The remake of Battlestar Galactica was never really a science fiction show. Or rather, it was never just a science fiction show. Sure it had robots and it was set in space but, in reality, it was an intense and intelligent political drama that just happened to be set on board a space ship. The SciFi trappings were almost incidental and that, more than anything else, was responsible for the breadth of the show's appeal.
I therefore had mixed feelings about the prospect of a spin-off charting the rise of the Cylons. I mean, prequels are almost all universally bad, aren't they? And a show about inventing sentient robots? Surely that was just pandering to the hardcore SciFi fanbase and ignoring everything that had made BSG such a success in the first place.
Well, based on the first five episodes, I have to say Caprica has confounded my every expectation. This is not SciFi. Or, to be more accurate, like BSG this is not just SciFi! This is a different animal all together. Forget the robots - this is a family saga. This is Dallas (with the Graystone family standing in for the Ewings) meets The Godfather (with the Adamas donning the guise of the Corleones).
Having just watched the episode There Is Another Sky, I do have one reservation. In that episode we were introduced to New Cap City, a virtual world with buildings and people made entirely of computer code. Oh, and one character who can manipulate that code at will, thereby having what are in effect superhuman powers. Hmmm - isn't there a little known movie franchise that did exactly that?!
We shall have to see whether that blatant act of plagiarism is an indication of whether the writers have already run out of original ideas but, putting that aside for now, everything in the four episodes leading up to this point has been gripping TV. The show's appeal is due in no small part to Alessandra Torresani (pictured) who manages to be entirely convincing both as the wayward teenager Zoe Graystone and her confused virtual avatar, trapped in the metal shell of the first Cylon.
Overall, it's still early days for this series and there's plenty of time for it to lose its way. So far, however, Caprica is shaping up to be a worthy successor to BSG. One of the few shows that have me looking forward to the next episode!