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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Caprica: A Show Worth Watching

This is an article I wrote prior to Caprica's untimely cancellation. The reasons for which it ought to be watched are still valid, so I thought I would repost it here:

Hey all! I was initially going to start doing some regular recapping of Caprica, but it occurred to me that my audience would be fairly limited. Instead, I’m going to use this space as a plea to those of you out there who have yet to give this show a chance.

Caprica is one of the most incredible television shows that I have ever watched.




Before I begin, I want to make something absolutely clear. This show is NOT Battlestar Galactica. The tone is different, the storytelling is different, the cinematography is different, and the characters are different. There are some common elements that they share of course, such as philosophical issues pertaining to AI, the twelve colonies and their peoples, and William Adama himself; however, that’s where the similarities end. BSG was a dark and gritty show and yet it had humour. Caprica, though lighter in concept, manages to be even darker in tone. This is a good thing. Battlestar was an incredible feat of television, but why would we want a copy of it? Caprica is a distinct entity and it stands on its own two feet. If you hated or didn’t watch BSG, give Caprica a try. If you loved BSG and are worried about comparisons, stop worrying. If you watched the pilot and gave up, pick it up again.

Here are five reasons why you should watch Caprica:

1. The Characters:

Many an argument against a television show starts off with a mention of how lacking the characters are. Complaints range from lack of depth, to erratic or inconsistent behaviour, to a lack of purpose. The characters in Caprica suffer from none of these problems. When they act erratically, it’s because of their depth and complexity. When they lack a purpose, it drives their search for one. When they do things for simple reasons, it’s because it makes the most sense. The cast of characters is so disparate in regards to their needs and identities that not a single one treads on the toes of any of the others. Each character’s life, motivation, and direction provide incredible tension and drama. 



No one is a good guy or a bad guy. The apparent villains have legitimate reasons to do the things they do, while the so-called good guys do awful things to further their goals. Even the recurring characters are more interesting than most of the characters you’ll find on regular network television.

Obviously, the actors are also in need of heavy praising. Every single actor on the show gives his or her character a life that few shows will ever know. Even the least talented amongst them have something unique to offer the show and its audience.

2. The World.

In fewer than 10 episodes, Caprica has introduced us to an extraordinarily complex universe. With twelve full colonies and many more distinct peoples, it seems like there would be a huge amount of exposition to cover and yet the creators and writers have managed to imply much more than they ever tell us as directly. There is tension between worlds, religions, races, facets of the media, rival corporations, and more. I will expand on the complexity of the world in my last point.

3. The Music.

There is one melody in Caprica. When I first saw the opening sequence, I almost laughed at how ridiculous it was. Now, it gives me shivers every time. The tune is used in so many different contexts that it evokes a whole slew of emotions at once. It also has a haunting quality to it that lends itself to pretty much every situation on the show. When it isn’t playing, an intense drumbeat creates mounting tension. Many scenes involve characters sitting around and thinking about what is going on around them. The music drives these scenes and makes them comprehensible. You can feel the contradictory ideas floating around inside the heads of these characters.
4. The Cinematography.
The colouring is beautiful. We are shown a beautiful, lively, and colourful city and yet the shots of our characters are incredibly bleak and grey. Every scene is given a uniform tone with some sort of underscored theme relevant to the plot, then at a second glance, another unexpected colour pops out. The editing is also phenomenal. The camera is jerky, but without the deliberate shakiness of a documentary. Other times, the camera remains calm and steady. I don’t know much about the technical aspects of this, so that’s all I will say about the matter.



5. The Ideas.
The show remains topical, with issues like terrorism and religious extremism at its core; however, these are hardly the only topic covered. While BSG always implied that humans were arrogant and full of hubris, to have thought that they could play God and create life, Caprica looks at the issue from the opposite direction. Instead of a retrospective message of warning, we get a feel for what actually drove the twelve colonies towards the creation of the Cylons (the AI that eventually rebels against its creators). The show deals with racism in the form of immigration problems. It deals with the struggles of growing up in the character of Lacy. It deals with the media by showing us serious news programs alongside satirical political commentary. It deals with power struggles and corruption in the form of Joseph Adama and Daniel Greystone (who both deal with different aspects of this issue). It deals with homosexuality by making it a non-issue (i.e. one of the characters is gay and there isn't an ounce of prejudice in anyone who interacts with him). It deals with the afterlife by showing us a digital world in which we could live on forever. It deals with pretty much everything!


Just frakking watch the show!

In conclusion, I beg of you all to give Caprica a chance. It seems likely that it is going to get the axe, so find people with Nielsen boxes and start making them watch. It’s airing on a Tuesday night, which is a problem for many, so DVR it instead!
Thanks for listening.



- Cadence


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