in the worst way possible, but it’s a selling feature of this cellular distraction-machine) or wherever other than a Nielsen home.
I’m dreadfully tired of my favourite show being ‘on the bubble’ and waiting to see if it will actually make it a full season before it’s yanked. I guess I’m just too cynical and pessimistic to emotionally invest in another soon-to-be-unfinished product. I’m jaded by the publicized saga of its doom and the networks/producers/analysts complete lack of faith in what they’re selling me outweighing the marketing for the damned show.
It is not a good time for TV. It is a bad time for intelligent, serialized drama. It is an especially terrible time for serialized, dramatic, sci-fi TV. A brilliant show like Caprica was doomed from the start. The math just doesn’t add up, and the possibility of overcoming that is mired in a conflict of interest between producers, marketeers, licensing lawyers, and lastly and least importantly, the fans.
Perhaps the only shining light of hope comes from an unexpected source: the TV static of the HBO logo and other specialty cable networks. Smaller orders mean higher relative budgets for a pre-determined number of shows. Subscription services mean at least a voluntary audience, and a guaranteed cashflow. They avoid the common pitfalls of network censorship and primary demographic calculations and are making adult-oriented content for adults with a-cussin’ and a-swearin’ and, gasp, some nudity. Mature subject matter for people like me, or even better, for mature people.
Has Walking Dead and Dexter paved the way for smart, intellectual science fiction? Or should they simply continue with the logical model they used for previous Battlestar universe expanders Razor and The Plan? I’d watch the living shit out of Caprica: New Cap City.
So Caprica joins the rest of my favourite TV shows, now officially earning the moniker of TV too good for TV. From Twin Peaks to Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, from The Prisoner to Carnivale — what I’m left with are the most excruciatingly wonderful unanswered questions about future plot points and ultimate character developments.
Perhaps the next season of Caprica is in the safest, best place for it: In my head, and the minds of the fans themselves.