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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Caprica Ends Run Brilliantly

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***SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of the end of Caprica, including the series finale.***


     When SyFy's critically beloved Battlestar Galactica went off the air after only four seasons, I was depressed. It was one of the best TV shows ever made, in my opinion, combining religion and politics with morality and space battles. When a prequel series was announced, called Caprica, I was elated. Set fifty-eight years prior, it also took a lot of those same elements (except space battles), and leaned heavily on family and terrorism. It was brilliant, a worthy addition to the Galactia universe, but also it's own thing entirely. Then came news of its cancellation, and depression has set in again.

     Why was it canceled? The popular opinion is that it was too cerebral. People missed the space battles. AMC, you want to pick this one up? I promise you, I will watch, and so will many other people. I can't guarantee you any solid numbers, but the show would probably fit better with AMC's lineup than SyFy's.

     Last night marked the premiere on SyFy of the final five (Ha! Final Five!) episodes of Caprica. They were already released on DVD. Expecting unanswered cliffhangers and incomplete arcs, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case at all. Every single one of the plots began in the two hour pilot last year concluded naturally, and while I would have liked to see more development on some fronts, it was a full story. A look at future scenes capped the final episode, providing some idea of where the show would have gone, but more importantly, some events that came out of this year's plots. Despite only one season, Caprica joins my list of Best Shows Ever, made even better by no cliffhangers.

     I will miss the Graystones the most: Daniel (Eric Stoltz), Amanda (Paula Malcomson), and Zoe (Alessandra Torresani). They were the heart of Caprica, and often the characters with the most screen time. They were not in Galactica, and likely will not be in any other incarnation of the universe, as their story was concluded. Two grieving parents fought for the life of their daughter, who lived on in a virtual world. Their struggle was what birthed the greatest threat to humanity ever seen, and how the Cylons came to be what they were. It was the ultimate prequel, a fantastic and unexpected set up to what the original series featured. The rising of the 'skinjob' Zoe out of the bath in the future scenes was the ending of their journey, but the effects they had on the rest of the world will live on for far longer.

     I loved the Graystones, but they also provided the only inconsistency with Galactica. We learned in the previous show that the Cylons had been created before this era and will be again. The 'skinjobs' had only twelve models, and none of them were Zoe. Given more time, I'm sure this could have been addressed. In the next show, though the Graystones aren't expected to be featured, I hope it is dealt with in some way. While I think the family was given enough, there is still that one unanswered question left in the universe. However, surely practically no one but the Graystones ever found out about Zoe's new body, so if they are not part of the new story, it makes it hard to foresee the answer I seek.

     Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) was the most cheated by the finale. We saw her defeat the leaders at the STO camp and take control of their Cylon army in the previous episode, but she did not appear in the finale until the future scenes, when it was shown that she became the new Mother to the STO. Sure, that was perfect, fitting plot, but I would have expected, if the show hadn't taken time for the future stuff, a scene where Lacy and the Cylons take down Mother and her minions. Oh, well. Perhaps on the DVD.

     I like that Sister Clarice (Polly Walker) lost her organization, but lives to fight another day. In future spin-offs, I would really like to see what happened to Clarice, after she became preacher-to-the-toasters. Clarice was truly the Big Bad of the series, though that label was not apparent at first. Her fanatical beliefs were outdone by her oversize ego. She should have perished with her followers, but she didn't, because her will to survive is too strong. There are few characters on television played with such a mix of warring, and often hidden, agendas, and Walker was one of the best elements in an amazing show.

     The Tauron story concluded nicely, with the assassination of the Guatrau (Jorge Montesi) by Joseph (Esai Morales) and Sam (Sasha Roiz) Adama. It was almost a plot written into a corner, where the Adams faced certain death, or at least, having to flee the planet Caprica, which we know to be the homeworld of young Bill Adama, Joseph's son. Joseph had been anything but heroic yet in the series, and given Bill's later disagreements with the man, as told in Galactica, it wasn't surprising. What this plot twist sets up is a Joseph far more involved in the gang wars of his homeworld, though hopefully with a less villainous syndicate boss. Joseph always walked a fine line between noble and patsy; this development makes that balance even more complicated.

     Many people were surely shocked at the death of young William Adama (Sina Najafi) in the penultimate episode, widely believed to be the younger version of Commander William Adama, played by Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica. Considering the young Bill introduced in the future scenes is at least ten years younger than Willie, this should have been something fans had already suspected, but I don't think it was.

     In October 2011, a new two hour TV movie called Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome will air on SyFy, with the possibility of a series pickup. Nico Cortez will reprise his version of Bill Adama from the Razor flashbacks. It will feature a new cast of characters, and is set ten years into the first Cylon war, with Adama in his twenties, so at least twenty-some years after Caprica. Ensign Adama is newly assigned to Galactica. A press release proclaims: "The talented but hot-headed risk-taker soon finds himself leading a dangerous top secret mission that, if successful, will turn the tide of the decade long war in favor of the desperate fleet." Exciting, no?

     While I am excited about this newest prequel, which will attempt to add more action, something some people (not myself, especially after the finale) thought Caprica was lacking, Ideally, I want to see Lacy Rand return, and possibly Sister Clarice. I also want Esai Morales to reprise his role, obviously with aging makeup, as well as other members of his family. I love the actress who played Lacy, but she's probably too young, even with a makeup job. None of this will happen in the pilot, but if the series is picked up, I surely hope it will pay homage to Caprica, as well as being its own thing.

     Until then, so say we all.

Article first published as TV Review: Caprica Ends Run Brilliantly on Blogcritics.

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