The pivotal character in Caprica is Zoe Greystone. She creates an avatar of herself that survives being connected to her when she is killed in a 9.11 like bombing of a maglev train. Her father Daniel then puts the avatar into the body of a soldier robot which becomes the first Cylon. It is part Zoe, part Avatar and part Robot creating a Trinity of religious meaning to the Soldiers of the One (STO), a sect Zoe secretly was a member of.
Way to start a new race download a religious teenager who runs away from home and is involved in a terrorist organization into its mind. That might end badly …
It is the same world of the twelve colonies we knew from BSG (Battle Star Galactica) but it is 70 years before the war. The world have the same kind of gritty feeling to it as BSG but the premises are different. It’s clearly inspired by the 30s and hard boiled gangsters movies about that time. It’s taking vintage a few decades back into the future world.
The cgi is in fact decent, you’ll notice the change in lightning and hue at times. Some things are done real well, like the folding paper screens and the panoramic windows acting as displays. All which are technologies in the works here on earth, and not to far away either.
Caprica is a segregated world. The Capricans live good lives while they import cheap labour from the other colonies especially from Tauron. The Taurons are persecuted and discriminated against in a way that reminds both of the way blacks and latinos have been treated in our own world, forcing many of them to a life of crime. Joseph Adama is a law abiding Tauron that looses his wife and daughter in the bombing. He and Daniel Greystone are brought together by grief, and as a favor to his new friend Daniel creates an avatar of Tamara, Joseph’s daughter. But the avatar doesn’t understand what it is, it is afraid and Joseph becomes appalled and leaves.
Daniel downloaded Zoe into a robot that was for a defense contract to create 100 000 robots for Caprica’s defense. The trouble is that at least so far in the series he only got one to work, the one he downloaded Zoe into. But I am sure he’ll figure it out eventually.
There is a sneaky core of religion and mysticism to the series I am not sure I like. I had the same trouble with BSG. Me, I prefer more hard Science Fiction where the writers at least can pretend to have scientific explanations. I know, it sounds a bit weird implying that science fiction becomes unrealistic when it has to resort to mysticism. But thats how I feel. And I love Star Wars, go figure.
The terrorist bombing that Zoe was involved in traumatizes a whole world. That angel doesn’t feel as fresh as it did before, it has been used in a lot of tv series and I have all respect in the world for the impact and importance of 9.11 and the trauma it caused but there are other story lines out there. We can all relate to the anger, grief and confusion the characters feel so maybe it’s not that bad.
Their Internet counterpart V-world is blamed for the debauchery of the younger generation. Never happened here. Truth be told they are very decadent and awful in there. Matrix and 13th floor comes more to mind than the Internet. Daniel Greystone is the inventor of the V-world and his company has made a lot of money of it.
There is a game changing moment when Daniel in the sixth episode ‘There is Another Sky’ bows down to the hackers that created free zones on the net and convince the member of the board that v-world is lost to profit making. The new game in town is making Cylons.
To create the avatar, Daniel had joseph help him steal a chip trough his Tauron contacts. Now it comes back to haunt him as Tomas Vergis, the Tauron he stole the chip from comes to Caprica bent on revenge. This show need a villain, Vergis fits the bill.
This show has few characters to love beside Zoe. Lacey Rand is one you can, she is Zoe’s best friend and survived the bombing by balking at the last minute, never getting on the train. She is a bit naive and riddled with guilt. She was also a member of the cult and now she and robot Zoe continue that friendship. It is a bit creepy at times with a six foot robot and a tiny girl, but it ads to the dynamics. At the moment she is busy trying to smuggle robot Zoe to Gemini and the cult there. There is some important function she will serve there for the cult.
Philomon, Daniels young assistant is a character to watch, he is emerging as Zoe’s love interests. He has this geeky like for his robot gadgets that pleases Zoe. Who still hides to everyone she is inside the robot, but she emails Philomon, pretending to be ‘Rachel’ and even meets him in V-world. Although he likes the robot in real life I think there will be major reprecautions when he finds out the truth.
Sister Clairice is a mover behind the scene. She is the headmistress of Zoe and Lacey’s school and an agent for STO. She has an agenda were Zoe’s avatar is essential. She constantly tries to get at it and she pressures Lacey in a creepy way. She is also running another group of kids, the one Ben the bomber belonged to. Her group marriage is an acceptable custom on Caprica but it only makes her feel more creepy. Nothing wrong with expressing ones sexuality but the group are not at peace and she is hiding things from them.
The Soldiers of The One seems divided into fractions as the bomber Barnabas is allowed to continue his rampage, while sister Clairice protests. Barnabas is played by James Marsters (Spike) who claims the show is ‘about the fall of the American Empire’. For now Barnabas wraps up the three major villains on Caprica.
Tamara Adama’s avatar survives on v-world and is eventually released from the room Daniel kept her in by Zoe and Lacey. Now she wanders the game worlds with matrix-like special powers in search for life. I think she will be joining Zoe as a pivotal character of the series.
The show is about the Adamas and the Graystones with Joseph and Daniel as leads. Amanda Graystone also plays a major role. She is emotional and plays out while Daniel plays the mad scientist behind his fasade of reason. Amanda learns about Zoe having a boyfriend. She is shocked not knowing. Then she finds the eternity symbol among her things. So she takes to the podium at the memorial and accuse Zoe of causing the bombing. I hope the writers let her step out and be the brilliant doctor she is playing. I don’t really like any of these three. I can relate to them, but this show would be much easier to love If they where more likable. I feel less and less sympathy and interest in them and it pains me.
Lighten up, be a little light hearted for once or go for some cathartic anger. Their stiffness reminds me of Gattaca and not in a good way.
On a higher plane Caprica is story about duality, two families the Greystones and the Adamas, the haves and the havenots, the analytics versus the emotional, the Capricans against the Taurens, Science versus Spirit and human versus machine. That is a part that works for me.
The show is so close to being good, the characters are there and the plot is there but it doesn’t quite reach it. I think its just around the corner though. I feel more joy watching the later episodes than the pilot.
What we know of their future is hanging over the series, I hate stories where I know the end, and this might have affected me negatively. I love Zoe and Lacey but don’t care for the rest of the cast, I am not interesting in a family soap opera even at a scifi background. The villains are coming along in a good way, pity they waited this long to introduce them. To conclude Caprica is a much better series than the ratings show, but it can also become much better. There is some cyberpunk with a gangster twist hiding in there that could make it much more interesting. And show some emotions dammit!