14th Feb2010

Hey Star Trek! anchoo CAP YOURSELF!?

by jerad.formby

Dear Battlestar Galactica Fans,

It is our understanding that you’ve been given your very own spin-off show. The show is a “prequel” set long before your last show began. It is also our understanding that a lot of you must not be watching it because its ratings are very, very poor.

To not watch might be understandable because Caprica is very alien from the previous entry in its look, characters, and concept. But as you stew on your collective couches, with your arms crossed, waiting for Caprica to impress you, we’d like to give you some helpful suggestions to make your experience on with this new entry more palpable.

We know for many of you, the previous installment was a religious experience. We also know your feelings aren’t by accident.

Your love for what happened before (and will happen again on DVD no doubt) is most likely buried in the intensity of its action. The previous series erupted with nuclear bombs, guns blazing, fast-flying vipers and what a number of what you call great characters.

Of course why those characters were so great… well, we’ll get to that.

According to our files, there was also one other amazing reason that made you watch all of those hours of intense television.

We’re certain that there are a number of die-hard fans that love every last minute of the previous show. Some have even argued over our phone lines to explain how Kara Thrace’s fate was actually the ultimate homage to the Original Series.

We know that you hung on ever word and every scene. We did too, ultimately.

But…

It still would be nice if we could go back to New Caprica… before the final five thing started and start over.

Or maybe back to that great Pegasus Two-Parter?

Well, as long as it’s theoretical… maybe we can go back even further…

And make a superior show…

Okay, Hey Star Trek!, you might be saying, we glanced at your picture montage but we still don’t get it. We don’t see the awesomeness of Adama, Tigh, Helo, Starbuck, Chief, and the others. Your picture looks like a dance party, you might say.

Well, it is. And you’re invited to the dance.

You’re invited to step into the pool of actual Galactica culture.

How exactly does a culture with multiple gods unfold into our modern age?

A more interesting question might be, what if Rome never fell? Or what if Babylon had wi-fi?

Caprica demonstrates a world of technology and wild excesses. These excesses are steeped in sin.

Teenagers participate in virtual dungeons that allow them everything from public sex, to outright murder, to human sacrifice.

Where are the parents, you might wonder? They’re actually living in marriages with multiple partners and might head down to an opium bar to take the edge off.

The kids are planning to clean up the filth themselves. There is a movement called STO (Star Trek Online… or Soldiers of the One). The movement believes in one all powerful, all knowing god.

The previous entry furrowed our brow when the cylons would be touting their one true God. It was an interesting way, we thought, to make the Cylons attack from a religious place –a way to have the war on terror on a television show.

Caprica suggests something a lot heavier with its cult of Capricans who believe in one god only. Like Christians of ancient Rome, they use a symbol to communicate with each other. Caprica presents the seeds of early Christian culture and persecution set against an intensely modern and maybe alien framework.

You can’t help but wonder, will it work?

The soldiers of the one are responsible for a bombing in Caprica’s first episode. A suicide bomber destroys a train full of civilians in the name of “one god.”

This is when a character named Zoe Graystone is killed. This character, whom we’ve known for only five minutes, is one of the main characters on the show. She will become the first Cylon.

Did you know her obsession with the one god was the first time all that garbage on Galactica actually made us smile (since it made some frakkin’ sense)? It’s very easy for us to extrapolate the Cylon interest in a one true god from the residual fears of a teenage girl.

How can she be a Cylon when she’s dead? Well, Zoe is a bit of a genius and has created a digital copy of herself in the virtual world. This is the first time this has happened and it’s that copy that will end up in the Cylon operating system.

But is she truly a copy of Zoe or something else? And why did Zoe make such a thing?

In addition to Zoe, her parents are main characters. Her father, Daniel, is the chief architect of the “robot soldiers.” He uses her daughter’s copy (called an “Avatar” –a nonsense word made up strictly for Caprica) to solve problems with his robots.

All of this set against the grief of losing his daughter.

Meanwhile we’re given insight into young William Adama and his lawyer father. We’re introduced to a Caprica molded in sin and racial prejudice.

We’ve heard many of you complain that you can’t get into the characters as swiftly as the ones from the other show.

Let’s not kid around, the other show had a certain “hardcore” factor which many of you found addictive. Problems were often shouted out and the decisions made by everyone from Adama to Starbuck were born of heavy extremes. All though the show was meant to feel very real, these performances were actually very different from typical drama.

Please don’t tell us that such behavior was “relatable” to you. Don’t tell us that you were truly moved emotionally by something that lived off of feeding your addiction to extreme behaviors and emotions.

The previous show was actually an intensely intellectual experience, not an emotional one.

Admit that you held your stomach more often than you held your heart and you just might stop holding Caprica responsible for crimes it’s seriously not guilty of.

Sure, it was touching when Adama and Roslin got together, but most of the other characters frakked whomever, felt nothing, and reacted to extremes at any given opportunity. Sort of like they grew up in Babylon with Wi-Fi.

So when you say you can’t “get into” the characters on Caprica, what you’re really saying is: “there’s not enough hardcore jeopardy for me.”

This is what we like most about Caprica. It doesn’t sell itself like a drug.

Caprica is presenting us this very alien culture. Grief is more of an intellectual experience for one character. Another might be acting the part of “grief.” The emotional distance Caprica rocks serves its more thoughtful, science fiction components very well.

Caprica is a deeper form of Science Fiction, a true world immersed in promising, intellectual ideas about what constitutes life, spirituality, and family relationships.

Dare we argue that Caprica is the Deep Space Nine to the other show’s Next Generation? Are you sure you want to be one of those BSG fans who only got into Caprica years later –after it was cancelled because of your initial sadness that it’s not a frakkin’ carbon copy?

Besides, is it really all that different?


Read Back Issues of Hey Star Trek!?

  • April Hebert

    Oh, you. You’re so…umm… (Pause) Shit…Okay. I got it.

  • Kahless

    It is the intellectual nature of Caprica that is appealing.

  • http://Twitter.com/walshcaitlin Caitlin

    I am really into Caprica. Have been watching it on Hulu.
    I never got into BSG. I have only sen the first few episodes. It’s on the list of series I need to see. When I have time I’ll start netflixing it.

    So I’m basically the opposite of what you describe 😉
    “babylon with wifi” Nice.

  • Captain Subtext

    Great piece.

    I’ve seen BSG, I think it’s good but I’m not overly in love with it. Caprica however, seems like something I will enjoy even more, exactly for the reasons depicted here.

    However, the shaky cam is starting to get on my nerves. Oh well, you cant have everything.

  • http://teresajusino.wordpress.com Teresa Jusino

    Hey there!

    I’m a huge Caprica fan, AND a huge Trek fan, and I’m absoluely in love with this post. So now, I’m a huge fan of yours, too! 🙂 Awesome stuff!