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Friday, January 22, 2010

Caprica different from Galactica, in a good way

     For fans of Battlestar Galactica, it was a sad, though very satisfying, day when the series when dark for good last spring.  Four years, a wonderful story, and a heck of a conclusion.  It wasn't about space.  It was about the characters.  Now, we have a replacement, in the same world, but with a totally different concept.  Well, not totally different.  It's still about the characters.  It is important to note that viewers should be able to start watching this show with no prior knowledge of Galactica, as it takes place many years before, and is clearly it's own thing.  But for fans, we get to see a barely-heard-about chapter unfurl in full life, a real treat.

     While Caprica premieres tonight on SyFy, the pilot has been available on DVD since last April.  The show already has fans, before it even launches.  I can report that it is an intriguing, exciting, and dark pilot, scratching the surface of grief that will surely be delved into.  I won't spoil any major twists, in case you still haven't seen the episode, but I can tell you that one of the main characters, (yes, one of the ones mentioned below) dies early in the episode, and it launches what will be a hell of an adventure.  This person's death has far reaching repercussions, and after the twist at the end of the two hours, fans of Galactica will be surprised, hopefully in a good way, about a connection between the character and the previous series.  Viewers will see the 'invention' of the Cylons, though we know that Cylons have been around much longer than the humans in this show will think they have.

     Set fifty eight years before the events of Battlestar Galactica, it doesn't feature humans running for their lives.  Instead, two families are brought together by the deaths of their loved ones, from a suicide bomber.  There are heavy religious tones to this series, even more so than Galactica.  It is a world on the brink of sin, with teenagers escaping into virtual clubs that feature group sex and human sacrifice.  Technology is god, and Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz), a genius, is at the forefront.  He works so hard that he practically ignores his equally inventive daughter, Zoe (Alessandra Torresani).  He does, however, seem to spend time with his wife, Amanda (Paula Malcomson, Deadwood).  Zoe doesn't get along with her mother, either.

     The other family is immediately recognizable.  We have heard about Joseph Adama (Esai Morales, NYPD Blue) and his eleven year old son, William, (Sina Najafi) who was of course the commander of Galactica, portrayed by Edward James Olmos.  While not obvious in the pilot, the other important Adama in this series is Joseph's brother, Sam (Sasha Roiz).  The Adamas are from Tauron, and are only working on Caprica.  They are looked down on for that, although Joseph, a.k.a. Yosef, seems to often reject his heritage to fit in on the world, even publicly using the last name Adams instead of Adama.  At this point, the Twelve Colonies do not have one united government.

     The show also stars Polly Walker (Rome) and my personal favorite, Magda Apanowicz (Kyle XY).  Nineteen episodes, not including the pilot, have been made.  It airs on SyFy Friday nights at 9pm.

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