Thursday, October 22, 2009


I watched the movie-length pilot for the BSG prequel Caprica on DVD. It shows the original air date as 21 April; I surprised I missed it. The DVD version has full-frontal, so I assume that whatever ran on SciFi was different.

I liked the movie. I thought it did a good job of imagining what a civilization informed by Greco-Roman paganism would have looked like had it survived into the future; it's direct and implied commentary on that civilization was also compelling. It did a plausible job of giving us the Cylon backstory, e.g. how the Cylons came to be monotheists. But . . .

On to the nitpicking:

  • As Dr. Graystone builds the first Cylon, the final piece of the puzzle is supposed to be a piece of hardware called a "meta-cognitive processor". The inconsistency is that Graystone's daughter, before her death, had already fully implemented her software-based personality in Caprica's pre-existing version of a MMOG, accessed using the "holo-band" super VR system. (This apparently interfaces directly with the brain, bypassing the actual sensory organs.) So . . . it's not clear why any additional hardware is needed.

  • We learn near the end that a young boy named "William Adams" is actually William Adama, whose father Anglicized (Capricanized?) the family name when he immigrated from the rural backwater of Tauron. Now, in Caprica, as in BSG, Taurons are among the lower caste ethnicities of the Twelve Colonies. While Taurons are permitted economic success, they are despised openly by native Capricans in terms reminescent of the old Progressive's attitude toward non-whites. And yet, the audience is asked to believe that even after reverting to the name Adama, young William was able to ascend the ranks of the Colonial (and predominately Caprican) officer corp. The exceptional rarity of this was a plot point in BSG, but by then the Adamas were held out as native Capricans. This would be a little like Gen. Benjamin Davis passing himself off as white.

  • Oh, yeah, one more thing. If I were creating a virtual reality avatar to participate in a fully interactive sensory online world, I wouldn't pick my ugly mug. Yet the possibilities don't seem to occur to the teenagers in the movie.


Trumwill said...

I haven't read your review yet for fear of spoilers. I'm sure I will watch it at some point, but concisely... nitpicking aside (and who doesn't love a good nitpick)... how many stars would you give it? How much of a point should I make of watching it sooner rather than later?

Burke said...

It was good! Thoughtful. Framed the major themes well, although the performances lacked the dark energy of the first two seasons of BSG, IMO. But better than the last two seasons.