For the crowd put off by starfighters and algae planets, Battlestar Galactica spin-off Caprica aims to tone down the geekiness a bit. Taking place about 60 years before Battlestar, it focuses on two families: the Adamas, headed by lawyer Joseph (Esai Morales), and the Graystones, most notably kazillionaire tech magnate Daniel (Eric Stoltz) and his bratty teenage daughter Zoe (Alessandra Toreson). Also: virtual reality! Frankenstein references! Teenage suicide bombers!
Caprica won't debut until 2010, but in an unconventional move, the 90-minute-long pilot was released on DVD earlier this week. And while it's admittedly stupid to judge any show based on its pilot, here's hoping Caprica gets tweaked before the series proper begins.
Caprica opens at a stereotypical rave right outta 1992, and 15 seconds in—yes, I counted—we get our first sight of bare boobs. Twenty-one seconds in, naked chicks start making out. Thirty-three seconds in, teenagers start getting shot. And then a hologram shows up! Caprica's goofy opening stumbles right out of the gate, and never quite recovers. While it's safe to assume those (admittedly awesome) nipple shots will be edited out when the show hits basic cable, other stuff won't be so easily excised—like the fact that Joseph Adama's plotline is basically The Sopranos in Space, or that the script contains lines like, "I'm not going anyplace, you frakking dirteater!"
Still—as Graystone tinkers about building prototypes of Battlestar's nefarious Cylons, and Adama ponders how human a computer program can be—Caprica lays some groundwork for things that could be interesting later on. It's just too silly and contrived to work in the meantime, and the show seems chiefly concerned with answering Battlestar-related questions that, um, no one asked. Do we really need to see Battlestar's William Adama as a pouty little kid named "Willie"? Does anyone give a shit that "Cylon" is short for "cybernetic life-form node"? And while I'm asking questions: Isn't the novelty of the word "frak" pretty much used up at this point? Isn't Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles dealing with these same themes in a more engaging way? And why does the Graystones' friendly robot butler look like a three-foot-tall vibrator?