Saturday, 16 May 2009

Caprica

I've seen Caprica, the new Battlestar Galactica prequel.

The good news on this project is that, following a slightly dramatically unfocused first fifteen minutes, it becomes a terrific sci-fi show. It isn't as unrelated to Battlestar as the producers have suggested, although I do think if you haven't seen Battlestar, there isn't anything that will alienate. But if you are a Battlestar fan then there's a lot of details that will thrill.

The big link is that Adama is in it as a child. But he's not developed in a way to suggest that he will be significantly confusing. He's a child who has lost his mother and older sister and that is it. The central drama is between his father Joseph, and Daniel Greystone, a genius advancing AI. They both lose their families in a terrorist attack and are hell-bent on finding a way to get their families back. With the advance in AI, there may be a way to do this.

The show has two areas of interest. First is in the central two characters, One Joseph, has shady mob connections, the other Daniel, is a genius with a mix of compassion and coldness that mirrors Battlestar's Baltar, although his demons are unique. Daniel is the most intriguing character in the show, the one who is most likely to do odd, immoral actions. He gives the drama its life in the pilot, and is the character you want to see in his full mad-bastard glory as the show continues. Eric Stoltz plays him and its great casting, as Stoltz's coldness and suppressed emotions that are there usually as an actor give his character as sense of an odd, unusual life.

The second interest is in the technology. The Internet has advanced in this show to be able to project avatars as people going through virtual landscapes that resemble real-life locations, so people can go to clubs, take part on group sex without ever doing it physically. By the time the show has begun, Daniel's daughter has found a way to download memories, emotions, so an avatar can be a person. The existence of this avatar is the propellant for Stoltz and how he goes to hell. he finale, where Stoltz downloads his daughter's avatar into the first cylon, is a great moment, both for Battlestar fans (as it explains so much about what follows in various ways) and in sci-fi, as you see a new life form emerging, evolving.

Like Battlestar there is religion and it is intriguing, propelling the plot, with a belief that society is sinful and failing, that there is only one true god versus other religions. But this is set-up in the pilot, so it doesn't propel the story as interestingly as the central characters.

There are flaws. As I stated, the first fifteen minutes don't work so well. There's an investigator character that's pretty dull. That's kind of s situation where they need to invent a new character that can slot into a plot-line that is building rather than anything else. But that's two minor flaws in a great new series. It's not as strong as the Battlestar Galactica miniseries but its still pretty great.

1 comment:

Crapmonster said...

Caprica was great. I agree, it sort of starts of rough which only elevated suspicions that it couldn't live up to BSG but soon found that I was dead wrong.

The connections to our contemporary internet mentalities and trends are also startling.