I am an enormous fan of the re-visioning of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ – good story and plot, good characters, nice combination of high tech and retro gadgets (loved the old style telephone handset that was used in the command centre). Combine that with excellent soundtrack – just the best TV science fiction in recent years. When I heard that a ‘prequel’ of BSG was in the works, I was a little bit concerned, but hopeful – same folks involved, should be worth watching. And so I watched the pilot of Caprica with interest….
The following will help understand this post if you’ve not watched Caprica. Daniel Graystons, father of Zoe, has a company involve din military robotics and AI. They’ve made something called a Cylon, which needs an electronic brain called an MCP to work. Joseph Adama, a top lawyer, has a daughter, Tamara, who was killed in a terrorist attack along with Zoe. Both girls had ‘avatars’ in a VR game, and these avatars have retained form after their death. Zoe ends up in the electronic brain of the prototype Cylon. Tamara ends up left in the VR systems.
With me so far? Where the frack did it all go wrong?
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all doom and gloom in Caprica, (list of episodes and plot here) and at one level that makes it worse – every now and again stuff starts happening and you’re at the stage of ‘Oh yeah, here we go, they’re gonna start turning out Cylons in a production facility, and Zoe – that teenage lass who’s consciousness is in the prototype – will….er…..do something…but hey, we’re looking at some serious tin men whupping Colonial Marine action!’ But then we cut back to a frackin’ boarding school or a VR representation of Dawson’s Creek.
And that’s the problem. There is simply too much attention being paid to teenagers in this whole saga. And that’s the flaw. Last night we had Zoe going on a virtual reality date with the teenager who is helping her father work out why the ‘brain’ of the one working prototype works and others don’t. The two teenagers end up with a suggestion that may point to the problem. Back in the lab, old man Graystone is told this by his teenage assistant and it’s as if he’d never thought of it. Hello? This guy is the Stephen Hawking of robotics and AI. His company make the holographic interfaces that people use to go in to immersive virtual realities in Caprica. He’s not Homer J Simpson, for crying out loud!
Elsewhere, the head of the other family involved in the saga, Joseph Adama, is swanning around in a VR ‘game’ called ‘New Cap City’ trying to find the avatar of Tamara. It works well, some shoot ’em up and folks with the same tailor as Neo and Trinity from ‘The Matrix’ – I’m hopeful that this will go places. The religious / spiritual angle – monotheism emerging in a polytheistic culture – is really interesting as well.
But then we get the bloody teenagers again and I weep in to my tea.
Come on guys – I can see that you want to reach the teen demographic, but don’t forget the rest of us.