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.