Caprica: Season 1.0
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The Battlestar Galactica phenomenon continues with this undeniably compelling look at where the real conflict between humans and the Cylons began...in a vibrant world remarkably like our own: Caprica. Fifty-eight years before Battlestar takes off, two powerful families – the Graystones and the Adamas – find their destinies irrevocably intertwined after a devastating explosion. As both houses struggle with the line where humanity ends and artificial intelligence – the Cylon race – begins, they’ll face off in a battlefield of corporate conspiracy, murder, sexual politics and family backbiting. From executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick comes this highly anticipated prequel starring Golden Globe nominee Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales and presented in uninterrupted Dolby 5.1 surround sound.
Corporate espionage, online role-playing games, terrorist attacks--the world of Caprica isn't so different from our own. The science-fiction series delves into the complex back story that led to the superb rebooted Battlestar Galactica: two men connect through mutual grief, each having lost a daughter in a bombing. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz, still best known for Some Kind of Wonderful) is the multimillionaire inventor of the holoband, a virtual reality version of the Internet; Joseph Adama (Esai Morales, NYPD Blue) is a lawyer and functionary for a crime family. Their glimmering friendship swiftly mutates as each realizes that the other offers something he wants… which eventually leads to the answer of Battlestar Galactica's greatest mystery: how did the Cylons begin? Caprica is flush with hot-button issues, ranging from alternate sexualities to religious extremism to troubling moral questions raised by accelerating technology; the world is a skillfully conceived dark mirror of contemporary life. The characters, unfortunately, are not so well developed. Too many of them have no clear desires or driving impulses--which isn't unlike real life, but makes for a meandering story line. On several occasions characters have to do something dumb just to keep the plot in motion; again, not unbelievable, but it's hard to stay engaged with characters you can't respect. Still, every episode has at least one moment that's truly clever or emotionally compelling, just enough to keep a viewer going. The series strengthens as it gets further in, so this may be one of those precarious first seasons where the creators work out the kinks (the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was pretty rocky, but then it soared into the stratosphere). Caprica has a lot of potential; if it finds its footing, this could be great television. --Bret Fetzer
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First, we learn that the Cylon robots were imbued with a human personality. There's a fairly realistic (or "realistic") account of how a human personality could be transferred to a robot, basically treating the human soul as an aggregation of the data stored in the human brain. The personality transferred was also a devout monotheist which explains how that "trait" got passed down to subsequent generations of Cylons. And to boot, it's the personality of an emotionally troubled teenage girl - what a neat twist!
In addition to the Cylon origin story, Caprica also explores other moral issues. One theme throughout the series is the dangers of a virtual reality world, not unlike an amped up internet, in which people are allowed to act without inhibitions. For some, this part might seem out of place. The frequent images of teens clubbing and 1930s noir gangster scenes are a bit jarring. However, they're not just extraneous - they come to an interesting resolution near the end of the first season.
The characterization is a mixed bag. I love how Zoe Graystone, a teenage girl whose "programming" is installed into the first Cylon, struggles with so many issues, such as faith, reality, and love. The Adama family saga is also interesting. We'd heard a bit about Joseph Adama in the Battlestar Galactica series, but seeing him morally compromised provides a fascinating insight into the future Bill Adama's family.
The Graystone parents on the other hand are a mixed bag. Eric Stoltz brings a compelling mix of gravitas and weariness to Daniel Graystone. When he's depressed, you really see the weight of the world in his eyes. However, both he and his wife, Amanda Graystone, often find themselves making stupid decisions. In a few places, Amanda just goes off the deep-end in doing something incredibly stupid. It never completely destroys the show because while the decisions are stupid, they are human. However, I found myself losing respect for the characters as the show went on.
The show actually came to a pretty fitting conclusion at the end of season 1, despite having been cancelled. One other thing that bothered me though was that it seems the producers felt the show needed more action and intrigue. By season 1.5, some of the more interesting character development was dropped and the subplot with the terrorists became more prominent. By the final episode, the Graystones are running around Caprica trying to essentially stop a ticking bomb. There are plenty of other "ticking bomb" shows like 24 and I think Caprica lost a bit of something in trying to mimic them.
Overall, if you liked BSG, I think this show will help you make sense of the Cylons. Even if you weren't a BSG addict, Caprica is an interesting sci-fi show that had a lot of potential and certainly didn't deserve to be canceled.
Anyway it's amazing. If you like Sci fi, of if you liked BSG and want to know how the birth of the cylon race came to be, you don't want to miss this. The cylons did not start how you may have thought, and they were not originally evil at all. It's good. Watch, now.
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