Read on for more details about Caprica and whether it ticks the right boxes...
What Is It About?
Taking place 58 years before the fall of Caprica, the story centres around the fortunes of the Graystone and Adama families. An act of terrorism on board public transport results in disillusioned computer genius teen Zoe Graystone being blasted to smithereens, but her similarly technology-obsessed father Daniel (Eric Stoltz) discovers that she has created a Virtual Reality copy - or 'Avatar' - of herself. Daniel meets a fellow grieving parent, lawyer Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), who has lost his daughter and wife - but not son and future Battlestar Galactica leader William.
Is It Any Good?
Yes, the pilot certainly promises a great deal for next year's full series. Despite an early explosion caused by a terrorist, the story does adopt an initially languid pace and takes a long while to set the scene and shift into gear. Fortunately, it sets forth a number of fascinating concepts and narrative strands in motion along the way, leading to a stunning and emotional climax that whips up the excitement for future episodes.
Well cast, with both Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales pleasingly understated in their lead roles, the pilot contains two standout scenes that highlight the show's leaning towards emotional, human drama wrapped in futuristic concepts. Firstly, Joseph Adama's encounter with his artificial clone of his butchered daughter is both very moving and sinister.
Will it satisfy Battlestar Galactica fans?
Although the drama is less science fiction and action orientated than its predecessor, Caprica should put several smiles on the faces of BSG lovers. Those suffering withdrawal symptoms from certain Caprican vernacular will be pleased by the abundance of 'fracks' and an early inclusion of the legendary 'so say we all' chant. William Adama pops up in a few scenes as a young boy, but he doesn't go by that name because of his turbulent family history.
As for the Cylons, they are seen in prototype form resembling the original series Battlestar models, and there is an eye-catching sequence towards the end when one goes ballistic and shoots eight shades of frack out of anything that moves in its vicinity. But the spiritual aspect behind the Cylon evolution is more dominant than their visceral, fighting qualities. There's also a knowing chuckle to be had when Daniel is told by the various corporation heads that he has done humanity a 'great service' by building the Cylon prototypes. It certainly won't be a view shared a few decades later on the planet!
Yet despite the bridges between the two programmes, Caprica importantly stands up in its own right and not as a mere add-on enhancement. Bring on the full series!