Nasa / Space

Do you have beefs with the sci-fi show 'Caprica'?

After watching the TV show Caprica, ZDNet blogger Jason Perlow asks the Syfy channel to stop insulting his intelligence.

ZDNet blogger Jason Perlow hasn't been able to get into Syfy's Caprica (the "prequel" series to Battlestar Gallactica) because he has a number of beefs with the sci-fi TV show. Before detailing his problems with this specific show, he writes:

As Sci-Fi fans, we are used to accepting a lot of things at face value for the sake of entertainment. If a show is particularly good, the plot is engaging, and we like the characters, we can overlook a lot of stuff that is implausible or outright ridiculous.

For example, in all the various iterations of Star Trek, just about every alien looks more or less like a human being, except they are wearing prostheses so you know they are "Aliens". We know that it's highly unlikely that aliens will look anything like human beings if we ever come into contact with them, but because the show is so entertaining we deal with it. You take it at face value.

Here are a few of his gripes about Caprica (though I recommend reading his entire ZDNet post):

Okay, first of all, it takes place 150,000 YEARS AGO. Fine, but suddenly everything on Planet Caprica (also known as Vancouver) looks like a mixture of 1940's hard boiled detective flicks and the Jetsons, with overexposed lighting, with a lot of Blade Runner and The Matrix thrown in for good measure?

I'm supposed to accept that the Caprican/Colonial civilization is high-tech and yet low tech at the same time, with people throwing away disposable multimedia paper display units on the street but in the police station, they're using rotary phones?

I could accept the discrepancy between the very high tech and low tech, since we saw that on the original show and they had some semi-valid reasons for it. But that's not my only problem. These people wear clothes identical to ours, and have a culture and shared mythology nearly identical to ours, except that their predominant religion is polytheist based on Greco/Roman lore instead of a monotheistic one, which the "Bad Guys" have?

Post your reviews of Caprica

So Geekend readers, are you watching this show? If not, you can check out Caprica videos on the Syfy site. If so, do you agree with Jason's comments, or are you enjoying the show despite some of the points?

I think Jason's friend poses an interesting question: "Do you get the feeling that we are viewing this because we are total geeks and we'll watch anything that is a Sci-Fi show and because few alternatives exist?" Tell us what you think.

About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

62 comments
esarhaddon
esarhaddon

I won't watch it at all, It is nothing more than an Anti-Christian promotion teaching young people a bunch of communistic propaganda lies about Christianity.

xrae00
xrae00

You must have missed the "Everything has happened before and it will all happen again" theme from both Battlestar Galactica and Caprica. Not only that, but guess what, on our dear planet Earth, while we have cell phones and Second Lives, most people in Africa don't even live near electricity, let alone phones.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Considering the show takes place about 50 years before Battle Star Galactica, it does look a bit odd the way with the 1940s look. After all, look at the opening scenes from the first episode [or pilot movie]. Everything is [ultra] modern. Can Caprica has changed that much that fast? Of course having modern exterior sets would be expensive [although Daniel Grayson's shack looks quite modern complete with Serge the penguin butler]. Oh. Looks like the series may stop at one season. Ratings have been poor.

mkelly
mkelly

After watching the original BSG as a kid and completely enjoying the remake as a adult... I was hoping that Caprica would be a bit more gritty, more controversial, show a civilization that was on the brink of annihilating each other... needing a significant leap forward (cylons). And only a unified war against the cylons would bring them together in a common cause... Oh well. However, I am holding out hope. Remember the 1st season of ST:TNG? augh. But it evolved into something many enjoyed. Here's to hoping Caprica is just suffering from some early floundering. I'll keep watching for now. Oh, and the technology doesn't bother me so much. It is an advanced civilization where those with $$ get the advanced technology and the rest of the slobs get the leftovers... hmmm, where have I seen this before???

Hazydave
Hazydave

ST:TNG was always a mixed bag... some very excellent episodes, but about half of them ending either in a deus ex machina ending, or taking place on a holodeck gone wild and, apparently, never having a proper power cord so one could just shut the frackkin' down, manually. I've not written off Caprica yet... I think it's ok, and it might go interesting places or not. But the risk with any modern drama, unlike ST:TNG, is that it's nearly always serialized. Star Trek could fail one week and redeem itself the next because, before every episode, you pretty much hit the reset button. Pretty much since "Babylon 5" and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer", the better science fiction and fantasy has to be serialized. That's good, if the writers either know where they're going, or can find out pretty early on. It's awful, though, in ways you can't quite achieve with the "reset" model, if they can't. I'm a big fan of the re-imagined BSG. They took a cheesy and rushed-to-TV Star Wars ripoff and made it into an interesting story that played out on several levels. It even passed the most critical "non-humans look like humans" test -- was this for essential plot elements, or simply a way to save money (see the original "V".... they saved a bundle on lizard costumes, and even stopped using the voice effects).

garyfizer
garyfizer

The sifi channel was my favorite network for years. I seldom watch the SYFY channel. It's a sad reminder of how marketing by a clueless network (NBC) counting the pennies can kill a successful idea and alieninate a loyal following. Caprica is uninspired, there is talent there but the show is a turkey. SYFY has a couple of decent shows in Eurica, Sancurary, and Warehouse 13 but won't pony up to Doctor Who, TorchWood and the like because of costs. Tracy Morgan and the ghost mastubators are cheap to put on even if no-one watches. At least they haven't sold airtime to the TV preachers (yet).

ozchorlton
ozchorlton

I thourght that BSG and Caprica were 'sold to the TV preachers' a long time ago! These shows belong in a Religous time slot!

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

cute show...but the networks won't stop messing with it's time slot...they did the same thing with Jericho too, mess around with time slots enough that everyone looses track of where and when it's on. Or, if your name happens to be Josh Whedon, they give you a couple seasons and then pull your show anyway...even if it is really good...sigh, hard to find good sci-fi at times :|

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

get over it. As they say, if you don't like, switch off.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

change the channel eh...no one is forcing 'em to watch ;)

markc4321
markc4321

The writer of this original blog must have overlooked that these people, according to the BSG storyline are our ancestors, so, of course they will look like us. The 'humans' are polytheistic, the young crowd is beginning to embrace a monotheistic belief. This is Rome circa 200-300 AD. At the end of BSG, some 50 years or so into this series' future, the Cylons are humanoid to the point of being virtually indistinguishable from humans and able to breed with humans. Both parties would bring their religious beliefs into our past and subsequently to us including the names of the Greek-Roman gods. I don't see that as being far fetched at all. Being alive in a virtual world on the other hand...

robert.a.hatcher
robert.a.hatcher

How about that teenager girl in her virtual world somehow contacts that doctor stuck on the planet while the Destiny left him lights years away and brings him back to Caprica. It just a few billion light years away...I mean who's counting. Anyway they run into the young Spock who making out with Uhura who builds a communicator so Spoke can chat with the original Spock in the alternate reality. Original Spock hands the doctor a device and then the doctor suddenly realizes he has one of those stupid stones and puts it down and he is back on the Destiny as the fat kid. He then figures what the device is and they can now control the ship and blah blah blah and both the SGU and Caprica can be cancelled and fresh blood can be brought in. Overall I have found the SYFY movies from Europe tend to be the most interesting.

tngamecockfan
tngamecockfan

Well your synopsis helps me understand a little bit more about the show. I missed the first 3 or so episodes. Nothing made much sense to me. Thought they were on Earth. I never saw any flashbacks that would allow me to understand the location, storyline, and differences in technology. I finally said it wasn't worth the effot.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

My 17-year old son who aspires to film directing could write a better, multi-show story line than is currently being used for Caprica. There could be several tangled plot lines in Caprica, but they are not working. Cylon origin, 1st Cylon-Human war, origins of BSG characters, even origin of the Colonial civilization and protrayal of each colony's culture. The peices are there, but so poorly projected that even though I'm watching in a mystery-who-dun-it mode, I'm literally falling asleep. Even Star Wars 1 was written better than this. First, Caprica should be about the rise of self-awareness of the ubiquitous cylon servant-slaves, and their eventual revolt against their human masters. These could really be split into two separate mini-series, or even two different seasons of the show. Second, the first Cylon-Human War could take up an entire mini-series in itself. Only William Adama and Saul Tigh (and the other final five) are old enough to have been involved with the 1st Cylon-Human war; the other characters being too young or not born at all at that time. Third, exploration of the motivations and lives of the humans and cylons during this phase, while important, has gone totally overboard. Cramming all social issues into the same bucket, rather than focusing on a distinct few; is like the difference between a bowl of bruschetta, and a bucket of vomit. As much as I miss getting a decent fix of SciFy, I've decided to forgo the rest of Caprica. Reviewing my old high school chemistry and physics books is a lot more exciting.

Den2010
Den2010

No, I don't honestly have any beefs with a series that I have only marginal interest in. I could never get into the original BSG because it was _so_ cheesy. I watched a few of the updated BSG shows on SciFi, and rapidly lost interest in it as well. I found the difficulties of the characters uninteresting, and the plotlines arbitrary. As a published author I know has been quoted, "When the plot starts lagging, have someone kick down the door and start shooting." Works every time... The new series is just as uninteresting as the previous one (its sequel !?), and just as hard for me to get into, mainly because once again, I couldn't care less about the characters. That one thing will pretty much eliminate any interest I have in watching a series, and it's happened here as well. I may feel this way because of all the really _bad_ TV I've watched over the years; maybe I'm just too demanding. Or maybe I'm just a grumpy old guy, and just don't care about the junk that comes over the wire on TV any more. Yeah, that's probably it...

pgit
pgit

The old mixed with new is an obvious, poorly considered attempt to mimic the successful such mix Joss Wheeden incorporated in "firefly." Firefly and Blakes's 7, after that the next contender is in the basement...

ernst1717
ernst1717

Why all this hatein! I personally like the actors and for only the third or so episode it's still fleshing itself out. Some things are lame but what do you want it's a TV program and on a budget. I suppose everything could be CGI but where would be the human interaction. It seems like every episode has more actual SCIENCE in the fiction which is beginning to hook me!

jck
jck

No. Don't watch it. Too many networks/production companies have little to no creativity, and are going back to old shows for doing remakes. And to be honest, most of the aren't worth pushing the button to watch. "Syfy" lost me when they went to the new name to appeal to women and younger people more. Sorry, but "Syfy" isn't anything other than corporate branding made to sell more product, rather than serving a need in the market. Rather than make an effort to get women and young people more interested in science fiction through innovative and interesting programming, they decided to be trendy and "neat". Gotta love those who'll drive the bottom line at any cost. They lost my viewership.

tom_kelley
tom_kelley

Let Zoe (The original Cylon) learn to walk/run, talk or even kill! Even speak! Anything! Do something. We actually feel sorry the the Actors trapped in this mess. TV executives ruin everthing they touch! The family has unanimously decided to remove Caprica from the DVR.

yattwood
yattwood

to find out I am not the only one who just simply cannot get into 'Caprica' - I've tried to watch it (disclaimer: I did not see all that much of 'Battlestar Galactica', so perhaps I am not qualified to kvetch ;-)) To me, it has no "soul", nothing to draw one in, to _care_ about the characters. Characters such as Spock, Data, The Doctor draw one in, one gets involved in their idiosyncracies, their personality quirks, their personal drama. SF is about the future, about what could be possible, but it is also ultimately about CHARACTER, about BEINGS (human, alien) and about RELATIONSHIPS: Kirk/Spock, Doctor/Companions, what have you.

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

Ok... looks like I'm in the minority here, but I'm actually really enjoying Caprica.

SaulGoode
SaulGoode

The show is interesting. It's not as gripping as BSG but it's early yet. It's getting better they don't have to show their cards yet, they can use the good will generated by the BSG series to allow them to carefully weave their story.

TheMadGod
TheMadGod

I think it's a great show, I hope it keeps going. I believe it has a lot of depth to the characters and some great potential. I just hope they deliver some twists and turns to keep going and not kill it before it has a chance to grow.

acracker
acracker

I think its a great show too. The characters are interesting and dynamic; you can watch them evolve as the show continues. The fact they use rotary phones beside advanced technology adds an artistic quality to the mix IMO.

ashao
ashao

In the BSG finale, you learn that Capricans are part of the "alien seed" for Earth civilization. So Earth's Greek/Roman mythology is actually born out of the Caprican religion that they brought with them and shared with the prehistoric people of Earth. That's why, to me...the fact that 150,000 Caprica looks a lot like present or near future Earth makes sense. I want to like Caprica...but still find it less watchable than BSG. I'm sticking with it though and hope it makes it.

Hazydave
Hazydave

In fact, it kind of has to look like Earth of today. The premise is, this all happened before... and the implication is, more than once. So we build up to the level of technology that can create Cylons as sentient robots. They flip it around and recreate themselves as reverse-engineered humans, then practically everything blows up, and we start over again. And again, and again. So basically, we never get much past the earth equivalent of the 21rst or maybe early 22nd century before it all gets reset.

dkoch
dkoch

Thank you, Scott. It's intelligent, brooding, circumspect, and quite well-written drama. No laser pistols, no green, shiny aliens with large canines, no big booms every 15 minutes - in short, you have to pay attention and think about the story unfolding before you. So un-American in the 21st century.

rifter
rifter

I like Caprica as well. I think they need to pick up the pace a bit, and move up to the point were the Cylons become self aware sooner, or they will run the risk of losing their network support.

Hazydave
Hazydave

I do generally like the show. Ok, they set up the issues already, it's definitely time for some action. I don't really care all that much about the general odd mix of new tech and 1940's iconography. But the computer idiocy is making my head explode. Ok, so the real Zoe created a great new kind of avatar program... even if it's not actually sentient, it would certainly pass a Turing test. I'll suspend my disbelief and accept that she is this weird genius... after all, Daniel is supposed to be a similar tech wizard. But now, let's look at Daniel Greystone. First of all, did he really not bother to backup a copy of Zoe's program, and really manage to belive he erased the whole thing in the process of trying to transfer it to the robot. I mean, even kids manage MP3 downloads to their iPods without erasing the originals... what's that all about? Then there's the magical CPU that had to be stolen. Not only is it one of kind, but it drops into the same Socket X or whatever socket their standard CPU had been using, and it immediately runs the program that was previously running... where... on the VR system. Ummm.... why is this a problem anyway... the avatar program was already running on the VR system. So just network the robot, and not only is everything hunky-dory, but now it's all very 21rst century correct, being "in the cloud" and all, and then I actually believe the whole Cylon reincarnation thing a bit more... they reincarnate as long as they're in contact with the cloud for continual backup. Certainly they could have come up with a less lame excuse to keep Greystone and Adama in each other's business.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I'm glad to get this warning about the next abomination to come along that line.

rgtx
rgtx

I agree. I recently watched all of the original series episodes (from its first and only season). If you look past the 1970s-style sensibilities in the writing, it really was a good show. The characters were likable, the good guys were good guys, and the bad guys were bad guys. I really think there was a lot of potential to develop it into a very interesting story. I was very disappointed by the "reimagined" series. I got the impression that they were making it up as they went along. (I'm sure that isn't true, but the way it was presented sure felt that way.) Plus, the characters were, for the most part, simply awful people. I kept thinking, "Gee, I hope they don't find Earth. We have enough problems!"

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

was a second series, but it was a sequel series set after they found Earth and the fleet left some people on Earth while they lead the Cylons away. The central character was an adult Boxie (Kent McCord), and he was taking care of some children from the fleet, seeing if they could live on Earth safely. I forget the name of it.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I have interesting things to do with time.

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, Eureka, and Wharehouse 13. When none of those shows are on, I don't watch that channel. And I refuse to accept the new name nor the new catch-phrase. Greater is NOT an adverb, it is an comparative-adjective. You can have a greater capacity for imagination than someone else but you cannot imagine greater. It makes me shudder everytime I hear that.

eric.reinholt
eric.reinholt

I agree with JackOfAllTech all the way. I enjoyed the shows listed but they have all ended. I tried to watch Caprica, but I never made it through the introductory episode. It was impossible for me to display any interest in the boring, self-centered characters that wallowed in misery.

snaik95899
snaik95899

The tech issues are ridiculous. One minute they're building advanced robots,riding in Maglev trains, and have architecture reminiscent of Blade Runner and the next they're driving in what looks like a 1940 car. What's up with that ? Aside for the tech issues on the show my biggest problem with it is a lack of direction. The episodes seems to go in aimless circles and are full of filler. There is no suspense, no mystery, no humor, and the characters are very shallow and underdeveloped. The main plot of the show has been meandering for the last five episodes like molasses in the wintertime. I really think the fan base was expecting to see the characters from BSG before the war and to expand on those story lines. The show won't survive long enough for Bill Adama to finish grade school and join the Colonial Fleet. The writers are probably the same idiots that ruined season 3 and 4 of BSG.

hajjunk
hajjunk

First off, anyone who worships only one god is a frakkin cylon. Second, all this has happened before and will all happen again, so the technology could be intertwined. Kind of like Gotham. I'm not sure where the writer got 150kya, he must be under the impression that we are on the second earth. We could be on the first or third earth, we don't know. Anyone who worships only one god also know the earth is only 3,276 years old cuz they are cylons and that is how long their cpu, or whatever they call it, has been running. I'm not crazy about the show, but I watch it every week expecting something to happen. It never does. I don't find the technology part as distracting as the rest I guess.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

Isn't SyFy (or was it SciFi back then) the same network that brought us the cinematic masterpiece "Yeti?" It's Syfy or whatever it's called. Enough said.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Every week, they put out another piece of cinematic excrement. I would imagine that the only people that watch these are the people that were part of the production, their families, and people looking to do some sort of drinking game (shot of Patron if someone yells 'Yeti'). Yet, shows like Farscape got the axe due to budgetary constraints. I'd imagine that doing even a half season of Farscape (13 episodes) or something similar, and repeatedly re-running them would be better in terms of viewership. If I had to bet my life on it, I'd say the people running SyFy actually had a strong disdain for Sci-Fi/Fantasy.

cubeslave
cubeslave

That Sci is SciFi stands for science, and everbody knows that too much a' that makes folks heads hurt (especially if there ain't nuff 'splosins). As a long time SF fan, who tends to only sigh about too many SyFy Originals, I have to agree with you. One of the Reasons they changed the name (Aside form the fact someone pointed out they couldn't copyright/brand the term SciFi) was to officially ditch the pretence of Science Fiction. I have to agree that Caprica is slow as dirt and should have been a limited run series from the start. It seems clear that they have only worked up so much story and don't want to burn through it all in case they get renewed.

wbranch
wbranch

If I'm not mistaken, the people running the network intentionally changed the name to 'SyFy' because they think Sci-Fi is associated with 'geeks and dysfunctional, anti-social boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that'. I'll let you savor the flavor the irony of running a network of science fiction shows, but not wanting to be assoicated with a bunch of geeks and nerds.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Seeing Colon face off against Lee in the World Series had to hurt. Though, I admit to the truth behind the edit!

seanferd
seanferd

I think SyFy is the Cleveland Indians of the movie "Major League", and the execs are the owner. (This edit was necessary.) Two birds with one stone. Hilarious. :^0

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

http://www.syfy.com/movies/ Scroll through the list of original movies. The draped off section of a small video store has a more intelligent sounding lineup of movie titles. Who would seriously watch any of that crap, asides from people involved with the production? Dinoshark...for goodness sake! I think SyFy is the Cleveland Indians of the movie "Major League", and the execs are the owner. Unfortunately, I don't see a Cerrano, Mays Hayes or Vaughn coming to the rescue.

CG IT
CG IT

purposes. Couldn't trademark SciFi. The other thing Dave mentioned was branching out from typical Science Fiction genra shows to appeal to a wider audience. And that means attract advertising $$ that would not normally spend on a channel devoted to mostly science fiction material. Caprica's ratings are terrible with just around 1 million viewers. Testament to the writers ability to know their market and write engaging stories. Maybe they will end up at SGU.

Akais1
Akais1

You can tell that by what they put on during the prime evening slot when all the other stations have their premimum drama show on, Syfy has Wrestling (or as their viewers call it wrasselin').

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

But I don't get the correlation between Syfy and the WWE. I guess Syfy was the only one that would take it on.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Lots of biochemical enhancement (steroids, HGH, etc) = science Scripted outcomes = fiction I really wonder why the people there at SyFy hate SciFi/Fantasy so much?

seanferd
seanferd

These people wear clothes identical to ours, and have a culture and shared mythology nearly identical to ours, except that their predominant religion is polytheist based on Greco/Roman lore instead of a monotheistic one, which the "Bad Guys" have? D'oh! We're the Cylons!

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

makes one think a bit doesn't it.

seanferd
seanferd

That was mostlty a jest, but it is the sort of thing I do find myself thinking about. Cylons do seem to represent the "moral cleansing" type.

SaulGoode
SaulGoode

The obliteration of the polytheists?

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