Revew: “Caprica”

April 26, 2009 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

If you were wondering, as I was, what could possibly fill the gap left by this year’s finale of Battlestar Galactica, fear not.  The creators of that successful sci-fi series have given us the prequel, Caprica, which not only gives insight into the creation of the BSG universe, but also tells one hell of a morality tale.  And, it’s got great writing, too.

Released just last week on DVD, Caprica, for those who don’t know, is the pilot for next years SciFi Network series of the same name.  It tells the stories of two families, the Graystones and the Adamas; both have lost loved ones in a terrible act of terrorism, and both are finding ways to deal with the tragedy.  The heads of the families, Daniel Graystone (Eric Stolz) and Joseph Adams (no, that’s not a name misspelling, played by Esai Morales) meet and become friends .  However, their friendship becomes strained when Daniel, a computer and inventing genius, finds a way to bring her daughter back to life.

That’s really all I want to say about the plot.  Not like there’s any major twists or anything like that, it’s just that the writing for this pilot is so good, one should experience for themselves before reading a summary of it.  What I will say is that this show appears to be carrying the torch left behind by Battlestar Galactica.  That show gave us a drama in space, and here we get a family drama set in ‘the future’.  One of the reasons I loved BSG is because it raised all sorts of interesting questions not tackled by conventional shows (‘Is there a God?’, ‘What created us?’, ‘Is there really a right and wrong?’).  Caprica, at least judging by the pilot, has raised a sole question, and it’s a big one, ‘What is a soul?’

Visually, this show shares a lot with its predecessor.  In BSG, many of the exterior scenes that take place on the planet Caprica have a golden over-saturated look to them.  Since all of Caprica takes place on the planet of the same name, the visual style carries over.  Also, there’s also a little bit of grain tossed in, as well.  I’m not sure if this show was shot digitally or not (I’m inclined to think it is), but it doesn’t have that same grittiness of BSG, and it doesn’t need it.  The reason for the grain here was probably more of an homage to BSG than anything else.  Also, you won’t find that pseudo-documentary style handheld camerawork in Caprica, the camera moves more traditionally.

The acting, as expected, is great.  Eric Stolz plays his part well, showing us a conflicted father who, more than anything, wants his family to stay together.  Esai Morales (a very under-appreciated actor), gives us a Joseph Adams who is trying to bring up his only son properly and give him the life he never had.  It’s very easy to see how William Adama (played by Edward James Olmos in BSG) became the man whom we see later.  Joseph tries to be a moral, righteous person, even though it means taking the road less traveled.

Caprica may very well be the show to watch next year, and it suckes that we have to wait so long for the series to really begin.  Galactica fans also have something else to look forward this year: Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, a TV movie directed by Olmos, which tells the BSG story from the Cylons’ point-of-view.  As a 90-minute pilot, Caprica doesn’t disappoint.

8/10

(image from Amazon.com)

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