Thursday, October 28, 2010


Not even Gaius-Frakking-Baltar could weasel his way out of the ratings hole Caprica plummeted into.

Viewership for the show dwindled faster than the human population during the final Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies. With SyFy pulling the show with complete episodes yet to be aired, it speaks to a big shift at the network.

Caprica was an ambitious effort, something of a family drama in a science fiction setting. However, the show had issues with momentum. The characters and concept were smart but they just did not push you enough to keep watching.

It was probably a tough sell for fans of Battlestar Galactica who wanted a higher mix of action.

BSG hooked you with the character tension combined with the very real threat of humanity's extermination. Caprica did not have those kinds of stakes per se.

BSG and Caprica were very different shows, but there is a lesson to glean here in storytelling.

One of my favorite moments from BSG was the standoff between the Galactica and Pegasus. The last two military ships capable of defending humanity against the Cylons almost blew each other up because the stubborn commanding officers could not coexist. I remember my eyes went wide when both crews launched fighters ready to shoot it out.

BSG held your attention because of the internal and external threats, but moreover you wanted to see who survived.

You need to have some empathy for the people you are watching and the chatter I hear points to trouble connecting with some of Caprica's cast. They all had great layers of complexity. But the "higher concept" did not deliver enough to keep people watching.

In the end, the final blend must be greater than the sum of the characters' parts. Another prequel to BSG is in the works that will revive the action elements. Here's hoping it's enough to lure people back to the franchise.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away