Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Caprica"- I can't wait to see Moore.

I finally was able to see all of the episodes of “Caprica” in one sitting.

From Wikipedia: Caprica is a television series set in the fictional Battlestar Galactica universe. Beginning 58 years before the events seen in Battlestar Galactica, Caprica tells the story of how Colonial humanity first created the robotic cylons( a cybernetic lifeform node), who would later plot to destroy human civilization in retaliation for their enslavement., who would later plot to destroy human civilization in retaliation for their enslavement.

I initially did not enjoy the series, in part because I didn’t think it could be as good as BSG, but also because Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, and Katee Sackoff aren’t in it. However, it does have:

Main cast:
• Eric Stoltz as Daniel Graystone
• Esai Morales as Joseph Adama
• Paula Malcomson as Amanda Graystone
• Polly Walker as Sister Clarice Willow
• Alessandra Torresani as Zoe Graystone
• Magda Apanowicz as Lacy Rand
• Sasha Roiz as Sam Adama
• Scott Porter as Nestor

Eric Stoltz plays a Bill Gates-like technical genius who loses his daughter in a terrorist attack perpetrated by a group of dissidents who believe in one god rather than the Caprican many gods. Sound familiar? Dr. Graystone is so distraught over his daughter’s death that he implants an avatar of her in a cylon robot that he recently created for the government. The point of this is to keep his daughter alive so the grieving doesn’t hurt so much. Stoltz plays the father as a bit distant and intellectual but with great internal angst over the loss of his only child. Allesandra Torresani is compelling as the daughter. She is the right mix of youth, rebelliousness, and intelligence. There are scenes where Zoe is seen as the avatar and the camera shifts to where we see her as a cylon. This is particularly well done when she is speaking to her best friend.

Esai Morales plays the father of the William Adama (Olmos in BSG). Adama is a Tauron, a group that is despised and discriminated against in Caprica. His daughter was also killed in the attack and he wants to experience the same relationship that Graystone has with his daughter post her death. Morales shows his character’s grief through anger directed toward the Graystone’s who he blames for raising a terrorist daughter. Adams has a gay brother who is part of a Tauron mob.

While all of this may sound a bit convoluted, and maybe even silly, it does hold up a mirror to our own society. The reflection of our fear of terrorists and our discrimination against those who we think might be terrorists because of their skin color or their country of origin rings true. I am reminded of last year’s ejection of a “middle-eastern looking family” from an AirTran flight simply for talking about what the safest part a plane is and having dark skin. The view shared by some in our society that technology will solve our problems is also well portrayed. The similarities to Gates are remarkable. Even the Graystone mansion looks a bit like the Gates property. But, it seems like Graystone may also change his focus to non-technological ways to improve society, as has the Microsoft founder, but that remains to be seen. The conflict among groups that believe that their god (or gods) is better than another group’s also is a strong theme in “Caprica”, as was also the case in BSG. Irrational, yet understandable” emotional responses to the loss of loved ones is also an important them. Zoe’s rebellion against her family’s religious beliefs and how that leads to rebellion among the cylons as a group will be interesting to see unfold. This rebellion sets up the whole BSG story.

The series is filmed in Vancouver, which looks phenomenal. The music is by Bear McCready who also composed for BSG. His music is never incongruous with a scene. It is also full of creative orchestrations and is always interesting to listen to.

I look forward to seeing “Caprica” unfold. Ronald D. Moore writes stories that are full of detail and long thematic arcs. This means that missing episodes can interfere with understanding. It’s good that the series in available on the SyFy website.

1 comment:

  1. I am a big fan of BSG. I discover it about one year ago and was very fortunate to be invited to the United Nation panel for human rights and terrorism, which featured BSG, the main actors, Ron Moore and David Eick. I was attracted to the series because it tackles ethical issues which are critical in our society. I happen to teach ethics and I have used BSG as a medium to introduce a number of ideas to my students, who might not be interested in reading articles, but who respond much better to visual media.
    Caprica is following the same route and it already challenges our ideas about technology and how far we should push it, the idea of consciousness and identity, what sums up a life, the extension of the body into the information data stream, and whether we possibly could exist outside of our bodies. Meanwhile it has an interesing take on women, polygamy and it shakes our core beliefs of what is right and what is wrong.
    I certainly find the Caprica actors less charismatic than he BSG actors and it is difficult to top of the performances of E. Olmos or Mary McDonnell.
    Like in BSG I absolutely adore the music and I have become a huge Bear McCreary fan, especially of his more classical pieces.
    I think Caprica has great potential and great writing.