Hindsight Review: “Caprica” Simply Dropped the Ball

Minor spoilers.

It is a shame that Caprica couldn’t find a groove, whether it be creatively or ratings-wise.

You can’t blame Syfy for trying. But the numbers for Caprica were just horrible.

So why didn’t the series catch on? It had plenty of things going for it.
But even more things going against it as well.

After the critical success and fan dedication of Battlestar Galactica, Caprica should benefit from the pedigree. However, it is that same legacy that worked against it. Could expectations have been too high for the prequel? While the producers promised a show that could stand on its own, the comparisons were inevitable. And to put it bluntly, Caprica came nowhere near Battlestar Galactica.

The series started off with great potential. An interesting focus with the promise of the same deep connections BSG forged. Instead, season 1.0 was all over the place but with just enough to keep you interested. One week it was family drama, the next very sci-fi, another week, a political thriller. Throw in some teen angst while you’re at it. All great genres, sure, but the uncertainty only added to the lackluster half-season.

When the series came back earlier this month (earlier than its original 2011 return date), the potential again emerged, but quickly faded and the flaws of the series became more apparent.

The biggest problem has to be the lack of connection with the characters. Not even with young Willie Adama, knowing the man he would become. Seeing people mope around and be emo, especially before cylons even existed to think about annihilating your planet, was not very compelling television.

The parts of the series that did spark my interest the most were the fleeting moments where we got see what these colonies looked like before the war. We finally spend some time on the ground and getting to know what life was like before people had to run away in spaceships.

But those moments, walking through the markets, swooping into a rowdy pyramid stadium, seeing advanced technology in a world that more resembles the 1950s… was what I hoped the series would touch more on and were all the most compelling aspects of Caprica.

Caprica would’ve been better off expanding the BSG world… the literal world. Seeing people walking on solid ground instead of inside huge metal warships. Expanding the racial backgrounds of the twelve colonies, which instead delved into typical formula instead of enlightening backstory.

It seems Caprica would’ve been better off embracing what it was: a Battlestar Galactica prequel. Maybe Caprica trying so much to be its own series wasn’t the way to go, actually clouding its vision instead of focusing it.

By embracing its position in the BSG canon, the series might have actually been more free to explore. It wouldn’t have to be so overly conscious of itself in attempting to be different and/or more accessible.

Hopefully the newly announced 2nd Battlestar Galactica prequel, Blood & Chrome goes back to the basics; relatable characters we can connect with, compelling and deep stories, a little BSG backstory, and just enough action and excitement to keep us wanting more.

It is just too bad Caprica didn’t assemble all of those qualities together itself.

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