A few people have been asking us why we are not enjoying Caprica.  Well, I can’t really speak for my co-hosts, but I thought I’d consolidate and share all of my views on Caprica here.  Hopefully this can help explain why Caprica just isn’t a show I enjoy tuning in to at present.  And also, perhaps, why I continue to watch in the hope that it may become a show that I can enjoy.

If you listen to this week’s podcast, you will hear that this started as an e-mail response to a listener who asked (very politely, I might add) what our thoughts were on Caprica.  I’m re-printing my response here (cleaned up a little for the purposes of this article).

First of all, to my mind Caprica is a whiny, dreadfully slow moving character drama.  Every single character is in a depressed state and or causes you to be depressed when watching them.  However, none of the characters have really been characters that I enjoy watching (save maybe the avatar Zoe at times).  So as a result, a show that plods along painfully slow and delves into every angst-filled moment of the depressing lives of miserable characters that I don’t even like tends to turn me off.

It’s also supposedly a science fiction series.  However, the only real science fiction story elements (the creation of the cylons and the virtual reality/AI world in which the avatar Zoe lives) are treated as if they are seasoning on a lightly seasoned meal.  Sugar for a careful diabetic.  Salt for a patient with high blood pressure.  They are ignored more than they are ever addressed.  (Sorry, folks, but just being set on an alien world does not a science fiction story make.  Without story to back up setting, it’s all just — pardon the expression — window dressing.)

And ultimately, Caprica is meant to be a prequel to Battlestar Galactica.  Yet apart from a few brief glimpses of cylons under development, we’ve had no story progression toward the universe we see in BSG.  The key questions one would ask coming into BSG (e.g. “How did the cylons reach a point of being able to rebel successfully and start their own culture?”  Or “Why do the cylons hate humans so much?”) are not addressed by the series.  At least not in any fashion more direct that flying around the world to visit your corner drug store and then flying back the other way to get home.

If a viewer treats it as a pure character drama and actually likes a couple of the characters, then I can see why they would think it’s a great show.  To me, it fails on two fronts:  As a science fiction prequel to BSG, it lacks focus on anything science fiction and it lacks any movement toward telling us how this universe got to the point of BSG; As a character drama, it lacks any characters I really like or care to see go through week after week of depressing, plodding storylines.

If Caprica eventually realizes that it is a science fiction story, or even if it realizes that it is meant to be a prequel to a beloved SyFy show, then I may change my mind about it.  I sincerely hope that it does.

5 thoughts on “Why Caprica Just Doesn’t Work for Me”
  1. Caprica just isn’t the show that most BSG fans want to see. Hopefully this new show planned will fill the void Battlestar has left for us.

  2. While I’ve never been as critical of Caprica as you guys have, I am starting to lose enthusiasm in the show.

    As you say Brent, the show is starting to feel dark, depressing, and miserable. That’s my biggest complaint about BSG, and I agree with your comments in the recent podcast that there’s no balance of drama, humor, romance, etc., that other shows have. Striking that balance is one of *many* strengths of, for instance, Babylon 5 (best show ever).

    I also agree about the characters. Caprica has no hero, no leader, no standout character. All the characters are either depressed (Amanda Greystone), corrupt (Daniel Greystone, the Adama family, Clarice Willow), or disappointingly turning to the “dark side” (Lacy Rand, Tamara Adama).

    The religious overtones are a little more heavy handed than I would like and the cult-like following of the STO’s god/God, makes me wonder what Ron Moore is trying to say about real-life religions. And, being very anti-tobacco, I’m getting a little tired of almost everyone on the show smoking during moments of depression or machismo.

    I’m not quite ready to give up on the show altogether. The show looks amazing, and I am intrigued by the locales & culture of the colonies. I’m tempted to continue recording the show but not watching it week-to-week and then mainlining it later on if I hear on podcasts that it’s improving.

  3. I haven’t watched the show.

    The reason for that is you already know where the show eventually ends up.

    While some people might want to see how things get to the point of where BSG starts, for me it is pure tedium watching to see all the little things explained (or not according to the point of this article) when you already know the end result.

    I read a series of thriller novels and the newest one is set before the beginning of the series. I won’t even bother to read it.

    There is no dramatic tension in a book set before the time frame you have read already. You know the guy survives whatever danger he winds up in.

    The same goes for TV shows like Caprica.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Tage. I do, however, disagree that every single prequel is a waste of time. There have been some good ones. And I have high hopes for Blood & Chrome, another BSG prequel. Yes, I know where the universe goes, but that’s never ruined a prequel for me (Caprica included — Caprica was ruined for me for other reasons — given above).

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