Now that the SyFy Channel has officially begun broadcasting the Caprica series, we thought we’d repost our review from last summer. — WM
By SHARON K. GILBERT
Originally posted on June 10, 2009
“The battle for humanity has a beginning.”
PREPARE to hit the skip scene button once or twice as you begin your journey into the world of Caprica. The opening sequence depicts nearly every human depravity, including but not limited to murder, suicide, ritual sacrifice, sexual perversions, and pharmacological experimentation. Perhaps that is why SciFi chose to release the pilot episode for the Battlestar Galactica prequel on DVD rather that air it–to sneak past censors.
However, it’s important to note that beyond appealing (sadly) to teens and pre-teens, the graphic hedonism reflects our own culture. Which gets to the point of the entire show–Caprica is the United States. Without revealing too much about the plot, let me share my observations.
The main characters are polar opposites but represent two major factions within US social hierarchy:
Joseph Adama (calling himself ‘Adams’ and played by Esai Morales) is from the planet Tauron, a poor, lower class component of the colonies. The Taurons we meet in Caprica are mobsters who use their power to control government. Adama is a corrupt lawyer in the mob’s pocket.
Daniel Graystone (Eric Stolz) is a Bill Gates wannabe right down to the red hair and mansion. His blonde and perky wife, Amanda (Paula Malcomson), has an ongoing feud with their only daughter, Zoe (Allesandra Toreson). Zoe has inherited her father’s computer genius–proving it by hacking into her dad’s major money maker, a virtual reality band that simulates whatever ‘situation’ the user desires.
The intersection of these two families forms the framework for Caprica in a rich man/poor man story arch with a twist. A terrorist group called The Sons of The One (STO–represented by an infinity loop) blows up a commuter train right in the heart of Caprica City. On board at the time are Adama’s wife and daughter, who both die. Zoe Graystone and her boyfriend Ben Stark (both STO members) also die in the crash as Ben the zealot explodes a suicide vest.
The entire city goes into mourning, and law enforcement vows to hunt down the STO members with a vengeance.
So, who are the STO? They are believers in the One True God. In a sea of polytheists, the STO is a singular entity with faith in a singular God. They are Judeo/Christian in nature and portrayed as religio-fascists.
Ah, but it gets better. Zoe, the little computer genius, had created a ‘perfect avatar’ of herself inside her VR headband. By downloading the program, Daniel Graystone not only can reproduce his daughter but hopes to virtually clone Adama’s wife and child as well (in exchange for a little thievery).
Caprica is stylish and gritty and all too real. The series will commence on SciFi in 2010, so you have plenty of time to view the DVD and skip past the junk.
I recommend this DVD for those who like character-driven science fiction. The issue of societal breakdown aided by science is compelling enough; but throw in a little transhumanism/robotics mixed with a dash of skewed religious zeal (aimed at painting Christians as dangerous if not inhuman), and you’ll find yourself hooked.