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“CAPRICA” (2009) **1/2 DVD review: made for cable BATTLESTAR GALACTICA spinoff pilot is… meh? by COOP

Posted on April 23rd, 2009
Posted on April 23rd, 2009


I’ll start off by saying you’re not going to see a single battlestar, viper or spaceship of any kind in this entire pilot.

There, if you’re still reading you might find this pilot that sets the stage for a new BSG spinoff interesting. It chronicles the origins of the cylon race, tracing it directly back to a tragedy that befalls a Bill Gates-like tech mogul named Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and lawyer Joseph Adams (Esai Morales). Turns out Adams, who’s last name was originally “Adama,” changed his name due to a stigma against his Tauran people who are considered low-class malcontents. Yep, he’s Admiral Bill (Joseph calls him “Willie”) Adama’s father.¬† Bill is about¬†10 years old in this time period.

Graystone’s genius-yet-rebellious teenage daughter Zoe and Adama’s wife and daughter get vaporized in a terrorist attack by a monotheistic cult which Zoe had close ties to. Outside of the memorial service, Graystone and Adama strike a common bond and start spending time together. As the two men grieve, Graystone starts uncovering his daughter’s secrets. In addition to discovering her cult/terrorism links, he learns she had created the most advanced Artificial Intelligence program in the entire 12 colonies. Through this A.I., she had cloned her memories and personalities and uploaded it into a virtual reality internet system. What all this had to do with her rebellion and new found religion isn’t clear, but Graystone sees it as an opportunity to resurrect his dead daughter. You see, Graystone’s company has tried and failed to perfect an effective robotic soldier. He wants to download his daughter’s virtual clone into the robotic body, but lacks an advanced enough electronic brain to house the A.I.

Here’s where Adama fits in… Graystone offers to attempt the same for Joseph; to recreate his wife and daughter using their info/memories from the virtual web that could potentially resurrect their souls. In return Graystone needs Joseph to use his lawyer/Tauran mob ties to steal the electronic brain tech from Graystone’s competitor. After Graystone facilitates a gut-wrenching encounter between Joeseph and his daughter’s emotionally panicked virtual A.I., Joseph exasperatingly agrees to Graystone’s terms. Joseph secures the E-brain for Graystone and thus begins the beginning of the fall of man which is destined to destroy Caprica and the other 11 colonies 58 years later.

Even as a BSG fan, I found this pilot/movie hard to get into. A prequel after a tour de force series like “Galactica” seems fairly hollow when we already know the dramatic arc of the cylons and their ultimate destiny. Subtract the space opera aspect of the BSG series and add a dash of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and you’ve got “Caprica.” ZZZZZZzzzzzz… Honestly, I hated the original miniseries for BSG when it came out in 2003, so I can always stand to give this one a chance… for awhile.

Things I didn’t like…

– Retreaded territory by other, better series and/or movies
– Why are all “dirt-eating Taurans” Hispanic or Native American?
– The half-assed attempt at a futuristic civil-rights message with Taurans
– How come the train bomber was of Middle-Eastern decent? A bit on the nose, don’t you think?
– Zoe Graystone was/is a completely unlikeable brat and her death doesn’t pull any emotional strings for the – audience
– The cult/religious stuff was by far my least favorite aspect of BSG, but it looks to be an even bigger part of this series
– Going in a highly transparent direction
– The direct connection between the cylon origins and Admiral Bill Adama are a preposterous coincidence
– No battlestars? No space? No war? No sale.

Things I liked…

– Interesting cast so far
– The “VR Club” idea is interesting and possibly a realistic future technology
– All new technology seems very plausible, although incongruent with BSG and our planet’s tech (meaning: It looks tech we will probably have in The next 50 years, but we WON’T have battlestars or intergalactic travel by then!)
– Storyline looks promising with room to improve, especially if this leads into Cylon War One
– Great cylon prototype action… can’t wait to see armies of these
– Might inspire a better spinoff (Cylon War One!)
– How Graystone has some nice moral similarities with Victor Frankenstein and Herbert West
– Get to hear the first “BY… YOUR… COMMAND!” ever spoken

What I want to see…

– Battlestars
– Colonial wars
– More mythology on the other colony planets and their cultural differences
– More characters
– More “BY… YOUR… COMMAND!”

2 and 1/2 stars out of 5

Trailerage!

-Coop

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