Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Caprica is greenlit

Sci Fi Channel has now officially greenlit Battlestar Galactica prequel series "Caprica" with a full season order, set to premiere in early 2010 (Variety). Caprica takes place 50 years before the events of BSG at a time when humans were beginning to face the serious moral dilemmas brought by the creation of artificial intelligence. The series focuses on two rival families, the Adamas and the Graystones, on the planet of Caprica, a world not unlike how we might envision our own near future. Esai Morales stars as Joseph Adama, a lawyer and father of future Admiral William Adama. Eric Stoltz stars as Daniel Graystone, a wealthy computer genius who seems destined to make great breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. The two will inevitably clash as Graystone insists on making intelligent robots despite Adama's dire warnings. Expect character-driven drama, tough moral issues with no clear right or wrong, and frightening parallels to events in the real world.

I'd just like to put this little issue out there in the hopes that someone can clear it up for me. My understanding of the timeline is that the Cylon War lasted twelve and a half years and was followed by 40 years of no Cylon contact prior to the massive attack that marked the beginning of the Battlestar Galactica series. By my calculations, this would put Caprica, which is supposed to be 50 years before that attack, around about the third year of the Cylon War. Not exactly the time that I would expect them to be just getting around to inventing artificial intelligence. I guess that at least some of my facts here are incorrect, and all will be made clear when the show actually starts.

Now that's out of the way, I must say that I am very excited for this show. BSG is probably my favorite show on right now, and I will be so sad (though possibly also relieved--as I've said before, it stresses me out!) when it ends this spring. The thought of the story continuing, even if the continuation is in a prequel where we already know to some extent where they're going to end up (i.e. genocide), makes me very happy*. Still, I have some considerable apprehension. The many characters of BSG are a crucial part of its greatness--I love every one of them, in one way or another. There isn't a single "good guy" on the show that I haven't been furious with at some point, because like real people they all sometimes act rashly or selfishly and make mistakes, but this in some ways only makes me love them more. And the villains are equally fascinating and flawed. Caprica may be set in the same universe as BSG, but it will not feature the same characters--in that regard, it starts from scratch. The creators better not mess up their new characters.

Sci Fi Channel hopes that Caprica will be accessible to a general audience by being set not on a space ship but on an Earth-like planet. It seems, though, that they have agreed to a serial story arc rather than an episodic setup, which means it will likely have trouble picking up new viewers once the story gets going. But as long as it delivers as compelling characters, thought-provoking issues, and captivating drama as the Battlestar Galactica series, I will be there.

For your convenience (and mine), the Battlestar Galactica schedule:

January 16, 2009 - Premiere of the second half of the final season of BSG
March 20, 2009 - BSG series finale
Early summer, 2009 - Two-hour movie "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan"
Early 2010 - Premiere of Caprica

* Glancing quickly over this sentence, it looks a bit like I've just said, "genocide makes me very happy." Please do not quote me on that one.

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