Friday, January 29, 2010

'Caprica' review - Sepinwall on TV

As I said last week, post-press tour fatigue prevented me from reviewing "Caprica" in time for the TV premiere of the pilot, but since many of those who care got to see that months ago (when I reviewed it the first time), I felt comfortable coming in a week late with a column review. There are pilot spoilers in there (it's rerunning tonight at 7, followed by episode two), with advance warning, so be careful as you read.

Back tonight with specific thoughts on the second episode, "Rebirth."

14 comments:

Craig Ranapia said...

(Adama's brother is an enforcer for a powerful mob)

I don't want to fall foul of your spoiler policy, but I have a funny feeling there's another aspect (or two) of Sam Adama's character that's going to get the usual suspects all hot and frothy.

Dudleys Mom said...

I'm really looking forward to this series...although I wish it was on HBO so that it could take even more chances.

Antid Oto said...

I, like perhaps some other BSG fans, would have given this a chance had I not felt so massively let down by the BSG finale.

Mark S. said...

The pilot (my review here was good enough to keep me watching. Since I hadn't been watching BSG, I didn't have any baggage (good or bad) to bring to the table and was able to follow it without any problems.

I'm hoping the future episodes expand on some of the ideas shown in the pilot.

Craig Ranapia said...
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Craig Ranapia said...

I, like perhaps some other BSG fans, would have given this a chance had I not felt so massively let down by the BSG finale.

In the end, what you do with your eyeballs is your business but I keep hearing this a lot, and still don't get it.

Martin Scorsese is one of my film Gods, but to say The Deaprted was a titanic disappointment is a considerable understatement. Closer to the mark would be: "A massively over-rated piece of for-hire hackwork, as well as a painfully embarrasing travesty of one of the best films to cover out of Hong Kong in the last two decades."

Still going to give the pilot of Boardwalk Empire a fair chance, despite the horrible taint of Scorsese's executive producer and director credits.

Benjamin said...

Well, if this does turn as a ratings dud, Syfy should do the right thing, and okay the better Ron Moore pilot, Virtuality.

I'm still sore that that didn't get picked up.

Ryan W said...

I'll second Craig here on calling out the trendhopping BSG bashers. BSG always worked better as character and sociological study than as meticulously plotted drama. Given that the writers sometimes seemed uninterested in the plot - could Sam's exposition of the Final Five's backstory have been more rushed - why did the viewers expect Moore and Co. to suddenly turn into J. Michael Stracyzinski or David Simon in the end?

Antid Oto said...

Craig: a movie's a much smaller investment of time than a TV series.

Craig Ranapia said...
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Craig Ranapia said...

Craig: a movie's a much smaller investment of time than a TV series.

So, I should stay away from the Boardwalk Empire pilot because the director/executive producer's last film (IMO) sucked, blew and strongly resembled a freshly laid turd? I'm willing to give Scorsese the benefit of the doubt.

And turning on the TV is a much smaller investment of time and money than going to the movies once you've paid for the tickets, parking, perhaps dinner before the show...

As I said: Your eyeballs, your choice. No skin off my nose if you blow off a pretty damn solid piece of work because you're still harshing on a single episode of a totally different show that went off the air almost a year back.

Norgard said...

BSG always worked better as character and sociological study than as meticulously plotted drama. Given that the writers sometimes seemed uninterested in the plot - could Sam's exposition of the Final Five's backstory have been more rushed - why did the viewers expect Moore and Co. to suddenly turn into J. Michael Stracyzinski or David Simon in the end?

Ryan, I fully agree on your first point. What I don't understand is why then the writers insisted in introducing these convoluted plots if they're not interested in them, and why the fans insist on giving them a pass if they suck at it. I've made a similar point over at Mo's blog concerning "Lost": I fully believe that, say, David Chase, David Milch or Alan Ball (at least on "Six Feet Under") aren't all that interested in plot. They care more about character development, language, arty allusions. Fine. But they don't try to pull off multi-season arc complex mystery plotting, either.

I would have been very happy if there had never been any mystery of the Final Five. If Starbuck hadn't been the chosen one. If the head characters had remained plausibly within the realm of manifestations of Baltar's and Six's guilt, respectively. I would have liked the show a lot more if it had focused more on the political aftermath of the New Caprica arc in the third season instead of all but reducing Roslin to a glorified extra in favour of yet another round of cryptic visions. But the writers insisted that they needed this complicated plotting, and yes, then I do expect that they at least not suck at it.

And turning on the TV is a much smaller investment of time and money than going to the movies once you've paid for the tickets, parking, perhaps dinner before the show...

Yeeesh! By that logic, TV is more expensive because I need to pay for my flat to put my telly in...

So, I should stay away from the Boardwalk Empire pilot because the director/executive producer's last film (IMO) sucked, blew and strongly resembled a freshly laid turd? I'm willing to give Scorsese the benefit of the doubt. ... you're still harshing on a single episode of a totally different show

There's a bit of selective memory going on here. If you look through the comment threads for the post-mutiny episodes, a general sentiment is "These episodes are so much stalling and so boring that the finale better be extra-awesome to make up for it." The disappointment in the finale was the culmination of a trend, not an isolated occurence.

Secondly, Scorsese has two or three dozen movies to his credit, not counting the documentaries. I'd guess if "The Departed" had been Scorseses first work actually running a movie, you'd be more wary of "Boardwalk Empire", too.

Craig Ranapia said...

There's a bit of selective memory going on here.

No, a specific response to a comment that said (and I quote) "I, like perhaps some other BSG fans, would have given this a chance had I not felt so massively let down by the BSG finale."

I wasn't a big fan of the ending of The Sopranos, but can't imagine that I'd every say that I will never, ever watch anything David Simon does in future?

Secondly, Scorsese has two or three dozen movies to his credit, not counting the documentaries. I'd guess if "The Departed" had been Scorseses first work actually running a movie, you'd be more wary of "Boardwalk Empire", too.

Ron Moore wasn't exactly an industry virgin when BSG got the greenlight -- and even he can't redeem the pretty awful Star Trek: The Next Generation in my eyes. (Personally, I think that show got a lot of passes it didn't deserve thanks to extraordinary goodwill from Trek fandom, and a lack of competition. The bar for genre television is a lot higher than it was in 1988, and that's not a bad thing.)

Norgard said...

No, a specific response to a comment that said (and I quote) "I, like perhaps some other BSG fans, would have given this a chance had I not felt so massively let down by the BSG finale."

Actually, you also claim that this comment is representative of a larger trend. But please, point out where in the comment you were responding to the author claimed that his post was made in the context of the finale being the only disappointing thing about the show.

I wasn't a big fan of the ending of The Sopranos, but can't imagine that I'd every say that I will never, ever watch anything David Simon does in future?

That would be rather unreasonable, considering David Simon had nothing to do with the "The Sopranos". ;-)

Ron Moore wasn't exactly an industry virgin when BSG got the greenlight

That's why I specifically said "running the [movie/show]. Moore was a writer on several shows, but they were mostly run by other people. BSG was the first show where he both had a long serialised arc and was responsible for the direction of the show from start to finish. Plotting and writing a one-hour episode while someone else is calling the shots and plotting and overseeing the writing of a 80-odd hour narrative is not quite the same.

Not to mention that the other shows where he took over some of the showrunner responsibilities, like "Roswell" or "Carnivàle", weren't exactly shining examples of storytelling. Not saying that this was Ron Moore's fault, but they don't really work as advertisements for him either.