I had planned to have a column for today reviewing one or both of "Caprica" (9 p.m., Syfy) and "Spartacus" (10 p.m., Starz) but a higher level of press tour exhaustion than anticipated, coupled with NBC dragging out the Conan O'Brien negotiations until yesterday, meant I never got the chance to do it. So I'll have a few thoughts on each after the jump...
UPDATE: Bumping this up so you can talk about one or both if you watched tonight.
I did review the "Caprica" pilot when it was released on DVD back in April, so you can go read that if you want. (The changes for airing are mostly cosmetic, with some of the nudity at the virtual reality rave unsurprisingly deleted.) I've since seen two more episodes, which in some ways intrigued me even more than the pilot. It's not "Battlestar Galactica"(*), in that it swaps out the military components of that show for a bit of teen angst and soap opera intrigue, but I really like the lead performances by Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales (two actors who in previous roles often made me feel like there was something missing), and the social commentary is just as sharp here as it was on "BSG." If next week works out better, I'll likely do some kind of column timed to the second episode, and on some level this is going to be added to the blog rotation. (The problem, as with all Friday shows, is that it may take me a few days to get around to writing about it once my advance screeners run out.)
(*) I recognize that for the people who are still bitter about the finale of "BSG" - to the point where they've renounced their affection for the entire series, and not just the ending - saying "It's not 'Battlestar Galactica'" might be a compliment. Then again, most of the same people - including Ron Moore, David Eick and Jane Espenson - are involved, so we'll see. To answer two questions I've received often: 1)No, "Caprica" won't spoil anything about the later seasons of "BSG" if you started but haven't finished the original series, and 2)Yes, you can watch "Caprica" without having watched "BSG" at all. It takes place almost 60 years earlier, is planet-bound and has many different concerns (and only one shared character) from the original show.
As for "Spartacus: Blood & Sand" (insert mocking fake name here), I struggled to get through two of the four episodes Starz provided for review. If you're a teenage boy who loved "300" - or any other demographic who loved "300" - you may well dig all the digitized, slow-motion blood splurts, the abundant nudity (albeit with some of the full frontal coming from male characters as well as female) and the stylized, computer-generated backgrounds. But stay far away if none of those things make you say "Hells yeah!" Not even my affection for honorary TCA member Lucy Lawless is going to keep me around.
Feel free to talk about one or both tonight. And if you've seen the "Caprica" pilot on DVD or online already, please refrain from any plot spoilers until tonight at 11 Eastern, okay?