Sunday, October 24

Galactica Station's Review of Caprica 1.11 - Retribution

Happy Sunday!  This is Captain Kickass, bringing you a late review of Caprica Episode 1.11 “Retribution.

The episode opens with Lacey and a few others from Barnabus’s STO cell.  They are planning to bomb a Caprican Space Port.  Lacey looks doubtful, and at the last moment tries to back out (a shadow of Lacey in Episode 1.1).  However, in doing so, she looks guilty, and a security guard realizes that something is going on.  As he moves toward Lacey, shots ring out.  Lacey’s STO group member starts shooting in order to get them out of there.  They escape barely, but as one of them attempt to remotely activate the bomb as they escape, Lacey admits that she still has the bomb.  They scramble to get rid of it and then leave Lacey by the side of the road to walk home.

Later, Clarice actively targets Barnabus’s STO cell, upset that her students deserted her.  One of the STO members is watching news coverage of the bomb attempt as he sits in the bathtub.  Clarice walks in and asks why he left her.  His response is not enough for her so she throws the TV into the tub and walks away.  The student is electrocuted in the bath.  Next, Clarice goes to visit a second STO member, Hippolyta.  Hippolyta greets her nervously, but then starts to run after seeing the look in Clarice’s eyes. Clarice shots her in cold blood.

I wonder about Clarice’s idea of Mercy.  Before killing the first STO member, she tells him that she forgives him.  What is her idea of forgiveness, and mercy, really?  Why was she so angry with her students?  Why didn’t she try to talk them back to her side?  Clarice is complex-creepy, cold and unfeeling.

In the meantime, Lacey confronts Barnabus about sending the STO cell to the risky Caprican Space Port.  Barnabus angrily asks her where the other two members are.  They continue to fight as Keon watches on.  Barnabus asks Lacey if she is loyal to him or to Clarice and Lacey responds that she is loyal to the one true God.  I wonder if Lacey actually believes in the One True God or if she is just professing a belief in order to gain the trust of the STO and achieve her own goal of helping Zoe A. Lacey has grown a lot during the course of the season.  At the beginning of Caprica, Lacey was a scared teenager who backed out of a deal with her best friends an unwittingly escaped death by bombing.  Now Lacey is a spy, an agent for herself and Zoe A.  She is scared and uncertain but determined to reach her goal.

As Lacey and Barnabus continue to argue, Keon jumps in.  They fight and Keon threatens to walk out.  Keon tries to make good on his threat and Barnabus shoots Keon in the head.  Lacey screams and runs to his side.  Just that minute, Clarice walks in and confronts Barnabus.  She ends up shooting him and taking Lacey with her (likely this is something to do with Zoe). 

 Again, Clarice shows no mercy toward Barnabus, but this is unsurprising given that Barnabus was her biggest rival among the Caprica STO leaders.  I always felt that Barnabus and Clarice were very similar.  Barnabus had a tendency toward an uncontrollable rage and looked nastier on the outside, but he would do anything to reach his STO goals.  Clarice has more of a cold, quiet, but just-as-deadly rage and the same level of determination.  I am not happy that Barnabus is gone.  I would have preferred for Barnabus to have been displaced by Clarice and worked secretly to undo her.  Plus, James Marsters is always fun to watch.  Oh well.

Joseph and Daniel force a Greystone Industries board member, Cornell, into Daniel’s living room. They ask Cornell to vote in Daniel’s favor at the upcoming board meeting. Cornell vehemently refuses. Daniel gives him a look and threatens to expose Cornell's past drug addiction and propensity for young girls. He further threatens to tell Cornell's family. Cornell still refuses and is ushered out.  Daniel and Joseph later review other members they can “persuade” to Daniel’s side.  Daniel reveals a big secret about one member he used to count as a friend, and looks regretful for a moment but forges ahead.  Later in the episode, Cornell shoots himself rather than bend to Daniel’s wishes.  Cornell’s wife runs after Daniel’s car blaming him for her husband’s death.  Daniel again looks regretful but does not stop.

Come to think of it, I am not sure how different Daniel and Clarice are from one another.  It’s true that from what we’ve seen, Daniel does not do his own killing, but he definitely allows it to happen to suit his own needs.  Daniel Greystone also shows more remorse than Clarice does, however, the end result, death and destruction, is the same.  He does not learn from his choices, own his mistakes, or alter his course.  He and Clarice both get what they want no matter what.

The scene shifts to Amanda in the shower thinking about her fall and the aftermath.  Daniel rushed to visit her afterwards but she refused to see him at first.  When she did see him, she confronted her husband about the MCP and the death of Vergis’s men.  Daniel refused to take responsibility saying that he did not know what would happen.  He then retorts that he didn’t blame her for Zoe.  Amanda is taken aback and asks how Zoe hating her would be the equivalent to being a bad mother.  Daniel attempts to stammer his way out of it, but Amanda says that he is not the man she married.

Agent Tom is suspicious of Clarice.  He realizes that the STO teens that just died went to the same school as Zoe and Ben Stark.  He asks Clarice some questions and she manages to give him convoluted answers.  He voices his suspicions to his partner who dismisses them.  He finally goes to Amanda Greystone, explains his suspicions, and asks her to spy on Clarice for him.  Amanda is conflicted but refuses to do it.

After Agent Tom leaves, Amanda remembers Clarice’s obsession with Zoe and that a few nights ago, Clarice had a holoband on and was saying Zoe’s name.  The last scene showed us that Amanda planned to kill Clarice for her lies, but decided to spy on her instead.

Amanda is an interesting individual when compared to Daniel and Clarice.  Amanda is weaker, sweeter, and more moral than either of them, but she is also more gullible than them and not as forgiving as she seems.  As discussed earlier, she refused to admit Daniel because she could not come to terms with what he had allowed to happen.  Her anger with Daniel was further fueled by his unwitting accusation of her part in Zoe’s scandal.  It’s evident that his comments affected her not only because they were naturally offensive, but also because she has had her own regrets about her rocky relationship with her late daughter.  She can’t take his actions or accusations and can’t handle her own guilt over Zoe and her own brother, so she runs away to Clarice.  Now she has realized that Clarice is somehow involved in the Zoe and STO mess and is in a bind.  Amanda has no idea who to trust or what to really do, but at least she’s finally getting out of bed and taking matters into her own hands.  I’m waiting to see what she does next.

All in all, I feel that this episode was a 7/10.  It had some interesting elements, but each element felt rushed and deserved more time to develop.  I myself still haven’t seen episode 1.12, but I am looking forward to it with anxious curiosity.
That’s it for now.  Watch out for GoobyRastor’s review of “Things We Lock Away” coming soon.

Wednesday, October 20

Galactica Station's Review of Caprica 1.10 - Unvanquished

Hi Everyone!  This is Captain Kickass and it is my pleasure to bring you a review of the Caprica episode Unvanquished.  We at GS are excited that reviews will be starting again and I personally apologize that we are a bit behind with season 1.5.  Hopefully things will calm down soon.  On to the review!

I really enjoyed some of the parallels in the season 1.5 opener to key events in Season 1.0.  The episode begins with a shot of a drunk Daniel Greystone nearly passed out on the couch.  Distressed, he flips channels on the TV.  Every channel is discussing Vergis’s takeover of the C-Bucks, Greystone Industries, or Amanda’s fall three weeks earlier.  Daniel stares miserably at the screen.   The scene largely paralleled the situation Daniel and Amanda found themselves in after they found out Zoe was connected to the STO.  They were already miserable but sunk to a terrified despair.  They flipped channels and watched Sarno make fun of them on his show.   Daniel Greystone has always been depicted as a steely, ruthless businessman, suave, collected, often with a drink in his hand. In contrast, the current Daniel is a slovenly mess. He has quite obviously lost everything and makes me think back to what he used to be.

But Daniel has a streak of determination and ruthlessness that surpasses all of his emotions.  Back when Amanda announced Zoe’s possible involvement in the attacks, Daniel fought against the backlash by going on Sarno himself and throwing himself into his work.  He became even more ruthless, eventually going as far as torturing Cylon-Zoe while he thought that his daughter’s avatar was inhibiting the machine.  How much more callous could a man get? 

Now, Daniel musters up that old determination again.  He somehow pulls himself to his feet and manages to go meet with the Tauron mob boss.  Sam and Joseph Adama are in attendance as Daniel tells the mob boss about the potential of the avatars to bring loved ones back and of the eventual possibility of finding them bodies.  The mob boss asks Daniel why it would work this time.  Daniel argues his point passionately and in return, asks the Tauron mob for their help in retrieving Greystone Industries from Vergis.  The mob boss considers his proposal and talks to a seemingly reluctant Joseph Adama.  He ends up appointing Joseph as his advocate in the matter.

We don’t know exactly what Daniel has up his sleeve this time.  I don’t believe that Daniel quite believes that the avatars can be brought back, but at this point, he is willing to do anything to retrieve a piece of all he lost – his company.  Daniel is well aware that the deal he’s striking is dangerous, but really what has he left to lose?  He doesn't care. We also don’t know what Joseph’s motives are.  Before Daniel commits to their deal, Joseph asks him to make a call that will kill Daniel’s mother.  Daniel appears to actually consider doing it, but cannot go through with it.  The scene is chillingly similar to one earlier in the season in which Sam bluffs Joseph regarding killing Amanda Greystone.

It should be hard to feel sympathy for poor, pathetic Daniel Greystone.  He has engaged in countless cruel actions in the name of business and power.  He {indirectly} allowed for the death of one of Vergis’s men, tortured the Zoe-Cylon endlessly, and considered killing his own mother just to name a few.  But oddly, it isn’t hard to feel sympathy for him.  Rich, powerful, smug, morally deficient and whatever else he may be,  Daniel Greystone feels emotions and is conflicted over the immoral choices he makes.  His mad craze to bring Zoe’s avatar to life in avatar form was a direct result of the loss of the daughter he loved.  Similarly, it could be argued that his actions toward Vergis and Cylon-Zoe were also a result of that loss.  He’s a man in deep pain that was probably a bit morally grey anyhow, and Zoe’s death started a spiral that Daniel (and Amanda) never recovered from.  So I suppose I should despise him, or love to hate him, but honestly, I love watching him and trying to figure out what he’ll do next.  He’s psychologically complex and completely damaged.

Meanwhile, on Gemenon...  

A teenage girl with the coloring of Zoe hugs her mother with a sad knowing look in her eye.  She walks into the C-Bucks stadium.  The camera pans to several other people, including Clarice, and they all walk into the stadium and activate black devices.  The stadium blows up.  Whoa - another parallel to the very beginning – the bombing that started it all.
Clarice removes the holoband and looks at the Priest (no, I don’t remember his name)  triumphantly.  He doesn’t understand, and she puts the holoband back on to show the specific people from the stadium rematerializing in a sort of paradise.  She takes the holoband off and explains that that is her idea of Apotheosis, or “artificial heaven.”  She argues that Apotheosis is The One True God’s plan for humanity.  The Priest does not agree with her.  Clarice then asks for an audience with someone called “Mother,” and the Priest looks surprised.

The Priest meets with a robed woman who looks like a female Pope (no offense to my Catholic friends).  “Mother” as she is called, listens quietly as the Priest describes Clarice’s “crazy” idea of Apotheosis.  It’s not clear if Mother agrees with the Priest, but she agrees to let him eliminate Clarice.  Clarice is of course one step ahead of the Priest and seduces a guard named Diego.  When the Priest appears to supposedly take Clarice to meet Mother, she and the guard turn on him, brutally killing him.  Clarice then introduces herself to Mother and tells her that the Priest is dead.  The Mother doesn’t say that she agrees outright with Clarice either, but she astounds Clarice by allowing her control over the STO cells in Caprica and anything else she wants.

Clarice is an incredibly complex character as well.  Everything in me shouts “Villain!” when the character appears on screen, but I question myself on that.  Why do I think she’s a villain?  If she orchestrated the bombings at the beginning of Caprica, well then, surely she would be a villain.  But, there was some indication that she was as surprised by the bombings as everyone else was.  So, what actually makes me think of her as a villain?  Is it her creepiness?  Her cold manipulation of others?  Her polygamy (which is societally accepted)?  I don’t know.  She IS a terrorist/spy.  But is she any more evil than Daniel, Joseph or Sam Adama?  Maybe?  Maybe not.  Why/how did she become who she is now?  What brought her down this road? She sure is thrilling to watch in any case.

What about Mother?  What are her real thoughts and motives?  How will she fit in the show?  I get the feeling she is VERY dangerous, but I don’t quite have a reason for that yet.

Oh, and Amanda’s alive!  YES!  Why is she living with Clarice?  I guess we’ll find out.

All in all, this was a terrific episode, rated 9/10.  Some questions I’d like to leave you with:

  1. Why is Clarice obsessed with Zoe in particular?  Was Zoe close to making Apotheosis possible?  Hmm.  Is the idea if Apotheosis a precursor to cylon resurrection?  What does Mother really think?
  2. What is Daniel up to?  What about Joseph?
  3. What will the Tauron mob do to Daniel?
  4. Will Zoe find Tamara?
So many questions!  I can’t wait to see more of Caprica.  I found Season 1.0 rocky in some places, but I find myself not wanting to blink in this half.  Here’s hoping Caprica has found its feet at last!  

Be sure to look for a review of episode two in a day or two!

-Captain K

Thursday, March 18

Ronald D. Moore on Caprica

Source: Digital Spy

Earlier this year, Battlestar fans rejoiced at the arrival of Caprica, the latest project from the sci-fi franchise. Set 58 years before the events depicted in Galactica, the series - fronted by Alessandra Torresani- shows how robotic cylons first came to be. With life for the Graystones getting progressively worse as each episode airs, we decided it was time for a catch-up with series creator Ronald D. Moore to see if there's light at the end of the tunnel for sci-fi's most troubled clan.

What sort of reaction have you had to the series so far?
"I've had a very positive reaction. The fans have been very kind and people have been great in the online world."

Are you pleased with the ratings you've been getting?
"I think the ratings could be better but I'm encouraged that they have continued to climb over the last couple of episodes. I think that's good. I'm pleased."

Do you think you've successfully managed to win over Battlestar fans?
"Some yes, some no. It depends on what people were looking for when they came to the show. We made a big point of saying it was not like Battlestar, so people that came to the show presumably knew they were coming for something completely different."

Was it important for you to make this series different from the Battlestar franchise?
"Yeah. We decided very early on that if we were gonna do a spinoff series of Galactica, we wanted it to be something completely different. We didn't want to repeat ourselves with something that would be exactly the same."

How long have you had the idea for Caprica in your head?
"A couple of years. It started when Dave, Mike and I discussed a spinoff. We said if we did one, it could maybe be about the creation of the cylons, and then completely separately, another writer approached Universal about doing a TV series having to do with artificial intelligence. Universal suggested we all sit down and talk. We did, and through those discussions, Caprica was born."

How important was it for you to get the cast that you did?
"Really important. Battlestar lived and died by its cast, and this will too. It's a character-based drama, so it was really important to get a strong cast. We didn't have the same sort of wish list that we had for Battlestar. We looked around to see who was interested rather than approaching directly."

Zoe had a turbulent start to the series. Where does her journey take her as the season progresses?
"She struggles to figure out if she can get out of the robot body and leave Caprica. She's the Zoe avatar so she's not the original. What's her place in the universe? What can she do? Where can she go? She certainly feels like a person, so what's the difference? She's gonna face struggles and self-discovery."

Daniel and Amanda have grown apart in recent episodes. Will they ever be able to put the past behind them?
"It's been a difficult time - they've gone through a really traumatic event. We'll see that continue a bit more for them. I don't wanna give it away, but Amanda's dangers are not over."

Is it likely we'll see Daniel and Joseph becoming friends?
"All I'll say is that their storylines will start to intersect quite soon."

What can we expect from the season finale?
"A cliffhanger - multiple cliffhangers! We've just started general discussions for a second season, but we don't know if we're getting renewed yet. We know where certain stories would take us. I'm hopeful that we'll get picked up - I'm feeling good!"

In the event that you don't get renewed, will the season one finale serve well as a series finale?
"No! No - it would not be a satisfying way to end the show, I'll put it that way. It's fifty years before Battlestar, so we can't end it at any time we want. It depends how far ahead we want to jump in the story."

Caprica continues Fridays at 9pm on Syfy in the US and Tuesdays at 9pm on Sky1 in the UK.

Friday, February 5

Check out this exclusive Caprica sneak peek

Can't wait until Friday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT for another dose of Syfy's Caprica? Then check out this sneak peek of the upcoming episode "Reins of a Waterfall," in which Amanda Graystone's confession sends shockwaves through the Colonies.

Thursday, February 4

Find out which Caprica co-star Esai Morales calls "White Heat"

What does Esai Morales, who portrays the Adama family patriarch in Syfy's Caprica, think about his co-stars? Who does he consider the mascot, who does he refer to as "White Heat," and who would he listen to read the phone book?
Watch the second half of our exclusive new video interview and find out!
Caprica airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Monday, February 1

'I Don't Feel Like a Copy, Daddy'

The pilot for Syfy's series "Caprica" was first made available to the public last April, so it's fair to say that the second episode (tonight from 9-10 p.m. ET) has been a long time coming. Those with time on their hands can argue about whether the wait was worth it until the Cylons come home. The cool thing is that even the most casual viewer may discover food for thought here.
"Caprica" is a prequel to Syfy's "Battlestar Galactica," and purports to explain the origins of that franchise's conflict between humans fighting for their survival and robot-slaves turned aggrieved aggressors.
Thankfully, "Caprica" can be enjoyed without any reference to the literal past or the figurative future. Far from the realm of ramming spacecraft, deadly rays and tylium ore, it is set in a modern metropolis where digital enhancements and futuristic gadgetry adorn otherwise recognizable living rooms and office suites. The residents, no matter what their planetary origin and cultural quirks, take human form.

In the "Caprica" pilot we were introduced to two men who will drive the main plot—and innumerable side stories—from now on. One is industrialist Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz), who has grown rich inventing devices like the holoband, which works as a pair of virtual-reality glasses for customers interested in escaping the illusion of a mortal coil to frolic in a cyber world. On a bigger scale, he is now vying for a government contract to sell the military a Terminator-like robot capable of blasting all enemies to oblivion.
The other man is Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), an immigrant from the planet Tauron. He is a reluctant lawyer for organized crime who adopted the WASPy surname Adams until a terrorist explosion that took his wife and daughter unleashed his simmering planethnic pride. Adama and Graystone meet when they discover that each has lost a beloved teenage daughter in the explosion.
Or have they? Fiddling around with the computer and holoband of his dead daughter Zoe (Alessandra Torresani), Graystone stumbles into a virtual room where she has left an avatar of herself: a copy so lifelike, and so stuffed with Zoe's own memories, that his initial shock and revulsion melt as the two embrace. From now on, his quest will be to find a way to bring the avatar of his daughter from the cyber world into the real one.
This subject is not virgin territory, and it never seems to end well. Graystone's first attempt to marry the digital record of Zoe's mind with a physical form is a poignant disaster of the Frankenstein sort. Nearly two centuries after the novel that named the pitiful monster, the movie "AI: Artificial Intelligence" explored the theme of using technology and science to make loveable copies of lost ones, also with heart-wrenching results.
But still we respond to, even cling to, the idea of replicating that which we have lost or desire. As Zoe and her father point out, the human brain is basically information and a data processor. So much information about us already exists outside our physical heads—in everything from phone records to email to home video and CAT scans—that the concept of artificial selves resonates. We know that the scientific barrier may be unbreachable. But the mental one has already been crossed. Cyber dating, even blogging—all that contact with people we will never meet, touch or smell: If this is enough for numbers of us, and even satisfying to some, can avatar friends and lovers be far behind?
All they may have to do is display a tiny shred of unmistakable humanity. In "Caprica," Graystone is disgusted by the hologram of his daughter and at the suggestion that he could bond with a digital image. But all it takes is for the digital image to act human: "I don't feel like a copy, Daddy," she weeps—and his resistance is over.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Friday, January 29

Caprica's naughty hot nun reveals her secrets

Last week's premiere of Syfy's Caprica introduced fans to Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker), the headmistress at the Athena Academy, and Walker tells us that there's a lot more to the character than is apparent at first blush. (Spoilers ahead!)
"She's not what she seems, obviously, because she's not just the head of the girls' religious academy," Walker told us in an exclusive interview this month. "She's a religious terrorist, and she's the head of the terrorist organization. She's incredibly dangerous, and she runs into all the different characters and manipulates and is scheming. She has a conscience as well, but she feels like she has direct access to God. She feels like she's God's messenger."
When Walker (HBO's Rome) filmed the pilot, she sought assurances that there would be more to play in the extended run of the show. "I was promised it," Walker said. "It becomes pretty huge, what I have to do. So that's why I wanted to do it. I was promised that it's going to get crazy. It's a crazy character that I play. She's out there."
The show will deal in part with the conflict between monotheists and polytheists, and Clarice's mission is supporting the One True God philosophy. That means she'll want to see the Cylons come into common use.
"She wants that," Walker said. "That's what she wants with all her heart. She's a monotheist, and Cylons believe in One True God."
The Graystone family will be the key to Clarice's mission. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) created the first Cylon to manifest his late daughter Zoe's (Alessandra Torresani) personality. Clarice will manipulate him through the Graystone matriarch, Amanda (Paula Malcomson).
"I have a very strong connection with Graystone's wife because, basically, the Zoe character is the reason for my faith and everything like that," Walker said. "His wife, to me, is like the Virgin Mary. I don't actually have anything to do with [Daniel]. I'm stuck in my own crazy little world."

Continue reading Here

Monday, January 25

Caprica Is Like The Godfather

Esai Morales wants you to know that Caprica (premieres Friday, 9/8c on Syfy) is no Battlestar Galactica. "BSG is BSG, and we will never touch BSG because we're not in that business. We don't want to be," he tells of the prequel. "We're trying to show that someone's parents and someone's pre-life is different than their children's." Set 58 years before the post-apocalyptic events of Battlestar, Caprica focuses on the thriving, technologically advanced Twelve Colonies that eventually create the Cylons. Morales plays Joseph Adama, a lawyer and father to BSG's Commander William Adama.

The elder Adama meets inventor Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) when they both lose daughters in the same terrorist bombing. Graystone attempts to bring the girls back as robots, and it's from there that a "morally gray family saga unfolds," Morales says. Find out what else is in store this season and why the actor thinks the show is similar to The Godfather. How did you get involved with the show?
Esai Morales:
My manager told me to take a look at this. "This is a really classy show," she said. "The creators are geniuses. It's on Syfy, but they're doing a whole rebranding thing. This could be a flagship show for them." I wasn't a BSG guy per se. I had kind of grown away from sci-fi in my adult years. I'm really happy to be back in a way that I don't feel like I'm regressing to my childhood! There is nerd appeal, but at the same time, it's something many people can identify with. It's just a smart show and unlike anything I've seen on television.

Watch the extended pilot of Caprica now Joseph Adama is sort of mythological since we've never met him until now. How would you describe him?
In reality, the myth is not as grandiose. We will be deconstructing a bit of the statue of the man and showing the human being. I'm not playing him as some sort of hero. I'm playing him as a man who is just trying to survive, stay on the right side of the law and be a good role model to what's left of his family. He'd like to reconnect with the digital aftereffects of his own daughter. When he hugs and holds her, it's as if [she's real] — except for one little thing: He can't feel her heartbeat, which is that poetic representation. What are these things if they are not people? What do they feel? Where do they go when they're in limbo?

Click here to continue

Thursday, January 21

What to expect from 'Caprica,' Syfy's 'Battlestar' prequel

Source: The Watcher

"Caprica" (8 p.m. Central Friday, Syfy)
Who is on the creative team? Ronald D. Moore ("Battlestar Galactica") and Remi Aubuchon ("24") wrote the pilot; the show's executive producers include Moore, David Eick, Jane Espenson (all of whom also worked on "Battlestar") and Kevin Murphy, who joined the show mid-way through the 19-episode first season (9 hours air this spring and then the show will return in the second half of 2010; for more on the show's background, look here).

What's the "Battlestar Galactica" connection?
"Caprica" is a prequel series set more than five decades before the events of that acclaimed drama. However, you do not need to have seen "Battlestar" to watch "Caprica."

What's the "Buffy" connnection?
Espenson has written for "Buffy," "Angel" and "Dollhouse."

What's the premise? Mega-wealthy technology genius Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and conflicted lawyer Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) are united by a tragedy -- they both lose family members in a terrorist bombing. The show examines how they and their families deal with that loss and how the government responds to the terrorist threat posed by an underground religious group.

How much sex is there? The normal amount for a basic-cable drama.

Are there robots?
Yes, there are a number of robots, and viewers get to know one robot well.

How's the first episode?
The two-hour pilot is quite compelling. Morales and Stoltz are well-matched in their subtle approaches to their characters, and the pilot asks the kinds of questions you'd expect from the creators of "Battlestar": When should we let go of what we've lost and how do we use technology to avoid painful truths? (My full review of the "Caprica" pilot, which came out on DVD a few months ago, is here.)

How many episodes have you seen?
I've seen the pilot and two additional episodes, and the post-pilot episodes are less focused and more melodramatic than the pilot. In its early going, "Caprica" doesn't have quite enough narrative drive; there's a certain choppy quality to the proceedings, as episodes jump around among the characters' somewhat separate story lines. Still, it took "Battlestar" a while to find a consistent tone and to hit its creative stride. If the handsome-looking "Caprica" can beef up the urgency, unify the storytelling and make me care more about the characters' dilemmas, it should take its rightful place as Syfy's flagship drama.

Why did you feel a little guilty when watching it?
I didn't love it as much as I loved "Battlestar," but I had to remind myself that my affection for that show developed over several seasons. "Caprica" is a different show with a different tone and goals and I'm OK with giving it time to prove itself. If the show is guilty of anything in the first few episodes, it's of trying to do too much, which is preferable to a lack of ambition.

What's the reason to watch? Did I mention the robots? No, seriously, "Caprica's" cast (which includes Paula Malcolmson as Amanda Graystone) is very good and the questions "Caprica" is asking about our reliance on technology to supply (or replace) intimacy are certainly timely.

Who's the breakout actor?
The wonderful Polly Walker imbues the mysterious Sister Clarice with a steely mystery, and I look forward to seeing more of Patton Oswalt as Baxter Sarno, the host of an irreverent "Daily Show"-type program.

What should viewers not expect? This is not a show set in outer space. There are no aliens, there are no space ships and there's not much of a military element at all. "Caprica" is much more of a prime-time soap than a sci-fi adventure tale, so don't be expecting multi-tentacled visitors from the planet Gorp.

What silly nickname did you give this show?
I don't have one yet. Feel free to make suggestions.

Rating: Three stars. "Caprica" is still finding itself, but it's worth your while, and if it can knit its various elements into a more coherent whole, it could get even better.

David Eick and the history of Caprica

After a minor interruption, the "Caprica" countdown continues with just three days left until the pilot re-airs and reaquaints viewers with the characters and quirks of the Syfy show. We're coming back strong too, posting a conversation with executive producer/writer/whatever's-needed guy David Eick. Before that, a quick introduction to another of the 12 Colonies: Leonis.
Two major landmasses differentiate this beautiful colony, ideal for a variety of outdoor activities thanks to its predictable climate. Leonans are an overambitious and wealthy society that is increasingly isolationist and even xenophobic, making modern Leonan democracy and inter-colony relations deeply troubled.
And now, on to Mr. Eick and his thoughts on the optimistic, technologically enhanced culture of Caprica.

So how long ago did the idea for "Caprica" actually come about?
The first time that myself, Ron Moore and Remi Aubuchon got together to discuss it was was five years ago. It's crazy cause it doesn't seem that long. Ron and I came from these franchises that had spawned offspring. In Ron's case it was "Star Trek" and in mine it was the "Hercules"/"Xena" world. At some point during the second season of "Battlestar," we started kicking around the idea of another story rooted in this world. We started kicking around the idea of a more human-based, terrestrial-based soap opera with a sci-fi undertone that would take place in the years before the events that were depicting in "Battlestar." In affect, it would be Dallas where the McGuffin would be artificial intelligence instead of oil.
We had a general conversation with execs at Universal, then we tabled it as we continued to make "Battlestar." We got a call from those execs some time later and they said that at some point in time they heard a pitch from Remi Aubuchon that they felt crossed paths in many ways with what we'd talked about for our "Battlestar" prequel. It just made sense to Ron and I to have another partner since we were so into just making "Battlestar" at the time.  So we sat down with Remi and started to hammer out where this spinoff would be.
So I don't really need to ask if it was a harder sell than the original 'reimagined' "Battlestar" premise?
Our reimagined "Battlestar" premise was held back by a couple of things at different stages. One was title, which was a blessing and a curse. It opened certain doors, but there's a whole contingent ... who would not watch a show called "Battlestar Galactica" no matter how many trophies you win. And Bonnie Hammer said to me, 'You're gonna have to explain to me again when you come in to pitch this why the world needs another space opera.'  And I think we did.
In this case, we had a leg up, you could say. We were coming at the "Battlestar" mythos at what did not feel like a lot of other shows.  As unique as "Battlestar" is, it's still easy to lump it in with "Stargate" and "Star Trek" and "Andromeda" and I can't even name them all. Whereas with "Caprica" I think we're operating in very unique territory.
So, what were your fears going into production?
Fears? Well, I think that we got really, really lucky with "Battlestar" in one respect and that was the cast. We had Oscar nominees and really accomplished actors and young actors who were doing if not their first thing then their second thing, all side-by-side. So whether or not that was going to hold together and gel to create a long-running series was always a risk. And when it happened the way that it did -- I can't tell you the number of actors that we cast out of local Vancouver dinner theater who, two or three years later we were writing entire arcs around.  But they were so good and so reliable that we knew we could go in a variety of different places that we may have never intended or expected. Certainly coming back to another emsemble show, you just wonder how or if lightning can strike twice.  And I have to say, I think we got lucky. I think between your critically acclaimed actors like Polly Walker and Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales to your younger actors who American audiences may not have seen much of before with Alessandra [Torresani] and Magda [Apanowicz]. I think that once again, we can look to side stories. Sasha Roiz, who plays Sam Adama, is Caprica's answer to Tahmoh Pennikett  or Katee Sackhoff or Jaimie Bamber. People who really hadn't been established, but in very short order, we found ourselves writing around.

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The music of the master, Bear McCreary

Counting down until the Jan. 22 premiere of "Caprica," we take a look at a man who has helped shape the mood and tone of the "Battlestar Galactica" universe as much as anyone acting, lighting, writing or directing an episode: composer and musician Bear McCreary. His arrangements bring huge crowds of not only "BSG" fans but also general music fans out to concert venues around the country.
Hard-core fans realize the intricacy with which McCreary crafts tunes, creating themes for characters that define who they are, and even who they will be. The young accordion player (among other things) turns 31 soon, making him an Aquarius (or right on the cusp). And that transitions into our latest description of another planet making up the 12 Colonies, Aquarion:
A frigid ocean world, Aquarion functions as little more than a scientific research outpost to the rest of the colonies. There are small landmasses, usually volcanic, and there are native communities, both small and tolerant enough to effectively use a unique communal governing system.
And "unique" takes us back to McCreary. I saw the maestro play a concert in 2009 down the street from the Los Angeles Times building in downtown L.A. I felt like a final five cylon following the melodic sounds to the venue. The crowd assembled was the opposite of intimate, but the communal mood was palpable as McCreary and the band played to a raucous audience. That's where we begin our interview.
Doesn't seem like a lot of composers command the types of crowds and adulation you do. How are you handling that?
It's interesting 'cause that side of my musical life is not something that I ever pursued actively. I didn't become a TV and film composer because I wanted to play sold-out rock concerts, but that's what's ended up happening. And it's fun. I'm grateful for the opportunity to play the music that means so much to those people, and to me, live in a concert setting with all of the musicians that I work with in the studio. And it's an extraordinary chance for the fans to not only see it live, but to see it performed by the same men and women who play it on the series. It's very different than seeing something in the Hollywood Bowl conducted by a composer or a guest artist 'cause these are the exact same artists who play it on the series.

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Wednesday, January 20

Will Caprica Be More Than a Prequel?

Source: Space

The much anticipated Battlestar Galactica follow-up Caprica is set to debut on SPACE Friday night. As you may have heard, it rewinds viewers 58 years before the Cylons destroyed the 12 Colonies and set into motion the epic events of the hugely popular BSG. This prequel is set on (spoiler alert!) Caprica and it promises to explore the origin of the Cylons and the life and times of the Old Man’s old man. Still very much in the realm of science fiction, Caprica is the family saga of the Adamas and the Graystones – two families that become intertwined after a tragic terrorist attack. It promises to be a drama focusing largely on relationships, personal demons and political turmoil – all set against the backdrop of a future (or is it historical?) world.

The burning question on every frakkin’ BSG fan’s mind is whether these new characters, new situations and the practically unknown world of pre-Fall Caprica can recapture the magic of the original. Can a prequel hold the interest of an audience when they all know what will happen in the end?

Star Wars
may be our greatest touchstone when it comes to discussing prequels, and if George Lucas’ prequel trilogy is anything to go by, things might not bode well for Caprica. While the new Star Wars movies interested millions who wanted to see how Skywalker the Elder became Skywalker the Darth, the films suffered horribly in execution with disinterested scripts, wooden acting and cheap, childish sight gags. That said, viewers still tune in every week to understand more about how Clark Kent became Superman on Smallville.

So perhaps the curiosity in prequels is there, but their success comes down to the way the backstory is told – for every awful Dumb and Dumberer or Hannibal Rising, there’s a solid Red Dragon or even a brilliant Godfather Part II. Thankfully, Caprica boasts a top-notch cast (including solid lead actor Eric Stoltz) and the strong point of BSG was always its mature, nuanced writing. If these qualities can carry over to Caprica, my hunch is that the interest will follow suit.

What do you think? Is Caprica a non-starter for you? Or can you not wait to explore the rise of the Cylons and the history of the Adamas?

Tuesday, January 19

'Caprica' countdown: Sasha Roiz says, 'Something ominous is coming'

Source: LA Times

Today we're continuing the "Caprica" countdown to the show's Jan. 22 premiere on Syfy with actor Sasha Roiz, who plays Sam Adama (brother to Joseph and uncle to William).

Roiz has gotten a lot of questions about what "Battlestar Galactica" fans can look forward to, so we address them here before we even get to the Q&A. First off, he says that fans already familiar with the style of "BSG" will watch it and be able to appreciate it even more on a secondary level, but should "leave 'BSG' at the door." He understands the loyalty, but believes that "there's always gotta be room for some sort of evolution and creativity. We always want to push the boundaries."

Sam is a Tauron loyalist, as we'll come to find out, so what better 12-Colony world to describe before talking to the actor who plays him than Tauron. Here's a quick planetary guide:

A red, arid planet, Tauron is home to a culture of great tradition. Its surface soil grants no favors, so all agriculture is hard won; something seen by the pride in its people. Family and honor are placed above all else in life, until you can finally be at rest and 'return to the soil.'

And on to Sasha Roiz, starting with what I thought would be a curveball. He hit it anyway.

How's it feel to be a Tauron assassin?
Interesting question. Well it feels really great that they've imbued this character with so many dynamic elements. It's not just a cookie cutter monster; he's got so many complexities to him that it's just a joy to play him.

What's the relationship like between Joseph and Sam?
At the beginning of the series, it's relatively strained. Obviously, the circumstances of the tragedy exacerbate the difficulties that the brothers had, and the brothers have a very different opinion of the world that they live in. Joseph is someone who's been trying to assimilate into the Caprican life while Sam is steadfast in staying loyal to Tauron and the Tauron community and has absolutely no interest in assimilating into the Caprican world. So those differences sort of come to a head, especially in the aftermath of the bombing and the loss of his wife and daughter.

The Ha'la'tha seems like a "Godfather" or yakuza type of organization. Where did you get your influences?
Yeah, it is of sorts. It's very much an ethnic organization not unlike what you said; it's kind of like a mafia or Yakuza. It's very similar to the way other mobs were formed in our world, say a century ago. When Italian and Irish and Jewish immigrants came over and were ghettoized and treated as second-class citizens, they formed organizations to protect themselves and their own ways of life and enforce their own laws. The Ha'la'tha have created a community and a life and a force on Caprica, and Sam's a soldier in that organization.

Sam Adama the role model ... is this all that good for for his nephew Willie, the future Admiral William Adama?
Ha! Well, Sam thinks so and has no doubts about it. Like I said, it's a very difficult time for the family, and Joseph's focus begins to spin a little bit out of control as he starts to chase after this avatar of Tamara [Adama, his deceased daughter] and he leaves Willie behind. So this is where Sam comes in almost as a surrogate and starts to raise this young boy. Sam always feels like the kid needs more Tauron influence, and along with that is a certain pride and strength that he wants to imbue in Willie.

Were you a "Battlestar" fan before getting the role?
Well, I wasn't a "Battlestar" fan, but I had a lot of respect for the show. I had a lot of friends who worked on the show and I had seen a few episodes. but i was more attracted to it from afar from the respect and awards it had received to the loyal viewership that it had. That piqued my interest a lot when the opportunity for "Caprica" arose. Subsequently, I have been watching a lot [of "BSG"] and I like it very much, but I didn't come into it as a fan.

So, the aftermath of how Willie becomes the admiral isn't a factor in how you approach the role of uncle?
Well, and I can't speak for the entire cast, but there isn't a general feeling of obligation to connecting those dots. I think we leave that to the writers and the creators, and I'm sure they'll do a great job with it, but we just sort of focus on our characters and the world that we live in. We don't really feel a lot of pressure to bring "Battlestar" into this. It works on its own.

How would you describe the style and tone of "Caprica?"
I guess there's a sense of foreboding. Even when I'm in it or when I'm watching some of the cuts that we have or the lighting, and the music, there's the sense that something ominous is coming. I love that mood. It brings an intensity to the show. And that being said, we have moments of lightness and laughter and love, but there's definitely an intensity that I love.

You mentioned laughs, and I think that Sam provides that levity a bit, even though he's not 'the funny guy'...
Yeah. It's interesting that you say that. It does come out a bit. Sam's just this character that's, in a way, so removed in the way he lives his life and the way that he perceives the world around him that there's just no room for any argument. Especially when you watch him and Willie together. You take this intense character and throw in a little kid, and to watch them interact is sort of amusing.

Because he's so rooted in his Tauron background, and I don't want to get too spoilery, but does he get to go back to Tauron, and was it what you as the actor thought it would look like?
I'm not sure if I can address that directly, but as the series unfolds, there is more and more detail about the background of Joseph and Sam, and the tragedy that they come from. They came out of the civil war on Tauron and everything that leads to that. They came over to Caprica as orphans. Being raised in the Ha'la'tha, all of that is sort of an extension of the tragedy they lived through in life. At one point we will see flashbacks to them when they were younger, and we will unfold the story of the tragedy itself. It's a great episode.

Though he's a real free-spirit on Caprica, is there anything that Sam does in future episodes that surprises you?
I would say absolutely. There comes a point where he questions certain loyalties that he has. It's going to be really interesting to see what kind of choices he makes. I mean, this whole show is about choices, which is just a reflection of life. I mean life is all about choices, and we're all faces with difficult choices at some point in the show. From there, we sort of springboard into this wonderful, crazy and fascinating storylines that are going to be a lot of fun to watch.

-- Jevon Phillips

Friday, January 15

The five faces of Zoe that you'll see in Caprica

Caprica star Alessandra Torresani plays Zoe in Syfy's upcoming Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica. Actually, she plays five different versions of the character, the daughter of industrialist Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz). (Spoilers ahead!)

In the show—which premieres Jan. 22 and airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT—Daniel Graystone is a computer engineering genius and owns a large corporation that is spearheading the development of artificial intelligence. His unwavering professional pursuits are driven to extreme measures when personal tragedy strikes him and his wife, Amanda (Paula Malcomson), as their strong-willed daughter, Zoe (Torresani), dies in a terrorist bombing fueled by an underground religious dogma. Unbeknownst to her parents, the teenager had also been dabbling in these radical teachings, which were secretly propagated by her school's headmistress, Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker).

"I've done a scene where I play three characters in one," Torresani said. "Season 1.5, the second half, third episode into it. Besides just that, I get to play five completely different characters, which is not like any female 16-year-old show character that I've ever seen before in my life."

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