Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Caprica's end

Just watched the final episodes of Caprica, burned off by SyFy in a marathon.

The epilogue gave some nice closure to the series and better connected the story to the rest of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The epilogue also shows some of the unrealized potential Caprica held.

I confess, along the way I lost some of my interest in Caprica. The pace was too slow and few characters kept my attention.

Even the final episodes themselves did not get me excited. But the epilogue, which may have been produced after the official cancellation, woke me up.

Unfortunately, the story laid down in that epilogue was not the show we had been watching. If they had gotten the viewers to that point much sooner, Caprica would have continued strongly.

Caprica suffered the flaw of a decompressed plot that lacked memorable antagonists. You can tell a character-driven story, but you also need worthy villains to keep you at the edge of your seat.

Look at LOST for example. That show was highly character-driven. Even as characters delved into their personal stories, you had villains who did some real damage. The Others, Charles Widmore, the Smoke Monster... all of these antagonists struck fear in the audience. Getting caught by any of them frequently meant someone would die.

Caprica needed more palpable antagonists. Too often the characters spent their days drinking, smoking and lamenting about their lives. More risk and decisive action is needed, even for a drama.

The pilot episode of the series really built up the tension but the balloon soon deflated.

The political conflict among the 12 colonies needed to be more compelling. Tauron should have gone totally rogue when the show started. You could still make the show about the daily lives of the main characters, but you would keep the ominous peril of civil war looming over them.

A more intense human vs. human conflict with the threat of a military draft and conscription would have made the development of Cylon robot troops even more vital to the story.

It would also make the animosity for the Taurons living on Caprica more tangible. The conflict with the Soldiers of the One also could have been more intense on both sides.

I know it was supposed to be a family drama in a sci-fi setting, but as the epilogue showed, people wanted to see the real conflict that evolved into Battlestar Galactica.

And finally, the franchise mythos needed to open up more. That shot of Zoe emerging from what looked like a hybrid/resurrection tank shook me. Gave a whole new perspective on what we thought we knew. Also, there could have been more elaboration on how humanity came to the 12 colonies in the first place, reflecting on the cycle of growth, decadence, destruction and renewal. Tie the overindulgence of the colonies link back to the fall of Kobol.

Those elements make the franchise dynamic and unique but were sadly not tapped to their fullest extent on Caprica.

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