Sunday, February 28, 2010

Caprica, "There Is Another Sky": New Cap hustler

A belated review of the latest "Caprica" coming up just as soon as I rip my arm off...
"What are you?" -Vesta
"I'm awake." -Tamara
One week after Daniel Graystone vowed to stop making profits off the holo-band business, and in the same episode where Daniel told his board that said business was finished, "Caprica" made its deepest plunge yet into the virtual world that sits adjacent to the 12 Colonies, in an episode that embraced all things cyber-punk(*).

(*) Question: has "The Matrix" trilogy so overtaken the public's conception of this kind of story that we now have to reference Neo and Morpheus anytime one comes up? Even in an episode whose visual aesthetic was much more "Dark City" than anything the Wachowskis did?

Until now, Tamara's avatar had been an afterthought compared to the Zoe/avatar/Cylon trinity. Not anymore. What started out as a kind of nightmare for the poor virtua-kid (not knowing who/what she is, in the control of people just looking to profit from her unique abilities) turned into a kind of Pyrrhic victory, in which Tamara discovered she was dead but also came to understand the level of power she has in this world, and that she has nothing to fear from anyone just plugging into the holo-band from the real world. A very well-played journey by Genevieve Buechner, and now I'm very curious to see how or if Tamara's story is going to intertwine with the creation of the Cylons.

And speaking of those lovably obedient sentient robots, Daniel and Zoe took a backseat to the Adamas (living and dead) this week, but Daniel's demonstration to the board was memorably macabre - so over-the-top and horrific that it likely distracted the board from a deeper questioning of Daniel's pitch - and an even better use of the show's shifting perspective of Zoe than last week's robo-boogie dance number. Zoe is sentient, but this body prevents her from entirely acting on her own free will, and as Daniel talks about making these robots do whatever humanity wants them to, it's not hard to understand why an entire race of Zoes might want to rebel some day.

More good material with the three Adama men(**), and of course Joseph would finally let himself come to terms with his wife and daughter's deaths at the exact moment he learned that Tamara's avatar isn't quite gone yet.

(**) Again, we're not going to go very in-depth about "BSG" for the sake of anyone who might seek that show out later, but watching this trio, it's not hard to see that hard old man Bill Adama took after his uncle, while indecisive Lee is very much Joseph's grandson.

"Caprica" the series is still forming itself, piece by piece. I'm not entirely sure where the story is going (other than the broad points we know from "BSG"), nor whether we're going to have a consistent style or tone from week to week, but every episode so far has held my interest while I wait to get a better view of the big picture. So Espenson, Moore, Eick and company are doing something right.

What did everybody else think?

49 comments:

Christian said...

The show is really growing on me more every week, I'm intrigued by it.
I hope SyFy sticks to it for some time and it finds an audience because I want to see more of Caprica.

(Although one thing I missed that week was Lacy/Magda Apanowicz who has become my favorite character on the show. But I'm sure we'll see her next week again, so no harm done there.)

Craig Ranapia said...

I know this wasn't a Graystone-centric episode, but the boardroom scene was entirely the right kind of wrong -- unwittingly getting your daughter to rip off her own arm, as you can barely contain your messianic glee at creating a whole new species... of vastly profitable slaves? Well played, Messers Stoltz, Angeli and Nankin.

Joan said...

I was horrified by Graystone's command at the board meeting. That's a good story.

I found Tamara's story much less compelling because, well, she's virtual -- at least Zoe exists in the real world. (I do fully realize that we're talking about a television show here.)

I appreciated that it didn't take Tamara long to figure out what she could and could not do, and how to gain some advantage that way, but again: she's not real.

Plus, the idea of all this "holospace" being "free" totally chaps my hide. "Holospace" is using some massive amount of computing power, not to mention electricity, and someone is paying the bills.

(Spoilers for BSG, below):

The only reason why Cylon projection "worked" as much as it did in BSG was because the Cylons themselves each have a significant amount of processing power, and so it's not too big of a leap to accept them generating these virtual worlds. But on Caprica, normal people don't have that kind of computing power -- someone else has to be providing it.

Even with all that, I appreciated seeing the Tauron side of Tamara manifest.

Nick said...

Can someone explain to me why in the world that kid ran from Joseph after telling him about Tamara? I just found that reaction really bizarre and unnecessary.

Tausif Khan said...

@Alan Maybe set up a separate thread for those who are fans of BSG and Caprica and another for those new to the Battlestar universe like your veteran/newbie The Wire threads?

The I'm awake line from Tamara is that a reference to Dollhouse or just a philosophical statement to set the tone of the show?

I don't buy that Greystone thinks he can control the Cylons. He has already said they are sentient. Does he know nothing of slavery?

@Joan Why is Zoe real and Tamara not real?

Anonymous said...

The kid, who was a bit slow on the uptake and is generally a little socially maladapted (in the real world), hadn't gotten the implication that Tamara (in RL) had to be dead.

Craig Ranapia said...

Can someone explain to me why in the world that kid ran from Joseph after telling him about Tamara? I just found that reaction really bizarre and unnecessary.

What was bizarre about it? That you find 1) you've been flirting your arse off with a dead girl, and, 2) you're a nice Caprican boy in the middle of a real live Tauron wake with her freshly inked daddy and Gods only know how many men who, for all you know, are quite capable of handing out the kind of hurt you can't log out from?

Hell, that would be more than enough reality for me, thank you very much.

Craig Ranapia said...

Tausif Khan:
I don't buy that Greystone thinks he can control the Cylons.

Of course Daniel does -- for all his brilliance, it doesn't seem to me that "fully thinking through the consequences of my actions" is his strong suit. Something which, without falling foul of the spoiler policy around these parts, I think we're going to see play out a little more next week.

DonBoy said...

...or, "Two and a Half Taurans", this fall on SyFy.

I think they missed an opportunity (although I'm sure they considered it) by not showing us Zoe standing there holding her arm. We have the CGI technology, to say the least.

Sam said...

As a BSG fan I wasn't crazy about the pilot-but Caprica has definitely grown on me-I enjoyed the "Sin City"-esque New Cap City and Tamara's revelation (I kept trying to think if "I'm awake" was used in BSG by anyone).

And I loved the boardroom scene-the use of the Zoe Avatar and the Cylon prototype. Only (minor) complaint was not the issue of whether the robots were sentient or not and the issue of slavery-but that it was considered such a "hard sell" to the board-massive defense contracts, recurring revenue from commercial applications and sales, etc-is the kind of product strategy most board's would love-and make them more willing to abandon the declining revenues from holobands.

I understand Joan's point above but disagree on two points-I took the discussion of it being free as a play on the impact of file sharing on media content and the discussion greystone was having was a variation on those held in many boardrooms in the entertainment industry because of Napster and eventually other file sharing programs. Greystone says something to the effect of it being a losing war against the hackers and licensing revenue will continue decreasing.

I think it is a good point about the processing power-but unless I have forgotten something I don't think the show has depicted issues with memory and processing power limitations, bandwidth, etc -so it didn't trouble me as much.

I thought the interaction between the Greystone's in the bedroom was a good follow-up to last week's episode.

Not everything works for me-some parts of the show are slower than others and take a while to unfold but am enjoying several of the storylines and am intrigued by the possibilities of what Zoe and Tamara could represent to the evolution of the cylons. So unless the show goes off the rails I am sticking through for the rest of the season and hopefully SyFy will give it the time it needs to develop.

Anonymous said...

How many problems does that create? Imagination > explicit graphicness; ragged or clean edges; who is doing the watching. They made the right choice, I think.

tribalism said...

The virtual noir caper we witnessed here was pretty pedestrian, which is unfortunate considering the potential it had to exploit the retro sci-fi conceits of the series. The one redeeming factor was the Tamavatar’s Neo-esque realization of the power she holds in the V-World. I don’t think that she’s going to be able to find a way out of the Holoband—unless she wants to resign herself to pulling out her own arms on command like a Centurion, something the Zavatar is none too pleased to be doing—so there is the opportunity for her to embrace her ability to manipulate V-World programming. More importantly, I think she also has the potential to act as counterpoint to whatever intentions the Zavatar’s has for the Holoband when the Cylon revolution eventually breaks out.

If anyone is interested, you can find more of my thoughts on this episode on my blog where I go into detail about how it would be a disservice to Daniel's character if the writers do not eventually depict the Cylon War in some capacity later in the series. Click my username for the link.

srpad said...

I felt this was the weakest episode so far. The Tamara/New Cap City stuff was about as interesting as watching someone else playing a video game over their shoulder (i.e. not very). I get that the concept of a "person" who has no physical presence is interesting and this story line is surely leading somewhere but watching that persona play a game for an hour is not compelling. I was hoping that the money they were stealing might have some real world value or that the score in the game had some real world meaning but it was basically a World of Warcraft dungeon raid with better graphics.

I suppose it could have been just set up to demonstrate what Tamera can do so let's hope they leave the game soon because I have little interst in some sort of subplot about virtual territories and virtual money.

The Graystone and Adama stuff was much better. Interestingly, I read the arm pulling scene differently than Alan. You believe she had no choice but to do it, I believe she could very well have refused (undercutting his point) but did not want to disappoint/ruin her father. I am sure we will see more on that.

Still enjoying the show but please no more video games. I'll watch G4 if I want that.

cathy b. said...

It's weird to be enjoying this show as much as I do. I'm over sixty. I feel like I'm watching a teen TV show, but a good one.

Anonymous said...

I really don't like the virtual world scenes. The video game quality does not fit the show's tone. I worry it will lead to ridiculous scenes like on star trek's holodeck.

That being said, between last week's dance and this week's board meeting, Caprica's creative team has succeeded in creating something so entirely unique and captivating that I'm definitely going to be sticking around.

Also, how cool was it when Bill threw that rock?

pgillan said...

I'm really lking this show, and I'm enjoying how they're setting up the coming human/cylon struggle. It's a little ham-handed, but interesting nonetheless.

What bugged me about this particular episode was the "game" world of New Cap City. It bugs the ever-living-crap out of me when they portray virtual worlds in television shows in ways that we've already proven haven't worked in real life. Very few people will play a game where death is permanent- certainly not enough to populate it to the extent we saw in the show. And absolutely no one is going to put any time or effort into creating content for a game where they could be permanently capped at any time by some punk kid.

And putting aside the mysterious "rules" and "goals," the players didn't even have superpowers or abilities, except for the one guy, who appeared to be cheating. The whole thing looked neat, but as a game it seemed kind of boring.

Mark B said...

I enjoyed this episode. Caprica, like LOST, does not feel the need to bring every character into every hour of programming. They are telling a broad and detailed story. With Tamara Adama emerging as a second non-human sentient, the fusing of the human world and virtual world gains more substance. Eve and now another Eve at the creation.

Caprica is premised on the equal reality of both worlds. Everything is just electrons skitting around molecular nuclei. The simplicity of the electromechanical world precluding self aware intelligence has been breached. Perhaps it is the cumulative density of processing power in Caprican society that breaches some quantum barriers, making virtual electron patterns functional equivalents to our electron structures. Like water turning to ice, the virtual world is at a transition point where something different emerges.

Daniel Graystone, thinking along the lines superior beasts of labor, understands the new cognitive abilities but has yet to grasp the equality. The Romans possessed advanced mechanical knowledge, yet refrained from building the labor saving robots. They kept their mechanical marvels in the realm of entertainment, perhaps fearing the consequences of dismantling the slave labor at the foundation of their society. When Avatar Zoey rips off her arm on command, she may know it is just a replaceable part and thus fears no consequence. New species must surely have a learning curve about what works to their advantage and what does not. Tamara Adama is already demonstrating she is a quick learner.

GabbyD said...

its clear now what the cylons are. the spirits/avatars on humans put into bodies of robots.

greystone can now reproduce cyclons by culling their digital selves and using them to populate robot bodies.

naturally, this will ultimately result in cylon resentment.

moreover, some humans will think being immortal, being an avatar is heaven. they become immortal. this too, will play into this in the future...

great show! lots of big ideas. like BSG in its heyday...

kishkeking said...
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kishkeking said...

Really starting to like this show but I keep waiting for little Willie Adama to brush his teeth in the mirror. For BSG fans how cool was it hearing "adama's" theme at the funeral

John said...

The show is growing on me as well. I think I just need a little more overlap between the characters involved in the Adama, Graystone, and STO story lines to be fully invested. Right now, they all seem to only very loosely interconnected.

After watching Tamara's final scene of this episode, I'm beginning to wonder if we're witnessing the origin of the personalities that become some of skinjob Cylons of BSG. I can easily see Tamara "evolving" into 3 or 8 (maybe even 6).

Also, the holoband is Caprica's version of the Internet. Although we currently pay for home access, it's conceivable that there will eventually come a day where access is free for everybody. The corporations who profit from offering access would likely act very similarly to the Graystone board members - fighting the inevitable.

Cotsos said...

I really hope we wont get many storylines set in the virtual world in future episodes.

My problem with them, is that they are "fake". You cant feel any danger for the girl. Shes practically invincible so either she kills one guy, or one million, whats the difference? Even in Matrix when Neo had similar powers, his real body existed, so there was some kind of threat for his life.

The alive Adamas though, continue to keep me interested.
Cant wait for the next episode, especially for one reason. :)

belinda said...

And now, other than the wife who we know virtually nothing about, all the Adamas are more interesting to me than Joseph Adama. Though the parallel to Lee - and Bill's parallel to Sam - was something I didn't think about. That's cool. I get the difficult position Joseph is in and the emotional turmoil he is in regarding his family and his Tauron/Caprican self, but somehow I just find him to be a sap most of the time.

The little bank robbery story was pretty cheesy, but I liked seeing how Tamara discovers her powers along the way.

Is Zoe's avatar, which is basically also just code written into the vworld much like Tamara, also capable of what Tamara can do?

I like the idea of humans treating Cylons like slaves was basically born out of Daniel's desperation to keep his job as the head of his company.

SR said...

I have mixed feelings about this series so far. I'm digging the ideas but hating the inconsistent characterization.

In particular, every week seems to give me another reason to care less about Joseph Adama. Going by the last two episodes, is it even believable that he's a highly competent lawyer, let alone a once-loving husband and father? What happened to that guy? And don't tell me he's in mourning; he was mourning in the pilot too, yet he seemed to have a lot more drive and determination then.

Instead, the writing staff seems to have fallen in love with the idea of Willie Adama taking life lessons from his wiseguy uncle who only barely escapes being a cliche because they've given him a same sex spouse. The tribal culture, the Russian mob tattoos, the casual racism of the Capricans - it's not being used to tell a story, in my opinion. It's being used in place of one.

I'm loving the Greystones, the school, the headmistress and her polygamist home life - even the cops are somewhat interesting. This week the writers gave us a great arc for Tamara. I hope they managed to do the same for the rest of the Adama clan, as I find myself looking at the clock whenever Joseph is on screen. (And I don't blame Esai Morales, as he seems to be struggling to find the center of his underwritten character too.)

Last point: while I understand why they didn't show us girl-Zoe with her arm ripped off, I am curious what the show intended us to think her reaction would have been. Intense pain? Numbness? Disbelief? Pride that she pleased daddy? That one missing reaction shot would have spoken volumes about what Zoe is (and isn't) as a cyclon.

OstPreu├čen said...

The most intriguing aspect of the show is the idea that Zoe & Tamara uploaded the entirety of their selves from the real world to the virtual world, and now those selves are continuing to grow up, only now in the virtual world. I'm guessing Tamara will eventually decide to assume a Cylon body, so she & Zoe can be masters of both worlds, at least make an attempt. And with their zealous one-godism allowing them to imagine themselves as revolutionaries, and maybe martyrs, the possibilities are exciting. This show has me by the scruff of the neck.

Jonah said...

It's incredible that Caprica, unlike BSG, is not afraid of actually exploring futuristic and science fiction concepts. Considering that its predecessor took place on a frakking spaceship, it was sadly leery of containing any semblance of science or sci-fi aspects.

Caprica is taking the exploratory approach to controversial issues that BSG took, but turning it on near-future issues like machine sentience, robotic warfare, virtual reality, and future corporate responsibility. At the same time it's making an effort to create an imagined world different from ours, while BSG tried to make its characters and setting as similar to us as possible.

Again, why is the sedate family drama/soap-opera spinoff already seeming more imaginative, exploratory, and science-fiction-ey than the epic, edgy space opera?

Anonymous said...

i laughed out loud when one of the v-world gang members called Tamara "dollface"

this was the most purely entertaining episode so far. looking forward to more new cap city...

Karen L said...

This show gets better every week.

I'm so surprised to see so many negative comments about the vworld portion of the ep, which was by far my favorite. I loved discovering Tamara, who I've been interested in since the pilot but who has barely existed in previous eps as a person.

@pgillan - while I can vaguely understand dissatisfaction with the idea of the New Cap City game (ie, it would never world if you died permanently, based on experiences of virtual gaming now), I really disagree that the game wouldn't work in this massively complicated virtual world that a huge number of people would rather exist in than the real world...Vworld is so much more extensive than just games. But I can easily imagine games growing higher and higher in stakes as Vworld residents attempted to find real emotions/real experiences in a virtual world with no consequences. I think what would appeal about dying permanently would be the actual consequence involved, raising the stakes for a world full of human sacrifice, for goodness sake!

Overall I really, really loved this episodes, though to be honest I really wish that Joseph would have been allowed to finally get over his grief, because he is getting a bit boring. I found the Tauron ceremony incredibly interesting and captivating.

@alan or really anyone, has anyone heard what SyFy's reaction to the low ratings has been? The press coverage has been so positive but the ratings so low, I can see them pushing on for awhile, hopefully even for more than 1 season! But I have no idea and I want to know up front if I'm getting into another Dollhouse type situation...

Conrad said...

I think the commenters who fixate on such banal practicalities as the amount of processing power necessary to run the programs are missing the over-all points the writers are trying to make about the nature of reality, the role of technology in society and so forth.

The series is supposed to be a fantasy. Would you criticize the Wizard of Oz because it's unrealistic to make a city out of emeralds?

Giles Boutel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stanoje said...

Conrad: If the show wants to make a relevant point about the impact of certain technologies on society, than it's only fair if people point out where its depiction of this technology isn't realistic.

That said, the complaint is easy enough to dismiss. In the real world, we have illegal filesharing operations going on where the hardware costs thousands of dollars, and needs regular, costly maintenance.

Also, consider that Colonies society can build AI-capable computers that fit into a Cylon body and still leave room for servos, guns, armor, ammo, etc. For them, processing power might be so cheap that it's thought of as free.

Shannon Shark, Mets Police Chief said...

Just spin off The Tauronos. The only plot that is interesting is Sam, young Bill and the social club. Everything with Zoe and the Greystones is a snoozefest.

Joan said...

Zoe's "real" because her avatar is hosted in the Cylon, and she uploads herself to vWorld when she can. Or, combining thoughts from other posters, she has a presence in the physical world, and therefore has the possibility of being threatened. It does not appear that anything can threaten Tamara at this point, but so what? She can't affect anything outside of vWorld, other than by influencing the other avatars she comes into contact with. That could turn out to be hugely significant, but we'll have to wait and see.

Also, the holoband is Caprica's version of the Internet. Although we currently pay for home access, it's conceivable that there will eventually come a day where access is free for everybody.

I have no problem with the idea of free access. Free wifi is now expected at every cafe. The issue is, what are you accessing? The content that you're viewing is hosted somewhere, and that hosting costs money. It's like satellite tv: they'll give you the dish for free, because you're not paying for the access, or they're willing to cover the cost of your access, because it's cheap. You're paying for the content, which may be cheap to host but is not cheap to develop.

And it's not enough to say that on Caprica they've obviously got processing power to spare, since they can stuff enough of it into the Cylon chassis and still have all those weapons, etc. It's a question of storage capacity and communications protocols, too: you've got the power, but you have to have some mechanism where it's connected to "vWorld". It's fine to say vWorld is some organically grown body of code+data that anyone can add to (like OpenSource software), and I'm not saying that's not realistic: look how many iPhone apps are out there. It's completely believable that there would be some tools around that would let anyone build their own little corner of vWorld -- the issue is connecting all those little corners so that the avatars can move from one to another. That's complicated, and again, requires some public hosting facility that someone has to be paying for.

It's absurd to say there's no way to control vWorld: you find the servers and unplug them, *poof* it's gone. The real question is, why would anyone host vWorld if they weren't making money off it? That doesn't make any sense, and no, I don't buy the idea of it all being illegal filesharing.

Pete said...

I am liking the show more and more every week. Like Alan said, I'm not really sure where the story is going, but the acting and the writing are so good right now that I don't really care.

Also, Bear McCreary's score has been top-notch each week, but the little snippet of 'A Good Lighter' (the Adama family theme from BSG) was incredible.

echo said...

Joan, nothing in the show implies that there aren't services in the holoband virtual world that aren't free, or that generate revenue in some form. We just haven't seen them. On the internet there also are services that are both free, ad-free, and costly to operate, e.g. many Google sites such as Google Maps.

Christy said...

I enjoyed this episode very much. Tamara's personality is very real, even if it only exists in a virtual world. That personality (soul?) was in danger of collapsing upon itself. Watching Tavatar accept her new world and and explore her options was exciting. I loved the transition to gun moll style.

I was fancying her as a Deanna model.

Teev said...

Alan I second the veteran/newbie thread request because the slavery boardroom scene brought up a few things from BSG I'd like to discuss and I must say it's frustrating to have a no spoiler policy regarding a show that's been off the air for a year.

That said, after last week and this week I am officially loving this show. That boardroom scene - for me the most horrifying moment wasn't the arm ripping but when Daniel went from being so excited about creating a new race and being his lovably nerdy self to announcing that the new race would be the awesomest slaves ever and breaking my heart.

And the funeral - I must admit I got verklempt at the "will you let them go?" part. That's kind of a great thing to say at a funeral (for me at least that was the hardest lesson to learn about death). And then the Adama theme came in... dusty in here, I tell you.

So can we have a veteran thread, please? Is it alot more work for you, because you do alot for us already.

Anonymous said...

I have two comments. First on the Zoe pulling her arm off: I don't think it was because she had no choice nor was it because she wanted to please her day or anything like that. I think it was because she wants/needs to keep hiding. If she hadn't pulled her arm off he would have known something was up and she still needs time to think/plan her future. So that' why she pulled it off. That's why there was hesitation before she pulled it off (though that hesitation should give Daniel pause as a true robot wouldn't have given it a second thought). However, I was upset that they didn't show Zoe after that because her reaction to that would be quite telling for her character. Was she in pain? Was she pleased, or relieved that she had forced herself to do it?

Then as to the vworld hacked sites: I think these sites are set up on completely different servers from the rest of vworld (the legit places) but they are accessed via doors (links for the internet world). We have plenty of places like this on the internet, be they gambling sites, or places to view or download copyrighted material. There are two ways to get rid of them, shut down the links or shut down the servers, neither of which will work since there are too many places to link from and too many places you can host the servers.

As to making money in vworld, I don't recall exactly, but I think there were billboards in new cap city. There's your revenue stream right there. Clubs could have a cover charge that requires real world money. There are plenty of ways to earn real money in vworld. And don't forget there are huge project that cost thousands of man-hours of programming skill, etc, that people do for free in our real world, just look at Linux or any other open source project. I guarantee if we had a vworld-like setup that places like new cap city would be created, and for free by all the programmers out there trying to prove their mettle.

pgillan said...

Anonymous wrote: As to making money in vworld, I don't recall exactly, but I think there were billboards in new cap city. There's your revenue stream right there. Clubs could have a cover charge that requires real world money. There are plenty of ways to earn real money in vworld. And don't forget there are huge project that cost thousands of man-hours of programming skill, etc, that people do for free in our real world, just look at Linux or any other open source project. I guarantee if we had a vworld-like setup that places like new cap city would be created, and for free by all the programmers out there trying to prove their mettle.

I imagine that there are any number of ways to make money in the vworld, but on the "New Cap City" server, once you "die" you can never return, which brings me back to my original point: how many programmers would be willing to spend thousands of man-hours proving their mettle if they couldn't come back after they died? The set of rules for New Cap City are unrealistic, and were designed by the writers solely to give Tamara a huge advantage and set her up as some sort of god-like being. They could have accomplished that goal in any number of other, more coherent ways.

And don't get me wrong, I like the direction they're going with Tamara, I just didn't like this particular twist. There's a huge potential in the vworld, but "New Cap City" was just silly, and I hope they either tweak the rules, or get rid of it altogether.

pgillan said...

Crap- two posts, and both times I forgot to mention how much I liked the particular moment in the boardroom scene when Daniel Greystone is telling the board members that "you can sense the sentience in this cylon, you can feel that there's different and special about it", and they cut to Zoe standing their beaming with a little smile on her face. She seemed so happy that daddy called her sentient.

Karen L said...

@pgillan, I still really disagree! I think that vworld-goers are constantly searching for the next best thing, the next craziest, and nothing in vworld (that we'd seen before New Cap City) has any consequences at all! Play russian roulette, sacrifice another human being, get killed in a fight club...and then pop right back and do it again. Whereas New Cap City offers actual consequences - and thus, greater actual rewards/prestige. I can completely see such a game developing.

pgillan said...

@Karen L, you make an excellent point, and the risk of perma-death may add the extra spice that makes that particular server very exciting. However, the fact that it is a virtual world (and really just a small sub-section of a virtual world), really limits the possible emotional impact of "death". Dying in the game means you take off your holo-band, and say "That sucks. Now I can never play that game again. What else can I can I play?" And I still maintain that no one would spend that much time developing a world if they could get permanently and arbitrarily kicked off at any time.

My hope is that "New Cap City" simply existed as a story construct for Tamara to learn that what she needed to know (that's her physical body is dead, that she has super-power in the v-world, etc), and that we'll never see that particular server again. I'm afraid if she goes on to "rule," as sort of suggested by the final scene, it will strain credibility even farther. It would be inconceivable that the vast majority of players wouldn't just quit at that point.

Craig Ranapia said...

pgillan wrote:
I'm afraid if she goes on to "rule," as sort of suggested by the final scene, it will strain credibility even farther. It would be inconceivable that the vast majority of players wouldn't just quit at that point.

Really? New Cap City is a game where every sleazy fantasy can be indulged in without real cost or consequence -- gang warfare, robbing banks, casually shooting people in the head because they annoyed you? The demo for NCC sounds like exactly the kind of people who would relish the opportunity to take on (or worship at the feet of) the newest bad-ass on the virtual block.

Nick said...

I think we're all judging the New Cap City plotline way too soon. Logically, someone had to have created the "game" they are all playing (although it's still not clear what the true goal is), and so presumably that person (or people) would have some sort of control over whether people could come back into the game or not.

In other words, it's possible the programmers CAN come back into the game—we don't know enough about how New Cap City developed yet (whether it was one programmer or it was created openly a la Linux).

Larry C said...

I loved BSG, but I'm getting more and more bored by this show. It was all I could do to not press the fast forward button during the scenes of Graystone & his wife.

The Joe & Bill Adama family struggle is also getting tiresome.

On the other hand, I found the Tamara Adama Vworld plot this week to be far more interesting than the other A & B plots.

Not sure I'm going to be able to stick with the show for the long haul, but I'll give it a few more weeks.

DR said...

I'm still not sure what to make of this show. There are parts that I really like, then there are characters I wish would just get off the screen.

The Tauran coming of age mafia story is compelling to me in that it draws so heavily on the noir sub-genre and is bound to play with our expectations. That such a down to earth story can play out in a sci-fi show really demonstrates how the genre has been allowed to grow. Most of us have an idea of how the Adama story ends up, and seeing how it gets there through Yusif is pretty fun.

The social commentary is also intriguing. This is a world far more accessible to a non-sci-fi crowd, but it manages to sneak in a lot of subtext which embraces the very heart of what sci-fi was created for...

We see a kid in the last episode who is really something online and eschews the "real" world because he is a lesser being there. The story tells that kid that he can be a someone anywhere he goes... it's topical, and it's a positive lessen.

Sci-fi has always been used to hold a mirror up to society and use aliens or technology to create a needed distance from truth. This series shows us a society of religious extremists who are monotheists in a polytheistic world. We see institutional polyamory and homosexuality that is accepted and unquestioned - practices that are contentious in our world today put up on screen to very effectively make an audience question what is and what should be.

In the holoband we see a manifestation of a parent's worst nightmare - a world where a child can exist unfettered from consequence and ethics and a parent is incapable of monitoring behaviour. It's "corrupting" the children of the Caprican future much like any number of other contemporary technologies such as television and the internet allegedly do today.

At the very heart of this show is an exploration of freedom. Young Adama torn between his father's love and a more interesting path, Tamara is confined to the holoband but finds newfound strength in her digital prison, Zoe is trapped in a metal body and very often can not be herself, while Graystone Sr. is trapped between his profiteering board of directors, the public who keeps his fortune intact and his own hubris.

The holoband parallels this lack of freedom by being a domain entirely unruled and raw, that teenagers escape to from an unkind reality. it is from this chaos, though, that we find an outside belief system impinging with its own set of rules and notions of absolute right and wrong in the world.

I have rambled enough though - suffice that this show has opened up an interesting world for me, and I have to say at this point I have no idea where it's going or how the major characters are going to come together as the show moves forward, so until I understand that direction a little better I'm stuck watching it.

Mxt said...

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SR said That one missing reaction shot would have spoken volumes about what Zoe is (and isn't) as a cyclon.
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This. After my initial visceral reaction to something ripping its own limb off, I immediately had an empathic need to see how Zoe's avatar processed that action and what she saw laying on the table and whether she still maintained an intact physical self-conceptualization. Does she see her arm on that table or a hunk of metal?

On perma-death:
I guess I had a minority interpretation of that. It seems obvious to me that you can probably do state-saves if you're saavy enough. And obviously from the bank scene, your credits are storable separately. So maybe perma-death just means your avatar is erased but since it's based on your physical self, it shouldn't be hard to go and get a new copy created for whatever the fee is, right? I probably missed something but it just seems to be areturn to a level 1 character (in the game server's context). And New Cap City isn't the same 'place' as the rave environment, just linked to it via some door, like how that empty dark 'space' was that Tamara was stored in initially on Graystone's private server.

A point I think being missed as well is that the Tamara avatar isn't the same code as the rest of the others. Clearly, as she amasses power on the servers, others will attempt to determine what she is (since they now know her identity) and how to either destroy her or become like her. The obvious parties being: the terrorist cell; New Cap's creator, who is about to see his/her world dominated in short order; Greystone, who will be made aware of Tamara's continued existence from Adama and who still (despite his compelling pitch) has a replication problem. Zoe, who might learn about Tamara's virtual condition through her father.

hm, I wonder if Tamara's avatar can be leveraged by threats to the Adama family?

Daniel said...

I guess if you make a show that juxtaposes incredible new technology with old cars and telephones it makes it interesting. Really? Uh, not. See that failed Shakespearian attempt Kings. Which was horrifically bad. This is the same show; without the tanks. Maybe the robot is the tank substitute.

Karen said...

it's not hard to see that hard old man Bill Adama took after his uncle, while indecisive Lee is very much Joseph's grandson.

I'd say Tamara takes after her Uncle Sam (hee!) as well. It took her a little while to work out her fear, but man did she take charge. Pulling her fanboy's gun and taking out Vesta's crowd was even ballsier than Willie beating up his river-side taunter.