Back to entry: caprica | Show links black


US TV series (2009-2011). David Eick Productions for Syfy. Created by Ronald D Moore and Remi Aubuchon for Syfy. Producers include Moore, David Eick, and Jane Espenson. Writers include Moore, Aubuchon, Espenson, Michael Taylor and Michael Angeli. Directors include Moore, Michael Nankin, Wayne Rose, and Roxann Dawson. Cast includes Eric Stoltz as Daniel Graystone, Alessandra Torresani as Zoe Graystone, Esai Morales as Joseph Adama, Polly Walker as Clarice Willow, Paula Malcomson as Amanda Graystone, Magda Apanowicz as Lacy Rand, and Sasha Roiz as Sam Adama. Two-hour pilot released on DVD in 2009 and aired in 2010, followed by 17 one-hour episodes.

Prequel series to the revamped Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009), ostensibly telling the story of the creation of the Cylons and their original rebellion against humanity. The convoluted plot follows two families, the Graystones and the Adamas (whose youngest son William will grow up to become Galactica's Commander Adama), as well as their friends and hangers-on, as they unwittingly seal humanity's fate by playing major roles in the creation of the Cylons, originally conceived as sentient Robot soldiers. Though some aspects of Colonial society track with the version presented in Galactica – the tension between the two core families is rooted in class divisions that also cropped up occasionally in the parent show, with the Graystones a leading family in the society of the titular planet, the richest and most influential of twelve human colonies, and the Adamas struggling to escape the poverty and hardship of their native Tauron, whose main presence on Caprica comes in the form of a powerful organized crime syndicate – others suggest a disconnect between the two series' universes. A major sub-plot involves the emergence of monotheism (see Religion) as a marginalized cult within polytheistic Colonial society, but Galactica, which set monotheistic Cylons against polytheistic humans, suggested a different genesis for this religious creed.

It is possible that Caprica would have ironed out these inconsistencies as it drew on, but in its first and only season the show seemed less interested in filling in the gaps of Galactica's backstory than in telling a more purely science-fictional story than Galactica ever did. Besides the classic sf trope of the creation of sentient Machines to be used as slave labour (see Slavery), other sub-plots in the first season involve several murdered characters reappearing as electronic copies of their originals, and much of the series takes place in Virtual Reality, where living and dead humans interact and shape themselves and their environment to suit their needs. In the latter half of the season, Daniel proposes to monetize this technology by offering customers the chance to interact with perfect electronic copies of their loved ones, while monotheistic zealot Clarice Willow decides to create an electronic heaven, to which the righteous will be Uploaded upon their deaths. To these two stories the writers add a third by concentrating on the characters' interpersonal crises – the Graystones' strained marriage, the Adamas' difficulty reconciling their Tauron past and Caprican present. Caprica was therefore telling three stories – the Galactica prequel, the science-fictional story about a society being remade by technology, and the soap opera – and though the three never fully gelled into a coherent whole (an inconsistency that bled into the show's appearance – the Adamas' neighbourhood and the virtual world are clearly noir-inflected, while the Graystones move in environs so rife with glass and chrome that they seem almost like a parody of futurism), the acting and writing were strong enough to suggest that they yet might have. Lacklustre marketing on Syfy's part, however, and lukewarm response from Galactica's fandom, who were presumably interested in a more action-oriented story, translated into poor ratings, and the show was summarily cancelled after its first season. [AN]


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 00:47 am on 18 July 2024.