The first half of the first season of Caprica just ended, and I was thrilled to see that the show, despite my high expectations, was able to meet and exceed my hopes. Over the course of the first nine episodes of the first season, Caprica managed to surprise and delight me throughout at the concept and world-building that had been put into place - the show is proving to be a viable addition to the Battlestar Galactica universe, and hopefully, will continue to do so.
Set half a century prior to the events of Battlestar Galactica, Caprica fills the role of prequel, an already daunting task for any established and successful television show, setting up two major families, the Adams (Adamas) and the Graystones. A train bombing on Caprica kills daughters of both of the houses, setting the two families into one another, and putting together a series of events that sets a chain of events into motion, which will no doubt have its own trail to Battlestar Galactica.
Battlestar Galactica largely succeeded because it was a breath of fresh air in the Science Fiction world, breaking a number of the conventions when it came to a show set in space, with combat, military operations and complicated characters. What surprised me the most was that Caprica essentially threw a lot of that out the window, and began anew, focusing on entirely different themes, thus taking the show in different directions than I had expected. Where Battlestar Galactica focused on the military, politics and humanity under pressure, Caprica has gone a completely different direction, opting to look at a digital lifestyle and religious conflict in society, and in doing so, help to flesh out a lot about the 12 colonies that were really only hinted at in Battlestar Galactica.
I like what I see, and the show has grown, in story and in its tone/feel, from that first pilot, and it has revealed a world that is really well thought out, with a number of conflicts playing into other storylines. As with Battlestar, this series remains fairly relevant to today's society, which is a major point for Science Fiction: To be relevant, in a fantastic setting. As the digital revolution kicked off in the mid-90s, society has changed a lot as a result: computers have connected us together in ways un-thought of, and brings out the best and worst in society: while major disasters bring about hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, viruses and pornography lurks in the shadows. So to, on Caprica, this sort of world and environment has prevailed, with youths looking to enact their fantasies in places where there are no consequences. An interesting quote popped up one of the later episodes, where a character wondered that even though people could act as if there was no consequence, should they? The internet is certainly a liberating tool for people, for good and bad.
Like any major change, there are reactions in society. Like terrorism has sprouted up, pushed along by fundamentalist forces here on Earth, the same too has happened here, where people have begun to strap bombs to them in order to effect some sort of political and societal change. The results are the same: innocents are killed, and people continue onwards. Caprica does a lot here to demonstrate that it is a very different show than Battlestar Galactica, and the terrorism aspect is a major point that is seen in both shows - here, there is killing on the part of political entities, to raise awareness to their causes and beliefs, while in Battlestar, there were suicide bombings as a matter of survival. In both instances, it demonstrates that there's a convoluted and chain of events, with different intentions all around. What I appreciated about the first show was the ability to cause audiences to think beyond the screen and talk and reflect on what they were seeing. Thus far, Caprica has begun to do that, although it's not quite there yet.
To be fair, the show has its flaws - some of the characters grate a bit (although one seems to be gone at this point), and the show really isn't about what I liked in Battlestar: military science fiction, with action and firefights, some of the best that I've ever seen on television, or on any screen, for that matter. I'm hoping that at some point, they'll begin to work on that sort of thing, or work it into the third major show. As much as I loved the plot and story in Battlestar, the space combat proved to be a fantastic bit of entertainment, and allowed for some of the best visuals in the genre, even out of combat.
Hopefully, Caprica will be given the chance to survive beyond its first year - there is plenty of potential for the show as a whole, and there's still a lot to talk about.