Saturday, March 20, 2010

Caprica, "Ghosts in the Machine": If you don't watch this show, he'll shoot this dog

A review of last night's "Caprica" coming up just as soon as I come back for happy hour...

Yesterday, I was feeling all pleased with myself for choosing to record all of NBC's Thursday comedies as a 2-hour-and-2-minute bloc, which solved the maddening problem of NBC letting a minute or two of each show to spill over into the next one's timeslot. Then I started watching "Caprica" on a DVR delay, and as we came to the final scene, the recording cut Zoe off in mid-sentence. When I ranted about this on Twitter, some people said the same happened to them, while others said their DVR listings knew the show was going to run a minute long, but there should be no excuse for this nonsense in this day and age, and it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I briefly contemplated using the moment as an excuse to kick "Caprica" to the curb.

And the only reason I'd be willing to think of such a thing is that I'm still finding "Caprica" to be a very promising, but at times very frustrating show. The Daniel/Zoe scenes from "Ghosts in the Machine" were mesmerizing: great performances from Eric Stoltz and Alessandra Torresani, an escalating mindgame, a disturbing view of how far Daniel will go to get what he wants (and, in turn, an explanation for why the real Zoe was so eager to run away) and by far the best use to date of the visual gimmick of letting us see Zoe standing in for the robot. There was that great moment out on the cliff where Daniel gives a heartfelt, non-manipulative plea for Zoe to make her presence known, and because we can see Torresani's face, we know he's getting through to her - just as we know that he immediately blows it by pulling out the gasoline can and turning back into the monster who's creating this slave race that will ultimately do so much damage.

Had the episode been nothing but that - had the "Caprica" producers been willing to ditch the soap opera-style episode construction for once and let all the other storylines fall by the wayside for a week - I think we could have had something incredible.

As it stands, those scenes were tremendous even intercut with the Amanda and Joseph Adama scenes. But their goodness only underscored how much the parts of the show that don't have to do directly with the girl-turned-robot aren't really working.

I have zero interest in anything to do with Clarice, Amanda and her brother, and only slightly more with Tomas Vergis or the doings in New Cap City. I appreciate that Joseph's being written with the same kind of indecisiveness that plagued grandson Lee on "Battlestar Galactica," but Jamie Bamber was more compelling at playing that confusion and inner struggle than Esai Morales has been so far. His best scenes tend to be when Joseph has decided on a course of action and is pursuing it relentlessly (as we saw briefly here after he double-Amp'ed up), but scene after scene of him looking wide-eyed, baffled and frustrated makes me grind my teeth.

(Speaking of the clan Adama, by the way, one of my Twitter followers suggested that the cross-dresser's riddle at the club was taken from a speech Bill Adama gives early in the "BSG" miniseries. This ring a bell with anybody else?)

One episode to go in this spring run. I recognize that every new show has growing pains, and that I was able to deal with them on "BSG" because I DVD-binged on it a few years after the show debuted. Watched week-to-week (particularly in a week where NBC/Universal's annoying scheduling tactics come into play), the flaws stick out more and tend to linger.

There's a really good show in here, as we saw with Daniel and Zoe, but it's in danger of being dragged down by the rest of it.

What did everybody else think?


Karen said...

Agree that the show grinds to a halt whenever Clarice appears. Otherwise, still interested. But said to the Husband "I hope he put blanks in that gun" ahead of time... that he actually had was no surprise, since if they want to keep any sympathy for one character or another, no way would they have him or her shoot a dog. Annihilate humanity, sure. Shoot a dog? Never.

Unknown said...

The truncation happened to me too (I'm a Dish subscriber). Thank goodness that one can find the episode on the Internet moments after it airs. SyFy needs to not let that happen again.

WendyWatson said...

(Speaking of the clan Adama, by the way, one of my Twitter followers suggested that the cross-dresser's riddle at the club was taken from a speech Bill Adama gives early in the "BSG" miniseries. This ring a bell with anybody else?)

Faintly. It's the speech he gives for the Galactica's retirement ceremony, and I think it boils down to humanity probably deserving what they got. He is talking about the first war with the Cylons, but considering what comes after, it's obviously pretty chilling.

The dog: I didn't expect the blanks because I don't think the show means Daniel to be a particularly "good" character, so this was very effective for me.

The rest of the plots: I'm a sucker for virtual worlds, but I'm more interested in Tamara than Joseph, so this works only halfway for me. I'm so far okay with Amanda's plot, despite it being rather stereotypical, but at least it gives her something to do - I have no idea why they hired someone like Paula Malcomson and then waste her on staring moodily at the wall. I understand that portraying grief and depression is very difficult, but I'm pretty sure this is not an entirely successful way to do it. As for Clarice, I find the character rather offensive; she's mostly a stereotypical scheming villainous zealot. I'm surprised she doesn't cackle.
Still, overall I like it and especially if it only gets one season, I'm sticking around for that.

If this is the penultimate episode of the spring run, do you have any idea when the show will return?

Nick said...

Sure, the Daniel/Zoe scenes were interesting but, much like this show so far, nothing changed in the end. It's amazing that there's been almost zero progress or even focus on the one interesting development I, at least thought we've been working toward all this time (transporting Zoe to Gemenon).

And I agree with you Wendy. Tamara herself in that world actually does interest me quite a bit. But Joseph and his quest for her absolutely doesn't. They've already spent way too much time on that. Maybe I'm just heartless, but locating a dead, virtual daughter does nothing for me.

fred said...

Pretty much agree with all that been said before.

The Daniel/Zoe scenes worked pretty well, although there is one thing that did (really) annoy me.

From the start it was obvious what he was trying to do, getting "her" to repeat over & over again a "robotic" task while talking of Zoe's terrifying childhood memory. He was trying to get an emotional reaction of out the robot, and I thought you could see on her face that she not only knew what he was up to, but did her best not to fall into that trap.

So to have a scene, after wards, when that needed to be actually said out loud, as in let's explain to the poor stupid viewer who might not have understood, just made me cringe.

Anonymous said...

I started fast forwarding through any scene that has Clarice / Daniel's wife together. They just come off as very bad. If they end up connecting with the main storyline I will just catch up via wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

I disagree concerning Adama. He's a fine actor and I totally buy him as this semi-annoying whiny self-righteous character. I'm enjoying his slow character growth.

Did anyone else think it was Saul Tigh who answered the door to Adama's apartment in the v world? The way he growled "WHO THE FRRRAKKKK IS IT?" was dead on mimick of Saul drunken slurs.

The dog scene was great, especially how they cut up to the dog laughing and smiling. It caught me off guard. I just enjoyed an episode of a show between a robot, a dog, and a human. WTF?

srpad said...

Mine cut off exactly when yours did and I even added an extra minute! Grrrrr!

I couldn't have said it better myself Alan. The Greystone/Zoe scenes were awesome. Everything not so much.

Also what's the odds that Adama's mysterious guide ends up being Tamara herself?

themightypuck said...

Oh TV you bastard. Why can't you just tell me a story? Why must we drag things out?

Unknown said...

By the way, according to my TiVo To Do list, Lost has a 6-minute overrun this week.

Unknown said...

Hi Alan -

This is Aaron, your Twitter follower from this morning. The riddle:

"As the Gods overthrew the Titans, so has Man overthrown the Gods. But when Man visits his sins upon his children, how shall he be repaid?"

Here is Adama's speech from the BSG miniseries, essentially asking "Why does humanity deserve saving?"

"When we fought the Cylons," he says, "we did it to save ourselves from extinction, but we never answered the question, 'why?' Why are we, as a people, worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed and spite and jealousy, and we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept responsibility for anything that we've done, like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life, and when that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn't our fault, not really. You cannot play God and then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore."

Susan said...

I'm with Fred on the ridculousness of having Daniel explain what he was up to after he actually did it. Memo to script writer: we knew already.

The scene with the dog nearly undid me. That said, there is absolutely no way that the dog would have been sitting there, unmoved from his position, after Zoe fired -- even though what she fired were blanks. The dog would not only have yelped (which we heard), he probably also would have been cowering, beating a retreat into a corner, or at least standing up. A little thing, yes, but it's the careful attention to the little things that give a scene credibility.

tribalism said...

Yeah, the Lacy-Clarice storyline is definitely not my favourite. Even James Marsters brief, barb wire-heavy appearance a few episodes back couldn't get me interested in the STO arc.

While Esai Morales hasn't been exactly the most compelling actor on the show, I could understand his wide-eyed trepidation when it came to shooting players in a video game.

Here's a guy who wants to believe that his daughter's soul still exists. By being reluctant to "kill" players, he's giving weight to the reality in which the Tamavatar inhabits.

Daniel, meanwhile, is someone who understands that the Zoe avatar isn't really his daughter, just "...all of her that I have left.”

Despite Daniel's experiments, I still had trouble buying into the avatar's burning hatred of her dad. It's not hard to understand why she resents her dad's work--especially after witnessing the lengths he'll go to pursue technological advance--but I still think that a girl would be willing to reach out to her father when he's making ovations such as his.

Anyways, if anyone is interested, more of my thoughts on this episode are available on my blog where I go into further detail about the melding of realities in this episode. Click my username for the link.

Bob said...

Why was Bob Melnikov from the awesome ReGenesis the drag queen ringleader? I'll never be able to watch that show again :(

belinda said...

I have to agree with your assessment, though I'm definitely there when Caprica returns. Still loving the ride a whole lot even though I could do without a few of the plots. And I have a good feeling that the 'finale' episode would be fantastic. (Well, I hope anyway!)

Zoe and Daniel scenes are simply awesome, and as long as they have that, I will continue to watch. It's tense and crazy and chilling and heartbreaking and violent all at the same time.

I didn't mind Clarice and Amanda with their bonding under false pretenses stuff until the last two episode, in which all their scenes just dragged with the whole "brother" thing. So for me, it's the brother plot part that isn't working as much as Clarice or Amanda. As for Vargis, I'm a little disappointed that we didn't really got anything new about the character than what we got in his intro episode. So, I'd much rather see more of Lacey and the STO gang or Sam and young Adama than Vargis, Amanda, or Clarice, because their scenes didn't add anything to the plot or the characters.

As for Adama, I've been complaining about him for a while now, so this episode didn't really do too much to shed his dull wimpiness for me. The whole NCC contruct is interesting, but not so much when I'm just seeing Adama go through it (like an idiot). What I would love more is to see Tamara rather than Adama.(or perhaps both in some kind of weird juxtaposition, since the show is really heavy on the daddy-daughter conflicts).

Tausif Khan said...

Alan I think you are letting what you have seen on BSG guide the way you think about Caprica. Thinking of the Star Wars prequels as just backstory to the real story between Luke and Vader hindered Episodes I, II, III from being rich complex stories on their own. By the producers being willing to use BSG alumni in bit parts on Capirca shows they are trying to tell a different story (I mean they set it 58 years before BSG). This story is in part how BSG happened but it is not just how BSG happened it is not an outline and is a story on its own with rich characters to draw from.

Tausif Khan said...

I originally didn't have interest in Amanda, Clarice, Joseph or Tamara. I now like that Amanda Greystone is like a Lady MacBeth type character which we will see drawn out. I fully agree that Clarice is like an old style villain but then Caprica is an old style city. Joseph Adama's character growth was really interesting to see here. I wished we had seen more of Tamara her existence is philosophically interesting as Zoe's existence. However, I liked this episode because it underscored a parents search for lost innocence of their children and in themselves.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan I think you are letting what you have seen on BSG guide the way you think about Caprica.

BSG has nothing to do with it. I just want compelling stories in their own right, and too much of Caprica features bland characters and/or sluggish and repetitive storytelling.

Henry said...

The mountain scene had me notice something strange: Stoltz keeps shifting his eyeline when they cut between his interactions with the U87 robot (which is taller than Stoltz) and his interactions with Zoe (who is shorter than him). Not to nitpick a GREAT scene (only to be topped by the scene later with Caesar, the dog), but I thought that was really odd. Yes, it would look goofy for Stoltz to be talking above Zoe's head (presumably), but at least it's consistent.

I hope to the Gods that the Joseph Adama plot to find Tamara doesn't turn into the "Michael-from-season-two-of-Lost-plot-to-find-Walt" kind of thing. Which would annoy me. I thought Joseph was a good dad trying to do the right thing by William, but they completely ignore both William and Joseph's brother in this episode and I'm hoping that isn't the case for the long term.

Unknown said...

Decent episode, but I had three problems:

1. Joseph's search for his daughter is reaching WAAAALLLLTTTTTT levels of annoyance. He has to burst in and tell every single person, "I WANT MY DAUGHTER!" over and over? Hasn't he heard of subtlety in a game where he'll be out forever with one stray bullet?

2. That idiotic scene halfway through when Zoe explains to Lacey that Daniel was trying to get an emotional response out of her. If the audience couldn't figure that out already, they should pick up a Darwin award. Isn't Zoe a genius?

3. Amanda. Why should we care about her seeing her dead brother? Unless he's one of "God"'s angels, in which case I'm giving up on the show right now. If the show can't tell its story without divine intervention or nonsensical hallucinations, it has serious writing issues.

Ladypeyton said...

I'm no fan of Clarice. She's dull and two dimensional, but I'm beginning to wonder if Vergis is behind Amanda's brother sightings in a plot to drive her around the bend again, in order to come through on his threat to destroy everything Daniel loves. It seemed to me that his visit with her was a way to derive whether or not he should follow through on his actions. That if she had reacted differently to his information that Daniel had killed 2 of his employees (and I have to wonder if they were more than simple employees) he might not have followed through on his attempts to drive her completely around the bend.

The Daniel Amanda scenes were hypnotic. I couldn't look away. Here's a guy who suspects that the ghost of his daughter is literally inside the machine yet he follows through on torturing her to force her to bend to his will. No wonder she refuses to reveal herself. He's a monster.

I admit I'm more interested in Tamara than Joseph, but I enjoyed his manning up moment inside the club. I can't wait for Tammy to show up again, though and I'm very curious to see who Joe's guide really is.

I'm enjoying Caprica immensely, even though Clarice bores me to tears.

Ladypeyton said...

I forgot. I was also very happy to see Sam again and loved the big brother/little brother vibe of the teaching Adama how to kill scene.

It was reminiscent of Supernatural, to me and I love Supernatural.

Mark B said...

Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Adama. Adama who? A domino that ain’t knocking down other dominos ain’t moving the story along. (rim shot)

Caprica appears to be afflicted with LOST writing disease. The primary symptom being building an interesting character then abandoning that character for multiple episodes. Where is Tamara? You don’t have a race of Cylons with only one Cylon. The second sentient avatar allows us to compare and contrast the nuances of cyber life and this is where a potentially great story resides. Cyber Zoey is susceptible to emotional manipulation so at least one cyber life form has emotions. But cyber Zoey was created by human Zoey, whereas cyber Tamara is a construct of third person data mining. No need to assume they will behave the same. Every reason to believe they may act like individuals. Assuming the writers remember both are needed for a captivating tale.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, this show just isn't working, it bites. And it's not because of the soap opera format, I like a good soap opera. But this is just bad: pretentious, tedious and smug. Here it is almost at the end of the season, and nothing much has really happened since the first few episodes. It's a mess.

Ant$ said...

apparently people in Caprica all those many years ago were driving Mercedes Benz cars...

Diana Frost said...

imo, the tamara & adama storyline is moving quite slow but I like the adama character so it isn't too painful to watch. Do Not like clarice & the wife which is very boring and I just fast forward. Zoe & father storyline is ho-hum so far but I get it that the writers are showing what a dangerous person the father really is.

ravage said...

One of the things I cant understand, and that ruins the Adama story for me is why cant Tamara be in a more accessible place? She could've just as easily stayed in that nightclub place where Zoe hangs out. Generally seems like a much safer place, her Dad wouldnt have such a hard time finding her, and she wouldnt have to leave flower shaped breadcrumbs behind for him.

Is she just bored? Is she playing hide and go seek with Daddy?

Anonymous said...

I looked up the names of the female characters on Caprica and found some interesting things. Names have meaning and it seems like these names were specifically chosen for these characters.

Zoe: (Greek) Meaning: Life. Zoe is a direct transliteration of the ancient Greek word 'zoe' (written 'zeta-omega-eta'). It is usually listed as meaning 'life', but it can also mean 'a (means of) living', 'subsistence', 'goods' or 'property'. Zoe was the name of several Byzantine empresses.
To Clarice the Zoe avatar is the afterlife she seeks. The Zoe avatar is also 'a (means of) living' for the real Zoe, and in her current state inside the U-87 robot she is the property of Daniel. As the first Cylon she can be called their empress.

Tamara: (Hebrew) Meaning: Palm tree (Indian) Meaning: Spice. Tamara de Lempicka was a Polish art deco painter. Tamara or Tammy Faye was an American Christian evangelist.
The palm branch is a symbol of triumph and victory. “Early Christians used the palm branch to symbolize the victory of the faithful over enemies of the soul” “in Judaism, the palm represents peace and plenty” “the palm may also symbolize the Tree of life in Kabbalah” Tamara has won the game in that she cannot die. To see if she gains peace and plenty in V-world we have to see.Tamara is certainly adding spice to V-world. She is putting her art on the walls She may turn out to be leader and evangelist that other V-world people respect.

Emmanuelle: (Hebrew & French) Meaning: God is with us.
If God is Tamara, or Zoe or ‘the one true god’ of the STO working through them then V-world is key and this character’s name is a hint.

Clarice: (Latin) Meaning: Clear; bright; famous
We will have to see if her view of things is the clear and correct one. She wants to gain approval and rise up in the ranks of the STO, to be the one to find Zoe (Life) and that is a kind of fame.

Amanda: (Latin) Meaning: She who must be loved. (Sanskrit) Meaning: Active; bright. Amanda is the feminine gerundive of the Latin verb 'amo' (I love) and thus literally means 'she who must be loved'. Amanda's Pennant or Celithemis Amanda is a type of dragonfly.
Amanda’s insanity past and present seems to center around her loved ones, and losing them. If she must have love then loosing a loved one would be a big shock to her. Her mind is active now with all her visions of her brother. She could be like a dragonfly in that she is flighty and quick to change her mind.

Shannon: (Hebrew) Meaning: God is gracious. (Gaelic) Meaning: From Seanan meaning Old River. The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland.
We never get to know her but maybe that is something good, something gracious, because the Adamas only have good memories of her and not new stuff from a virtual Shannon to confuse things. She passed from this life across the river and went on.
Names info

Jen said...

Anybody else think Emmanuelle is Adama's lawyer friend/secretary/whatever? The way she kept calling him 'counselor'...

Oaktown Girl said...

There's a really good show in here, as we saw with Daniel and Zoe, but it's in danger of being dragged down by the rest of it.

Agreed. The degree to which I'm finding myself increasingly disliking the Joseph Adama character is really sucking the enjoyment out of this show for me.

Also, it's a shame about Paula Malcombson's character being poorly used because we know from Deadwood that she certainly has the acting chops. Polly Walker was tons of fun in Rome, but so far her character, which seemed to start out with such promise, has really fizzled. Hopefully you are right about it just being a first season doesn't-have-its-footing-yet thing.

Chrissy said...

@Jen: I thought the same thing, although I didn't catch the "counselor" thing. But that assistant definitely had a bit of a crush on Adama, and Emanuelle went out of her way to let him know she doesn't look like that in real life.

Oaktown Girl said...

Oops - spelling error on Paula's last name in my comment above. It's "Malcomson".

Craig Ranapia said...

(Speaking of the clan Adama, by the way, one of my Twitter followers suggested that the cross-dresser's riddle at the club was taken from a speech Bill Adama gives early in the "BSG" miniseries. This ring a bell with anybody else?)

My bell more rang with this dialogue on Cylon Occupied Caprica between a Six and a Five in 'Bastille Day':

Six: "This all makes me so sad."

Five: "They would have destroyed themselves anyway. They deserve what they got."

Six: "We're the children of humanity. That makes them our parents in a sense."

Five: "True - but parents have to die. It's the only way children come into their own."

Craig Ranapia said...

3. Amanda. Why should we care about her seeing her dead brother? Unless he's one of "God"'s angels, in which case I'm giving up on the show right now. If the show can't tell its story without divine intervention or nonsensical hallucinations, it has serious writing issues.

Really? I know I'm definitely in the minority here, bur I actually like the way mental illness -- and, yes Jonah, that actually includes psychotic episodes exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse -- isn't being treated like a plot token that can wished away by hitting the reset button. Way too close to home for me...

somethingaboutmary said...

The problem I am having with the Joe Adama storyline is that it doesn't seem to match the Joe Adama I heard about in Battlestar. I mean this is supposed to be Romo Lapkin's memtor, Lee Adama's hero and Bill Adama's advisory who by the way lead him to be a great military mind. So when I see this alleged great lawyer and he does not have an answer for the riddle I am really confused and frustrated because it just doesn't add up to the image I got from Battlestar. I just wish his character had much much more substance. And what happened to the police investigation storyline. I guess I'd like to see more of the lawyer like when Lee was the lawyer for Baltor. I wanted to hear that type of answer from Joe Adama.

Boricua in Texas said...

BSG has nothing to do with it. I just want compelling stories in their own right, and too much of Caprica features bland characters and/or sluggish and repetitive storytelling.

Alan, I am not as bothered as you are by the non-Daniel/Zoe plots. I find Amanda and Joseph's grief to be realistic in its "stuck, unable to move on" flavors.

Craig Ranapia said...

The problem I am having with the Joe Adama storyline is that it doesn't seem to match the Joe Adama I heard about in Battlestar.

You mean the man who is bitterly estranged from his son, defends ctiminal scum (because that's what hotshot "civil liberties" lawyers do) and sure seems to have passed on one hell of a volatile combination of bad temper, fierce loyalty to his "family" but a total inability to get along with his actual son? Sounds like a pretty tight fit to me...

SS said...

There are some shows where the B plot isn't worth any time. Do what I do, if Amanda or Clarice appear on screen, push 30 second skip until you see Joseph, Daniel, the Tauranos or New Cap City.

When the writers finally figure out what to do with Camanda you can catch up in 10 seconds by watching the "previously on"

Billiam said...

I thought I'd add that the title "Ghost/s in the Machine" has been an episode title for many a sci-fi show.

barefootjim said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only person to flash on that famous National Lampoon cover, especially since the Graystone dog somewhat resembled the dog on that cover.

It actually took me out of the scene, which is too bad, because it was one of the best scenes of the series so far.

But man, I'm lukewarm on this series right now.

cgeye said...

When they went to the dog I was finally convinced that the writers really don't care about the philosophical underpinnings of the polydeist/STO opposition -- it's all about a Bad Teen and her Bad Daddy damning their civilization to hell, because of their gameplaying. Can't wait for the R-rated video game. (And can I say again just how fundamentally stupid it is to have a New Caprica City where with a little work players can steal each other's personae, yet can be monitored so expertly that they can be banished from the game permanently? It. Makes. No. Sense.)

Sure, Zoe and Daniel at war is far better motivation and storytelling than we've gotten during most of this run, but it still sucks that the formation of a race as formidable as the Borg hinges on a teen girl's hissy fit... and I'm supposed to feel sorry for what part of the girl is left. Riight.

The creepiness and judgment Daniel was openly revealing was crucial in understanding how Zoe would become a terrorist, but for me it's too little, too late. The writers could have opened up Zoe's world to give us a better explanation for her fanaticism than an allergy to Internet porn, and it could have opened up Daniel's world so we see how those who profit from that online decadence actually deal with being the creepy avatars who hit on girls like Zoe.

The Chronosian hunger the older characters have for the younger (which I suspect is behind the backpedaling of making Clarice a literal seducer of her students, with possible GLAAD backlash and all) would be a very handy hook to explore a society on the decline, but Caprica doesn't deal with that in any meaningful way, save last week's Zylon/Dad confrontation.

As for the dog, the handiest solution would have been for Daniel to drug it asleep, that way we wouldn't hear a peep out of it whether or not it was shot -- but they wanted that pleading pup picture, so really the writers were as dishonest as Daniel in what they wanted. If creating the first and only human/AI symbiosis required Sam to kill Vergis' men, then why the heck not kill a dog, to flush it out of hiding? This way Daniel revealed himself to Zoe not only as cruel, but a coward.

I want more, and after the lessons learned through BSG, and the lengthy development period Caprica enjoyed with a near-guaranteed first season on the Syph, I should be getting it by now. I should know why the gods matter in a concretized, present way, and I should know why the STO is an active living force against them. I should care whether a gal worships one god or more, not whether her mom's heading back to the looney bin or experiencing the precursors of BSG's free will-stomping angels. I should know more about a colony than their essentialist-on-the-verge-of-racist stereotypes. I should know about more than *one* colony -- what the hell do Capricans believe in, anyway? Pyramid? It's the series' *home colony*, isn't it? That leaves nine, excluding the perpetual holy rollers on Gemenon (which is so fundamentalist it would burn Zoe and the STO on sight, so why in frak is it considered a haven?). Shouldn't we care, about details?

Shouldn't the writers care that they are trying to replicate a form that is near death in the daytime and already replaced by trash reality at night, and that they will run out of time if we're no longer curious? Hell, considering the cooking and SFX makeup design shows the Syph's planning for next season, they should be close to pulling a V/Flash Forward refocus session.

Anonymous said...


A question about this mid-season "break": why is SyFy programming "Caprica" this way (and "Stargate Universe" too)? All of this hype and boom, now we have to wait weeks and weeks for it to return. It doesn't seem to me to be a way to retain viewers...



Alan Sepinwall said...

Scott, it's a practice that many basic cable channels do, to stretch out their seasons over as much of the calendar year as possible (and to make the gaps between runs of original episodes much shorter than it is for, say, "Mad Men"). USA and TNT are also fond of this. And if it didn't work (in terms of retaining viewers when they return from the breaks), they wouldn't all keep doing it.

Charles King said...

I increasingly feel as if I'm only watching this show out of loyalty to the first season of BSG. The scripting is leaden and heavy-handed (shot of spider, pan to Clarice - oo, symbolic!) and the actors are failing to live up to their promise (except for Torresani, who has improved a great deal from the spoilt whiny brat of the pilot and will hopefully evolve further).

All the main characters simply seem to be mentally deranged. There's Amanda with her depressive psychosis, there's Daniel with his borderline psycopathy and there's Joseph with his progressive depersonalisation. Unfortunately, there's nothing more to them than their derangement and they're little more than one-dimensional ciphers without anything to elicit sympathy or interest.

At least we're starting to get an answer as to why Zoe Graystone spawned a race of evil genocidal robots - both her parents are insane and she's obviously inherited their problems.

As an answer to the show's underlying question, that's about as trivial as it could get.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alan.

I guess it makes sense if a series has more than, say, 10 episodes in a season. And I should have realized this earlier: it may have something to do with DVD sales. Stargate Universe as a set of season 1.0 DVDs on sale now. Season 1.0, that rather odious practice of splitting a season in half and charging the same amount as for a full season.
Thanks again, Alan.


Merrylegs said...

The Zoe/Cylon story is the only thing compelling about this show. All the rest is slow, tedious, boring and pointless. Not sure if I will come back to this show unless next week's episode delivers some promise.

W. Blake Gray said...

I'm just catching up on this show on DVR, so perhaps shouting into the void here.

I like the Adamas, particularly Sam. But I'm bored with the whole virtual world plot, which seems pointless and pretentious. I like the Adamas in the real world.

I like the Torran gangster trying to buy the ballclub. More of him and his gentlemanly threats.

Please, please, make Clarice and Amanda lovers and send them to another planet for the next 15 episodes.

I haven't watched BSG, and this series so far isn't inspiring me to do so. I like the idea a lot -- the creation of world-killing robots -- which is why I've kept watching to this point. It's like Terminator Zero. But at some point something should happen.