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Greg Wolfe

Caprica

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So the pilot for "Caprica" -- the upcoming series on the Sci-Fi Channel -- has been released on DVD.

It is set in the universe of Battlestar Galactica over 50 years prior to the events of BSG.

The show won't launch until 2010 -- don't have the exact date yet.

The BSG creative team is also behind this show, starting with showrunner and chief writer Ronald D. Moore.

Though it shares a lot with BSG, this program will be quite different in tone and style.

There will be little or no space or military action. It will be more of a family drama with science fiction elements (virtual reality, robots).

I'm still a little shocked by how little total discussion of BSG that took place on this board, given the brilliance of the program!

I'd love A&F to do better with "Caprica." I realize things will be slow on this thread for a while, since only the pilot is available, but here's to things heating up here in a few months.

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Yes -- don't watch Caprica until you've finished BSG. There are, in essence, spoilers that pop up even in the pilot of Caprica.

I'm excited for this show, but I'm going to hold off on the pilot until I finish watch BSG (I've been working my way through it, and am almost done with season 3).

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i really enjoyed BSG (miss it, actually) and 'Caprica' is sitting on our DVD player waiting to be watched. i'd also be glad to see a good conversation on it--i'll post after we see it :) in the meantime, if you're interested Gabriel McKee posted on it at SF Gospel and another blogger i follow posted here.

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I'm still a little shocked by how little total discussion of BSG that took place on this board, given the brilliance of the program!

There just doesn't seem to be much to say about BSG that doesn't revolve around hashing out the sequence of events or: Last night's was awesome! It is an excellent series, but not as cerebral as much sci-fi, even space opera, lit. (This is not to say that I don't think BSG is fantastic in its own rite.)

But the Caprica pilot is much more dense with good material. I think all of the religious ideas that lurked in the backstory of BSG are going to get a full hearing, which will be especially interesting as it takes place in the context of all this AI, virtual reality, etc... I am looking forward to roving cyberpunk gangs of monotheists. Jeff Noon territory.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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It may be true that BSG wasn't cerebral, but I'm not sure that cerebral is what we want from a TV show.

What I want is drama -- and BSG had that in spades. Maybe too much at times, although as a picture of driven, desperate people in war I think it had much to recommend it. (It's the kind of sub-genre you can't pull off more than once a decade, I imagine.)

It was more "moral drama" than cerebral drama but it had plenty of ideas.

Caprica will undoubtedly be more cerebral in the sense that we'll see people struggling incrementally with the ethical dilemmas attendant upon issues like cloning and artificial intelligence.

BSG was in a world where there was no incremental experience -- everyone was slammed to the wall. In that sense, though it is later, chronologically speaking, BSG was more "primitive" -- more like life on a WWII aircraft carrier (accompanied by ships that included the president of the United States) than the city of Caprica, with its virtual reality software, etc.

I'm still a little shocked by how little total discussion of BSG that took place on this board, given the brilliance of the program!

There just doesn't seem to be much to say about BSG that doesn't revolve around hashing out the sequence of events or: Last night's was awesome! It is an excellent series, but not as cerebral as much sci-fi, even space opera, lit. (This is not to say that I don't think BSG is fantastic in its own rite.)

But the Caprica pilot is much more dense with good material. I think all of the religious ideas that lurked in the backstory of BSG are going to get a full hearing, which will be especially interesting as it takes place in the context of all this AI, virtual reality, etc... I am looking forward to roving cyberpunk gangs of monotheists. Jeff Noon territory.

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Last night, I finally got to watch Caprica. (FWIW, I blogged it here.) All in all, I thought it a pretty good story. To me, it felt more "literary" than BSG--maybe more dense? Perhaps some of that is because Caprica is part of a larger story, which lends a depth and richness to this part of it.

I found several aspects of the pilot intriguing. First, I found it interesting that the grounding character in the series (Joseph Adama)

doesn't believe in the gods or an afterlife

. We know from the ending of BSG that

there is an Other or a being that takes an interest in, pays attention to and even nutures humanity and Cylon, working to make sure that their species survive and prosper

. It'll be interesting to see if and how that will play into this series, and with Adama in particular.

Also, I am interested to see where this series will go and how it will deal with religion. Gabriel McKee points out that both polytheism and monotheism are critically approached, though monotheism seems to take the brunt of it. And I resonate with Ken Brown's concern that the pilot seems to skim the subject, taking a less than thoughtful approach in its exploration--particularly when it comes to monotheism. I'm hoping it's explored much deeper in the series itself.

On a last note, I loved seeing Bill Adama as a child. He was one of my favorite characters on BSG, and seeing him as a child, especially in terms of his father, only deepens and enriches our understanding of him.

Note: I wasn't sure what would be considered spoilers and what wouldn't, so I pretty much hid everything I thought might be considered such.

Edited by pilgrimscrybe

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I happen to love the fact that "humans" are polytheistic and "Cylons" are monotheistic.

On the surface it would seem that making the machines ("toasters"?) monotheistic is already a big strike against them. You know: inherently mechanistic, no room for human doubts, fundamentalist, etc.

But the Cylons are forced, by their very nature, to think continually about Creation, and hence a Creator. This also leads them to think about destiny -- heaven, the eschaton.

And there ARE dangers in that way of thinking, right?

Anyway, I'm only scratching the surfaced here.

Last night, I finally got to watch Caprica. (FWIW, I blogged it here.) All in all, I thought it a pretty good story. To me, it felt more "literary" than BSG--maybe more dense? Perhaps some of that is because Caprica is part of a larger story, which lends a depth and richness to this part of it.

I found several aspects of the pilot intriguing. First, I found it interesting that the grounding character in the series (Joseph Adama)

doesn't believe in the gods or an afterlife

. We know from the ending of BSG that

there is an Other or a being that takes an interest in, pays attention to and even nutures humanity and Cylon, working to make sure that their species survive and prosper

. It'll be interesting to see if and how that will play into this series, and with Adama in particular.

Also, I am interested to see where this series will go and how it will deal with religion. Gabriel McKee points out that both polytheism and monotheism are critically approached, though monotheism seems to take the brunt of it. And I resonate with Ken Brown's concern that the pilot seems to skim the subject, taking a less than thoughtful approach in its exploration--particularly when it comes to monotheism. I'm hoping it's explored much deeper in the series itself.

On a last note, I loved seeing Bill Adama as a child. He was one of my favorite characters on BSG, and seeing him as a child, especially in terms of his father, only deepens and enriches our understanding of him.

Note: I wasn't sure what would be considered spoilers and what wouldn't, so I pretty much hid everything I thought might be considered such.

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FWIW, pilgrimscrybe, my own personal policy has been that threads devoted to sequels/prequels can assume a familiarity with the earlier works. So, if this were 1980, a thread on The Empire Strikes Back might but "spoiler tags" around the discussion of Darth Vader becoming Luke's father, but there would be no need for "spoiler tags" around any discussion of the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi or the destruction of the Death Star.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, pilgrimscrybe, my own personal policy has been that threads devoted to sequels/prequels can assume a familiarity with the earlier works. So, if this were 1980, a thread on The Empire Strikes Back might but "spoiler tags" around the discussion of Darth Vader becoming Luke's father, but there would be no need for "spoiler tags" around any discussion of the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi or the destruction of the Death Star.

which will require me to avoid looking at this thread at all, since i am only 3 episodes into season 2.

:o

but that's fine...


I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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But the Cylons are forced, by their very nature, to think continually about Creation, and hence a Creator. This also leads them to think about destiny -- heaven, the eschaton.

And there ARE dangers in that way of thinking, right?

Anyway, I'm only scratching the surfaced here.

Now, that is a tantalizing question. It'll leave me chewing for days, heh.

Initially, I can't help but draw on the similarities between us and the Cylons. Like them, we by our nature are bound to think about our creation, our Creator, our purpose and destiny, our part in the Story. And where we come out on thinking about all that can make we ourselves dangerous in more ways than one.

There's that well explored track that takes us to familiar territories like fundamentalism and terrorism, but there's also that track that takes us to people who are dangerous for another reason. I can't help but think of Scot McKnight's rendition of Mary in The Real Mary: Why Evangelicals Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus. He called her a "dangerous woman" because she "was dangerous to the powers that be because she predicted the powers that will be. . . . instead of sitting back hoping good things would happen for Israel, Mary turned the wheel of history to make things happen for Israel. This made Mary a dangerous woman with a mission to accomplish. As a dangerous woman, Mary threatened the fabric of the Jewish society and (however hard it might be to fathom) the Roman Empire." I think too of the Hebrew midwives who defied Pharaoh as well as Moses' mother and his sister. And then there are those who follow Jesus, his disciples, called to turn the wheels around us, to be the feet and arms of Jesus, to be his people, to go out into the world.

In BSG, I really loved the scene where Caprica Six is trapped in the rubble and realizes that the extermination of humans is wrong, that "God is love"

Edited by pilgrimscrybe

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FYI, per Maureen Ryan's tweets, "Sci Fi prez Dave Howe says debut of Caprica, BSG prequel series, is likely to be in January." That narrows 2010 down a bit, heh.

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Ellen, are you talking about Caprica or about Battlestar Galactica? We have a thread for each series.

pilgrimscrybe wrote:

: FYI, per Maureen Ryan's tweets, "Sci Fi prez Dave Howe says debut of Caprica, BSG prequel series, is likely to be in January." That narrows 2010 down a bit, heh.

Hmmm. This story in the Canadian Press says it will air in Canada on the Space channel "this fall".

There's this other bit in the CP story that strikes me as kind of weird:

Moore promises that his followup series will appeal to a broader, more female audience, noting the dark themes and heavy action of "Galactica" skewed heavily male.

Quite a few of the most ardent BSG fans I know have been female, so I don't know what they're talking about here.

Well, okay, I guess the following paragraphs do give a hint of what they're talking about:

"We always felt that there was an even bigger, greater audience that would like 'Galactica' if you could get them to try it. So we're trying a different format and we'll see how many other viewers we can get now with 'Caprica,"' he said.

"It's not action-adventure, it's not set in space, it's much more of a science-fiction prime-time soap. It's more of a sci-fi version of 'Dallas.' It has more fun elements to it, it's very engaging, and there's a lot of plot twists and turns."

But still, how, exactly, was Battlestar Galactica NOT a prime-time soap, I wonder? Just because virtually all of the characters were in the military?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Never watched BSG in either manifestation, but I thought I'd give this a shot. Not sure why, but it looked interesting. Watched the pilot yesterday.

Certainly the creation/theological reflection holds some promise - but so far it's pretty shallow. One of the things I note is the idea that the One True God becomes the way of understanding an objective right/wrong. And there are those in religion for whom this is seems to be what they get from God - but that is different than a God who is known by grace, mercy and redemption.

Have Ep 2 on the DVR, maybe I'll get to it today - maybe not.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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FWIW, there's no need to put spoiler tags on anything relating to the earlier Battlestar Galactica series. It is assumed that anyone who comes to the sequels and prequels has already been exposed to the installments that are already out there.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Darrel:

I'd be patient with this show. BSG was far from shallow and this is by the same team.

It's true that the monotheistic Cylons don't model a theology of grace and mercy -- they're getting it wrong. Of course, they are, in essence, children -- beginners. And you do have to admit that monotheistic faiths can lend themselves to hyper-moralism as a response to surrounding decadence.

In a sense the show provides the extremes -- absolutism and relativism. Faith and Science. Etc.

Some interesting dynamics are being set up.

Never watched BSG in either manifestation, but I thought I'd give this a shot. Not sure why, but it looked interesting. Watched the pilot yesterday.

Certainly the creation/theological reflection holds some promise - but so far it's pretty shallow. One of the things I note is the idea that the One True God becomes the way of understanding an objective right/wrong. And there are those in religion for whom this is seems to be what they get from God - but that is different than a God who is known by grace, mercy and redemption.

Have Ep 2 on the DVR, maybe I'll get to it today - maybe not.

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The theme I am finding interesting in Caprica is their take on the old mind/body split. Perhaps it is because I have been trying to wrap my mind around the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. I am no philosopher so forgive me and correct me if I get this wrong. St. Thomas says the the soul is the form of the body and that neither soul or body on its own makes up a human being. A human is the composite of soul and body. The soul requires the sensible input of the body to acquire intellect. Once the soul has acquired intellect, it continues to exist apart from the body at the time of death (the definition of death is when the soul departs the body) although it is still considered incomplete until the resurrection reunites the body and the soul. This is obviously different from the modern, Cartesian way of thinking about the body and soul that sees them as two discrete entities.

So in Caprica we have the soul of Zoe captured in her avatar who continues to exist after she is killed in the terrorist attack. Her father captures her (or her software) and installs her in a Cylon. I think, from a Thomist point of view this would be impossible since the form of the robot and of Zoe, a human, would be two very different things. I suppose it would be possible under a Cartesian understanding of the soul. If a human soul is not a composite with the body and could be captured and the technology was available, the soul could be put in any kind of container that could provide sensible input.

An interesting twist is that the soul of Zoe only works in the first Cylon she was downloaded into.

My one big difficult suspension of disbelief so far in this show has been that the world class software engineer, Daniel Graystone, did not make a backup of his daughter's avatar before he tried to download it into the Cylon. I find that very hard to believe. Critical to the plot though.

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My one big difficult suspension of disbelief so far in this show has been that the world class software engineer, Daniel Graystone, did not make a backup of his daughter's avatar before he tried to download it into the Cylon. I find that very hard to believe. Critical to the plot though.

That is an interesting Thomist analysis, it will be interesting to see how that bears out. At first, I was pretty ambivalent about the show, but after watching it again I was taken by the way the storyline vectors identity, technology, and monotheism. We tend to associate advances in technology with increasingly mystical ideas about religion, but this show assumes the opposite.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Darn it. I watched 2 episodes of this the other night and now I'm going to need to go back and watch the BSG series. But my wife and I are only on season 5 of The X-Files, so there's 2 movies and 4 seasons of that to get through first! Argh!!!


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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e2c wrote:

: (But didn't the Final Five only arrive at the end of the war, not the beginning?)

Something like that. According to the Battlestar Wiki entry on Saul Tigh:

Knowing that humanity would continue to create artificial life, [the Final Five] made their way the Twelve Colonies to warn them about the the need to treat their creations with kindness to prevent a rebellion and inter-species war. Lacking faster-than-light capability, the five travelled at relativistic speeds. From the planetary perspective, their journey took approximately two thousand years.

Saul and the other four found their fears were justified. Upon their arrival, the first Cylon War was already in progress between humans and Cylon Centurions. Saul and the others made a deal with the Centurions: end the war against the humans and the five would help them build humanoid Cylons. They made eight models and their technology was stored in The Colony. . . .

There's more, but... gah. I can never read these back-story synopses without noticing how incredibly ad hoc and retcon-ish they are.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Anyone watching Caprica? Anyone at all?

This ain't your father's Sci-Fi. This is even a more radical break from TV Sci-Fi conventions than Battlestar Galactica: a mixture of family drama with cyberpunk.

BSG fans may miss the spaceships and planets but I find this another strong showing from Ron Moore.

Where else on TV do politics and religion and, yes, parenting, actually get such thoughtful, dramatically rich treatment?

Not to mention cloning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual reality.

Some folks will tell you that you need to know BSG to appreciate this series. Not so.

Watch the show, people!

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I did read the scattered recent posts, Ellen.

I guess I just feel this show is every bit as good as something like LOST and I wish that there were as many posts about it as LOST (I know, it's not going to happen) -- not because of the esoteric BSG-related plot issues (which I think are a distraction) but precisely because of the drama and the content of the show.

For example, despite the the talk about faith vs. science on LOST, there is almost no sense of what religious faith actually feels like in that show.

But on both BSG and Caprica, Ron Moore gives us a much deeper and broader experience of faith -- from fundamentalism/terrorism to an almost mystical sensibility.

Ellen, I'm not trying to scold people, just talk up the show. Maybe I should have used an emoticon....

::w00t::

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Ellen:

Somehow I don't think they're going to try to recreate all 12 colonies.

So far we've only been on Caprica and focused on the Taurons who live there.

Sounds like there might be something happening on Gemenon, though.

Anyway, I think they'll be selective.

Overall, this series seems more comprehensible: BSG began with a million mysteries and ended up slowly, slowly answering some of them.

Caprica is beginning more straightforwardly but adding mysteries as it goes along.

IMHO.

:D

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e2c wrote:

: As for mysteries, you can't get much more mysterious than Starbuck 2.0!

Nothing mysterious about that: It was a storytelling cheat, pure and simple.

FWIW, I'm reluctant to give BSG too much credit for "mysteriousness" because, to me, "mystery" implies something that actually exists somewhere but is hidden to the casual observer (or, in this case, the average TV viewer). It implies something that can, in theory, be discovered (or at least entered into) by anyone who is determined to follow the clues and see where they lead. The problem with BSG is that there was no "there" there when they started the show; the opening credits originally claimed that the Cylons had a "plan", but as we now know, they didn't, not really, and the producers didn't really have a "plan" in mind until they had finished the series and they decided they had to create a special TV-movie called The Plan in order to plug the many plot holes that they had not yet resolved. And don't get me started on the "Final Five", who didn't even exist as a concept in the producers' minds until the series was already well into its 3rd season!

Of course, I remember hearing similar we're-making-it-up-as-we-go confessions from the producers of Lost during its earlier seasons, too, and that doesn't seem to have dampened the fans' enthusiasm at all. So these points may be beside the point, for some. :)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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