Like most TV shows, Caprica had things about it that I liked and things that I did not like as much. Caprica (2010-2011), was the short-lived spinoff prequel to The Battlestar Galactica reboot that was a unique and unusual blend of science fiction, and Ronald D. Moore’s heavy-handed style of melodrama. The series never seemed to find a balance between the two.
Caprica was about a dysfunctional family, the Greystones, that were the faces of an industrial empire that first created the Cylon prototypes, that later came back as the mortal enemies of the humans that created them. The show could have used some more science fiction as part of its content to balance out all that melodrama.
Caprica is grounded in urban locales rather than in space and focuses on corporate, political, familial, and personal intrigue, similar in approach to a Greek tragedy. With wealth, corporate intrigue, and the troubled relationship between two families at its center. Caprica was science fiction’s response to prime-time soaps like Dynasty or Dallas.
As typical people that exist in this universe, the show’s characters were part of a polytheistic society that indulged in superstitious beliefs and interplanetary prejudices relating to what gods get worshipped. In other words, there is a lot of drama resulting from anthropological and tribal behavior at play throughout the series’ narrative; also as if that weren’t enough, the series threw in a religious cult of extremists that catalyzed the narrative’s events.
Also, the series dwelt on the early life of a young William Adama who, of course, later became one of the only serving admirals of the surviving humans whose military later became engaged in a desperate fight for survival against the Cylons. The depiction of Adama’s youth was strongly reminiscent of The Godfather series of stories by Mario Puzo. Framed by the conflict between the Adamas and the Graystones over the resurrection of loved ones lost in the act of terrorism, the series was meant to explore ethical implications of advances in artificial intelligence and robotics.
In addition to its focus on the two families, the series also had a whole cyberpunk aspect involving the virtual ghost of the Greystone’s daughter as part of the whole virtual playground trope that has recently become popular with genre writers. This place is the preferred hang out popular with young people, used for hedonistic purposes and role-playing.
The next step is how this wacky series attempts to explain how the digital consciousness of the Greystone’s daughter got inside one of the early Cylon prototypes, and what happens next. At first, the idea of a teenage girl’s consciousness with parental issues, teen angst, being behind the hatred and hostility the Cylons had for humans struck me as downright silly. But later, I thought ‘why not?’ it’s as good a reason as any and in a way, darkly amusing, although more than a little whimsical.
I never really connected with Caprica, but I didn’t hate it either, and like several other series on Syfy, just when it seemed to be getting good, it was canceled.