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Caprica: The end of humanity has a beginning…

Returning to the Battlestar Galactica Universe, in the most un-BSG way.

We’ve seen the planet of Caprica repeatedly, in different stages and eras but never like this. 58 Years before the fall of the 12 colonies and a decade before the first cylon war (to put it in context, the Old Man is featured on the show at 11 years old), we enter the series at the height of the Pax Caprica Empire. Caprica and the 12 colonies are self-indulgent, decadent, and flauntingly obvious with both their reliance on technology, but also in their own self-righteousness. Civil unrest, a derisive caste system of ancient prejudices, and the invasion of a monotheistic ‘cult’ are all seeds to what we know will soon be the end. Amidst all this chaos, is about to be the most incredible technological evolution the universe has ever seen (lately).

Overall Mythos

Being a prequel is sometimes restrictive. In this case, there’s a dark irony in knowing ‘This has happened before” and will again. Visual style, narrative structure, and score are all what fans of BSG love and admire, but in a new setting that we had previously only heard accounts of. It is clearly in the same universe as BSG, but from a whole new angle that is full of stories to be told. There is something so very chilling about the final scene and the first cylon being hailed as humanity’s savior, though I wonder if it would resonate on it’s own merit to someone who doesn’t know what the future of the series holds. Overall Caprica fits snugly into the big picture of the re-imagined Galactica universe and exposes a new facet to the story we already know.

Eric Stoltz replied, “What drew me to it was the script. It was such a wonderful, rich, surprisingly smart script to be sent out of the blue that I couldn’t resist.”

Themes and Foreshadowing

Most important is the central theme, familiar to Battlestar Galactica, “What makes us who we are, and how do we deal with tragedy & adversity?”

We saw shades of racism & prejudice in BSG, but nothing like the borderline caste system firsthand. Obvious classes have already lead to a racial profiling story arc being established within the pilot for frak’s sake. The omnipotent viewer knows what the future holds, and has the unique perspective of just how futile these conflicts are when weighed against the eventual survival of mankind.

Technology is pivotal again, but instead of the reluctant reliance and stigma against tech we began BSG with, we start Caprica at the decadent apex of luxurious technology. Right after the illegal underground future IRC chatroom nightclub, we cut straight to the private tennis court with basic disputes being settled by laser courtlines and a robot umpire. Ultimately, we return again to questioning the fundamental definition of life, and how that reflects on religion and morality.

caprica_daughter-thumb-550x365-13971Which brings us to another universal BSG element, as the rise of a monotheistic cult is paralleled with the rise of the first cylon and a leap in technological evolution. Religion paired again with Tech, bringing with it questions of ‘immortality through memory’ and the end results of the best intentions. Only by contrasting life and faith can we truly examine our own, and criticize our own morals & motivations.

Experience: Visuals, Score, Effects

Sometimes doing a ‘prototype’ cylon, is harder than doing an advanced model and the intricacy of the effect is stunning. In Caprica, we see all the bits and gears of hardware as the first cylon is animated, as opposed to the shiny toaster we’re used to. While there are no crazy space battles to show off explosive visual elements, we see a brilliant other-worldly architecture, ingenuitive settings for both Caprica and it’s VR underbelly, and yes, even some sweet explosions. All are beautifully rendered, and up to the very high standard of the award winning SFX crew of BSG.


Bear McCreary returns to score the show, and once again outdoes himself as the sci-fi vibe comes across with hints of those elements which made us care so much in BSG. Haunting tones and echoes of future themes tie Caprica in to the overall BSG universe as much as the ancestric imagery.

Is this the new best way for #SmrtTV

Straight to DVD doesn’t have to be crap, it just always has been. Futurama, and Battlestar ‘Razor‘ helped show that there is another, better method to deliver medium budget, high quality storytelling, that can’t support the ratings ‘numbers’ that the suits seem to regard most highly. Even if you don’t like Caprica, support #SmrtTV and buy the DVD. It’ll look nice in your collection, and may indirectly provide hope to other canceled shows.


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