Finally, the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ prequel series ‘Caprica’ premiered on SyFy last Friday. Of course, the two hour pilot has been available on DVD and On Demand for months, but whatever. The real news is that new episodes are upon us (finally) and I’m excited to see what this Battlestar prequel will bring.
What I loved about Battlestar: the characters (of course)–it’s one of the best character-driven dramas I’ve seen on television–but also the religious themes of polytheism vs monotheism, and of course, science, technology, and the repercussions of human hubris.
‘Caprica’ seems to bring similar promise, at least in the religion department if not the characters themselves (at least not yet). So far, there isn’t a slam dunk personality like that of Starbuck or Lee or Odama. Eric Stoltz as Daniel Graystone is the center character of ‘Caprica’ right now, and I don’t find him very magnetic. Alessandra Torresani as Zoe, his daughter, probably runs a close second as far as significance and I’m not in love with her either. But I’m willing to give them a chance, and then, the show’s season previews include glimpses of James Marsters, who I adore, and I can’t pass up watching a show that features him.
Much more interesting is the promise of the polytheism vs. monotheism theme, this time giving viewers the background story to what becomes the central division between Cylons and humans in Battlestar–to believe in one god or many gods? ‘Caprica’ already has linked up terrorist cells with the fight for a monotheistic faith, pitting the one-god folks against the many-god folks. Perhaps most interesting of all is the hubris issue, since with Caprica, we get to see the birth and rise of the Cylon. The end of the pilot is chilling and Frankenstein-esque–with Daniel imbuing a “toaster” Cylon prototype with his daughter’s avatar. To hear her voice come out of a Cylon body is utterly upsetting and gripping. This, I hope, will turn out to be the heart of the show.
The New York Times review of ‘Caprica’ is less kind. Regardless, I’m excited to see whether ‘Caprica’ can come anywhere near the level of amazing that Battlestar reached.