While some felt that Battlestar Galactica’s finale repudiated much that came before it, both thematically and in its execution, others (like myself) felt the story had come to an emotionally satisfying conclusion. Either way, disgruntled or devoted fans of the show—and even those who’ve never seen it—will find its new soapy spinoff, Caprica, of interest. Like its predecessor, which was couched in Bush-era “War on Terror” parallels, the show alludes to present day tensions stemming from Obama’s promise of change, something I discussed at length in a piece I wrote back in April after watching an early DVD release of the pilot.
“Caprica: 58 Years Before the Fall” reads the opening title card to the two-hour debut. The Fall refers to humanity’s near extinction at the hands of their robotic Cylon creations in BSG’s premiere. This prequel explores the fateful forces which led to their creation and rise to prominence. It begins with two young girls perishing in a terrorist attack orchestrated by a monotheistic cult known as the Soldiers of the One (the seed for the Cylon belief in one God; contrarian in the polytheistic society of Caprica). The girls’ respective fathers—Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz), a Bill Gates/Steve Jobs-like billionaire genius looking for the missing link in his robotics research, and Joseph Adams (Esai Morales), a Michael Corleone-type attorney reluctant to join the family (as in Family) business—are our portals into this show’s world.
Graystone and Adams also serve as doubles tied together by their very different reactions to the possibility that their daughters can be resurrected. Graystone sees it as a matter of science and intellect. If he can bring his daughter Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) back to life by imprinting her personality into a machine prototype he’s created, then why not? Ironically, it is his overwhelming emotional regret that blinds this intellectual to the unpredictable repercussions that shall ultimately play out. The earthier and more instinctual Adams comes to grasp the moral implications of trying to revive his own dead daughter. Paradoxically, it is his pragmatism that allows him to step back and view the situation dispassionately.